Thinning hair: touchy subject? We think so. Especially for women. There are a number of lifestyle choices we make on a daily basis that attribute to hair loss. Everything from what we eat to how we style our hair can contribute to thinning locks. But there is good news: thicker hair is achievable! We just have to make a few simple tweaks.
Here’s 7 of the worst strand sabotagers, and how to get them out of your routine… for good!
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RELATED: 7 unhealthy hair habits to avoid
Taking scalding hot showers
Clogged the drain in the shower again? There’s a reason it keeps happening. Did you know that much like our skin, hot water dehydrates our strands, lending itself prone to snapping and shedding? You see, when the heat of the water hits your hair, the sebum is washed away. This process is inevitable no matter what the water temperature, but the hotter the water, the harder your scalp has to work to produce oil, and the more vulnerable you are to malting.
Save your strands and turn the temp down a few degrees. It may be a little chillier but your hair will thank you for it.
And if you can’t brave the thought of a colder shower, try flash-freezing your hair right before getting out. Turn the water on the coldest temperature and let it run through your hair for a few seconds to snap shut the hair follicles.
Overuse of holding sprays
We love nothing more than a product that promises to give ‘all day mega hold’ (am I right?!) but truth be told, they’re making our locks dry and brittle. And what does brittle hair lead to? Thinning. The high alcohol content alone in these products isn’t great, and the damage is only made worse when we start brushing or teasing our hair with the product in it. When you really think about it, our locks don’t stand a chance.
Save your strands by skipping out the products that make your hair stiff or sticky. If you’re prone to losing a couple strands (or twenty), reach for soft-hold solutions like styling creams or mousse that keep the hair’s moisture intact and don’t create friction when brushing.
Excessive tension from tight hairstyles puts stress on hair follicles, causing damage and sometimes creating irreparable scars. This can lead to traction alopecia, a condition that permanently weakens the follicle and makes it impossible for the hair to grow.
Save your stands and loosen up! Wear your hair down when you can, and when its necessary to tie it back, keep it soft. If you feel a pull like you’ve had a mini facelift, it’s clearly way too tight. And when you do need to wear your hair back, try using silk hair ties or scrunchies.
Dry, itchy scalp
Do you suffer from a dry, itchy scalp? Most of us do to some extent during winter. It’s hard not to go in for the scratch when you have an itch, but test your willpower and try to resist the temptation. Scratching the scalp rubs the roots of hair follicles together, resulting in hair damage and thinning.
Save your strands and try washing your hair with a few drops of tea tree oil to relieve the dry itchiness or opt for a shampoo that contains selenium.
While our bodies are incredibly clever machines, when you diet (espeically if you’re cutting out entire food groups), your body doesn’t always respond well. Our brain goes into starvation mode, and focuses all the energy it has on regulating essential body function, even if you’re not technically “starving” yourself. This means it doesn’t have time to think about things like hair growth, and so it quits producing it.
Save your strands and keep a health diet filled with lean proteins and essential nutrients, even when dieting. And if you’re eating all the right things and you’re still noticing breakage or thinning, try adding a collagen supplement into your routine.
Soaking up the sun
Even if you’ve given up sun tanning (a wise move), chances are your hair hasn’t escaped the clutches of UV rays that eat away at the strength and elasticity. Prolonged UV exposure causes strands to weaken and break, while damage to the hair follicle can result in permenant hair loss.
Save your strands and slather on a leave-in conditioner when heading out in the sun.
Taking certain medications
Many women experience hair loss when on certain medications, including the pill. This is often due to hormonal imbalances (and happens more frequently for those on androgen pills), and can often be solved by switching pills or going off it all together.
Save your strands and visit your doctor. You may want to switch to a low-androgen index birth control pill. In the meantime, you can conceal any balding areas or thin spots around your scalp by buffing some dark eyeshadow into your hairline or using hair/scalp makeup. You may also want to try using topical hair growth treatments.
What tips do you have for those suffering from hair loss or thinning?