Nature v. nurture. It is the age-old debate about what makes us who we are. Is it what we were born with, is it the lessons we learn and the habits we develop, or is it a mix of both?
When it comes to hair loss, the genes you were born with – nature – play a dominant role in determining whether you will develop some of the most common hair loss conditions such as male pattern baldness and androgenetic alopecia. But the way you treat your hair and the hair care practices you use – nurture – can also affect the strength and health of your hair and impact whether you’ll suffer from hair loss.
Unfortunately, many of the ways we treat or style our hair to make it look the way we want it to can, over time, make our hair look a way we definitely don’t want it to. Try to avoid these damaging hair care practices so your hair stays healthy – and on your head:
- Brushing and styling while wet. When your hair is wet, it is at its most vulnerable and more prone to damage. When you brush or comb your hair while wet, it can stretch your hair follicles and cause breakage. Blot your hair with a towel and wait for a bit before blow-drying or styling your hair.
- Too much heat. Heat may help you dry and style your hair, but too much heat is a terrible thing for your hair. That flat iron can do wonders if you want to straighten your hair, but be mindful of how much heat you use; if the flat iron is too hot, it will make your hair follicles dry and brittle and result in hair breakage. Similarly, use a lower setting on your hair dryer or attach a diffuser to keep the heat from frying your follicles.
- Tight hairstyles. Traumatic and traction alopecia are hair loss conditions that can arise if you apply constant tension and strain to your hair follicles through the way you style and wear it. When you keep hair follicles stretched to their breaking point they will, in fact, break and can eventually die and fall out. Avoid wearing unnecessarily tight ponytails, pigtails, or braids for an extended period or hairstyles that keep hair tightly wound for a prolonged time.
- Product buildup. Gels, mousse, hairspray or other styling products do not inherently contribute to hair loss. But if you leave product in your hair too long without washing it out, it can cause damage which could lead to hair shedding. The key is washing your hair regularly to prevent styling products from contributing to any long-term buildup of sebum-based plaque which could lead to a condition called scalp folliculitis. Over time, the irritation that is the most prominent symptom of folliculitis may make it impossible for the hair follicle to support a normal hair growth cycle. This irritation can become so acute that it damages the hair follicle permanently.
Schedule an Appointment for a Hair Loss Evaluation Today
While avoiding bad hair care and styling behaviors can help you prevent follicle damage and reduce the chances of avoidable hair loss, restoring any hair you’ve already lost may require treatment by a hair loss physician. At the Hair Transplant Institute of Miami, we know how to help men and women restore their hair no matter what the underlying cause of their hair loss.
To schedule your personalized hair loss evaluation, contact us online or call our office directly at 305-925-0222.