Hair Loss: Five Best Balding Myths

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Yes, you are a product of your parent’s genes, and male pattern balding, or androgenic alopecia, is inherited.

Biology does not mean destiny these days and options are available for hair restoration products such as medical supplements – Minoxidil or Propecia; wigs and hair pieces and procedures such as hair transplants.

Unless you can change your parents, there is not much you can do about your genetic makeup. To set the record straight, here are 5 of the best balding myths, explaining causes for baldness.

If I massage my scalp, it may prevent hair loss.

The benefits of scalp massage have roots (pun intended) going back 5,000 years to Indian ayurvedic medicine.

Benefits include relieving head and neck tension and may increase the production of endorphins and serotonin, resulting in a feeling of well-being.

While scalp massage certainly feels good and is relaxing, there is no evidence it can prevent hair loss. However, there is no downside to massaging your scalp, so feel free to massage away.

Using hair care products can cause your hair to fall out or, conversely can stop hair loss.

Of course, over-processing with chemical straighteners, bleach or relaxers or overuse of flat irons can cause permanent damage and hair loss.

The good news is that both Minoxidil and Propecia have a good track record with preventing further hair loss and in some cases re-growing hair. Minoxidil, a topical ointment approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can be purchased over the counter.

Propecia is available in pill form to men by prescription and should not be used or handled by women, as it has been known to cause birth defects.

If a man’s father has a full head of hair, then he will have the same.

Only if you are lucky, since scientists now believe hair destiny is a combination of genetic makeup from both parents.

Over-thinking or psychological problems can cause baldness.

Although the popular image in the media of bald men as more intellectual, (think: egghead) has no basis in fact, the stereotype persists.

Unless you suffer from Trichotillomania (compulsive hair plucking) – a rare, obsessive compulsive condition where a person plucks out their own hair, most psychological problems do not cause baldness. Trichotillomania affects 4% of the population, mostly women.

Your mother carries the balding gene from her father.

This may be part of the story. Researchers still don’t completely understand what causes male pattern balding. The sex chromosomes, X and or Y, control whether we develop as a male or female. Men have an X and a Y, women have two Xs.

The balding gene is carried on your X chromosome. A man gets one X chromosome from his mother, and a Y from his father.

Conversely, a woman gets one X from her mother and one X from her father; so look at your mother’s dad and see if he’s bald. If so, you have a 50% chance of getting the same bald gene.

However, scientists now believe that there may be several genes causing male pattern baldness but until now, no one has identified those other genes.

A new study, published this year in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, by George Cotsarelis, MD, Chair of the Department of Dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, has found that stem cells play a role in explaining what happens in a bald scalp.

He found that balding may arise from a problem with stem-cell activation rather than the numbers of stem cells in follicles.

Good news – these results may assist in developing future cell-based treatments for male pattern balding.

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by Jan Engoren