How to Prevent Hair Loss 1 April 25 2013
1. Understand why hair loss happens. Hair loss (alopecia) occurs mainly on the head but it can also happen on other parts of the body. It can happen at any age and will affect an estimated 30 to 40 percent of any population. It is not always easy to identify the reason behind hair loss in an individual case but the generally known reasons behind hair loss can range from genetics and aging to diseases and stress and poor diet. Even childbirth can trigger hair loss for some women. There are several types of hair loss, as follows:
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- Androgenic alopecia: This is the most common form of hair loss and is also referred to as male-pattern or female-pattern baldness. Hormones and genetics seem to play the main role here. Male-pattern baldness is hereditary, from either side of the family, and can even skip generations. It tends to occur on the crown and at the temples and when these patches join together, the top of the hair is left completely bald. Statistics show that this type of hair loss affects 30 percent of men aged 30, 50 percent of men aged 50, and 70 percent of men aged 70. For women, the hair thins initially on the frontal area and the crown and moves down the sides of the head, while the back of the head remains dense with hair. This is hereditary and tends to affect women mostly after menopause.
- Remember how hair grows. It's likely you've already read the statistics on how hair grows but it's worth being reminded. Around 90 percent of your hair is following a two to six year growth phase, while the remaining 10 percent is in a two to three month resting phase. After it rests, it sheds, and we can lose anywhere from 80 to 150 hairs a day, depending on our hair type and genetic background. As for eyebrow hairs, we tend to keep them for only 10 weeks! And the growth rate for hair tends to be about 1 cm (just under 1/2 an inch) per month.
Take care of your hair. There are no guarantees that you can prevent hair loss that is genetically programmed or hair loss caused by factors not within your control. However, you can do the best by your hair at all stages to give it the greatest chance of staying in top condition and not leaving your head sooner than it needs to. There are a number of things you can do to take good care of your hair:
Wash hair regularly with mild shampoo and be gentle with your hair. Hair washing can form a part of preventing hair loss as it can keep your hair and scalp clean (preventing the chances of infections, etc. that might cause hair loss), and provided you use a mild shampoo, clean hair will give the impression of more volume than dirty hair, which tends to sit flatter and more parted than clean hair.
- Don't subject your hair to frequent, constant heating and drying procedures. Heat weakens hair proteins, no matter the gimmicks promising softness and shine, and constant heating and drying can lead to brittleness and fragility that causes hair loss that would not have occurred otherwise. Minimize the usage of hair dryers, hot curlers, hot brushes, hair straighteners, hair fasteners, and chemical treatments and your hair will last longer. And watch where you put those heated tools; burned scalps can permanently damage hair follicles! Ultimately, natural drying is best for you hair, so aim to dry it naturally more often than drying it with heat.
- Slow down on the dyeing. Never color your hair more often than 6 to 8 weeks and try for semi-coverage rather than full dyeing. When it comes to going gray, it's a lot kinder to your hair to let it turn gray than to dye it. While there are a lot of well-meaning comments about not needing to look older than you are, this ageist "beauty before health" slant overlooks the value of having your hair at all!
- Be careful how you style your hair. Some styles that require tight pulling and elastics, clips, etc. can be a cause of hair loss if done on a daily basis. For example, tight ponytails, braiding tightly, corn-rows, and plaits, can lead to significant hair loss when done daily. Winding hair tightly onto rollers, especially heated rollers, is also liable to cause more hair loss. The medical name for loss of hair due to hairstyles that are too tight is known as "traction alopecia" and it is completely preventable as a cause in and of itself!
- Avoid layering cuts that lose a lot of your hair. If you're already experiencing hair loss, don't speed it up by having the hairdresser remove more hair!
- Avoid brushing wet hair. This snaps off a lot of hair that could still be growing! If you must comb wet hair, use a very wide-toothed comb. Also avoid brushing hair too frequently as doing so can injure hair and increase loss. Use your fingers to undotangles, not a comb or brush.
- Avoid rubbing hair vigorously with a towel after washing it. This can also lead to hair breakage. Pat it dry gently instead.
- Protein-enhanced shampoos and conditioners are an eye-trick, not a hair solution. They make hair smoother and thicker temporarily because they fill in gaps on the hair shaft. However, they do not repair damaged hair, so hair that is going to fall out from poor care or other reasons, will still fall out. Shampoo does not increase hair amount either.
- When your hair is dried, use a soft-bristled brush to brush it.
Get your stress under control. Stress damages all of your body, and your hair is no exception. Loss of hair can be one of your body's primary signals that you're overdoing things and that it's time to pull back.
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- Be sure to get adequate sleep, the restorer of good health.
- Exercise regularly. Good as a stress reduction strategy, physical activity also encourages better circulation, including for your