Even if you’re trying to lose inches from your middle, chances are you never want to hear the word thin in reference to your hair. But if you’ve been shedding more than usual, it’s not too late save your strands.
1\Taking steamy showers
Hot water dehydrates strands (just like skin), leading to dry, brittle hair that’s more prone to snap and fall out, explains Ryan Welter, MD, a Boston-based hair transplant surgeon. “Not only are you washing your hair’s protective oils down the drain, but the heat throws your scalp's pores into overdrive to keep up with oil production, which can damage the root and lead to additional shedding.”
Save your strands: Take the temp down a few degrees. “Opt for a warm shower, and try to rinse hair with the coolest temperature possible.”
2\Using hot styling tools
Scorching temps damage the proteins that make up your hair and its protective cuticle. “Once the cuticle is damaged, the moisture balance is disrupted and your hair is more prone to breakage,” says Dr. Bauman.
Save your strands: Limit your hot tool usage—even your blowdryer—to two or three times a week, and start with the coolest setting possible. Always apply a heat-protection spray, which creates a thermal barrier to reduce friction
Starving yourself forces the body to direct its energy (the little it has) towards essential functions—like helping your heart and brain work—rather than making hair. In fact, when diagnosing anorexics, one of the top symptoms is severe hair loss, says Paradi Mirmirani, a Vallejo, California dermatologist specializing in hair disorders.
Save your strands: Eat a healthy diet with plenty of lean protein like fish, chicken, lentils and beans. "Hair is primarily made of protein,” she explains. “It’s the one thing that can make or break your hair if you’re not getting enough.” Aim for 46 grams per day (or about 25 to 30% of your total calories).
4\Mishandling wet hair
Our strands are never more fragile—and prone to breakage—than when they’re saturated with H2O, since the protective cuticle is slightly raised. Brushing or combing locks in the shower, then following with aggressive towel-drying, create the perfect storm for snapping it off.
Save your strands: Minimize post-shower brushing by combing before hair gets wet. Then, blot (don’t rub!) hair with a soft towel after your shower
5\Wearing tight hairstyles
If a tight ponytail or braid is your go-to, beware: Sporting these styles puts excessive tension on the hair follicles, damaging them and creating scars that destroy them permanently, says Doris Day, MD, a New York City-based dermatologist specializing in hair health. This can lead to traction alopecia, a condition that permanently weakens the follicle and makes it impossible for hair to grow.
Save your strands: Loosen up! Try wearing your hair down whenever possible (especially while sleeping; rolling around on a pillow can create even more friction). When you do tie your strands back, keep it soft—if it’s pulling on your skin, it’s way too tight.
6\Scratching your head
Itchy scalp (like that caused by seborrheic dermatitis) may result in hair loss due to scratching-induced hair damage, says Dr. Bauman. Once the cuticle is damaged, the hair fiber is prone to breakage.
Save your strands: Relieve the itch with a shampoo that contains selenium, zinc pyrithione, or tea tree oil, like Head & Shoulders Extra Strength Dandruff Shampoo\. If over-the-counter products don’t help, your doctor can prescribe prescription antifungal shampoo or cortisone foam.