How often do you find yourself scanning the aisles of your favorite beauty store, overwhelmed by the plethora of products promising bouncy, beautiful hair? In our pursuit of gorgeous, Insta-worthy locks, we’ve all heard – and perhaps even believed – various tales and tidbits about scalp health. “Don’t wash your hair every day, it’ll strip the natural oils!” or “You’re losing hair? Must be all that conditioner you’re using!” Sound familiar?
We asked NYC-based hair expert and dermatologist Dr. Jodi LoGerfo of Orentreich Medical Group to shed some light on common scalp issues and to put those untruths to rest. Here, she debunks five of the tallest haircare tales we are told.
1. Wearing a hat causes hair loss.
Truth: We know that sun damage can cause thinning of the epidermis and the dermis of the skin and can affect hair quality and growth. So, sun protection of our scalp and hair is essential for everyone, especially someone with hair loss. I always tell everyone to wear a hat! It is a myth that wearing a hat can make hair fall out and lead to baldness. A hat can help protect the scalp and hair from UV sun damage, which can accelerate the hair thing process.
2. Shampooing causes hair loss.
Truth: Shampooing does not cause hair loss. It is absolutely normal to shed up to 100 hairs (sometimes more) a day. This can happen especially when shampooing, combing or brushing-this is loosening the hair, allowing it to shed and permitting the new one behind it to grow.
3. Daily shampooing damages your hair and scalp.
Truth: Daily washing DOES NOT damage your hair. Hair should be washed daily if possible. If not every day, every other day. Shampooing helps remove dirt, debris, oil, odors and other chemicals from both the scalp and hair. It is thoroughly important to cleanse the scalp and hair (shampooing) and condition-this is the foundation of healthy hair care routine. Although sebum acts as a natural moisturizer, it is also a potent attractant of dirt, dust and other environmental pollutants. It is also a way for bacteria, fungi and yeast breed off of and multiply and irritate the scalp. Inadequate cleansing of the hair and scalp can result in a buildup of sebum and styling products, which can cause or exacerbate seborrheic dermatitis or irritant dermatitis. Regular cleansing is necessary to maintain healthy hair and scalp.
4. Using conditioner ruins your scalp and hair.
Truth: Conditioning DOES NOT “ruin” your scalp or hair. Moisturizing hair after shampooing is important. Using a hair oil/conditioner can coat that outer cuticle and protect it from the everyday assaults we put it through. It can decrease combing forces (the force it takes to comb our hair when it is wet). Hair conditioning is an important part of a healthy hair care regimen, especially for those experiencing hair breakage. Hair conditioners are formulated to mimic the action of our body’s own sebum. Conditioner increases hair manageability by decreasing the friction between the neighboring hair fibers.
Conditioning also increases hair’s resistance to mechanical insults induced by daily grooming. They also help eliminate static electricity by depositing positively charged ions on the hair shaft, which counteract the negative charges caused by combing and brushing! One of the most important effects of conditioner is the ability to coat that outer frayed cuticle of the hair shaft and mend it. By doing this it can halt the progression of breakage. Hair conditioning is especially important for individuals with tightly curled hair-because routine grooming is more likely to result in mechanical damage. Conditioner can really help prevent breakage in these individuals.
5. Cutting your hair stops your hair from growing.
Truth: Some patients are concerned that cutting their hair may result in decreased hair growth “from the root”. It is important to emphasize that the