How to keep your hair on: Hair loss solutions
The root of your hair loss problem could be your diet or bad habits
When you are in your 20s, nearly everyone praises your luscious locks. But you take that for granted by straightening, braiding, perming and bleaching it - not once, not twice but thrice or even more.
In your 30s, you stop receiving compliments about your hair and start spending more time getting hair out of your hair brush.
In your 40s, you start examining your scalp more closely in the mirror.
We feel you.
But take heart, because everyone - regardless of age - experiences shedding to a certain degree. We lose about 50 to 100 strands of hair every day.
It is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of thinning hair as hair fall can be triggered by myriad reasons, such as genes, stress, poor nutrition, hormonal changes and environmental pollutants.
But here are some tips to prevent and deal with the problem and regain your crowning glory.
Load up on protein
Hair is made of protein, so be sure to include an adequate amount of protein-rich foods in your diet. As a rule of thumb, have at least a palm-size portion of protein at breakfast and lunch, try eggs, meat, lentils and nuts.
Avoid going on crash diets
They can result in a deficiency in vital nutrients such as vitamin A, B12 and E, and minerals like iron, which are essential for hair growth. The lack of nutrients can cause your hair to grow at a slower pace and put a halt in the growth of new hairs.
Additionally, when you deprive your body of fat, sebum production is affected. Without this protective layer of oil, the skin and hair become dry and prone to damage. When the scalp gets damaged, hair loss occurs.
Similarly, dryness and damage to the hair strand can cause it to fall out. If you want to go on a diet, ensure you are still taking in all the vital nutrients.
Don't comb wet hair
Before you get in the shower, use a detangler brush or wide-toothed comb to get rid of tangles. Combing your hair when it is wet will cause clumps of hair to get entangled in the hair brush.
Space out hair colouring
Most permanent colourants, be it salon products or box dyes, contain hydrogen peroxide.
This chemical lightens hair by breaking down the melanin in the hair shaft. Regular use of hydrogen peroxide could cause damage to your hair follicle and lead to hair breakage and loss.
Space out your hair colouring, and don't colour your hair until you have let it "rest" for seven to nine weeks.
Use shampoos that are free of parabens, synthetic fragrances and sodium lauryl sulphates (SLS). Chemicals like SLS strip away natural oils from the scalp and cause hair fall. When your scalp is stripped off its natural oils, your follicles get clogged, leading to other icky problems such as itching and lice.
Look for a shampoo that will get rid of environmental pollutants, perspiration and styling products but at the same time hydrate your scalp.
Your body gets flooded with the hormone cortisol when you are under pressure. When this happens, other hormone levels fluctuate in response, leading to hair fall. Thankfully, hair will usually grow back after the stressful event has occurred. To manage your stress, consider meditating or taking up yoga.
Say adios to tight hairdos
Do you pull your hair into a tight topknot or ponytail? You might want to consider switching up your go-to look if you are experiencing hair loss. Avoid hairstyles that place stress on your follicles and damage the hair shaft. Also, steer clear of heavy styling creams and serums that may weigh down the hair.
No more sugar rush
If you want gorgeous tresses, you might want to skip that donut. Some studies have discovered a correlation between sugar and hair loss.
The body processes sugary treats by producing more insulin, giving rise to higher androgen levels. Androgen is a hormone that can cause hair follicles to shrink, speeding up the hair loss process.
Beat the heat
Every now and then, take a break from your heat-styling tools. Heat weakens the hair proteins and causes hair to fall out.
If you need to use a blow-dryer or a flat iron, remember to use a heat protectant before styling your hair.
Quit playing around
This is one bad habit most of us have. When you run your fingers through your hair or twirl your locks around your fingers, you might snap or damage your hair from the friction.
You are also stripping your scalp of its natural oils, leading to dry, fragile and weak hair.
This article first appeared in Her World Online (www.herworldplus.com).