The common baseball cap has been a source of concern for many men since the 1970s. Rumored to cause issues like male pattern hair loss, or Androgenic Alopecia, some hat-wearers have ditched a signature piece of their style to avoid these issues.

Is there really any truth behind these concerns, or do we have some reading to do?

Androgenic Alopecia

Hair loss is caused by a mix of genetic and hormonal factors, not generally associated with wearing hats. The chief cause of male pattern baldness is a male steroid hormone called DHT. It’s a normal byproduct of testosterone. If you are genetically sensitive to DHT, it can cause your hair follicles to bind and then miniaturize. When follicles miniaturize, they don’t grow as effectively as they used to, and it eventually leads to thinning hair.

If you think it’s possible you could be suffering from hair loss, DHT blocking shampoo could be a simple solution or at least a fix for the time being. DHT blocking hair products make your hair appear much fuller in volume and thicker while reducing levels of DHT in your scalp.

If none of this sounds like it has much to do with wearing baseball caps, that’s because wearing one, even regularly, does not cause hair loss. The subject of traction alopecia has been brought up for this concern, (the loss of hair due to an immense amount of tension or pressure put on your scalp or hair) but your hat would have to be much too tight to wear to cause this. Tight ponytails or braids can cause enough stress to your hair and could potentially have this effect.

Related Issues

Though your favorite cap cannot cause you to lose hair, there are still some issues that can arise from overuse. In the heat of summer, a dirty hat can lead to scalp infection and scalp irritation. Sweat can be soaked up into the fabric and irritate your scalp even if you have a full head of hair because you are trapping moisture and other filthy particles from everyday life against your head.

If the ballcap is too tight, it can rub against your scalp and may even wound you, leading to higher chances of infection. Not only medical issues can come from this, but continually wearing a hat can make your hair appear thinner than it really is or just flat. Perhaps you should save the cap for outdoor occasions only, and remember to keep it clean.