Seeing hair all over your pillow in the morning or clumping around your shower drain is enough to make anyone freak out. While hair loss is sometimes simply related to aging and/or genetics, you may be contributing to the deluge with your own habits.
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Bear in mind that hair loss of up to about 100 strands a day is considered normal, per WebMD. So, if you’re seeing loss beyond this number, such as unnatural thinning and the formation of bald spots, something else may be going on. Read on to discover five habits that may cost you hair and what you can do about them.
You’re Drowning In A Sea Of Stress
Stress can affect close to every part of the body, particularly stress that’s derived from a traumatic event. It can also cause hair loss, and there are even three specific types of hair shedding associated with high stress levels, reports the Mayo Clinic.
The three types of shedding often linked to stress levels are:
• Alopecia areata: Many factors are thought to contribute to this hair loss pattern, and one of them is severe stress. Alopecia areata occurs when your immune system begins to attack your hair follicles, causing the hair to fall out. It usually starts off in patches but can progress and cause hair loss over the entire scalp.
• Telogen effluvium: In this type of hair loss, stress can push a lot of your hair follicles into their resting phase. This results in the affected hairs suddenly falling out, often when you’re simply combing or washing your hair.
• Trichotillomania: This condition is the urge to pull out hair from your eyebrows, scalp or other body areas. Trichotillomania may be a way to deal with uncomfortable feelings such as stress and tension. People with this condition may have bald patches in the spots they are regularly pulling the hair out from.
If you’re experiencing telogen effluvium, think about any stressful events you’ve dealt with over the last few months or so. If you can identify one, the good news here is that your hair should go back to normal once your stress levels are back down.
Speak to a doctor if you’re dealing with alopecia areata or trichotillomania, as both may require medical evaluation and assistance.
You’re Sporting A Too-Tight Hairstyle
If you’re a fan of the bun style, do you find yourself pulling your hair tighter throughout the day to get that smooth, flawless bun look? The same question applies to habitual ponytails or tight extensions. All of these styles can contribute to or cause hair loss because they damage hair follicles over time, resulting in a condition known as traction alopecia. If you continue to wear a tight hairstyle, you can end up with permanent hair damage and loss and even a receding hairline, depending on the style used.
Experiment with different hairstyles that don’t involve pulling your hair back or down tightly, until you find a look you can live with. While you don’t have to swear off your favorite bun or ponytail style forever, they should be for occasional use only once you’ve reversed the damage as much as possible by wearing your hair in another, looser style.
You’re Styling Too Much
“Too much of a good thing” applies to many hair products and design tools. Excessive use of products such as gels, hairsprays, curling irons and blow dryers takes a toll on your hair. Heat from blow dryers, curling irons and straighteners can make your hair dry and brittle, causing it to break off and fall out more easily. Certain hair products build up on the scalp, which can cause breakage or weaken hair because of their harsh ingredients.
Air-dry your hair as often as you can, and never use hot curling irons or straighteners on wet hair, as it’s more vulnerable in that state. Try to use more natural products, such as argan or coconut oil, to meet some of your styling needs. Feel free to go natural on those days when you’re not leaving the house or doing much of anything, as this gives your hair a break.
You’re Brushing Wet Hair
As noted above, your hair is at its weakest when it’s wet. Brushing damp or wet hair can result in more breakage since your hair is more delicate when wet than dry.
Wait until you’ve air-dried your hair completely before brushing it. If you absolutely have to do something with your hair before it completely dries, use a comb, preferably wide-tooth, instead and be gentle in your movements.
Your Diet Needs Tweaking
A healthy lifestyle and balanced diet are pretty much the foundation for healthy everything else, and that includes your hair. If you’re low on iron or protein, for example, you may experience hair loss. Your hair is mainly protein, according to WebMD, and without a steady stream of it in your diet, your hair won’t be able to grow properly. Iron, vitamin E and other minerals and nutrients are also involved in your hair’s product, which is why a balanced diet is important to keep your locks in good shape.
Combat nutrient and health-related hair loss by evaluating your diet to discover what you’re lacking. Create daily food plans that incorporate all the nutrients you need. Add some mild or moderate exercise to your weekly routine to help boost your physical health and lower your stress levels.
Restrictive diets, especially ones that cause rapid weight loss, can cost you some hair. It’s the combination of the stress on the body that dieting creates and the loss of key nutrients that may spark more shedding than normal. The loss of 15 pounds or more may also create hair loss, but it should go back to normal once your weight stabilizes as long as you’re in good health.
With a diet, your best course of action depends on your situation. If you need to lose weight faster for health reasons, for instance, you may have to put up with some temporary hair loss, so try not to stress out about that as it will make your hair loss worse. For a diet that’s more about getting back into your favorite old pair of jeans, go easier on yourself, and try to limit your weight loss to one to two pounds per week, which is considered the healthier way to go, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dropping the bad habits listed above can help you keep your hair intact if you’re experiencing hair loss, and always remember that it’s important to stay positive and not stress yourself out over hair loss. If you think your hair loss could be related to a medical condition or genetics, see a medical professional as soon as possible, as they may have things you can try to keep as much of your hair on your head as possible.