There are many hair myths circling around out there, and of all the accessories people wear, hats are probably the most misunderstood. Scarves, belts and ties are always looked upon as items that add style and class to the wearer. But hats seem to have lost their place among them. Simply because of a few preconceived ideas we need to closely look into.
Hair myth no. 1: Wearing a hat can cause thinning hair or baldness
Hair appears thinner in areas covered by a hat just because it is pressed down when you are wearing one. It does not necessarily mean that strands have shed off because of friction or pulling. Which is the case in traction alopecia – temporary baldness caused by constant, tight tugging as a result of certain hairstyles such as buns, braids, or ponytails.
However, wearing an extremely tight hat may have the same result. Hair can be pulled by the hatband and break off from the follicle. Choosing the right hat size prevents this mistake and ensures that your head, and hair, will comfortably fit inside your chosen headgear without any stress. Once you take your hat off, there is nothing that a vigorous ruffle or shaking of the head will not do to bring back that volume into your hair. Cool hats and hair styles will not affect your hair growth.
Some hair myths are actually the opposite of the truth; hats can actually protect hair from baldness, by providing a shield against ultraviolet rays. UV rays damage keratin, a natural protein that makes up approximately 90% of the hair. Wearing a hat can prevent hair breakage by protecting keratin and keeping in moisture that would otherwise dry out from sun exposure.
Hair myth no. 2: Hats can make your hair grow white
This myth probably comes from the association between aging and wearing hats. As people often wear them to cover their already gray or white hair, or even bald spots. While hats can be a stylish way to cover up certain physical changes that come with aging. There is no scientific evidence that shows they have caused hair to lose its color.
On the contrary, hats can actually help retain hair color longer by providing shade and protection from the harsh ultraviolet rays of the sun. UV rays, not hats, destroy melanin – the coloring pigment found in our hair – and cause it to lighten and have a bleached effect. Hats and hair should actually be a great combination.
Hair myth no. 3 (the worst of hair myths): Hats can make hair grow slower or faster
Hair growth is affected by a variety of factors such as genetics, nutrition, state of health, drugs, and hair care. While wearing hats can impede air circulation to the scalp, air does nothing to nourish hair and promote growth. Nourishment comes from a healthy blood supply deep in the follicles. Hats really do not have anything to do with how fast or how slow hair grows.
Your hair goes through three, up to four, phases in a natural growth cycle. Anagen is the first stage, when scalp hair starts growing slowly at around one centimeter every 28 days and this goes on anywhere from two up to ten years.
While some hairs continue to grow during this period, some may move on to the catagen phase for two to three weeks. Which is when cell division slows down and the hair breaks off from the root to move up to the surface of the skin to form keratin.
The telogen phase happens when the hair completely stops growing for three to nine months, with some strands shedding off in the exogen stage.
Whether you wear a hat or not, your hair will grow and shed at the rate your genetics dictate. While other factors such as nutrition and hair care affecting it.
So, the next time your inner fashionista eyes a dapper fedora, reaches for a chic beret, or simply feels sporty with a baseball cap, there should be no need to worry now that you know the facts behind these hair myths.
Text by Anne Sarte