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10 Hair Loss Myths Debunked by an Expert

Knox Beasley, MD

Reviewed by Knox Beasley, MD

Written by Sian Ferguson

Published 09/17/2017

Updated 04/04/2024

Have you heard masturbating causes hair loss? What about the rumor that bald guys have higher testosterone levels? Numerous hair loss myths are out there, ranging from somewhat plausible to completely unscientific.

Although certain balding myths might seem pretty harmless, others can do some damage. In fact, research has found that some myths may have a real negative impact by preventing people from seeking treatment.

We’ll cover 10 of the most common myths about hair loss and what the science — or lack thereof — says about each one.

We’ll also discuss a few proven, science-based hair loss treatments that can help stimulate hair growth and keep your locks looking as healthy and full as possible.

Ahead, we’ll list and bust 10 of the biggest myths related to hair loss, from misconceptions about the relationship between hormones and hair to misunderstandings about the causes of male pattern baldness.

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Myth 1: Hair Loss Only Happens With Age

Though hair loss is usually associated with guys over 40, you can experience hair loss at any age.

Up to 30 percent of men deal with some form of hair loss before age 30 — some even start losing hair in their teens.

Of course, your risk of hair loss may increase with age. About half of men have moderate to extensive hair loss by their late 40s. 

The point is, it can happen any time. If you’re genetically predisposed to male pattern baldness — aka androgenetic alopecia, the most common cause of hair loss in men — you could see early signs of balding any time after puberty.  

With hair thinning or a receding hairline, it’s best to treat it sooner rather than later. While you can’t reverse male pattern hair loss, you might be able to slow it down and promote hair regrowth in certain areas.

Myth 2: Bald Guys Have More Testosterone

Legend has it, bald guys are victims of their own elevated testosterone levels. They also have more sex with a plethora of partners. They’re Hollywood stars, MMA legends, war heroes and Mr. Clean.

All that testosterone is too much for their hair follicles to deal with, so their hair gives up and just falls out.

While there is a link between some androgens (male sex hormones) and hair loss, bald guys don’t actually have more testosterone. 

Male pattern baldness is caused by a combination of your genes and a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is critical during childhood and puberty, but in adulthood, it can bind to receptors in your scalp and damage your hair follicles.

DHT and testosterone are both androgens, but hair loss has been observed in both high- and low-testosterone males.

Plus, other causes of hair loss have little to do with hormones at all medical conditions, traumatic events and nutritional deficiencies can all make you lose hair.

Myth 3: Wearing a Hat Too Often Suffocates Your Hair

Which came first, the hat or the receding hairline? 

Popular (translation: internet) science often claims that wearing a hat can suffocate hair follicles and make hair fall out. This is yet another balding myth — scientific research on hats and hair loss is incredibly scarce.  

While wearing a tight-fitting hat might theoretically strain your hair follicles or cause breakage, there’s no evidence it causes hair loss.

Interestingly, one of the few scientific studies looked at identical twins and found that daily hat use actually seemed to reduce the risk of going bald.

Bottom line? As long as your hat or beanie isn’t uncomfortably tight, it’s probably not doing any damage — it might even help protect your scalp from sunburn.

Myth 4: Stress Is Making Your Hair Fall Out

This myth is actually partly true, although many people misunderstand the type of hair loss stress can cause.

Most hair loss in men is male pattern baldness — a form of permanent hair loss that, as noted, is related to genetics and DHT.

Stress doesn’t cause male pattern baldness. However, high levels of stress can potentially lead to a form of temporary hair shedding called telogen effluvium. 

This type of hair loss can also be triggered by:

  • Severe illness and infections

  • Surgery

  • Traumatic events

  • Hormonal changes  

  • Nutritional deficiencies

  • Certain medications

Unlike male pattern baldness, telogen effluvium usually causes diffuse thinning (all over the scalp) rather than a receding hairline or single bald spot.

Telogen effluvium can be frustrating, but the good news is that it usually goes away when you treat the underlying issue.

Myth 5: Washing Your Hair Too Much Causes Hair Loss

While lathering up too frequently can wash away sebum (a natural oil-like substance produced by your skin) and dry out your hair, there’s no evidence that shampooing regularly can affect DHT levels or contribute to male pattern baldness.

