Fact Or Fiction: Do Your Favorite Tools & Accessories Really Lead To Hair Loss?

According to Harvard University, over 30% of women deal with hair loss, including traction alopecia, among several other types. While there are usually several different underlying causes when it comes to hair loss, some people believe that your favorite tools and accessories, such as hats and hair ties, can also be a potential culprit. While they may seem innocent, they may actually be unknowingly contributing to your hair woes. However, many of us still wear and use them, whether it's to keep our hair out of the way or rock a specific fashion look. But these aren't the only possible culprits — plenty of your other hair tools may also be guilty of wreaking havoc on your mane.    


If you suspect any of your favorite accessories or tools are leading to hair loss, you likely want to nail down the offending tool. However, this is often one of the most complex parts. Where do you begin? Below, we'll break down which of your favorite tools and accessories do and don't lead to hair loss.

Does: Very tight-fitting hair accessories

Very tight-fitting hair accessories or styles, such as very tight braids, hair ties, headbands, or hats can lead to hair loss. However, the emphasis here is on the term "very tight." Board-certified cosmetic dermatologist Dendy Engelman M.D. explains to Byrdie, "Over time, repeated tension on the hair and head [from hairstyles or accessories] could contribute to hair loss." The takeaway? Cut your hair some slack and make sure you're keeping strands loosely secured when it comes to styling. You should also ensure that you are not in any pain or discomfort when it comes to hairstyles.  


So, if you frequently wear tight up-dos or other tight hair accessories, it may be time to change your strategy up a bit. Instead of that tight top knot, you could try some looser bun styles using scrunchies designed with less tension. Soft, tying headbands are also a great adjustable solution, no matter what hair length you're rocking. These both keep your hair away from your face while helping to reduce the chance of potential hair loss.  

Does: Improper use of hair extensions

Hair extensions can help you to achieve a long, luscious mane. This is just one of the reasons why they are so widely popular. What's not to love? On the other hand, they can also be a potential culprit for hair loss. However, this largely depends on how you use them, so you may not need to worry.


Trichologist Dominic Burg, Ph.D., explains to Byrdie, "The main culprits in this regard will be weaved in extensions and microbead-type extensions. These are often applied quite close to the root and worn for extended periods (many months) and, if done incorrectly or too tightly, can damage the follicle, aka the root." He also points out, "[Traction alopecia] can be caused by the overuse of hair extensions or improper use of hair extensions." 

This means that if you wear hair extensions on occasion, you should be perfectly fine in most cases if you're starting with a healthy head of hair. However, extensions are not typically a good idea if you already have fragile or damaged hair, or you're already experiencing hair loss. 


Doesn't: Properly-fitting headphones

Headphones are great for rocking out to your favorite tunes. They come available in all shapes and sizes, in the form of wireless earbuds or headset-like styles, among other options. If you're an avid fan of music, then you may own a pair of headset-style headphones that rests on top of your hair. However, this may leave you wondering if they cause hair loss, particularly if you wear them on a regular basis. 


Thankfully, you have nothing to worry about when it comes to your headphones — they don't cause hair loss, as long as you ensure you're not wearing them too tightly. When it comes to other types of headphones, such as earbuds, these won't affect your hair at all. The only scenario where you may lose a few strands is if your headphone wire gets tangled in your hair and you have to remove it. This may cause a few locks to be tugged out along the way. However, generally speaking, you should be perfectly fine when wearing your headphones.

Doesn't: Heat-styling tools

When it comes to heat styling tools, the verdict is not so clear-cut. Using tools such as hair dryers and hair straighteners can have a significant impact on your hair, especially when you use them over a long period of time. So, what does this mean when it comes to hair loss? Speaking to Who What Wear, celebrity hairstylist Ashley Streicher explains, "Without proper protection, high-heat irons will just burn and break your hair off." 


However, the heat damage only applies to the strands and not your hair follicle. This means that while the heat damage may not directly cause hair loss, it may encourage breakage to your tresses. As a result, heat-styling tools could be considered a contributing factor that may make hair loss appear worse on top of other direct causes. But they don't cause permanent hair loss or follicle damage, and as hair grows out, new healthy tresses can emerge.