Your question, answered: Does hat wearing affect hair growth?

You might be wondering if your favourite cap is to blame.

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Imogen Kars
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Last updated
May 26, 2022
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If you're a child of the internet who has ever Googled the causes of hair loss, you may have come across blog posts, videos or other sorts of social media posts claiming that wearing a hat can affect hair growth.

We want to start this article off by letting you know that wearing a hat cannot cause hair loss, and it certainly isn't backed up by science.

But as this myth has been so persistent, we thought it was worth diving into the information surrounding it and expanding on why it's totally okay to wear hats if you're worried about losing hair.

Ready to learn more about whether you can wear a hat without risking baldness? We've put together your ultimate guide.

Can wearing a hat cause baldness?

Bad hair days got you down? Whether you like donning a baseball cap, straw hats, Panama hat styles or wide-brimmed sun hats, you'll be happy to know that wearing hats will never cause you to lose hair.

There's no reputable scientific evidence at all that shows hat styles of any kind cause baldness, so rest assured, your head is safe in a hat.

But here's where the information gets a little tricky — while the average person who wears a hat won't notice any signs of hat-related hair loss, those susceptible to male-pattern balding or significant hair loss due to health concerns could.

And when we say it could have an effect, all we mean is that it could make your already progressing hair loss more noticeable — but more on that below.

Have you ever taken your hat off and noticed a few stray hairs? This is usually not a cause for concern, and for most men, this simply signals you're a normal functioning human who sheds delicate hair.

In fact, it's totally normal to lose 50 to 100 hairs per day.

But for those fighting androgenetic alopecia (better known as male-pattern hair loss), your main cause for concern is wearing tight hat styles.

Baseball caps can be particularly mischievous in this department, so if that's the first hat you grab when you're headed out, keep this in mind.

It's not that a tight hat is causing the hair loss but rather it's helping dislodge the hairs that had already come out of the follicles and hadn't yet fallen off. If you're noticing hair left in your baseball hat when you take it off, it's not caused by the hat-wearing, those hairs were always going to fall out.

One more thing to note is that sweating can, in some cases, sweating can affect hair growth and play a role in hair loss.

While this is rare, if you're wearing a hat that makes you sweat a lot, the perspiration can cause the skin on your scalp to become irritated. Sweating can cause inflammation on the scalp and cause a build-up of natural salts (released from the sweat) that can damage hair follicles and in some cases, exacerbate hair loss.

When you're wearing a summer hat throughout the summer months, let your head cool off every now and then as a general rule.

Can wearing a hat affect hair growth?

While wearing a hat can't cause you to go bald or really affect your hair growth, there are a few caveats to mention here. Wearing hats can mess up your hair, so even though it won't cause hair loss, it certainly could make it more obvious.

Hat hair can make your strands look falt, messy and unkempt, which in some circumstances, can make hair loss, like a receding hairline, easier to notice as your hair has been pushed back.

Generally speaking, wearing a hat doesn't affect hair growth unless it's certain circumstances like we touched on above with sweating.

While it might feel like wearing a hat is affecting your hair growth if you're noticing hairs left in the hat after wearing it, this isn't the fault of the hat. These hairs were already loose.

Can wearing a cap make you bald?

Just like wearing summer hats, a winter hat, a straw hat or a felt fedora, wearing baseball caps or any other cap for that matter will not make you bald.

If your cap fits well and isn't too tight, you can rest assured that your head of hair is likely to be fine, even if you have an affinity for wearing them during the sweaty summer months.

If your baseball cap doesn't fit well though, or it's too tight, the act of putting it on and taking it off could pull out hairs that are already loose and ready to shed.

For those who like jumping on the science train, these loose hairs would stem from growing from miniaturised follicles or being in the telogen phase. Tight hat styles like caps and winter hats like beanies are especially known for exacerbating hair loss if you're already prone to it.

If you're wearing a cap or baseball hat that is tight enough, it's possible that the air and blood flow to your hair could be cut off. While of course, your hat style would need to be exceptionally tight for this to happen, any extra constriction is always going to worsen already occurring balding.

We want to reiterate here, though, that as a general rule, wearing a hat of any kind — from a wide-brimmed sun hat, to fedoras and even winter hat styles — can't cause balding off the bat.

Weirdly enough, some research actually shows that wearing a hat could reduce your risk of hair loss. A study that compared 92 identical male twins and their severity of hair loss found that factors like smoking and the presence of dandruff played a major role in male hair loss.

But on the contrary, they found that twins who exhibited signs of higher levels of testosterone and a higher body mass index lost less hair. Another factor in showing significantly less frontal hair loss? Wearing a hat! Who would have thought?

Does wearing headbands cause hair loss?

Similarly to wearing a hat, wearing headbands and head warmers on your head won't cause hair loss. Again, if the headband is worn too tightly, those already experiencing hair loss may notice more significant shedding from their head.

Keeping your head warm in the cooler months is important though, so don't let the possibility of losing the hair on your head keep you from staying warm and doing it in style.

What are the most common causes of hair loss?

While hat-wearing is certainly not a major cause for concern when it comes to losing hair, it's worth exploring the most common causes of hair loss for grown men.

The most common form of hair loss in men is androgenetic alopecia, better known as male-pattern baldness. Caused by a combination of genes, hormonal factors and even environmental and lifestyle factors, male-pattern baldness often stems from a sensitivity to the effects of the hormone dihydrotestosterone, or DHT.

Produced as a byproduct of testosterone, DHT can bind to your hair follicles and cause subtle but gradual damage that eventually stops them from producing new hairs.

Looping back to the concept of wearing a hat and whether it can cause baldness, since hat-wearing has nothing to do with hormones and DHT levels, most grown men are in the safe zone to wear as many hats as they please.

How can you treat hair loss?

Feel like you're in the red zone when it comes to male-pattern balding? Try not to let it get you down as hair loss is often very treatable.

If you're experiencing hair loss and you'd like to address it, now is the time to start working with a doctor.

At Pilot, we offer personalised hair loss treatment plans that take your specific experience into account to give you the best chance possible of keeping your hair and even regrowing it.

Our hair loss treatment is designed by Dr. Russell Knudsen, who has 35 years of experience in treating male pattern baldness, and is formulated to cater to your needs.

Simply fill out the online assessment and our Australian doctors' will create a treatment plan for you, which could include oral medication and topical treatments. And, over 80 per cent of men who use this treatment keep their hair.

All of Pilot's doctor consults are text-based — so you can factor these in when it suits you — and medication is delivered discreetly to your door.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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