On the contrary, washing your hair regularly — especially with a hair loss shampoo — could help protect your hair from DHT-related damage. 

So, how often should you wash your hair? There’s no “right” amount of time everyone should wait between washes.

Instead, go by how much oil your scalp produces. If your hair and scalp feel greasy, you may need to wash it every day. Otherwise, every few days might suffice.

A good sign you’re washing too frequently is a dry, irritated and itchy scalp, as well as hair that feels brittle or breaks easily.

Myth 6: Using Lots of Product in Your Hair Causes Baldness

Love to slick back your locks or add 360-degree waves? Can’t resist lathering on wax, mousse or gel? Despite balding myths and rumors, most hair products shouldn’t cause baldness.

As mentioned, male pattern baldness is caused by a combination of genes and the effects of DHT.

However, harsh chemicals or intense styling techniques can result in traction alopecia. This is when too much tension is placed on the hair follicles — think tight ponytails or cornrows.

If your hairstyle pulls on your follicles too much, it could cause long-term damage. 

We’ve talked more about this type of hair loss, as well as the steps you can take to prevent it, in our guide to traction alopecia treatments.

Myth 7: Masturbation Can Cause Hair Loss

There are countless myths about the negative effects of masturbation — like that it can cause blindness, erectile dysfunction or hair growth on your hands.

These are, of course, all lies.

You might have heard that masturbation causes hair loss. Like other masturbation myths, we’re happy to report there’s no scientific evidence that masturbating has any effect on your hair.

In fact, masturbation can have real health benefits, including releasing sexual tension and reducing stress.

We’ve talked more about this myth, as well as other popular masturbation misinformation, in our guide to masturbation and hair loss.

Myth 8: Genetic Hair Loss Is Inherited From Your Mother

There’s a pretty widespread myth that hair loss is an entirely hereditary phenomenon passed down from your mother’s side of the family.

Hair loss is often hereditary, and the genes you inherit from your parents likely play a major role in the hair loss process. But there’s no research showing that your mom’s genes (or your maternal grandpa’s genes) are uniquely responsible.

Researchers still haven’t worked out exactly which genes are responsible for hair loss, although some studies have found that the AR gene (that’s the androgen receptor gene) is strongly associated with male pattern baldness.

Myth 9: Minoxidil Worsens Hair Loss

Minoxidil is a topical medication that you apply directly to your scalp. It’s approved by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) for pattern baldness and other forms of hair loss and is one of the most popular and effective hair loss treatments.

However, an internet search could lead to you claims from men saying minoxidil worsened their hair loss. This is based on a misunderstanding of how minoxidil works.

Minoxidil moves hairs from the telogen (resting) phase of the hair growth cycle into the anagen (growth) phase.

As hairs transition from resting to active growth, it’s common to experience mild, temporary hair shedding before the new hair shaft begins to grow. 

But it’s not permanent. After a few months of minoxidil use, you should notice your hair returning to its normal state and, over the long term, improvements in thickness and appearance.

Myth 10: All Hair Loss Is Permanent

Finally, a common myth about hair loss is that any hair you lose — whether from male pattern baldness or another type of hair loss — is gone forever.

This balding myth is partly true — but only partly. 

The effects of male pattern baldness are permanent, meaning hair loss around the hairline or crown won’t grow back if left untreated for a long period.

But if you treat male pattern baldness quickly using science-backed medications, you might experience some hair regrowth. 

As for other forms of hair loss, while some are permanent, others usually only cause temporary shedding. For instance, it’s almost always possible to regrow hair that’s fallen out due to telogen effluvium — hair loss linked to stress, illness or trauma.

On the other hand, many other types of alopecia, such as alopecia areata, severe tinea capitis and chronic traction alopecia, can cause permanent hair loss.

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Now that we’ve covered some of the most common myths about hair loss, let’s point out a major truth: Most forms of hair loss are treatable.

If you’re affected by male pattern baldness, the most common form of hair loss in men, several treatments can stop further hair loss and, in some cases, regrow some or all of your “lost” hair.


