Fact or Myth: Does Wearing a Hat Make You Go Bald?


Do hats cause hair loss

If you’ve ever wondered do hats cause hair loss, you’re not alone. While you may have heard that line from your grandpa that wearing a hat inside makes you go bald – but is that true?

The truth is that wearing a hat is not going to cause hair loss. According to Dr. Hayley Goldbach of UCLA Medical Center, most cases reveal that hair loss is directly related to genetic factors or diet deficiencies.

However, there are other factors that can influence hair loss in men and women, such as hat types, how you wear a hat and genetics. Find out what’s really affecting your hair and ultimately causing hair to fall out. Keep reading below.

Ask the Experts: Does Wearing a Hat Cause Hair Loss?

Overall, the research shows that hair loss due to hats is minimal. There are many types of hair loss which are typically attributed to a combination of hormonal changes and genetic factors, and none of these are caused by wearing a hat.

However, many believe that wearing a hat results in baldness because they noticed an increase in hair loss and attribute it to something they’ve changed, such as changing styling products or wearing a hat.

Hipster wearing a beanie and not worried about hair loss
Should you be concerned about wearing a hat or beanie and hair loss?

Physical Factors

Studies have found that hair loss is typically due to a combination of factors, such as:

  • Your age
  • Hormones
  • Genes
  • Medications
  • Medical conditions

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors do play a role in hair loss in some cases, according to a study involving 92 pairs of twins. The study found that the twins who wore a hat experienced less hair loss than those who didn’t wear a hat.

Some other factors that caused hair loss during the study included:

  • Increased exercise duration
  • Drinking more than four alcoholic drinks per week
  • Spending more money on hair loss products

Another dermatologist named Dr. John Anthon wrote that wearing hats that are too hot or too tight may cause decreased blood flow to hair follicles. However, there hasn’t been an official study.

Experts Say DHT is the Main Culprit of Hair Loss

Research on Male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness has shown that hair starts thinning as people age. So, your hairline may start to recede or may see bald patches appear at the crown.

These are related to hormonal changes via dihydrotestosterone or DHT. This is a byproduct hormone of testosterone that increases as you get older.

As a male steroid hormone, it helps your body maintain hair growth all over your body. However, it also attaches to hair follicles on your head and blocks the follicle from growing hair. At first, you may notice your hair becomes more brittle in certain areas of your hairline or crown, then the follicle dies completely.

Poor Diet May Lead to Mineral and Vitamin Deficiencies

Have you been tested for anemia or low iron? Perhaps you never get any biotin, vitamin A, vitamin B-12, or vitamin D in your diet. These are crucial vitamins that have been shown to help with hair loss and improving your overall well-being.

Zinc and iron are the two most important minerals when it comes to hair loss. If you have iron deficiencies, it may be more difficult for your body to maintain hair growth or reduce stress levels.

Hats Can Stress Hair Follicles – AKA Traction Alopecia

Dermatologists at the Cleveland Clinic have said weak hair follicles combined with certain types of tight hats and materials may play a role in gradual hair loss by the constant pulling (AKA traction alopecia). 

So, wearing certain hats or styling your hair a certain way may lead to added stress upon the follicles. For instance, those who wear very tight hats that pull at your hair may wear down the follicle and weaken your hairline, leading to bald patches.

In addition, if you wear hats outside and sweat, the buildup of oil and sweat can block your pores and increase problems with dry scalp, ultimately leading to hair loss.

Tight Hairstyles

If you pull your hair back severely by braiding it or wearing it in a ponytail, you also increase the chances that your hair may fall out where there is tension. While most people don’t style their hair this tightly, you may not even realize that your hair is gradually breaking down and falling out. This is because of how tightly you pull back your hair, according to Dr. Michael Wolfeld, who specializes in hair restoration.

Tight Hairstyles like a ponytail or bun can cause hair to fall out
Tight hairstyle should be observed.

Hat Materials and Dyes

Dyes and certain materials in hats also cause problems for people with sensitive scalps. For example, Dr. Adam Friedman who teaches at George Washington University has found that some materials and dyes in hats cause allergic reactions on the scalp.

This means that your hair might shed more due to irritation and inflammation. While it’s not the sole factor in hair loss, it could speed up the process.

Experts Say Hats Actually Protect Your Scalp

Most of the time, unless you are allergic or feverishly sweating, hats protect your scalp from harmful UV rays, sunburn and sun damage. It’s a more valid concern to be wary of sun damage if you don’t wear a hat.

You Could Have an Underlying Condition

If you believe that you are suffering from a condition or your hair loss seems very sudden, your body may be experiencing hair loss due to diabetes, lupus, ringworm, or significant weight loss.

Crohn’s disease sufferers tend to shed hair due to stress on their bodies from indigestion and weight loss. Other problems, such as vitamin deficiencies or anemia, may also lead to more stress in hair follicles.

Is It Your Medications?

If you’re taking medications for the following list of conditions and been losing your hair, you should seek medical advice. So, talk to your doctor to see if there are other prescriptions with less severe side effects.

  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Gout
  • High blood pressure
  • Gout

The strong chemicals in drugs for these conditions typically have hair loss listed as a side effect.

Use Better Hair Products

Hairstyling products, shampoos, and conditioners may be stressing out your scalp and causing it to dry out, which leads to irritation, flaking, and scratching. When you scratch your scalp, you actually agitate the hair follicles more and can create areas of hair loss.

If you notice that you have a flakey scalp, you may want to start with a zinc moisturizing shampoo, but experts say you may also need to change your diet. Simple sugars and refined carbs lead to inflammation in hair follicles, which increases dry scalp and hair loss.

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I'm the founder of Bald & Beards, an amateur barber and I've been obsessed with men's grooming, styles, and trends for over 20 years.