To wear or not to wear, that is the question. But speaking in terms of very basic physics, this shouldn’t be the question. If you fall off a moving two-wheeler, it is possible that you can crack your skull even at low speeds. No matter how tiny you think this possibility is, why would you want to actively jeopardise your head’s intactness. A lot of two-wheeler users in India tend to argue that they don’t need to wear a helmet or the government shouldn’t force them into wearing one and they cite many reasons for it.
Some say it is a violation of their rights being told by the government to wear a helmet or in some extreme cases, some say that their face doesn’t show so it makes them look uncool. This is not an exaggeration, this phenomenon is a real thing and is most prevalent in teenagers or even adults who psychologically remain teenagers throughout their lives.
And then there are those who find comfort in blaming hair loss as a reason to avoid wearing helmets. What this attitude towards health and safety has done is that India accounts for most two-wheeler accident-related deaths in the world and most of these deaths are attributable to not wearing a helmet.
Other than to tell you to start caring for yourself and wear a helmet, there’s not much we can do to change your beliefs but we can bring you facts to bust at least one of these myths – Wearing a helmet causes hair loss. Not us actually, we got a hair expert to answer this question – Dr Mandeep Kaur, Advanced Hair Studio.
Helmets cause hair loss. How much of this statement stands true?
Dr Kaur: When we predominantly talk about helmets, we are targeting more towards males (because the number of men wearing helmets is simply larger). And if we believe that helmets cause hair loss then people having sedentary lifestyles or people driving only four-wheelers. But there are people who are losing hair.
Helmets can be a factor that aggravates hair fall for people who are already facing hair loss issues, for example if somebody is suffering from asthma or he/she is into smoking. However, it is not a cause that leads to hair loss. In males, the main culprit behind hair loss is Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The most common hair loss pattern is receding lines mainly from sides and forehead area.
For females, dietary deficiencies, hormonal imbalance, PCOD, Hyper or Hypo – thyroid can be a root cause. Therefore, for both males and females, there are different reasons due to which they might experience hair loss, but factors like stress – physical or mental, not using the correct products add up to the existing concern.
Has any of your patients so far came with a belief that they are suffering hair loss due to helmets?
Dr Kaur: Yes, people come up with different reasons that they believe could have led to hair loss due to lack of awareness and knowledge. Some feel that migration and change of water is an issue but as said earlier they only add to the problem. It is, therefore, vital to figure out through expert diagnosis that we do at Advanced Hair Studio.
Can prolonged usage of helmets lead to hair loss?
Dr Kaur: No, it hasn’t been medically proven that prolonged usage of helmets will lead to hair loss. However, wearing helmets for longer duration can create hygiene concerns due to sweat and most importantly it leads to dandruff and constant traction to hair roots leads to traction alopecia.
For bikers and auto enthusiasts who spend a good number of hours on the road wearing helmets, I would advise taking a few precautions to minimise the impact of their helmet on the scalp. Regular hair wash and use of organic or low chemical products for grooming are better. Having said that, chances are very low and in 70% of the cases, this issue might not arise but in 10% of the cases, it can.
When we talk of prolonged usage, what duration according to you does that mean? Are there any hair care tips you have for riders?
Dr Kaur: People visiting Advanced Hair Studio are not only provided with treatments for hair loss but also are educated about hair loss. For individuals who ride daily, we suggest a few precautions like:
-Your front hair should not be pulled on while putting on a helmet
-The helmet should be clean
-Wash your hair frequently
-Use products that are well suited for your hair and scalp type
If you have dandruff issues then visiting a dermatologist can help. It is never suggested by Advanced Hair Studio that helmets should not be worn but we do recommend that if you wear a helmet then take care of the sweat that comes by regular washing in order to keep hair clean so that dandruff and other scalp (skin) diseases as in fungal and bacterial infections can be prevented.
We also suggest precautions to someone that colours their hair. In order to ensure less damage due to chemicals, we recommend going for organic colours. Similarly, not wearing helmets is something that is unavoidable with regards to the safety of a two-wheeler rider but precautionary measures can always be taken.
Helmet hygiene, helmet cleaning and covering your scalp with cotton cloth if going for long rides are few of the easy tips that can ensure less damage due to prolonged usage.
So, there you go. To sum it up – Helmets Do Not Cause Hair Loss. Putting on one will only protect your head. But it is true that wearing helmets can aggravate the problem if you’re already dealing with hair loss. All you have to do is not be a slob – clean your helmet’s padding at regular intervals, wash your hair regularly, invest in a correct sized helmet, if you sweat a lot – buy a balaclava or tie a cotton cloth around the scalp. Helmets save lives – benefits of wearing one outweigh the downsides.