Fashion

Signs you are losing your hair and what to do about it

Top tips include tying your hair less tightly and staying away from heat styling

Did you know that we have approximately 120,000 to 150,000 hair follicles on our scalp when we are born?

Each is able to produce hair for an average of 25 cycles throughout our life when the hair follicles are kept healthy and not damaged.

For example, some hair fall when you're shampooing your hair or combing your locks is to be expected. Losing 50 to 100 strands of hair a day is totally normal and no cause for alarm.

However, a change in hormones, improper diet, stress, genetics, vitamin deficiencies, illness, and even bleaching or perming can cause hair thinning.

Diseases more common to women, such as thyroid disease, autoimmune illness, iron deficiency and lupus, are also culprits that contribute to hair loss.

Oral contraceptives can also contribute to hair loss due to the hormones in birth control that suppress ovulation.

But when is it actually time to worry? Here are the top signs of thinning hair and what you can do about it.

HAIR CLUMPS

If your hair falls in strands, you have nothing to worry about. However, if you notice that your hair is falling off in clumps when you run your fingers through it or brush it, it's likely a bad sign.

Keep a lookout for any bald patches on your scalp as these two signs are usually related. Other signs include an increased amount of hair falling in the shower after shampooing or even on your pillow case.

MORE VISIBLE SCALP

As hair thinning occurs gradually and not overnight, a decrease in hair volume is generally tricky to spot because we regularly touch our hair each time we shampoo.

If you start to notice that your scalp is becoming more visible at the hairline around your face or at your hair parting, that could also indicate that your hair might be thinning.

A number of reasons could lead to this, including frequent combing which can result in accelerated hair fall, as well as excessive pressure on your scalp along your hair parting from long hours of tying your hair up into a tight ponytail or hair bun.

THINNER PONYTAIL

Those with longer hair, pay attention to the thickness of your ponytail or hair bun - notice if your ponytail is getting thinner or your hair bun is getting smaller (and thus needing more twists of your hair elastic). How tight your ponytail is fastened and how heavy your hair is can also contribute to hair thinning.

What to do to prevent thinning hair

Avoid tight hairstyles such as braids, buns or ponytails, as they tug at the hair follicles over long periods of time and gradually weaken and damage them.

You can also use a wide-toothed detangling comb as it is less likely to yank at your hair and cause breakage and damage to hair follicles.

Keep heat styling and harsh chemical processes to a minimum. These can affect the health of your scalp and hair follicles and cause premature hair thinning.

Lastly, protect your scalp like you would your skin. Use an umbrella when you are outdoors and if possible, apply a UV-protecting mist on your hair and scalp to shield it from harmful UV rays and free radicals.

This article first appeared on Her World Online (www.HerWorld.com)

WELLNESS & BEAUTY