Hair loss can really take its toll on your self-esteem, especially if you're experiencing it at a young age. Luckily, there are measures to prevent hair loss or thinning before it starts.
While hair loss is often associated with hereditary conditions like pattern baldness; it can also be a result of regular things you do every day, from blow drying your hair to the food you eat. And you may not even be aware that they're affecting the health of your precious locks!
That's why we've taken a deep dive into the common ways you're damaging your hair so you can take steps to prevent or repair it.
1.Drying your hair with a towel
Your hair is more vulnerable when wet, as proteins in the follicles form weaker hydrogen bonds, causing stretchiness. This results in the hair follicles opening up, making them more susceptible to damage. That's why drying your hair by rubbing it with a rough towel can result in frizziness or breakage.
Wrapping your head in a large towel should also be avoided; the weight on your head can pull at your hair strands, causing them to break. And if left on your head for a long time, the towel will absorb lots of water from your damp hair, making it even heavier.
If you're worried about getting damaged hair from drying with a towel, try using a microfiber one instead. Unlike regular towels, they're super soft and won't be rough on your hair. They absorb just the right amount of water, too: enough to dry your hair without having to rub excessively and cause breakage, but not too much that it makes your towel heavy on your head, pulling on your strands.
2.Brushing your hair when wet
Similarly to rubbing hair with a towel, if you’re brushing your hair when wet, there’s a high chance you’re causing damage. Your hair will be considerably weaker when damp, so brushing it — especially from the roots — can result in split ends or flyaways, stopping you from achieving a silky smooth head of hair. Worse still, you could pull strands directly from the root, causing bald patches or thinning!
To prevent this, let your hair air dry for a while before using a wide-tooth comb to gently detangle, starting with the ends.
Tight hairstyles like slicked-back buns and ponytails pull on your roots, resulting in hair breakage or even loss over time if you’re styling like this frequently. This is known as traction alopecia: a form of hair loss.
Thankfully, hair can repair and grow back over time if tight hairstyles, and anything that tugs on your hair, are avoided immediately. However, if diagnosed too late, hair follicles may already be destroyed, meaning natural regrowth isn’t possible.
4.Washing your hair too often
Overwashing your hair may strip away the natural oils that protect and keep it soft, leaving you with dry, brittle strands. Dry hair is more vulnerable and, therefore, more prone to damage; simply running your hands through it, tying it up, or brushing it could cause breakage!
Signs you may be washing your hair too often include:
- Split ends — Washing your hair too much can result in brittle hair, meaning it's more susceptible to split ends and breakage.
- Greasy hair — Although you may think washing a lot will produce extra clean hair, it's actually sometimes the opposite. When you wash your hair, the scalp produces sebum, so cleaning too much can cause excessive amounts, resulting in a greasy appearance. Although your hair may be greasy, it'll still be brittle and prone to breakage.
- Dandruff — Although overwashing can result in greasiness, excessive shampooing and stripping of the natural oils may also cause a dry, irritated, and flaky scalp.
To prevent the damage that comes with washing your hair too much, you'll simply need to cut back on how many times you clean it. Two to three times a week is ideal, but this will vary from person to person and depends on various factors like lifestyle and hair type.
5.Washing your hair with hot water
We know jumping into a relaxing hot shower or bath is tempting — especially during the chilly winter months! But this could cause significant damage to your hair.
Like overwashing, hot water can strip the essential natural oils from the scalp, resulting in dry hair that is prone to damage or greasy hair due to the overproduction of oils. It can also irritate and inflame your scalp over time, possibly interrupting hair growth or even resulting in hair loss.
Turning the temperature down in your shower is a simple way to prevent damage to your hair.
6.Conditioning your roots
While using conditioner can certainly produce soft, smooth hair, it’s important that you avoid the roots. Applying conditioner near the scalp can weigh your hair down, making it appear greasy, flat, and dull — even if you’ve only just washed it!
The scalp produces oils naturally, so there’s really no need to use it high up on your head. Focus on applying conditioner to the ends of your hair where the strands are prone to drying out, and try not to go past your ears. This way, you can have beautiful silky hair without it looking limp.
7.Using heat styling tools too often
Exposure to high temperatures with tools like dryers, curling tongues, and straighteners can be detrimental to the health of your hair. Repeatedly using heat to style your hair can change keratins — proteins found in the hair follicles — resulting in dry, weak stands that are more susceptible to damage.
If you’ve been overusing heated tools, you may notice split ends, frizziness, and your hair looking dull.
You may be wondering: how do I repair heat-damaged hair? Although there’s no quick fix, serums and deep conditioning masks can help restore the lost moisture in your hair. Regular trips to the hairdresser for a cut will also help you keep on top of split ends.
Heat damage can be prevented by limiting how much you blow or style your hair with heat. Give your hair a break, and when you do use a styling tool, remember to use heat protectant before you begin. This acts as a barrier between your hair and the styling tool and locks in moisture, protecting and keeping your hair looking smooth.
8.A poor diet
Diet plays a vital role in the health of your hair. As hair is made up of protein, it’s important to have enough in your diet to support healthy growth. When there is a shortage of protein, there may be insufficient nutrients to maintain and build hair follicles, resulting in hair thinning or loss. That’s why adding protein-rich foods to your diet, like eggs, beans, nuts, and chicken, is crucial.
According to Healthline, a lack of iron in the body is also linked to hair loss. Iron produces haemoglobin in the red blood cells: essential for carrying oxygen around the body, encouraging cells to grow and repair. If you don’t have enough iron in your body, the required nutrients won’t be able to get to these cells, including those that stimulate hair growth.
Red meat, liver, fish, spinach, broccoli and lentils are foods rich in iron and ensuring you have enough of these in your diet will keep your levels healthy.
A balanced diet is the key to healthy hair. As well as protein and iron, vitamins B, D, E, zinc, and biotin are essential nutrients for supporting and maintaining growth.
For more tips for healthy hair, read our guide.
Choose FUE Clinics for your hair transplant
In most cases, damaged hair can be repaired by cutting back on heat styling tools or using a microfiber towel to dry your hair, for example. But this isn’t always the case. If the damage is severe and the hair follicles are permanently harmed, natural regrowth in balding or thinning areas of the scalp may not be possible.
Hair transplantation surgery offers treatment for alopecia that produces natural, realistic results that can improve your confidence.
At FUE Clinics, we offer Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and Follicular Unit Transfer (FUT) transplantation methods. Both involve moving healthy hairs from the donor site and planting them in problem areas.
Our expert surgeons are here to help you understand the process and whether you are the right candidate for a hair transplant. Read our FAQ section to learn more, or contact us today to book an appointment for a free, no-obligation consultation.