When Willow Smith did the song, “Whip my hair back and Forth,” it became an instant hit with the younger generation. The hair revolution had just begun, and people took to the streets to show off their manes.
The beauty industry took the cue, went back to the drawing board, and came up with all manner of hair products, most of which promise to tackle hair loss.
Did you know that hair loss amongst men and women is a primary concern? Averagely, a woman loses 50 to 100 strands of hair every day. Anything in this range is normal, but shedding above that quantity may give you a reason to worry.
According to the American Hair Loss Organization, at least 85% of the male population experiences thinning hair by the age of 50, and it gets worse henceforth. For the longest time, hair loss has been thought to be a man’s domain, but that is not necessarily the truth. Women make up 40% of these statistics, and the reasons for the hair loss are more diverse than those of their male counterparts.
Is hair loss genetic? Well, to some extent it is, especially when we talk about androgenic alopecia. However, several other factors will determine whether you will retain a full head of hair in your old age.
So, these are some habits that could be causing your hair to fall off.
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1. Using Too Many Hair Products
It's human nature to want to try something new especially if it comes in beautiful packaging and smells nice. But could that be the cause of your incessant shedding? Think about it this way: if you only try a new shampoo thrice and then move on to a different brand, you may not know which of the two is drying your hair out.
Hair growth stems from healthy follicles. What are hair follicles? They are cell-lined sacs from which hair grows. Those sacs are nourished by sebum, an oily substance that the body produces naturally. For the follicles to take up the sebum sufficiently, the scalp has to be clean.
2. Unregulated Blow-Drying
A quick blow-dry or flat ironing is a quick fix to most people, but the daily heat could have damaging effects on your hair. Naturally, heat penetrates through individual hair shafts, making them prone to breakage.
Standard hair thinning happens from the root, but heat damage makes the individual strands thinner, leading to their breakage whenever you comb your hair.
How can you remedy that?
Another reason why heat causes hair loss is the use of high temperatures. Going above 200 degrees F not only leaves your hair perfectly straightened, but it also subjects it to drying and brittleness. The same happens when you pass your heating tool repeatedly on the same spot to achieve excellent results.
3. What’s On Your Plate?
What you eat determines how your hair grows. A healthy mane will emanate from healthy hair follicles, which will be fed directly by what you consume. If your diet is well rounded, then there is no need for alarm, as you will be getting all the ingredients that your hair needs to grow.
Lack of zinc could lead to brittleness and eventual breakage of hair. It may be inherited or acquired through lack of zinc intake. Protein is the building block of cells in the body, and so the lack of the same will lead to hair loss.
Iron plays one of the most important roles in the body, seeing as it aids in the transportation of oxygen all over the body. Iron comes from red meat, green leafy vegetables, red beans, and a host of other sources.
Lack of biotin, which you get from eggs, most nuts, avocados, wild salmon among other sources, has been attributed to alopecia.
4. Reckless Pill Popping
If you need to take any form of medication on the regular, it will benefit you to find out their side effects. Some drugs interact with the body’s internal formation, leading to loss of hair. Drug-induced alopecia will come from shedding of growing hairs from otherwise healthy follicles (anagen effluvium) or the shedding of resting hairs (telogen effluvium).
The positive thing about drug-induced alopecia is that it is reversible once you exhaust your dosage. Hair loss in anagen effluvium shows within the first few days of the drug’s administration, whereas the loss in telogen effluvium takes 2 to 4 months.
You could suffer drug-induced alopecia from chemotherapy, anti-depressants, medication for treating acne, and hormonal birth control.
5. That Cigarette Is Killing Your Follicles
If you need a push to help you quit smoking, then this is it. That cigarette could be causing your hair to fall off even as you read this.
You see, healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp and then the follicles. Smoking limits the amount of blood going to your body’s extremities (and the hair follicles are as far as they can be), which then limits the oxygen being pushed to those parts. Oxygenated blood feeds our hair follicles, which then grow a beautiful mane of hair. If none is making it that far, then the follicles start dying slowly, inhibiting any new growth.
Other than reducing the amount of blood going through the arteries, carbon monoxide poisons the little blood that goes through. In the end, you find that smoking is non-beneficial.
