Self-love is very important. It carries many benefits with it such as stress reduction, improved sleep, relaxation, increased libido, and more. So why, with so many benefits, does a person need to sacrifice their hair in order to enjoy them?
Okay, enough beating around the bush (pun intended), in this article I am going to be talking about masturbation and all of the hair loss rumors that are associated with it.
If you have been abstaining from pleasuring yourself because you think it is going to save your hair you are definitely going to want to keep reading. We will be addressing, breaking down, and hopefully putting an end to the speculation surrounding the notion that masturbation causes hair loss. So, let’s get started.
Masturbation and hair loss: where’s the evidence?
As if dealing with hair loss isn’t hard enough on its own, now you’ve got random people online telling you that you have to pick between masturbation and your own hair? And you’re believing every word they say?!
Only joking, any reasonable person, myself included, wants to do anything they can to stop their hair loss, especially if it is something as seemingly simple as not masturbating. But, one thing you learn very quickly when conducting hair loss research is that you shouldn’t trust everything you read online. Any and every article or forum discussion that claims that masturbation causes hair loss would be hard pressed to find evidence supporting those claims. That’s because there is not any evidence, none at all.
Unfortunately, the lack of evidence is often overshadowed by the clever use of scientific terminology and good writing which may trick the reader into believing the otherwise lackluster claims. Let’s take a look at some of the main reasons people claim masturbation to cause hair loss and expose why they have no merit.
First: masturbation raises DHT levels
The most common myth surrounding masturbation and hair loss is that it causes a rise in DHT levels. For those who are unaware: DHT is the main hormone responsible for hair loss and is derived from testosterone (more on DHT here).
Yes, masturbation releases hormones (amongst many other feel good chemicals). Where people are misconstrued though is when they claim that DHT is one of the hormones that gets released and therefore causes a spike in DHT levels, this is not true. In fact, research directly contradicts this notion.
One study took a look at the testosterone levels of sexually functional vs. dysfunctional men. Researchers found that there was not a statistically significant difference in the two groups. Actually, it was discovered that the men who ejaculated less frequently had higher testosterone levels, and since DHT is derived from testosterone this shows precisely the opposite of the claims: that masturbation may in fact lower DHT levels. A secondary study yielded similar results.
In short, there is no scientific evidence that suggests that ejaculation can cause increased DHT levels. There is however, although the research is limited, evidence that suggests the opposite, which begs the question: could masturbation benefit instead of hinder hair loss?
All this hormone talk is a perfect segway into the second common misconception…
Second: masturbation throws off your hormone balance
Like stated above, hormones are released during ejaculation. Namely are oxytocin, vasopressin, and prolactin, and while all of these hormones are very important for various reasons, there is no scientific evidence linking elevated levels of any of them to hair loss.
These powerful hormones contain many benefits including increased lust/attraction, improved sex drive, lowering blood pressure, sleep regulation, metabolism boosting and more. Why do you think sex has been shown to benefit overall health? But do they also cause hair loss? Not so much.
Unless some groundbreaking study surfaces that contradicts our current understanding of these hormones and how they function, you likely do not need to worry about masturbation causing a hormone imbalance, or hair loss for that matter.
Currently, the only hormones that has been consistently linked with hair loss is DHT derived from testosterone, which as we just detailed in the previous section, is not affected by masturbation.
Third: masturbation lowers protein levels
Can protein malnutrition cause hair loss? Yes.
Does semen contain protein that gets lost during ejaculation? Yes.
Therefore masturbation must cause hair loss, correct? No, absolutely not.
While the fact(s) that protein deficiency can lead to hair loss and that semen contains protein are both true, correlation does not equal causation in this case. This is because the amount of protein lost during ejaculation is extremely insignificant. There are many articles that dive into the nitty gritty of this subject, but to save you some reading (and because numbers are boring) think of it like this: you would need to masturbate nearly thirty times to release as much protein as you would get from consuming a single egg!
So, unless you have a serious problem (which you may want to consult someone about), most people are not going to be masturbating that frequently and do not need to worry about protein lost to ejaculation.
Masturbation might benefit your hair?
As a preface: I am not making extraordinary claims here. I do not believe, nor is there evidence, that masturbation influences androgenic alopecia. But stress-related hair loss is a different ball game.
Stress is well known for causing hair loss (1). Although the hair loss is temporary and reversible, you need to get your stress under control, which masturbation could likely aid with.
Like stated earlier, masturbation causes a release of the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin has several health benefits including reducing blood pressure, but most notably it helps lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is a steroid that is produced by the body as a stress response causing increased heart rate and blood pressure (2).
So, through the release of oxytocin via. masturbation, you are subsequently helping to lower your cortisol levels which may result in reduced stress and hence less stress-induced hair loss.
Claims about masturbation causing hair loss are unfounded. Whether the people writing those articles have malicious intent or not, the claims should not be made without scientific evidence to back them. This is a huge problem in the hair loss community.
On the contrary, masturbation has a whole host of health benefits, including the potential to reduce stress related hair loss.
In short, I encourage everyone reading this to thoroughly check the sources of articles that you read before deciding to believe them. Remaining skeptical is the best thing you can do when conducting hair loss-related research because misinformation will likely end up hurting you more than it helps you, and that is certainly the case for masturbation.