Whether you’re riding a motorcycle or playing sports like football, hockey and baseball, wearing a helmet is a smart way to protect yourself. But, does wearing a helmet cause or contribute to hair loss? The answer may surprise you.
Traction alopecia is a hair loss condition that occurs when hair follicles are damaged due to constant tension or pulling over a long period of time. This type of hair loss is often seen in people who frequently wear tight hairstyles like braids, cornrows, ponytails and buns, but traction alopecia can also occur with certain helmets. Often, this happens because the helmet is too tight or doesn’t fit you correctly. Know that if your helmet is pulling on your hair or applying too much pressure, over time, the roots of your hair could be damaged, which can lead to hair loss.
To avoid tension and pulling, try a helmet that fits a little looser—but is still snug enough to give you proper protection. Another trick is to lift the helmet slightly a few times to let your hair fall naturally into place. This can help prevent the hair from being pulled and places less stress on your follicles.
Obviously, when you’re being active, you’re going to sweat. Over time, sweat and bacteria can build up on the inside of your helmet, especially where it’s padded. The bacteria can continue to breed, particularly in a warm, moist environment. Then, the next time you put on your helmet, it’s transferred back to your scalp where it can clog your pores and cause an infection. For this reason, it’s important to wipe your helmet clean with an antibacterial solution after each use.
Folliculitis is the medical term for inflammation of the hair follicles. This common condition is usually due to a bacterial infection and starts out looking like acne, with rings of inflammation around the hair follicle. As folliculitis progresses, the hair inside the follicle often falls out. When the inflammation becomes severe, folliculitis can destroy the hair follicles, resulting in bald patches. If you suspect you might have an infection, talk to your doctor about the best course of action.
Whether you’re a serious athlete, a weekend warrior or somewhere in between, being mindful of the best way to wear and care for your helmet will help ensure it doesn’t cause or contribute to hair loss.
Have more questions about hair loss? Contact your local Hair Club center today to schedule a free, private consultation with a hair loss expert.