If you’ve experienced the panic after spotting one or two hairs in your hand after a casual head scratch, we can relate. You begin to wonder what’s at the root of your seemingly impending balding (“Is it because I got caught in the rain yesterday?” “Should I be drinking more milk?”) And we get it; hair loss is a touchy subject. So, we went to Amy McMichael, M.D., a dermatologist specializing in hair and scalp disease, to ask all the crucial questions for you.
Here’s the hair- and sanity-saving info we gained from our Q & A with Dr. McMichael.
My hair falls out in the shower. Should I wash it less?
“Shampoo frequency and balding are not related, so the number of times you shampoo will not determine if you will lose hair,” says Amy McMichael M.D., a dermatologist specializing in hair and scalp disease. This means, you have no excuse to have stinky greasy hair.
“If shampooing every day allows the hair and scalp to remain healthy, it’s fine. There is no magic number that is right for everyone,” she assures. Now, hit the showers.
Are products like dry shampoo and baby powder safe to use for balding men?
“Dry shampoo and baby powder are safe to use,” Dr. McMichael says. Spray or sprinkle away. But keep in mind, dry shampoo is formulated for use in the hair, while baby powder is not.
If you are still paranoid about washing your hair too often even though we’ve confirmed it’s fine, “these products help to minimize oiliness of the hair and restore pleasant and fresh scent to the hair. They can prolong the time between shampoos, but do not clean the hair or scalp as real shampooing would,” Dr. McMichael points out.
Is it safe for balding men to blow dry?
While you might think it could be damaging to the scalp…it’s totally OK! “It is safe for balding men to use blow dryers,” Dr. McMichael promises. “There is no scientific reason why they cannot use all typical hair products, including blow dryers.” For those of you who pretend you “woke up like that,” you can continue the façade with no harm done.
Is wearing a hat bad for the scalp?
Total rumor. “It is a myth that hats cause balding in men (or anyone for that matter),” Dr. McMichael clarifies.
Is there any relationship between dandruff and balding? Can dry scalp increase hair loss?
Good question. “Active dandruff -- aka seborrheic dermatitis -- can cause mild temporary shedding of hair, but there is no connection between permanent male pattern hair loss and dandruff,” Dr. McMichael says. So while you may experience a little hair loss during the dryer months, you can rest assured that it will probably grow back.
What products or ingredients in hair products should men avoid?
Like we said before, spray and sprinkle away. Add slather and spike to that as well. “There are no particular ingredients or products that would worsen or cause hair loss in over the counter products,” Dr. McMichael assures. Male pattern hair loss is a genetically determined process that is not changed based on the shampoo or other hair care products that are used.
Are there vitamins, like Biotin, which you would recommend for individuals who are experiencing hair thinning?
“There are no vitamins or supplements that can improve hair thinning. As a matter of fact, it is a myth that Biotin helps with male pattern hair loss or any form of hair loss,” says Dr. McMichael. Mind. Officially. Blown.
Once hair thinning or balding starts, are there any ways to stop it in its tracks?
“For male pattern hair loss, minoxidil and Propecia are FDA approved and can significantly slow hair loss as well as help regrowth in some,” Dr. McMichael recommends. “If these are not helpful, scalp hair restoration surgery can be considered as well.”
There are no cures for hair loss. The most important thing to remember is that there are many different causes of hair loss, so when it occurs, it is important to speak with your doctor and your dermatologist about what kind of hair loss is occurring and what the most appropriate treatment would be.