As discussed, minoxidil is an FDA-approved over-the-counter medication that stimulates blood flow to your hair follicles. It’s available as a liquid solution or foam.

We offer minoxidil online, and you can learn more about how to use it in our guide to applying minoxidil for hair growth.


Finasteride is a prescription medication that works by stopping your body from converting testosterone into DHT, the hormone that causes baldness. 

We offer finasteride online, following a consultation with a licensed healthcare provider who can determine if a prescription is appropriate. 

Research shows that finasteride and minoxidil are more effective when used together to treat hair loss. We have a topical finasteride & minoxidil spray if you’d like to try the combo.

Supplements for Hair Growth

Since nutritional deficiencies can lead to hair loss, it’s a good idea to ensure you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals you need. Besides eating a balanced diet, you could try supplements to promote healthy hair.

Our biotin gummies contain a number of B vitamins and vitamin D, all of which are linked to healthy hair growth.

Quality Hair Care Products

No matter how much hair you have or don’t have, it’s vital to take care of your hair and scalp.

We have a few hair products to promote healthy hair:

You can purchase a variety of products for preventing hair loss in our Hair Power Pack.

Hair loss treatments, delivered

Hair loss can be frustrating to deal with, no matter the cause. 

One thing that can add to the frustration? Unfounded hair loss myths about why it happens, who it happens to and how to fix it.

Keep this in mind when navigating the nonsense:

  • Most male hair loss is genetic. Contrary to widespread myths, male pattern baldness isn’t caused by hats, masturbation or stress. Some men are simply genetically predisposed to pattern hair loss.

  • Hair loss is almost always treatable. Safe, science-based hair loss treatments can help protect your hair from further shedding. Examples include finasteride and minoxidil.

In the fight against hair loss, information is your second-best weapon. Your best weapon is, of course, personalized medical advice from a healthcare provider. 

We can help you speak with a healthcare professional from the comfort of your own home. They can assess the cause of your hair loss and suggest a science-based treatment plan.

12 Sources

  1. Rhodes, T., et al. (1998, December). Prevalence of male pattern hair loss in 18-49 year old men. Dermatologic Surgery. 24 (12), 1330-2. Retrieved from
  2. DiMarco, G. & McMichael, A. (2017, July 1). Hair Loss Myths. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 16 (7), 690-694. Retrieved from
  3. Kinter, K.J. & Anekar, A.A. (2021, March 13). Biochemistry, Dihydrotestosterone. StatPearls. Retrieved from
  4. Gatherwright, J., et al. (2013, May). The contribution of endogenous and exogenous factors to male alopecia: a study of identical twins. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 131 (5), 794e-801e. Retrieved from
  5. Hughes, E.C. & Saleh, D. (2020, June 9). Telogen Effluvium. StatPearls. Retrieved from
  6. Tips for Healthy Hair. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  7. African American Hair: Tips for Everyday Care. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  8. The Dirty Truth About Washing Your Hair. (2018, August 14). Retrieved from
  9. Is Masturbation Healthy? (n.d.). Retrieved from
  10. Hagenaars, S.P., et al. (2017, February). Genetic prediction of male pattern baldness. PLoS Genetics. 13 (2), e1006594. Retrieved from
  11. Badri, T., Nessel, T.A. & Kumar, D.D. (2020, May 4). Minoxidil. StatPearls. Retrieved from
  12. Hu, R., et al. (2015, June 2). Combined treatment with oral finasteride and topical minoxidil in male androgenetic alopecia: a randomized and comparative study in Chinese patients. Dermatologic Therapy. 28 (5), 303-308. Retrieved from
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Knox Beasley, MD

Dr. Knox Beasley is a board certified dermatologist specializing in hair loss. He completed his undergraduate studies at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, and subsequently attended medical school at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, LA. 

Dr. Beasley first began doing telemedicine during his dermatology residency in 2013 with the military, helping to diagnose dermatologic conditions in soldiers all over the world. 

Dr. Beasley is board certified by the American Board of Dermatology, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Originally from Nashville, TN, Dr. Beasley currently lives in North Carolina and enjoys spending time outdoors (with sunscreen of course) with his wife and two children in his spare time. 





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