Can Masturbation Cause My Hair To Fall Out?
Masturbation, also referred to as “self-pleasuring,” has been linked to almost everything under the sun from blindness, kidney issues, and high blood pressure to hairy palms, a shrinking or curved penis, and hair loss. Yes, some people believe that masturbating will literally make their hair fall out. The truth is there is no scientific evidence to support these claims, yet they persist. The truth is there are few if any physical risks associated with regular, occasional, excessive, or even chronic masturbation.
Now, emotional risks – that’s another story. There can be some emotional consequences associated with masturbation, especially if you are a Christian, or if it is excessive or chronic. For some, who engage in excessive or chronic masturbation, the consequences involve feelings of shame and guilt, anxiety, depression, and/or low self-esteem and self-confidence, along with a damaged romantic relationship (i.e., a partner who feels betrayed or lied to), a loss of employment (i.e., missing days or coming into work late because of excessive, chronic, or porn-related masturbation), and/or social withdrawal or self-isolation.
Masturbation is often considered “taboo” in many social circles and religious communities, which makes talking about it challenging. This is also why so many myths surround it. The belief that masturbating to any degree is not only untrue (except in an extreme and unlikely way, but we will touch on that later) but may also be harmful to a person’s sexuality and mental health.
The hair loss myth stems from the belief that a loss or lack of protein or a change in a man’s testosterone level can cause one to experience hair thinning or hair loss. However, this is unlikely in the best of circumstances. More so, approximately 80 percent of males and females of various ages, races, cultures, sexual orientations, or religions report regularly masturbating, so if masturbating caused hair loss most people would have thin, or balding hair, bald spots, or completely bald scalps.
In this article, we examine why people think that masturbating could cause hair loss. We will also discuss the truth about masturbation myths, investigate the natural causes of hair loss, and offer ways to curb excessive or chronic masturbation, or porn-induced masturbation.
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What is Masturbation?
Masturbation, also referred to as “self-gratification,” or “self-pleasuring,” is a form of “self-stimulation” of one’s genitals for the purpose of sexual arousal, pleasure, and satisfaction. This form of “sexual stimulation” typically leads to an orgasm, although not always. It can be achieved through various means, such as fingers, hands, sex toys (i.e., vibrators), or inanimate objects (i.e., feathers, hairbrushes, etc.). People can participate in masturbation alone or with a partner with one partner “manually stimulating” the other one with their fingers, fists, sex toys, or inanimate objects.
The truth is there is nothing wrong with engaging in masturbation, it only becomes a problem when it affects the person’s life. So, while regularly masturbating may cause “problems” for some people, others may not experience issues until it becomes excessive or chronic. More so, it may not become an “issue” for some until porn enters the equation. More specifically, when masturbation becomes linked to porn, there is a high chance that it will eventually morph into a masturbation addiction or porn addiction – or both.
Still, masturbation, in general, can be a healthy way to experience sexual arousal and pleasure when it is impossible or difficult to engage in sexual activities or sexual intercourse with someone else(i.e., a lack of time, illness, low self-confidence, health issues, a lack of a partner, etc.). Masturbation can ease stress, uplift your mood, and help you sleep better at night. Thus, this form of “self-pleasuring” is a good way to practice self-care and explore your body in a safe way.
Masturbation, however, is not directly linked to any physical health condition or ailment, such as hair loss.
Why Do Some People Think Masturbation Causes Hair Loss?
Some people believe the myth that masturbation causes hair loss due to misinformation. This idea may stem from a faulty belief that because semen contains a healthy amount of protein, every time a man ejaculates, he loses valuable protein needed to help hair grow or help new hair replace shedding hair. Although it is true that semen is rich in protein (approximately 5 gm of protein per 100 ml of semen) each time a man ejaculates through sexual intercourse or masturbation, he only loses a small amount of protein (3-4 ml), which is certainly not enough to make a man’s hair fall out.
Other people hold this belief based on the theory that excessive or chronic masturbation increases testosterone, which in turn increases dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the body. DHT is a hormone that is linked to hair loss. Conversely, researchers found that men who “abstained” or avoided masturbation for at least 3 weeks experienced an uptick in testosterone levels, which goes against the theory that excessive or chronic masturbation causes a boost in testosterone which can lead to hair loss. Regardless, there is no evidence to suggest that masturbation causes elevated testosterone or DHT levels, or a person to lose their hair in any capacity.
