Going Bald From The Sun and Other Hair Loss Myths

17/01/2017 16:53 GMT | Updated 18/01/2018 10:12 GMT
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Can you go bald from being out in the sun too long? Does wearing a tight fitting hat deprive the scalp of oxygen thus triggering hair loss? These are just two of many questions I am regularly asked as a surgeon specialising in hair restoration.

Sadly when it comes to the common problem of receding hair many myths, half truths and misunderstandings persist in the public's perception and are reflected to my team at The Maitland Clinic.

These myths are troublesome, as whilst it's useful to create a dialogue about the matter, prospective patients can only understand how they can slow down the effects of hair loss once the facts have been separated from the fiction.

With so much false information around, it's become necessary to dispel these rumours and help people to truly understand if the way they treat their hair is having an impact.

The public are told so many varying stories about what causes hair loss, with some of the more common myths being that it comes from our mother's genetics or is even triggered by being out in the sun for too long.

These are just some examples of the sort of trivia banded around that is simply not true.

Most people are so desperate to understand how to prevent hair loss that they end up believing any story that claims to have figured out what's damaging their hair.

We're told that everyday products we put into our hair, such as shampoo, gels, wax and sprays can increase hair loss, and again these claims are unfounded.

Of course it can be difficult to work out what is true and what is false, as many hair loss theories sound plausible and often come backed up by believable pseudo-logic.

Some people say that regularly wearing a hat can cause hair loss by preventing oxygen from reaching hair follicles, which is not true as they in fact get oxygen from the blood.

And whilst other techniques like regularly brushing your hair and washing it in cold water may be good for circulation, they do not prevent hair loss as some claim.

Another common myth I often hear is that cutting your hair short will help to prevent hair loss. This again isn't true, but it may make your hair look more dense as hair follicles are thicker near the roots.

There are some preventable practices associated with causing hair loss: Firstly, having your hair very tightly styled can often have an impact. This pulling on the hair can cause areas of baldness due to traction alopecia. Secondly, certain chemicals in hair dyes and harsh heat or chemical straightening methods have been known to cause hair loss.

Whilst these can add to the effects of hair loss, the most common cause is hereditary male and female pattern baldness, so it's important to not lose too much sleep worrying if there is anything you are doing that is exacerbating your receding hairline.

It is, however, worth seeking specialist help regarding your hair loss at an early stage. When caught early, there are many treatments that can help to slow down or even reverse hair loss.

Having the facts laid out plainly for everyone to understand is an important step in the process of helping potential patients decide whether or not hair surgery is the appropriate course of action for them.

As a hair transplant surgeon, I need to be absolutely sure a patient is considering surgery for the right reasons and understands that this isn't just a quick fix. It is a long-term solution to their hair loss but also one that often needs medication to be taken alongside to make sure it's a success.

We make sure our patients have all the advice and information that they need in order to decide whether a hair transplant is the right option for them, and we make sure that we're on hand to meet up or answer any questions on how to help prevent ongoing hair loss.

Dr Edward Ball is a diplomate and examiner for the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery. He is a hair restoration surgeon and director of The Maitland Clinic with venues on Harley Street, London and in Hampshire. For more information please visit