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May 30, 2023
The truth is, hair does fall out, and it's just part of the hair cycle. However, it can be quite alarming when you start to notice lots of hair coming off after washing or brushing your hair, or there seems to be more hair lying on the floor at home.
While losing around 100 hairs a day is considered normal, there are ways to help stop hair from shedding abnormally. Read on to find out how!
No hair will stay on your head forever——each hair goes through its own five to seven years cycle of growth, then it stops growing for a while, and eventually falls out and gets replaced by a new hair shaft. Because each hair follicle cycle asynchronously, only about 100 hairs enter the falling phase normally.
Unfortunately, many things can shorten the growth part of the hair cycle, leading to increased hair shedding. The primary cause is of course genetics. Other reasons include seborrheic alopecia, wrong hair care, sickness, viruses and bacteria, stress, lack of nutrients, as well as hormonal changes such as pregnancy, childbirth, contraceptive pill, or during menopause.
1. Wash and Treat Your Hair 2 Hours Before Sleep
The key to scalp health and beautiful hair is when growth hormones are most active, which is around three hours after going to bed. If the scalp is dirty or the hair follicles are clogged at the time, it will disrupt the growth hormone activity leading to hair thinning and hair loss.
It is thus best to cleanse and treat the hair and scalp two hours before going to bed, leaving enough drying time to avoid bacteria growth, which can lead to smelly scalp and hair shedding.
2. Brush Before Shampooing
There are three main reasons why you should brush your hair before shampooing:
Also, remember it is important to brush out the ends first, then move on to the middle section, and finally the roots. If you start straight from the roots, it will inevitably cause breakage, as well as unnecessary hair loss.
3. Shampoo Twice
Washing your hair is like washing your face. It is never good to over wash your hair, but you should wash your hair twice with shampoo every time you wash your hair. This is because it is easy for dirt, styling products, oils, etc. to remain on the hair and scalp after a single wash. Over time, it will burden the scalp and hair shaft, resulting in hair loss, dullness, and an overall deterioration in hair quality.
The correct way to wash your hair is to first rinse the hair with water (not just dampen it) to simply wash away the dust from the hair. Afterwards, shampoo once to thoroughly wash away all dirt and hair styling products from your hair. After rinsing, shampoo the second time, focusing on the scalp. Allow the shampoo to penetrate deep into the roots of the hair to prevent oil and dirt from clogging the pores, then rinse thoroughly.
4. Choose Silicone-Free Shampoos, Conditioners, Hair Masks, and Hair Care Products
Most hair products contain silicones of various types that form a protective film on the hair surface for smoothness with less frizziness. Yet, long-term use can destabilize the protein bonds that make up 97% of the hair, whilst other nutrients cannot penetrate; if the product contains water-insoluble silicone, then it can even build up on the hair as it is difficult to wash off. Over time, hair becomes drier, flatter, duller, and more prone to split ends, frizziness, brittleness, tangles and breakage.
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5. Do Not Use Coconut Oil on Your Hair
A lot of people suggests using coconut oil for hair. It does make the hair feel smoother for a while, but in reality, coconut oil is bad for both the hair and scalp. This is because coconut oil is rich in lauric acid (a fatty acid), with a distinct protein structure, which makes it penetrate the hair shaft, and completely coat each strand of hair, making it water repellent. What this means is, the hair may not get the moisture that it needs, and therefore, dries out, tangles, and breaks. Using it on the scalp may also block the hair follicle, causing hair loss.
6. Always Blow Dry Your Hair After Washing
Doesn’t blowing drying the hair everyday makes it dry and weak? The truth is, hair is weakest when it is wet, thus using a hair-dryer at the right distance and temperature can actually cause less damage than letting it air-dry for hours. This is because when hair swells and stretches up to 30% when it is wet. So the longer it stays wet, the longer the swelling goes on, and the more pressure it puts on the delicate proteins and membrane that keep hair intact. Eventually, the cortex swells and cracks, permanently damaging hair.
Secondly, bacteria thrives in warm, moist environments. If your scalp is constantly wet, it may lead to an increase of bacteria and result in issues like hair loss, malassezia folliculitis (an itchy, acne-like condition caused by a yeast infection of the hair follicle and is made worse by sweat that can eventually lead to dandruff or scalp dermatitis), as well as scalp ringworm (a highly contagious fungal infection that causes a red, itchy, ring-shaped rash and can even result in bald spots). In fact, it may also result in the scalp getting smelly easily (in the same way as how the underarm area develops odor).
The healthiest option, is to mostly blow dry your scalp and hair roots, then moderately blow dry your hair with low temperature.
