Originally Published on August 24th, 2017
Almost everyone plays with their hair. Most of the time we don’t even notice we’re doing it. Harmless, right? Maybe not. Find out whether or not touching your hair can cause hair loss.
Can Playing with Your Hair Cause Baldness?
In the fight against hair loss, every little action matters. So can playing with your hair cause baldness? Seems a bit dramatic, but there could be some truth to it. To answer this question, we need to look at what causes hair to fall out.
Normal hair loss is due to weak or damaged follicles, with a larger number of hairs than normal in the shedding phase. Losing 100-150 hair strands per day is normal. You’ll start to notice a problem (more hairs in the sink, on your clothes) when you’re losing 200+ per day.
Hair loss can also be accelerated by a bad growth environment. When your scalp has dirt, grime, and product build-up, the hair follicles can’t grow and the hair cycle goes out of whack.
Also, tight ponytails or similar hairstyles can cause a strain on your follicles, leaving them weaker and more prone to damage. Combing your hair back too often may not cause hair loss directly, but it can have the same effect as wearing tight hairstyles too often.
Does Touching Your Hair Make It Fall Out?
So with all this in mind, can running your hands through your hair really cause your hair to fall out? Yes and no.
If you’re taking proper care of your hair, regularly touching it throughout the day shouldn’t be a big problem. But it certainly can have a negative effect over time.
No matter how clean you think you are, your hands are dirty. They touch a lot of things throughout the day so naturally they accumulate dirt and oils that your hair doesn’t like.
If you have a habit of pulling your hair with your fingers, then external dirt and oils can mix in with the natural oils in your hair and hair product to create build-up. We mentioned it earlier, but it’s worth repeating: If your scalp environment isn’t clean, your hair won’t grow very well… and it might even cause hair loss.
When you touch your hair, not only are you putting foreign dirt and oils into your hair, you could also be removing natural oils that make your hair look good. This can disrupt your hair’s moisture levels. When your hair is less moisturized, it’s less elastic. Less elasticity means it’ll be more prone to breakage when you run your hands through it.
Running your fingers through your hair is not going to be the difference between thick, luscious hair and going bald. But if you’re starting to see hairs fall out when you run your hands through it, there’s a bigger problem, and playing with it is not the issue.
How to Protect Your Hair
Rather than being afraid to touch your hair, strengthen and protect it. Here are a few things you can do right away to strengthen your hair:
- Wear your hair down. Wearing tight, intricate hairstyles cause a lot of stress to your follicles. Give your hair a break by wearing it down or in a low-manipulation hairstyle like a loose French braid more often. Going a few days between ponytails will give your hair and scalp time to recover.
- Avoid friction. Ditch the cotton pillowcases in favor of satin or silk sheets. These cause much less friction, which means your hair won’t get as tangled and your follicles won’t get as pulled while you sleep. Friction is the enemy of damage-free hair growth.
- Get a hair growth vitamin. A daily hair supplement that has important hair growth nutrients like biotin, iron, and vitamins C and B3 can help the overall strength of your hair.
If you’re taking care of your hair the right way, you shouldn’t have to worry about the effects of touching your hair. Just be conscious of when your hands are extra greasy or your hair already has products in it.
You don’t want to add in any foreign oils that could cause problems, or take out the natural oils that are giving your hair that good moisture. If you can’t help it, just make it a point to wash your hands more often!