Every strand of hair on your head has a lifespan between about 3 to 5 years. Hair follicles have a cycle of active growth, transition, and rest. Hair loss occurs when your hair’s growth cycle is disrupted. Hair loss is most commonly caused by your genetics and becomes more common in men and women with age.
The second most common cause is telogen effluvium. This condition occurs when more of your hair enters the rest cycle, during which it falls out. Telogen effluvium can be caused by: stress, pregnancy, medication side effects andother underlying health conditions If you’re experiencing hair loss that leads to bald spots, patchiness, or large clumps of hair coming out, you should see your primary healthcare doctor or a dermatologist for a diagnosis.
Whether your hair loss is the result of a chronic or short-term health condition, you can take action to protect the hair you have. Keep watching for tips on keeping your hair healthy and strong. You can follow a few hair hygiene tips to improve your overall hair health and possibly prevent hair loss.
1. Avoid hairstyles that pull on the hair.
Hair is flexible, but research shows that your hair can only be stretched so much before becoming permanently damaged. Hairstyles like cornrows, tight braids, and ponytails can pull your hair away from your scalp and loosen the bond between your hair and scalp over time.
2. Avoid high-heat hair styling tools.
Using heat to style your hair leaves your hair follicle dehydrated and vulnerable to damage. Hair dryers, hair straighteners, and curling irons can all damage your hair over time by causing moisture in your hair shafts to expand.
3. Don’t chemically treat or bleach your hair.
Chemically treating hair with methods such as bleaching damages hair by splitting protein molecules called keratin.
If you’re concerned about hair loss, limit your use of dyes, highlights, peroxide treatments, and perms.
4. Use a shampoo that’s mild and suited for your hair.
The purpose of shampoo is to cleanse your hair of dirt and excess oil.
Overwashing with shampoo can potentially harm your hair. Sulfates and some other ingredients have been linked to frizz, scalp dryness, and fragile hair. There’s no evidence that any specific ingredients in shampoo cause hair loss, but they might contribute to less than ideal hair health. If you notice your hair is overly dry or frizzy, try a shampoo that’s as close to all-natural as possible.
5. Use a soft brush made from natural fibers.
Using a soft brush with fibers that are natural can potentially promote healthy oil levels on your hair. The keratin proteins in your hair are stacked like shingles on a roof, so brushing them gently in one direction, can help starting at the top and continuing through to the ends, can help smooth and condition your hair cuticle. Brushing hair daily can also help you avoid seeing hair clumps in your shower drain.
Hair loss is common, especially in older adults. By far the most common cause of hair loss is genetics. Usually, genetic hair loss is characterized by general thinness at the top of the scalp in women and a receding hairline and bald spot at the crown in men. Some treatments may stop hair loss and even help you regrow some of your hair. Home remedies, lifestyle and dietary changes, and over-the-counter medication may improve the appearance of thinning hair.