6. Go Easy On The Bottle
Consumption of alcohol will not inhibit hair growth or your overall health unless you consume it in large quantities. While alcohol will not cause shedding, it will affect some functions in the body that will then result into a lackluster mane on your head.
For hair to grow continually, you will need to consume a balanced diet regularly. Vitamins are some of the nutrients whose absorption is inhibited by excessive alcohol consumption.
Zinc is an integral part of your hair journey, and lack of it causes hair loss. Excessive consumption of the frothy drink will inhibit the body’s ability to absorb the mineral, leading to dormant hair follicles. It still leads to lowered levels of folic acid, which causes the deterioration of your hair’s health.
7. One Crash Diet After Another
Dieting will introduce a regime that will reduce your food intake drastically. The immediate transition from a regular diet to one limited in its nutrients will stress the system so much such to make the hair follicles dormant. You may not notice the changes immediately, but you will see thinner hair after about three weeks of transition.
Not all diets are bad for your health or that of our hair. If you can incorporate all the food groups in your meals, then you will not notice any adversity. If you follow an apple diet, for example, you will only be getting nutrients in the apple and none from other food groups.
Too little of something is as bad as too much of it. Take Brazilian nuts, for example. They contain selenium, which inhibits DHT and prevents hair loss. If you consume too much of these nuts, they cause a selenium overdose that may reverse the benefits.
8. What Is In Your Shake?
Some of the protein shakes on the market could lead to hair loss, seeing as they contain growth factors and hormones. It's not always possible to consume the required amounts of protein that will lead to desired muscle growth, and so most people (men especially) will go for powdered protein to supplement.
Hair transplant surgeon, Dr. Thomy Kouremada-Zioga says that some of these protein shakes increase DHT and testosterone, both of which could lead to hair loss. The use of these products, coupled with intense workouts could speed up hair loss.
Dr. Kouremada-Zioga notes that protein shakes are not necessarily the root of this loss. They just accelerate the levels of testosterone, which increase DHT. She adds that the form of exercise done dictates what follows, saying that cardio workouts bring down the levels of testosterone. However, lifting very heavy weights leads to an increase of the hormone.
9. Heavy Lifting and Balding
We cannot say sufficiently that heavy lifting leads to hair loss in men. What studies have shown is an association between hair loss in men who lift heavy and steroids or supplements. If you're genetically predisposed to baldness, you are likely to be affected by supplements containing growth hormones.
Supplement increase the production of testosterone, which will then lead to the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT inhibits the growth of hair follicles, especially in genetically predisposed people.
Hair loss is not immediate, and you may not even notice it unless you accelerate your gym activity. That heavy lifting will build those muscles that you desire, but it could take your hair while at it.
10. Stressing Your Hairs Out
We have three forms of pressures that could lead to hair loss. Trichotillomania is the irresistible urge to pull your hair from any part of your body, from the head to the eyebrows and armpits. The cause for this would be discomfort and inability to control your emotions.
Telogen effluvium happens when stress pushes the follicles to the resting stage prematurely. You will notice significant shedding that could range from small amounts to about 70% of the hair on your head.
Alopecia areata is the most severe form of hair loss through stress, and it results in massive shedding. Here, the internal system attacks hair follicles, leading to collapse and total hair loss. You will notice patches of hair whenever you comb your hair.
11. Let Your Hair Down
Tying your hair too tightly will not see you lose chunks of hair, but it will cause traction alopecia. As the name suggests, this form of hair loss comes from tying your hair too tightly or braiding it tightly. Traction alopecia takes a while to show, but when it does, it becomes impossible to hide.
This kind of hair loss mostly affects African Americans due to constant hair braiding and ballerinas for their tight ponytails. Luckily, this type of alopecia is within your control. You will only need to change your preferred hairdo and basically let your down.
The hair loss through traction alopecia can grow back, but only if you intervene early enough. If the damage is too severe and the scalp scarred, the damage will be irreversible.
12. Care When Handling Wet Hair
If you are in the (common) habit of brushing your hair right after you get out of the shower, you may want to change that habit. Wet hair is delicate and vulnerable, and combing it while in this state could result in hair loss.
If you cannot wait until you have detangled it or for it to dry, use a wide-toothed comb. Still, the best thing to do is waiting until it is completely dry. Still, on combing, you may want to skip those 100 strokes mama advised. Too much combing will only result in more shedding.
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