Hair Loss

Do hats cause hair loss?

Worried that your favorite cap is stressing out your hair? Here’s what to know about the causes of hair loss. Plus, how you can prevent thinning or balding with a little TLC—or prescription treatment.
Man standing next to his camper van with bicycles in the morning giving a coffee mug to friend in van.

Key Points

  • The short answer is no—wearing a hat doesn’t cause temporary or permanent hair loss.
  • But traction alopecia happens when a hairstyle or headwear pulls on hair roots for a long time. This can damage the roots and cause hair to fall out for some people.
  • Many types of hair loss are reversible, especially if caught early or treated with prescription hair loss medication.

Hair loss usually isn’t a medical emergency. But it can be very distressing. Some causes are reversible. Others are trickier to treat.

If you’ve noticed thinning hair, clumps of hair in the shower or bald patches, you might be dealing with alopecia. But there are many potential causes of hair loss—each requiring a different approach.

Ready to get to the root of the issue? Keep reading to learn about the most common causes of hair loss—and what you can do about it. And if you’re looking for safe and convenient treatment, Dr. B offers same-day consultations for prescription hair loss medicines.

Can wearing a hat cause hair loss?

Ballcap fans can relax. Wearing a hat doesn’t cause hair loss. The only exception is if you often wear very tight hats for long periods.

As long as your hat fits comfortably, you don’t need to worry about hats causing hair loss. Wearing a hat can actually protect your scalp and face from other problems, like sun damage. So hats off to you!

What is traction alopecia?

Most people don’t need to worry about hats and hair loss. But traction alopecia can happen when tight, restrictive hairstyles constantly pull on hair roots. It’s most common in women of African descent who wear their hair in tight braids, weaves or hair extensions. People who continually wear their hair in tight ponytails over a long period may also experience hair loss—like ballerinas, gymnasts and military personnel.

It’s also possible to lose hair if you wear some kinds of hats or tight religious headwear for long periods—like a hard hat on hot summer days. The friction and sweat can eventually damage the hair roots, causing hair loss as a side effect.

If you’re concerned, talk to your provider about ways to protect your hair roots. And be sure to give your hair a break—remove tight headgear when possible or rotate hairstyles to let your roots recover.

Trichorrhexis nodosa can cause a similar type of hair loss. With this condition, hair breaks easily, and hair growth may slow. It can be genetic or triggered by an underlying medical condition. Often, this condition can be managed by being careful about hair products and grooming practices.

You can protect your hair by:

  • Using a soft brush
  • Not brushing too much
  • Avoiding tight or restrictive hairstyles
  • Avoiding harsh products and chemicals, like hair straighteners
  • Avoiding heat styling, including hot blow dryers or curling irons
  • Using a gentle shampoo and conditioner

What else causes hair loss?

There are a lot of possible causes for hair loss, so it can be tough to figure out what’s causing your hair woes. Before you stop a medication or make any significant changes to your lifestyle, talk to your provider to make sure it’s safe.

Here are a few reasons you might be losing your hair:

Androgenetic alopecia: This genetic condition is the most common cause of hair loss. Also known as male or female pattern hair loss or baldness, you can’t do much to prevent it. About half of men over 50 will experience male pattern baldness, and more than one in three women over 70 will notice thinning hair. In men, hair loss usually starts at the temples and forehead (a receding hairline). Women may see a bald spot at the crown of their head.

Telogen effluvium: You can lose hair if your body changes significantly. Rapid weight loss, surgery, pregnancy and childbirth, and extreme stress can all cause temporary hair loss. Even severe illnesses like Covid-19 can lead to hair loss. This condition is usually short-term, and hair usually grows back two to six months after the stressor goes away.

Alopecia areata: With this condition, the immune system attacks healthy hair follicles, which makes hair fall out and stops new hair from growing. Other autoimmune disorders, like discoid lupus erythematosus, can also make some people lose their hair.

Trichotillomania: People with this disorder compulsively pull out hair on their heads, eyebrows or eyelashes. Cognitive behavioral therapy and certain medications can help treat this condition.

Medications and hormones: Many people lose hair after having a baby due to hormone changes—but this often resolves after a few months. Others lose hair due to medical conditions like thyroid problems. Medications for illnesses like heart disease and acne can contribute, too.

What’s causing my hair to fall out?

Understanding what’s behind your hair loss is essential since treatment depends on the cause. Your provider will need to know a few facts to get to the bottom of your hair problems.

  • Did the hair loss start suddenly, or has it been gradual?
  • Are you losing hair in a specific area or all over your head?
  • What medications do you take?
  • How do you style your hair with heat or chemical straighteners?
  • Does the hair loss follow a typical pattern?
  • Have you recently been through a stressful event, surgery or illness?
  • Have you recently lost a lot of weight?
  • Do you have other symptoms (like itching or fatigue) or medical conditions (like lupus or hypothyroidism)?

How to prevent hair loss

If male or female pattern baldness runs in your family, there’s a chance you could experience the same thing as you grow older. Some medicines, like Finasteride (Propecia), can prevent or slow down hair thinning and loss.

It’s safe to wait out minor causes. If you notice that you’re losing more hair after having a baby or undergoing surgery, giving your body time to heal will likely solve the problem.

Here are some other ways to keep your hair full and healthy:

  • Avoid overly tight hairstyles or headgear if possible
  • Use gentle grooming techniques, like soft brushes and gentle shampoos
  • Avoid heat styling and harsh chemicals on your hair
  • Review your medications with your provider
  • If you’re trying to lose weight, take it slow. Rapid weight loss can make you lose your hair
  • Talk to your provider about prescription hair loss options
  • If you notice problems with baldness or thinning, talk to a provider early on. Some causes (like traction alopecia) are reversible if caught early enough.

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Treatment options for hair loss

Some medications that can help prevent hair loss include Finasteride (Propecia) and Dutasteride. Most should be taken long-term—if you stop taking the drug, your hair might start to fall out again.

Hair loss treatments are available from your primary care provider or dermatologist. You can also get prescription medication from Dr. B through an online medical consultation. A licensed medical provider will review your health history and symptoms within three hours. If appropriate, they’ll send a hair loss prescription to your chosen pharmacy.

Right now, Dr. B can only treat hair loss in men. But we hope this article has helped everyone understand more about hair, hats, and treatment strategies!


Czech, T., et al. (2022). Characteristics of hair loss after Covid-19: A systematic scoping review. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

Hughes E.C., et al. (2023). Telogen effluvium. StatPearls Publishing.

Phillips, T. G., et al. (2017). Hair loss: common causes and treatment. American Family Physician.

Pulickal, J.K., et al. (2023). Traction alopecia. StatPearls Publishing.

MedlinePlus. (2023). Trichorrhexis nodosa.

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