What Are Some Other Myths When It Comes To Masturbation?
There are many myths surrounding masturbation, however, science has debunked or been unable to prove all of them. Masturbation is not linked to any physical conditions or ailments. There is also no evidence that it can affect or damage any body organs, such as the kidneys, lungs, or eyes.
Listed below are other masturbation myths:
- Masturbating can cause “hairy palms.” Just like the myth that masturbation causes hair loss, the myth about hair growth on the palms of a person’s hands is also false. There is no evidence to suggest that masturbating will lead to hair growth.
- Masturbating can lead to blindness. There is no evidence to suggest that you will go blind if you “masturbate too much.”
- Masturbating can damage your genitals. This is also untrue. It does not matter how much you masturbate you will not physically damage your genitals simply by “self-pleasuring” unless you are too rough or use sharp-edged inanimate sex toys or use them improperly.
- Masturbating too much can cause fertility issues in both women and men. It does not matter how many times or how much you masturbate it will not prevent you from “getting pregnant.”
Because the concept of masturbation is shrouded in shame and secrecy, masturbation myths are bound to continue.
What Does Cause Hair Loss?
Now that we have established that masturbation does not cause hair loss, what does cause hair loss? That is a great question! Most hair loss, sometimes referred to as “premature hair loss,” is often hereditary which means its origin is genetic. It is not caused by masturbating a lot or a little. However, it can also be caused by medication side effects (i.e., chemotherapy), hormonal imbalances (i.e., during pregnancy or menopause), or due to the natural aging process.
Think of it this way – the average person sheds between 50 and 100 hair each day. Each hair loss is replaced by another (new) hair. This is considered the “natural hair growth cycle.” However, when this cycle is disrupted, or the body replaces a damaged hair follicle with scar tissue, this causes hair loss. Most times (but not always), this disrupted cycle involves a gene. When hair loss is hereditary, it is referred to as “male-pattern baldness” or “female-pattern baldness.” Males can experience premature balding as early as puberty, while female balding typically occurs late in life.
Listed below are other possible causes of hair loss:
- Scalp Infections
- Skin Conditions (.i.e., Eczema or Psoriasis)
- Trichomania or (Excessive Hair-Pulling)
- Hair Treatments (i.e., Perms)
- High Heat or Tight Hairstyles (i.e., Curling or Straightening Irons, Tight Buns or Ponytails, etc.)
- Radiation Therapy (i.e., Cancer)
Can A Vitamin A Deficiency From Masturbating Too Much Cause Hair Loss?
Well, according to Dr. Umear Ahmad, excessive or chronic masturbation can lead to hair loss in some men, but there is no scientific evidence to date to collaborate that. While there have been studies linking vitamin A to semen and lack of vitamin A to hair loss, there is no direct link that masturbation, even excessive or chronic masturbation, could or would lead to hair loss in men – due to a vitamin A deficiency.
Dr. Ahmad, an award-winning Juvida hair transplant doctor in the UK, has theorized that a vitamin A deficiency caused by masturbating too much could lead to hair loss or baldness in some males. Vitamin A is needed for hair growth but it can also be found in large amounts in semen. When a man masturbates and ejaculates, he loses semen, which means he also “hypothetically” loses vitamin A. Dr. Ahmad asserts that excessively or chronically masturbating and ejaculating can cause a depletion of vitamin A which is needed for hair growth (to replace shedding hair with new hair). Dr. Ahmad does concede that this would or could only occur if a male was masturbating nearly every hour of the day, which is highly unlikely.
He also contends that the male would have to already have a vitamin A deficiency for this to be remotely plausible. While a male could experience a thinning of the hair, his whole life would have to revolve around masturbating, and even then he would have to already struggle with low vitamin A. Thus, the odds of this occurring are slim to none. Realistically, masturbating even excessive or chronic masturbating will unlikely to have a real effect on hair growth or loss
Can Masturbating Lead to Lower Protein Levels and Hair Loss?
Protein is a highly complex substance that is essential for life. Almost every living being needs protein to function optimally. This building block of life plays a crucial role in the development of your brain, skin, muscles, nails, other internal organs, and even your hair. Your hair, for the most part, is made of keratin, a type of protein. Researchers have found that the protein that you consume in your diet is vital for hair growth and healthy hair.
