First things first – let’s talk what’s considered “normal hair loss” so we can establish a baseline for how much hair the average woman should expect to lose on a day to day basis. And according to the American Academy of Dermatology, the average adult woman can expect to lose approximately 50-100 strands of hair each day, so if you fall within this category, there’s no need to stress because this amount of hair loss is what we would consider within the realm of “normal.”
That understood, if you can say with 100% certainty that you’re losing more than the “normal” amount hair a day – this would now be a good time to take a closer look at your lifestyle and haircare regimen to see if you’re practicing any one (or several) of the following bad habits that can cause your hair to fall out.
1. You love wearing tight, protective hairstyles
Do you love sleek, tight buns and ponytails? What about tight braids or extensions? Here’s the thing, while protective styles like buns and braid look supercute and are super easy to maintain, fact remains that tight hairstyles (protective or not) will put a lot of tension on your hair follicles, which can then lead to hair loss, or a condition known as traction alopecia. Keep in mind too that after many weeks, months or years of tight hairstyling, traction alopecia can lead to permanent hair loss. Yikes! So if you’re going to wear protective hairstyles, never make them too tight. Also, it’s a good idea to regularly rotate between fully loose and protective styles so that you’re not putting too much stress on just one particular part of your scalp for a prolonged period of time.
2. You don’t eat a healthy, protein-rich diet
Many women don’t realize this, but our hair is over 95% protein, and our scalp lubricates and protects itself with a substance called sebum (which is made from fat). And now you can see why it’s so important to eat a protein-rich diet that contains foods like meat, eggs, fish, nuts, beans, and seeds, as well as other key hair growth nutrients like omega-3 fats, B vitamins, and iron. One more thing – another strategy I highly recommend to help ensure that you’re feeding your body ample hair growth nutrients is to regularly use a high-quality hair vitamin and/or a nutritional supplement.
3. You’re a fiend for heat styling and chemical treatments
You’ve heard the saying “too much of anything can be bad” – and this absolutely applies to heat styling and chemical treatments like relaxers which can both damage the hair shaft (thus leading to breakage), while also putting undue stress on the hair follicle via heat or harsh chemicals which can then lead to hair loss. That said, if you’re starting to notice more hair loss while frequently using things like blow dryers, flat irons, relaxers and hair coloring treatments, it might be wise to step away from the heat and chemicals and start air-drying your hair. In addition to that, start wearing your hair in its natural state more often so that you can help prevent further hair loss, while also giving your hair the opportunity to grow back healthier and stronger.
4. You don’t show your scalp enough TLC
Just think about it – your scalp is just an extension of the skin that covers your body. And just like we’re taught to practice good old hygiene and avoid things that irritate our skin, the same goes for your scalp. Case in point: Not washing hair regularly and/or using products that irritate your scalp can lead to conditions like dandruff and dermatitis – which studies have shown can cause or exacerbate hair loss. Bottom line, a healthy scalp is a happy scalp, and a happy scalp leads to healthy hair growth. So make sure you regularly cleanse your hair and scalp, and also treat your scalp from time to time with a massage and even a bit of aromatherapy can work wonders too. FYI, tea tree oil and rosemary oil are two awesome essential oils that can help soothe the scalp and promote hair growth!
5. You’re a stress magnet
If you’re the type of individual who constantly stresses over anything and everything, don’t be surprised if your worry wart approach to life starts to take a toll on your hair. Also, if you’ve experienced a recent traumatic event, like a divorce or a breakup, this can further push your stress levels off the charts and cause your hair to fall out. Now the good news here should be quite obvious – for most people, your hair will start to grow back once stress is reduced or eliminated. And all you have to do to speed up the recovery process is simply chill out a bit more and start learning to channel the negative energy of stress into more healthy, zen-like activities– like exercising, journaling and even meditating.