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Does Wearing a Hat Cause Baldness?

By WebMD Connect to Care Staff
Medically Reviewed by Jennifer T. Haley, MD, FAAD on February 24, 2021
Hats do not necessarily cause baldness, but you might notice early signs of baldness if your hat causes tension on your hair and scalp.

If you’re experiencing early signs of balding, you might resort to wearing a hat to conceal the hair loss. Some people worry that frequent hat-wearing will intensify symptoms of baldness, pointing to friends and family who frequently wear hats and who have lost their hair.

A correlation between these two things doesn’t mean one caused the other, though. People with hair loss may wear hats more often, but wearing a hat does not necessarily cause baldness

Do Hats Cause Baldness? 

While wearing a hat does not usually cause baldness, it is possible that anything a person puts on their head may cause hair loss if it pulls the hair. 

Pulling on the hair is a major cause of preventable hair loss, Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist at SkinSafe Dermatology and Skin Care tells WebMD Connect to care. This is called traction alopecia. Hats don’t usually pull the hair, but a very tight hat that puts pressure on the scalp or pulls the hair may. “Over time, this will cause scarring and miniaturization of the hair follicles. Hairs become super-fine or just stop growing,” says Shainhouse.  

According to Shainhouse, some other things that may cause traction alopecia include: 

  • Very tight pulled-back hairstyles such as buns, cornrows, and extensions 
  • Styling practices that pull the hair, such as rolling the hair up in tight rollers or brushing too aggressively 
  • Using hot combs and oils 

If your scalp hurts from styling, styling products, or hats, the style is damaging the hair. “That feeling of scalp tenderness after taking out your ponytail at the end of the day means that your hair has been pulled too tight,” Shainhouse says.

Signs of Balding

Shainhouse says that traction alopecia often occurs along the sides of the scalp although it can occur anywhere the hair is pulled. A hat that pulls on the crown may cause hair loss there first. Hair loss can also appear suddenly, or gradually occur over time.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, some common signs of balding include: 

  • A receding hairline that might make the forehead look larger 
  • A bald spot anywhere on the head 
  • Hair that looks thinner or less healthy 
  • A thinner ponytail
  • A larger part 

Don’t Wait. Get Help Today. 

The sooner you address the symptoms of hair loss, the more likely you are to prevent irreversible damage. Speak to a medical professional today to begin your journey to a fuller head of hair.