If you are deficient in protein, you are at risk of telogen effluvium, or sudden hair shedding or loss. In relation to masturbation, the theory is that because semen contains a healthy amount of protein, masturbating, especially chronically or excessively, and ejaculating each time can cause this substance to be depleted. Protein is needed for proper hair growth. Thus, not having enough of it can lead to hair loss.
However, there is no scientific evidence that this theory is credible or true. On the contrary, the general consensus among experts and researchers is that masturbating will not lead to significant protein loss, which means that any loss of protein is unlikely to have any effect on a person’s “natural hair growth cycle.”
To help you better understand what this means is that there are approximately 5,000 mg of protein in every 100 ml of semen. Thus, the amount of semen released during ejaculation is approximately 3 ml. So, in order to deplete your body of 6 mg of protein you would need to masturbate approximately 35 times – in a day. How likely is that? Not very likely. In other words, let’s say you eat an egg every morning for breakfast. Well, each egg contains 5-6 gm of protein.
What does that mean? It means if you masturbated 35 times a day, every day, you still would not lose enough protein from ejaculating semen during masturbation. So even if you were to lose a minuscule amount of protein during masturbating and ejaculating it would not come close to the amount you will need to affect your body in any way. So, just like the “hypothetical link” between masturbation and DHT, there is no real association between masturbation, protein deficiency, and hair loss.
What Are Some Possible Risks of Masturbation?
While there are some possible risks associated with masturbation, especially porn-induced masturbation, these risks are not physical. They are emotional and psychological, and they are usually connected to shame and guilt.
Masturbation can easily morph into masturbation addiction and/or porn addiction if you allow it to get out of control. What does that mean? It means if you spend all of your free time looking at porn and masturbating, thereby neglecting your responsibilities, friends, job, partner, and/or loved ones, it can quickly turn into a big problem. Porn addiction typically goes hand-in-hand with excessive or chronic masturbation. Thus, it is important to know the signs of porn addiction and to seek treatment for porn addiction if your masturbation is always accompanied by porn use. Porn-induced masturbation is a serious problem that requires porn addiction therapy and treatment.
Excessive and chronic masturbation or porn-induced masturbation can become a problem if it begins to do the following:
- Interferes with your school, work, social life, sex life, or self-confidence
- Causes relationship issues or problems with your friends
- Leads to unemployment or failed grades
- Causes you to neglect your responsibilities, such as caring for your child
- Triggers anxiety, depression, or shame and guilt
- Causes you to handle your genitals too roughly, triggering swelling, pain, or reduce sensitivity in this area
A porn addiction therapist or a sex therapist can help you with porn-induced masturbation or excessive or chronic masturbation. Self-help tools can also help you get a grip on your masturbation and porn addiction (excessive and uncontrollable porn use), so you can experience a healthy sex life with your partner.
Self-help tools that have been known to help porn addicts and those who masturbate excessively or chronically include hypnosis, semen retention, NoFap, mindfulness meditation, apps, books, and online porn addiction recovery treatment programs like Stop Together. When psychotherapy is ineffective, medications are usually prescribed to help with anxiety or depression symptoms linked to porn addiction or masturbation addiction.
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- Purvis, K., Landgren, B. M., Cekan, Z., & Diczfalusy, E. (1976). Endocrine effects of masturbation in men. The Journal of Endocrinology, 70(3), 439–444. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1677/joe.0.0700439
- Herbenick, D., Bowling, J., Fu, T. J., Dodge, B., Guerra-Reyes, L., & Sanders, S. (2017). Sexual diversity in the United States: Results from a nationally representative probability sample of adult women and men. PLoS One,12(7), e0181198. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5519052
- Le Caplain, H. (2021). Hair surgeon: Dr. Umear Ahmad from Juvida says men often ask whether masturbation leads to hair loss. Wales Online. Retrieved from https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/uk-news/hair-surgeon-dr-umear-ahmad-23901442
- Mayo Clinic. (n.d.) Hair loss – Symptoms and causes. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hair-loss/symptoms-causes/syc-20372926
- Asghar, F., Shamim, N., Farooque, U., Sheikh, H., & Aqeel, R. (2020). Telogen Effluvium: A review of the literature. Cureus, 12(5), e8320. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.8320