Just how stressed do you have to be for your hair to fall out? Can a receding hairline possibly be a sick punishment for special ‘me-time’ in front of an adult film? Do you have to give up your favourite snap-back just to hold on to your precious strands?
When it comes to men and their balding heads, myths abound. Call us vain, call us precious, but never underestimate how much we love for our scalps to be covered in glorious, thick hair.
The fear of male pattern baldness is something that drives about a gazillion bucks in advertising campaigns across the world. The minute we notice our forehead is getting a little higher, we become suckers for the hair loss marketing machine. So, let’s all calm down, take a deep breath and consider the facts. Here are six of the more outrageous balding myths that have been doing the internet rounds since Day One.
There are always going to be panic-merchants who insist that masturbation will send you bald – which is why it’s a popular question on Google.
You can simply laugh off this myth but, oddly, there is a grain of truth to it. OK, not more a molecule than a grain. Protein loss via seminal fluid means that, since hair is primarily composed of protein, your locks may fall out if you have some kind of protein deficiency.
But honestly, you’d have to have a monumental masturbation addiction that would take up every waking moment of every day to even, um, come close.
2. Chronic stress
This one too is a yes-and-no kind of myth. It’s actually true that chronic stress can cause hair to fall out, but it’s not responsible for male pattern baldness. There are three main stress-related causes for hair loss.
- When white blood cells attack
When you are severely stressed, your white blood cells, sensing some kind of unknown impending doom, can rally to the cause and grab on to your hair follicles. That can cause your hair to stop growing. They do this to reserve energy to fight off whatever is causing the stress. Generally, when the stress goes away, the hair starts to grow again.
- Telogen effluvium
Although it sounds like a Harry Potter curse, it’s actually what can happen when you experience some kind of shock to your system, like going on a crash diet, having major surgery or being chronically ill. Telogen refers to the resting phase of the hair follicle and when you are under duress, this resting phase can be extended until the stress is resolved, maybe even for months. Meanwhile, those hairs can fall out.
This is a mental disorder that is otherwise known as a compulsive hair-pulling disorder, and has nothing to do with male pattern baldness.
3. Excessive or infrequent hair washing
You know when you wash your hair and you go to rinse and it seems like you’ve lost a third of your volume down the plughole? Most people who think that are just catastrophising. It’s totally normal for some hairs to fall out when shampooing. Trust me, they were going to fall out anyway; it’s all part of the natural growth cycle. And what may seem like hundreds of hairs is really only maybe 10 or 15. Similarly, not washing your hair frequently will also not cause it to fall out any more than it ordinarily would.
4. Using lots of product in your hair
Love a bit of hair putty, do ya? Partial to a good smoosh of wax, mousse or gel? Well fear not, because no amount of hair product is going to cause male pattern baldness. Whether you’re a card-carrying metrosexual or your hair needs a bit of chemically-induced discipline to stay where you tell it to, you needn’t fear a mass exodus of hair just because you gave it a spray with some lacquer.
5. Tanning salons
Nope. Lying on a tanning bed will not cause your hair to fall out. They’re not the best things for your health – think melanoma – but as far as your hair is concerned, completely innocent. Meanwhile, if you go out into the sunshine, the vitamin D will actually be beneficial for your scalp and hair. Nobody says you have to fall asleep under the scorching rays.
6. Hats and caps
Generally speaking, wearing a hat, a cap or a full superhero mask will not cause your hair to drop out of its follicles. What I will say is that if you don’t keep your headwear clean, you could leave yourself prone to scalp infections and that’s when you can have problems holding on to the hair you have.
There will always be horror stories, old wives’ tales and hearsay, usually spewed forth by people sporting long, thick manes of hair. And there will always be companies who will grow rich beyond belief on the backs of balding men. But as long as you know what the myths are, you can save yourself the embarrassment, worry and expense of falling into falsehood traps.
If you notice your hairline is receding, go and see a hair loss expert and find out for sure if what you have is male pattern baldness. Then you can happily stock up on hair products, wear your favourite cap, wash your hair as frequently – or infrequently – as you like, and dare I encourage it, go for your life in the Self-Pleasuring Stakes! Ignore the myths, seek the truth, get on with life.