Helmets are essential protection for many sports and leisure activities. Very few cyclists go riding today without a helmet, which protects our head and brain in case of accident. While essential equipment, helmets can also cause damage to hair.
Wearing and Removing Headgear Repeatedly
It may not surprise you to learn that, wearing helmets or hats over extended periods, and repeatedly putting them on and taking them off, can contribute to hair loss. The condition is called, “Traction Alopecia,” which refers to force applied to hair. People who regularly put on and take off helmets or hats loosen the hair roots on their scalps.
As you might expect, this condition affects professional (and even non-professional athletes) in baseball, football, and hockey, who regularly don and doff helmets and headgear. Not only hair but hair follicles pulled regularly by helmets or hats will have trouble anchoring themselves to the scalp and may fall out over time, leaving no chance for hair regrowth. So when you see young athletes who seem to be losing their hair, male or female pattern baldness due to genetic conditions may not be the only cause.
Bacteria in Headgear
There is a second way that helmet and hat-wearing can affect hair loss, which is due to bacteria. Irrespective of the activity, a helmet or hat is likely to collect sweat from the head, as well as other matter from the local environment. Whatever your headgear, it is effectively trapping all such sweat and other matter until you remove it.
Even though you probably wash your hair and scalp regularly, you are less likely to wash your headgear. Without being cleaned, your headgear is more likely to spread the bacteria trapped inside of it back to you when you next wear it. That bacteria may have an adverse effect on hair growth, ultimately leading to hair loss.
As you might expect, this condition applies to men and woman who are wearing hats for non-athletic reasons too.
Practical Steps to Take
Many of us are not planning to change our headgear habits, especially if we are using them for protective reasons. So what are our options?
Anti-Bacterial Spray: These sprays for helmets and hats are widely available. Just be sure that the headgear has thoroughly dried before wearing it. A similar option is to wipe the helmet or hat with an anti-bacterial cloth.
Wear with Care: Rather than squashing the helmet or cap on your head, which pulls hair, put it on gently then raise it slowly above the scalp. Repeat the process until the hairs feel like they are loosening and falling free of the headgear. Using such care will help protect your hair, or at least slow down hair loss if it has started.
If you have any questions or concerns, contact your Philadelphia hair restoration expert.