Answers to All Those Questions You Have About Hair

People believe plenty of myths about hair. So what’s the truth? Let’s talk about all aspects of hair, from washing to graying and balding.

Should you wash hair every day?

Does dirty hair clean itself?

You might wonder whether your dirty hair will clean itself if you leave it alone. This may work with shorter hair, as the hair can take dirt and oil away from the scalp and transfer it to pillowcases and other surfaces. But this isn’t recommended because microorganisms live on the scalp, which can breed and lead to itchiness and other problems. Uncleanliness becomes more of a problem for long hair.

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Does washing too much make hair greasy?

On the other side of the spectrum, it’s a common question whether washing hair too often causes it to be greasy. This is not likely to happen, as frequent washing actually tends to create dry hair. Nonetheless, rubbing the scalp aggressively can encourage it to produce more oil, especially in those who have greasy hair.

The goal is shiny, moisturized hair that’s not greasy. Is the way to achieve that to wash it every day or to wait days between washings? Ultimately, the best bet is to do trial and error with your own hair to get the best results for how greasy or dry the hair is.

What causes gray hair?

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How does the hair turn gray?

Melanocytes, which are cells at the hair’s base, make the color for your hair. They’re affected by certain factors such as aging and vitamins. A lack of vitamin B12, which melanocytes rely on, can sometimes cause early gray hair. Also, melanocytes naturally have more trouble making color after age 30 at a rate that’s affected by genetics and certain lifestyle factors such as smoking.

Does stress contribute to gray hair?

It’s possible for hair to go gray in just a few days because of alopecia areata, an immune condition that can be set off by stress in those who are prone to it. But the stress doesn’t turn all the hair gray, which is what people thought happened to Marie Antoinette before her execution. Instead, this condition makes the colored hair fall out while leaving the gray hair in place.

Is it bad to pluck gray hairs?

It’s a common belief that plucking a gray hair will make more hair grow back in. No evidence has supported this idea related to humans, and the pattern that’s more often been seen is that continuous plucking kills the hair follicle in time so no hair will return there.

What can be done about hair breaks and hair loss?

Are split ends fixable?

Split ends are fractures at the end of the hair shaft. They break because of chemicals, heat or other exposure that makes them dry and brittle. While some products may claim to fix split ends, they signal the need for a haircut. The only way to fix them is to start over with trimmed hair because the split ends no longer have a cuticle layer to protect them.

What contributes to balding?

One contributing factor is shedding, which can be triggered in more of the hair when someone is unwell or under stress. But normally, hair loss happens in men and women because of pattern baldness. This is impacted by the hormone testosterone, which causes the hair follicles to become smaller. This then causes the hairs coming out of them to be shorter and finer. Genetics plays a main role in balding, which can't be stopped but only slowed by lotions, prescription drugs or nutrition.