Hair loss is a natural process. In fact, the average human being loses anywhere between 50 and 100 strands a day. Since hair is constantly undergoing regrowth, strands seen in the shower drain or in the teeth of your hair brush may be completely normal, and could actually indicate you're about to experience fuller hair. However, when you start to see excessive shedding that is visually apparent on your scalp, it’s time to take action. Consider the following six factors that can contribute to hair loss unrelated to genetics or medical conditions.
Stress is normal, but when your hair starts to thin more than usual it may be time to lessen your load. It’s important to assess your lifestyle anytime you see a dramatic shift in your physical appearance, whether it be unintended weight loss, dramatic under eye bags or excessive hair loss. If you’ve taken on too many responsibilities at work and your internal turmoil is manifesting on your scalp, consider using some of your vacation time to jumpstart a less stressful lifestyle. While one vacation won’t immediately reverse temporary hair loss, a break from a nerve-wracking routine helps put you on the right track toward achieving work-life balance.
2. Birth Control Pills (in some cases)
Oral contraceptives come in many different shapes and forms, but you can expect at least some hormonal shifts regardless of your dosage. Prescriptions that contain androgens, for instance, might negatively impact regular hair growth. Many physicians can perform an androgen-sensitivity swab test to help determine if birth control is the root of your hair loss. From there, you can talk to your primary care or women’s health doctor about switching to another birth control.
3. Chemical Processing
Subjecting your hair to harsh, chemical-based treatments leaves locks brittle and dry. Unfortunately, the chemicals that break down the molecular bonds in fibers to straighten them, combined with hot straightening iron heat, damages the protective cuticle that surrounds the hair shaft.
4. Inadequate Nutrition
Over time, depriving your body of necessary nutrients becomes apparent in your physical form. Along with a balanced diet, regularly consuming eight, eight ounce glasses of water per day is recommended for healthy hair and skin alike. Keep in mind, hair loss might not become apparent until around two months after your diet changes. If you’re attempting to lose weight, taking supplements can help make up for brief gaps in your vitamin and mineral consumption. Never begin a diet without consulting a doctor first, as restricting calorie intake too much is bad for your hair and overall health.
5. Tight Hairstyles
French braids are back in style, but this might not be a trend you want to partake in if you plan to braid too tight. Cornrows, for instance, can put excessive tension on hair follicles, leading them to temporarily shut down in a condition called traction alopecia. If you want to wear braids, keep them lose to look stylish without pain and detrimental side effects.
6. Styling Tools
Blow drying your hair might be part of your daily routine for a soft, full style, but applying that much artificial heat each morning can take a toll on your locks. Flat irons are even worse since the strands are suffocated between two scorching metal plates with no air to pass through and diffuse the heat. Too much heat damages the proteins and cuticles that keeps your hair moist and free of breakage. For more tips on strategies to avoid breakage and loss, keep up with our haircare blog posts or follow us on Twitter.