Hair Restoration Blog

Does Wearing a Hat or Helmet Cause Hair Loss?
January 11 2018

Does Wearing a Hat or Helmet Cause Hair Loss?

New Look Institute

A somewhat common belief is that hats are to blame for hair loss. The truth is that wearing a hat does not actually cause you to lose your hair. Wearing a helmet, however, can cause some minor hair loss.

The problem with helmets is traction alopecia. Constant tension on your hair causes damage to hair follicles. It's also associated with tight hairstyles such as ponytails or cornrows. However, it is not a guarantee that helmet wearing causes hair loss (and also, the helmet is there to prevent far worse consequences - cyclists, motorcyclists, horseback riders, downhill skiers, etc, should always wear their helmets.

What can happen, though, is that a lot of hat wearing can aggravate hair loss that is already happening. If you're concerned, here are some things you can do.

With hats:

  • If you already have hair loss issues, reduce the amount you remove your hat and put it back on. Every time you remove it, you pull on already weakened hair.
  • Your thinning may simply be "hat head" or "helmet head" - your hair looks sparser, unless you have a buzz cut, when you remove the hat or helmet, making any thinning more noticeable. The obvious answer is to "fix" your hair after you remove the hat or helmet.
  • Wear hats a little bit loose to avoid traction alopecia and to make removing them without pulling on your hair easier. If you like wool caps in winter, buy hats with a little bit of stretch to them. Make sure your hat is adjusted correctly and don't keep fiddling with it.
  • Wash hats regularly so you are not constantly introducing bacteria to your scalp, especially baseball caps or sun hats worn on hot days. If you wear a baseball cap every day in the summer then buy more than one and rotate them.

If wearing helmets:

  • Wear a helmet that fits correctly. A helmet that is too small is bad for your hair (and may not be providing you with enough protection). Make sure that your hair falls naturally under the helmet - lift it a couple of times to be sure.
  • Clean helmets regularly to avoid a build-up of sweat and bacteria on any padding, which can cause folliculitis - an infection of your hair follicles - which can cause permanent hair loss. During long rides, every time you take a break remove your helmet and wipe it out. Use an antibacterial solution occasionally.
  • Store your helmet in an airy place, or air it out regularly. Leaving your motorcycle helmet on the porch for a while can help unless you live somewhere with very high humidity.
  • Wear a bandana or scarf under the helmet. This will reduce any rubbing or pulling against your hair and will also wick sweat away from your scalp. Use cotton as it's the best for wicking sweat.
  • If you have long hair avoid pulling it back in an excessively tight ponytail as this could potentially combine with the helmet to cause traction alopecia. Keep your ponytail or braids a little looser, although don't compromise safety - if you need your hair tight back so it won't fall across your eyes, then try not to worry about hair loss.

In summary, constantly wearing hats or helmets is not causing your hair loss - but it may be contributing to it. Instead, know that your hair loss is caused by your genes or for medical reasons. If you are experiencing hair loss, then contact New Look Institute today. One of our hair experts will listen to your needs, perform a free hair loss analysis and guide you to a solution that’s right for you! Don’t settle for anything less than a perfect head of hair!

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