Can Your Hats Cause Hair Loss? Here's What We Know

If you want to rock an aesthetic from head to toe (literally), hats are a must. For the coastal cowgirl aesthetic, a western cowboy hat is the perfect touch. For a throwback indie sleaze style, beanies and hipster fedoras fit right in. And if you're more into normcore, a baseball cap is always a safe choice.


Even if you dress with function, not fashion, in mind, hats are an essential item you should always have stashed in your closet. They can hide a bad hair day, stand in for an umbrella during a surprise shower, and shade your skin from damaging UV rays in the summer.

Clearly, we're proud hat advocates (hatvocates?), but there is one major concern with donning headwear too often, at least according to one old wives' tale: Hats can cause hair loss. Experts have weighed in on the topic, and the jury is divided on whether there's any truth to the rumors. 

Some hats could cause hair to shed

You may notice more shedding after removing the hat you wore all day, but is your favorite accessory really causing hair loss? Researchers have tested this theory and discovered different results.

In a 2001 study published in the International Journal of Dermatology, some nurses who regularly wore a nurse's cap suffered hair loss right where the pin of the cap was located. However, in a 2013 study of male adult twins published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, those who wore a hat every day were less likely to experience balding.


While the jury is still out on whether or not hats trigger hair loss, some doctors believe certain types of hats may be more likely to cause irritation than others. "... We think it's possible that wearing hats that are very tight — or very hot — could decrease blood flow to the hair follicles, stressing them and causing them to fall out," dermatologist Dr. John Anthony revealed to Cleveland Clinic. "The hair loss would be temporary at first, but it could progress to permanent hair loss over time. So a loosely fitting fedora may be a safer bet than a tight knit cap or baseball hat."

Irritating materials can also be a culprit. As professor of dermatology at George Washington University Dr. Adam Friedman explained to Time, "If a hat causes an allergic reaction in the scalp, that could cause the hair to shed due to inflammation."


How to prevent hair loss when wearing hats

You don't have to throw out your hat collection to save your strands. Still, if you've noticed extra hair fall after habitually wearing bucket hats and other toppers, it never hurts to give your head a break (though if you wear yours for sun protection, be sure to lather on sunblock instead). This is especially relevant if your head regularly gets hot and sweaty under your caps. "The salts from sweat are physically irritating to the skin," Dr. Adam Friedman told Time. Eventually, this irritation could result in hair loss, so you might want to rethink wearing a hat during your workout.


Pay attention to the hairstyles you wear under your hat, too. According to Healthline, hair loss from repeated hair pulling — known as traction alopecia — can be a consequence of tight ponytails, braids, and other styles that yank at the roots. Try keeping your hair down or in a loose updo before adding a hat.

If you're still worried about hair loss, the American Academy of Dermatology Association suggests using gentle shampoos, always following up with a conditioner, and limiting blow drying and heat styling. Healthy lifestyle habits, like quitting smoking and eating a nutrient-packed diet, can also help. If you continue to notice more hair on your floor and in your shower drain than usual, check in with a dermatologist, since a treatable health or skin condition could be to blame.