Hair loss comes in many forms. Genetic hair loss, due to male or female pattern baldness, is just the tip of the iceberg – although the most common cause — when it comes to the ways you can lose your hair. In some cases, hair loss occurs because of medical reasons, thanks to a condition you might have or medication you might take to correct a condition. In other cases, your hair might break, become thinner or otherwise fall out because of the way you treat it. A number of bad hair habits can lead to hair loss in some form or another. Fortunately, this type of hair loss is usually temporary and can be reversed once you break the habit.
Wearing Tight Hairstyles
When you pull your hair back into a tight braid, ponytail or bun, you’re likely to experience more than just a headache due to the pressure of the style. Your hair follicles are delicate things and constantly putting strain or pressure on them can cause damage. Repeatedly wearing a tight style can contribute to something called traction alopecia, or hair loss caused by pulling on the follicles. The good news is that traction alopecia is preventable and reversible. The bad news might be that you need to completely rethink your style. Pick a looser ponytail or bun or wear your hair down instead.
Pulling at Your Hair
Constantly tugging on or picking at your hair can also lead to hair loss. In some cases, people have an uncontrollable urge to pull on their hair. The condition is known as trichotillomania and its severity can range from mild and barely noticeable to very severe. Depending on your specific circumstances, you might need to work with a doctor and therapist to help you overcome the urge to tug at your hair. Cognitive behavioral therapy can often help people resist the desire to pull. A hair transplant can restore any hair that was permanently damaged or lost due to the condition.
Shampooing With Super Hot Water
When it’s cold out, a very hot, steamy shower might seem like a great idea. But, water that is excessively hot can do damage to your hair, making it brittle and more likely to break. The hot water washes too much of your hair’s protective sebum away, and can damage the pores and follicles on your scalp. Instead of using hot water to wash your hair, try to take a slightly warm shower. If you can stand it, use cold water to rinse your hair.
Heat styling is another bad hair habit you might want to rethink. The high heat from your hair dryer or straightening iron can damage the cuticle of your hair, making it more brittle. You don’t have to give up heat styling completely. Just turn the temperature down a notch or limit the number of times you blow dry or iron your hair each week.
Styling Wet Hair
Your hair is more fragile when it’s very wet. That means brushing it, combing it or even running a towel over it right after you hop out of the shower can cause damage and hair loss. To minimize damage, wait until your hair has dried a bit before combing or brushing it. When you get out of the shower, use a towel to gently pat away excess water. Don’t vigorously "towel off" your hair.
Skipping meals or eating a diet that’s low in nutritional value might not seem like a bad hair habit. But, if you don’t get enough protein or certain vitamins, the health of your hair can suffer. Fortunately, hair loss due to nutritional issues is often reversible. Talk to your doctor about what you can do to improve your diet if it’s causing you hair trouble.
Scratching Your Scalp
Your mother always told you not to scratch. When it comes to your scalp, she couldn’t have been more right. Running your fingernails over an itchy scalp won’t provide much in the way of relief. What it will do is damage the cuticles of your hair, increasing the likelihood that your hair will break or fall out. If your scalp is persistently itchy, one of the best things you can do is figure out the cause of the itch and treat it. One common cause of scalp itchiness is dandruff, which can be treated with an over-the-counter shampoo or prescription medication.
Along with giving up your bad hair habits, you might want to find a way to restore any hair lost or correct any damage. Speak with a hair restoration surgeon, such as Dr. Jeffrey Epstein, so that you have a full understanding of the options available to you. If the hair loss is permanent, a hair transplant surgery might be the best option for you. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Epstein, call his practice in either New York City or Miami. Call (305) 666-1774 to reach the Miami office. Call (212) 759-3484 for an appointment in New York.