How You Treat Your Hair & Hair Loss

Girl who is checking her hair
Photo: Silatip/Shutterstock
Q: Does how you treat your hair when you're young (tying it too tight, blow-drying, sleeping with wet hair) affect hair loss when you're older?
A: It is possible to cause serious damage to your follicles that can result in hair loss through the use or overuse of chemical services - such as perms, bleaching, chemical straighteners, relaxers, etc.
The greatest risk from such habits as tying the hair back too tightly, blow-drying, etc., is damaging the hair to the point of breakage. Such damage only affects the hair above the scalp line, while hair loss occurs as a result of damage or changes that occur below the scalp line.
Hair loss that develops as we age, usually results from genetic factors, prolonged illness, reactions to medications, poor nutrition, or hormonal imbalances. Physical damage to the hair is rarely a causal factor in the hair loss that occurs as we age.
It sounds as though you have been subjected to some of the same old wives' tales that have been circulating for generations. As a boy I was constantly warned that wearing baseball caps and hats would make me grow up to be bald. Ironically, I, who rarely wore caps and hats, have thinning hair, while my brother (a fraternal twin) who constantly wore caps has a head full of thick, wavy hair.
These old wives' tales often have a kernel of truth in them. Tying the hair back too tightly can stress the hair in the front of the head sufficiently to pull the hair out, and when the hair is wet it is at its most vulnerable and can be damaged by friction against the bed linens.
See also:
Hair loss
Ponytails and hairline recession
Will wearing hats make you go bald?
Does straightening your hair cause hair loss?
Why do we have to dry our hair before we go to sleep?