Six Common Hair Myths Debunked by Leading Trichologist Sally-Ann Tarver

Leading Trichologist Sally-Ann Tarver from The Cotswold Trichology Centre and Theradome GB reveals the truth behind 6 common hair myths.

MYTH 1 – We shed hair more twice a year in spring and autumn

Our hair is constantly shedding and re-growing, each hair follicle can do this around 25 times before it is exhausted. The spring shedding is the most common, this can usually be attributed to winter viruses such as the Flu. A virus around Christmas will often result in additional hair shedding in the spring. If your hair sheds in the autumn, look back 2-3 months at any stress or illness and you will probably find the answer.

MYTH 2 – If you pull out a grey hair two will grow back

Hair begins to grey when your natural colour pigment cells (melanocytes) basically run out. Once the process starts, unfortunately it’s a slippery slope and your grey hairs will increase whether you pull them out or not. Pulling out too many grey hairs too frequently will however lead to hair thinning!

MYTH 3 – Baldness comes from the mother’s side of the family

No actually, it is caused by a dominant gene, which can be inherited from both parents. Your mother can pass the gene onto you without appearing to have particularly thin hair herself. If your father went bald early, there is a pretty good chance your hair will thin too, but not necessarily as early as he did.

MYTH 4 – Heat protection spray stops straighteners damaging your hair

The only way to prevent heat damage caused my straightening irons is to either not use them, limit their use, use on the lowest heat setting and never ever use them on damp hair. Heat protection sprays may reduce burning of the cuticle (outer layer of the hair-shaft) but that’s about it. The heat damage from straightening irons is largely due to pockets of moisture trapped inside the hair-shaft which rapidly turn to steam under extreme heat. The steam can’t escape from the hair quickly enough and tiny holes are blown through the cuticle; a condition known as Bubble Hair Syndrome. Weak areas form and are exacerbated through continued heat abuse; leading to breakage and serious split ends. Unfortunately, coating your hair in silicone cannot prevent steam forming and escaping from the hairs structure.

MYTH 5 – Hair will clean itself if you stop washing it

No it certainly won’t and neither will your scalp. You may get used to your hair being coated in scalp oil after a while and there will become a point where it will not appear to get any greasier. The biggest problem comes from not washing your scalp. Skin cells that would normally be removed and rinsed away during washing combine with scalp oil and build up often forming a waxy crust. If you suffer with any kind of scalp flaking condition, not washing your hair will certainly exacerbate it.

MYTH 6 – Cutting hair makes it grow faster

Hair grows at the same rate whether it is cut or not. Hair does not know when it has been cut but growth is more noticeable if the ends are blunt cut.

About the expert

Sally-Ann Tarver MIT.FTTS is a leading Trichologist with more than 20 years experience at the cutting edge of diagnosis, treatment and advice on all aspects of hair loss and scalp problems. Sally-Ann Tarver MIT.FTTS, established The Cotswold Trichology Centre in 1998, which is one of the UK’s leading Trichology clinics for adults and children.

She originally qualified as a Trichologist from The Institute of Trichologists in 1997. After which she became a Licentiate of the Trichological Society (LTTS) in 2000 and after three years experience in a full time practice she became a full member of the Institute (MIT) in 2001. She has also practiced in Harley Street London, served as the President of The Trichological Society from 2008-2010 and awarded a Fellowship (FTTS) in 2014 for her outstanding commitment and contribution to Trichology.

Now, Sally-Ann uses her many years of experience and learning to understand the complexity of hair and scalp disease to advise her patients on Alopecia Areata, Alopecia Totalis, male baldness, female hair loss, sudden hair loss, itchy flaky scalp conditions, hair damage and condition issues. In conjunction with expert advice on hair loss and scalp problems, she also offers a wig supply and fitting service.

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