What Happens To Your Body When You Wear A Hat Every Day

Baseball caps — also tractor caps, or trucker caps — are everywhere, sometimes worn with the visor forward (to protect the face and eyes from weather and sunshine, as visors are supposed to do) and sometimes worn backwards, with the visor perhaps protecting the back of the neck. Any age, any gender, any time of the day or night. Which brings up an important distinction: What's the difference between a cap and a hat?

As Dictionary tells us, a cap will more or less conform to the top of the head, and lack a brim — beanies are caps, as are the aforementioned trucker caps, because they lack both a brim and a crown. Hats have crowns — rising varying degrees of height above the wearer's head — as well as brims — the more-or-less flat part that encircles the hat, unlike the aforementioned visor. Baseball caps are, well, caps, and cowboy hats are, yes, hats, as are derbies, fedoras, panamas, trilbies, porkpies, and the fez worn by Matt Smith as The Doctor — no brim, but yes, a crown.

Crown? Check. Brim? Check

Time was, there was a certain etiquette to headgear. A male wearing a hat (or cap) would tip it upon meeting a woman, and it would come off upon entering a residence, though not necessarily a place of business. Most churches would ask that men would remove their hats upon entering. Bartholomew Cubbins tried very hard to take his hat off upon meeting the king — 500 hats' worth, wrote Dr. Seuss. Bartholomew aside — what if you left your hat on all the time? Wouldn't it, like, kill the follicles and make your hair die (whether or not it was dyed) and make your scalp break out and cause your friends and family to reject you?


It's a legend — wearing a hat excessively will cause damage to the hairline. Before you relax entirely, there is such a thing as traction alopecia — hair loss caused by excessive stress on the follicles, caused most often by pulling. Aman Samrao, a Harbor-UCLA Medical Center dermatologist, documented one case in which a ballerina was causing her hair to fall out because of the stress of frequently wearing her hair in a tight bun, says Live Science. But that's rare.

Cowboy hats have their own etiquette

Even GQ repeated the silliness in a 2015 article about baldness: "Guys that are wearing a hat all the time are creating their own male pattern baldness. They're not allowing the sweat glands to breathe, and they're clogging the follicles, which prevents hair growth." Which is — how can we phrase this gently? — nonsense. A UCLA Health dermatologist, Dr. Haley Goldbach, told Time that the main issue with hair loss, for anyone, is genetics, not headgear. "Genetics are the main player," said Dr. Goldbach. If that hat is being worn so tight that, say, it's causing a ridge along the forehead, that might possibly cause damage. So could an allergic reaction to the materials used to make the hat.

Mostly, if you wear a hat (or a cap) constantly, and never take it off, you'll end up with the same conditions you'd get if you never changed your clothes. We'll leave that to your imagination.