Some commonly held myths about hair.
Myth #1: Stress causes your hair to thin.
Fact: Everyday stress won’t cause your hair to thin. The problem may be hormonal or nutritional in nature. Severe stress, like a death in the family, can cause temporary hairloss called alopecia areata. The scalp usually recuperates, though, and hair grows back.
Myth #2: Exfoliate your scalp regularly with AHA products, otherwise clogged pores will trap hair, which will coil under the skin.
Fact: According to dermatologists, AHA products aren’t necessary to keep your scalp clean, since a clogged pore on the scalp is virtually impossible. The hair follicle takes up the entire pore and grows with enough force to push through the scalp and any dead skin that might be present.
Myth #3: Eating Jell-O will make your hair grow faster.
Fact: Dermatologists say that even though the gelatin in Jell-O is a hardener in foods, there’s no evidence that it will do anything for hair growth. Gelatin can strengthen hair when applied topically to the scalp (syncronized swimmers use it on their hair to protect against chlorine damage), but there’s no evidence that it will stimulate growth.
Myth #4: Going to sleep with wet hair gives you scalp fungus.
Fact: Scalp fungus (tinea capitis) most often affects children, whose immune systems make them more susceptible to skin infections. But wet hair is not the cause. Dermatologists say scalp fungus is transmitted from person to person, animal to person, or soil to person. Wet hair has nothing to do with it.
Myth #5: To stop the frizzies, use shampoo only twice a month. The rest of the time, rinse daily with conditioner.
Fact: Dermatologists say that oil becomes rancid when it stays on the surface of the scalp, so regular shampooing is necessary to keep hair and scalp clean and healthy. To stop the frizzies, condition after every shampoo and try a leave-in conditioner, too.
Myth #6: For thick, shiny hair, eat a diet that’s rich in iron and protein.
Fact: It’s true that iron deficiency can cause hair loss, but dermatologists say the reverse is not true: eating extra iron will not give you thick hair. In fact, overloading on iron can cause serious health problems. The correct amount for optimal health is about 15 milligrams a day for a woman. The same thing is true with protein. Dermatologists say that someone who is protein-deficient will have lackluster skin and brittle hair. It’s important to get enough protein, but eating more than normal won’t make hair any shinier.
Myth #7: To get your hair to grow, it’s important to brush 100 strokes each day.
Fact: Our grandmothers brushed 100 strokes a day to distribute scalp oil that didn’t get washed away by their non-detergent shampoos. Today, brushing that much can damage the hair cuticle, and is generally not recommended.
Myth #8: The more lather there is, the more effective the shampoo and the cleaner the hair will be.
Fact: It’s not true that the amount of lather is equal to the shampoo’s ability to clean. Lathering agents are often added to shampoos, but more foam doesn’t mean cleaner hair.
Myth #9: The more shampoo you use, the cleaner your hair will be.
Fact: This would be just a waste of shampoo. A dollop of shampoo, about the size of a quarter is usually enough for long hair. Very long hair may take a little more.
Myth #10: Conditioner helps repair split ends.
Fact: No conditioner can “repair” damaged hair. What it can do is smooth down the cuticle and make hair seem in better condition. A good conditioner can also prevent damage from occurring in the first place.
Myth #11: Dry hair is damaged by washing too frequently.
Fact: Hair is more likely to be damaged if it’s left too long between washes. Not washing can cause the scalp’s natural oil to be blocked, and unable to lubricate the hair shaft. As a result, hair can become dry and brittle. Things that damage hair include bleaching, coloring, styling and brushing when wet.