A little hair fall is normal – around 50 to 100 strands of hair loss a day is nothing to worry about. But more than that and you may have a problem. Hair fall is caused by many things. Stress, surgery, medication, anxiety, even childbirth can cause hair fall. The side effects of some oral contraceptives can also make you wonder why my hair is falling out more than usual. You may also have a deficiency of zinc and iron.
Some of these causes seem a little out of your immediate control. But do you know some of your everyday habits may also be making your hair fall worse? It’s time for a little change in your daily habits, at the start of this New Year!
1. Taking hot showers and using too much of heat
Hot showers should be saved to soothe your muscles after a workout, not your tresses. In fact, hot water can strip the protective oils from your hair, and make the strands dry and brittle. Your hair follicles will go into overdrive to produce the oils that you stripped. This attracts dandruff and dirt, mattes your hair together and causes hair loss. The steam from a hot shower will also raise the protective “scales” of the cuticle a little and make the inner cortex more vulnerable to breakage. The mantra is simple, cold showers for hair health. If it’s too cold out, allow yourself some lukewarm water for your hair. For the same reason, using too much heat for hair styling, especially without protective products, will also lead to hair fall.
2. Fussing with wet hair
Hair fall gets worse when you come out of a hot shower and aggressively towel dry or comb hair. Wet hair is more fragile, as you’ve probably noticed from the strands that are left behind on your towel and the bathroom floor. This is because when your hair is wet, the very structure of your hair changes. The hair proteins in the inner cortex or the thickest layer of your hair forms weaker bonds or links when there’s water around. The best thing to do with wet hair is to be gentle with it. Gently squeeze the water out and use a microfiber towel to wrap a turban. Leave it on to absorb water for around fifteen minutes. Condition your hair in the shower, as it actually helps to repel water!
3. Not having a proper Diet
What’s good for your body is good for your hair. This means lots of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, nuts and good fats. Iron, vitamin D and zinc deficiencies can also be responsible for hair fall. As described on health.com, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, having too little protein in your diet can potentially lead to unwanted hair loss. Make sure to get a balanced nutrition with enough protein in your diet, as that’s what your hair is made of. This is especially important for vegetarians and women who are taking special diets for specific reasons. Always get your daily dose of iron, particularly when you’re menstruating. Good sources of iron include kidney beans, shellfish, spinach, quinoa, organ meats, pumpkin seeds and even eggs.
4. Tying your hair too tight
Regularly wearing tight buns is the reason for “ballerina baldness.” But you don’t have to be a ballerina to get “traction alopecia.” If you wear very tight hairstyles often, your hair follicles get stressed. With time, they become weak from all the tension and your hair starts to fall. You may need a transplant if something like this ever happens, so let’s loosen our tight ponytails and braids. shall we?
5. Too many styling products
Hair products that hold your style for long periods of time may be bad for your hair. They tend to contain high levels of alcohol, which makes hair dry and brittle. Your hair follicles then go into overdrive making more oils, and eventually you get to hair loss. Try to find alcohol-free styling products, like Giovanni Natural Mousse, or the silicone-free Enliven hair gel series, or L’oreal Studio Line’s 24-hour hold. You could also use the natural Aroma Treasures Aloe Vera Gel, but the hold for aloe Vera gels isn’t as great as other gels.
6. Shampooing too much or too little
Shampooing every other day will remove dirt, oils and pollutants that could clog your follicles and cause hair loss. If you shampoo too little, or too much, your scalp could get irritated, inflamed and scratchy. You could get dandruff, and scratching can lead to breakage. Disturbed hair growth will make things worse. The ideal frequency to shampoo varies from person to person, so find out what works for you. A clean scalp is a start to a hair fall-free life.
7. Not managing stress
When you let stress get out of hand, and do nothing about it, it causes thinning hair and hair loss. It’s well known that people who are stressed have thin hair. As per health.com, stress or illness (currently, including COVID-19) can cause hair loss. It’s a process known as telogen effluvium, or the excessive shedding of hair induced by stress.
It’s important to manage stress with exercise, meditation, yoga and anything else that works for you. And if you’re a smoker who picks up the cancer sticks to de-stress, then you’re making things worse. Smoking reduces blood circulation to the scalp, and interferes with the cellular activity needed for proper hair growth.
Some of us tend to think excessive hair fall is just a phase that will pass. Maybe it’s just the water, you think, or the pollution, or natural aging process and there’s nothing I can do. But that’s not true. You may just need to make a small change in your everyday habits to see a change for the better. The worst thing you can do for yourself is to ignore new hair fall patterns. It’s time to get your hair fall in control. You owe it to yourself to do that!