The 11 Biggest Myths About Hair Growth & Loss

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myths about hair growth

Think biotin- and sugar-laced gummies are your hair’s best friend? Think again.

Welcome to Hair Growth Awareness Month. Throughout August, Nutrafol will answer your most burning questions about hair growth, as well as share the latest science and information to help you grow.

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We all want beautiful hair, but the road to obtaining it can be filled with confusion. In a world where search engines and social media are always at our fingertips, the line between science and myth is easily blurred. With so much information and so little quality control, it’s easy to fall into the traps of old wives’ tales about what constitutes proper hair health and care. Are you getting the facts or just a fictitious tale? Let the debunking begin!

Myth #1: Biotin alone is enough to get my hair growing

Think biotin- and sugar-laced gummies are what your hair craves? Think again. Biotin is a B vitamin that’s often touted as a “one-stop shop” for hair growth. In extremely rare cases, biotin deficiencies can occur with the synthesis or transport of the biotin vitamin. While some studies suggest that biotin helps people who are biotin deficient to grow hair, it is only one vitamin in a long list of vitamins and minerals that the body utilizes and needs. (Fun fact: Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin; it is not stored in the body. However, biotin can be manufactured by bacteria in the gut, taken as a dietary supplement, or obtained by eating certain foods.)

Myth #2:  You should shampoo your hair once a day

This is a tough one, as no uniform recommendation for shampooing seems to exist. Here’s what we do know: your scalp produces an oil known as sebum, which helps to moisten the hair so it doesn’t get too dry. Because hair products can capture the oils on your scalp, shampooing your hair every day can cause hair to dry out, become brittle, and even break. A better frequency is every other day or even every three days.

Myth #3: Shampooing can make your hair shed

It’s important to note that everyone’s hair sheds throughout the day. On average, it’s normal to shed 50 to 100 hairs per day. Although harsh chemicals found in some shampoos can stimulate hair loss, the shedding culprit that’s most frequently overlooked is actually stress.

Myth #4: Dandruff is caused by a dry scalp

Not always! There are a few causes attributed to dandruff, and dry skin is only one of them. For example, Malassezia, a yeast-like fungus, is found fairly commonly on an adult’s scalp. In some cases, Malassezia irritates the scalp, which can stimulate the growth of skin cells. When those skin cells flake off, they appear as white flakes on your clothes. Other causes of dandruff may include: shampooing too infrequently, sensitivity to an ingredient in a hair care product (contact dermatitis), or having irritated, oily skin (seborrheic dermatitis).

Myth #5: Wearing hats can cause hair loss

This is a myth. BUT… if you wear a hat so tight that it leaves an indentation or mark on your forehead, you may want to consider wearing it looser. Prolonged wearing of a hat this tight could, over time, cause an irritation to the hair follicle and lead to inflammation of the scalp as well. 

Myth #6: You’re going bald because of your mother’s genes 

It is true that the primary baldness gene in men is found on the X chromosome, which is only inherited from your mother. But causes of baldness can be multifactorial. For example, elevated stress levels can be a contributing factor to hair loss.

Myth #7: Avoid conditioner if you have greasy hair 

A few thoughts here: First, your scalp may be producing more sebum (oil) than normal. In this case, it can be helpful to use a clarifying shampoo on your roots and apply conditioner only on the ends of your hair. Second, it may not be the conditioner so much as that you are over-conditioning your hair. Greasy hair from over-conditioning can be more noticeable in thinner hair, so look for a lightweight conditioner formulated for your hair type if this is an issue. Also, make sure to fully rinse the conditioner out of your hair.

Myth #8: Change your hair care routine often or it’ll stop working

This is a generally accepted myth. Often the case is not that the shampoo and conditioner are no longer working for you, but that your hair itself (texture, moisture, fullness, etc.) has changed.

Myth #9: Hair will grow faster if it’s trimmed frequently

Hair growth boils down to follicle health: When ends are frayed and splitting, they can break, causing the hair to be shorter. Dead ends of the hair that end up getting trimmed do not appear to influence actual growth from the scalp.  

Myth #10: Brushing your hair 100 times a day makes it healthier

This myth has been floating around since your grandmother was a little girl. Brushing your hair excessively can actually be damaging to the hair itself and cause it to break. It is generally recommended to brush somewhat minimally. Additionally, make sure you are equipped with the right tool when brushing. A wide tooth comb or paddle brush with ball-tipped, plastic bristles are both good options.

Myth #11: Rinse your hair with cold water for shinier strands

TRI Princeton, an independent, non-profit scientific research and education organization, found that cold water does not add shine to the hair. In fact, researchers found that warm water helps remove residue from hair strands, which in turn contributes to shininess.

By Dr. Mara Davidson

Want to learn what makes your hair grow? Get your personal hair evaluation here.  

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