The world is full of strange ideas about baldness. One such weird idea is the idea that wearing a cap makes you lose your hair. We’re warned against hat-wearing of all things, with the threat of going bald.
We might not think much of it but when baldness runs in the family, those threats feel very real, and young boys grow up afraid of the most random of things for fear of losing their locks.
But what does science say? Does wearing a cap really increase your chances of going bald or is this some weird anti-cap agenda?
What The Myth Says
The idea that caps affect hair loss is one of many hair loss myths. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that caps cause baldness so it’s a myth worth debunking.
The origins of the myth are unclear, but it’s possible people connected caps with baldness because of how hot wearing a cap in the sun makes your head. It’s reasonable to think that heat build-up under a cap can cause hair loss, but it’s unfounded, nonetheless.
The classic balding of the crown in men with male pattern baldness also coincidentally correlates a bit with the placement of hats. When a man goes bald, the last hair to go is a strip around the base of the head, where a cap doesn’t cover so perhaps people thought there was a connection.
What The Science Says
The truth is hair loss is down to your genetic predisposition. The most common form of hair loss in men is androgenetic alopecia, AKA male pattern hair loss. It happens because some men are just more genetically vulnerable to hair loss because of a hormone every man has called DHT.
DHT plays an important part in the male body, but in some men, it has a devastating effect on the hairs on their scalp. The hormone attaches to hair follicles and weakens them, affecting hair growth and retention, and hair loss is the result.
Not all hair loss is the same, though. Traction alopecia is a form of hair loss that happens as a result of repetitive strain on the follicles. It can affect both men and women of every age as a result of hairstyling. Consistently making tight ponytails or buns or repeatedly making tight braids or attaching wigs can cause this kind of hair loss by pulling on the scalp.
It’s possible the cap myth started out as a warning against traction alopecia. If you wear a cap every day and pull it back so that it puts strain on your hairline, you might experience some hair loss there.
But let’s get back to the most common cause of hair loss in men – male pattern hair loss. We’ve broken down DHT and it’s relation to male pattern hair loss in detail here, but essentially it all comes down to one enzyme.
As you know, testosterone travels around the male body in abundance. It’s what helped you grow taller in your teens; it lowered your voice; and it sprouted your body hair.
Your body makes an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase which converts testosterone into DHT (dihydrotestosterone). Like testosterone, it also plays an important part in the male body, but it’s also the prime suspect behind male pattern hair loss. When DHT reaches the scalp, it binds to your hair follicles. Over time, this weakens them and interferes with the hair growth cycle. This interference is ultimately what causes hair loss.
Scientists have found a way to reduce the effects of DHT on hair loss by blocking 5-alpha reductase. Finasteride, one of the household names when it comes to hair loss, is a DHT blocker, and that’s why it’s so effective. In a study of over 3000 men, finasteride improved hair growth in 87% of them.
When To Wear A Cap
So, when it comes to male pattern hair loss, cap-wearing is not the culprit, DHT is. You could choose not to wear hats ever, but it’ll only cause you sunburn and it won’t save your hair if you’re genetically destined to lose it. Here are our recommendations for cap-wearing:
- Protect yourself from the sun and wear hats outdoors.
- Wear hats if you like them or if they’ll elevate your outfit.
- Wear them while you wait for our treatment to re-cover your scalp with hair. 😉
Like we’ve said, hats are not behind hair loss. Not wearing them does more harm than good.
Wearing hats doesn’t cause baldness, your genetic predisposition to hair loss does. There are loads of hair loss myths out there, so if ever you’re not sure, head over to the &BAM Men’s HQ and get the real, science-based 411 on all things hair loss.
The articles published by &BAM are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. If you have any medical questions or concerns, you should contact your doctor.