7. Use a Hair Growth, Anti-Hair Loss Treatment
Anti-hair loss shampoo, conditioner and hair mask do not really work. This is because ingredients need to stay on the scalp for at least a period of time before they can really penetrate the hair follicles and work their magic, but shampoo gets washed off within a minute or two, whilst conditioners and hair masks should never be applied to the scalp to avoid clogging the hair follicles. In other words, even if the products contain anti-hair loss ingredients, they are unlikely to produce any effect, let alone stimulate hair growth.
Therefore, for hair growth and hair loss prevention, a leave-on hair treatment / serum used on the scalp is your best bet (treatment used on the hair shaft will not help with hair growth or hair loss).
In traditional Chinese and Korean medicinal formulas, you will usually find Polygonum Aviculare, Danggui, Ginseng and Ginger, whilst the west usually uses caffeine or a chemical called "Minoxidil" (2,4-diamino-6-piperidinopyrimidine 3-oxide). However, with the advancement of science and technology in recent years, other natural patented compound ingredients that are more effective than Minoxidil and without side effects have appeared. These include:
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8. Heat Protect Your Hair
Besides hair dryer, many people use hair straighteners or curlers these days to attain the perfect hair style. However, the high temperatures, which are often much higher than a hair dryer, can negatively impact hair health. The most obvious signs of heat damaged hair? Dryness, dullness, split ends, breakage, frizziness, flyaways, rough or changed texture, tangles, and hair loss. Worse yet, heat damaged hair is not reversible, as once the protein bonds are broken and the hair cuticles are cracked, the inner cortex is exposed, and the hair becomes weaker and less pliable.
The best way to heat protect your hair is, first of all, never apply heat to your hair when it is completely dry, as this is literally like frying your hair. Secondly, apply a heat-protectant prior to using any styling tools. This is because it acts as a barrier between your styling tool and your hair, and also reduces water evaporation by sealing in what is already there. It also forms a seal to prevent moisture from the atmosphere, which causes hair to frizz and styling to collapse, and work to smooth the cuticle, making the hair look smooth and soft.
9. Avoid Tight Hairstyles
Tight hairstyles, such as ponytails, can stress follicles and lead to increase hair loss. If you notice more breakage near your hairline (or a receding hairline), or where you secure your hair back, stop pulling back your hair. Give your hair follicles some time to recover, otherwise your hairline will continue to recede.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep cycle, has been shown to promote hair growth. Moreover, our growth hormones, which help our cells to regenerate, become active when we sleep. Therefore it is vital to sleep enough, and well, everyday.
In addition, when you don't sleep enough or well, stress levels will rise. Not only will this decrease hair growth, but will also increase oil production, leading to oily scalp and hair.
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2. Eat a Balanced Diet
Our hair needs protein, iron, vitamin B6, B7, B9 and B12, vitamin C, and omega-3 fatty acids. Not only do they help carry red blood cells to the scalp to promote new hair growth, they also help keeping hair follicles healthy.
3. Take a Collagen Supplement
What does collagen have to do with hair you may ask. Well, it actually matters a lot.
Firstly, hair is mostly made up of a protein called keratin, which is synthesized by the body using amino acid, particularly, proline. As the collagen supplement enters the body, it gets broken down into amino acids, including glycine, hydroxyproline and proline, that are then used to build new proteins. This gives the body the fuel it needs for the hair, whether it is hair regrowth, or speeding up the growing process.
Secondly, studies have shown that free radicals, derived from UV-rays, pollution, stress, poor diet, alcohol, and other environmental factors, can damage hair follicles especially as we age, causing hair loss and slow growth. Collagen, especially from wild-caught fish scales, acts as an antioxidant that fights and neutralizes free radicals, thereby protecting and promoting healthy hair follicles. One study found that marine collagen was able to fight four different free radicals, while another study observed that it may be even more effective than tea.
Thirdly, collagen makes up 70% of the dermis, the middle layer of the skin that contains the root of each individual hair. When there is enough collagen in the dermis, it can better grip onto the strand of hair. As the dermis thins with age due to loss in collagen, hair starts thinning and falling out faster. By providing the body what it needs to synthesize more collagen, the dermis can stay stronger, thicker, and more elastic, thereby preventing hair thinning.
In a 6-month randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, results showed that daily intake of collagen supplement resulted in a significant increase in the number of terminal and vellus hairs in the target area at day 90 and day 180 vs placebo, as well as significant improvements in hair growth and overall hair quality. A majority of participants also reported improvement in hair growth, volume, thickness, and hair growth rate.
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4. Take a Pearl Powder Supplement
Pearl powder contains nacre that increases tissue regeneration such as collagen types I and III, whilst conchiolin, a special compound also unique to pearls, stimulates collagen promotion, as well as keratin, which is one of the proteins in skin and hair that improves hydration of skin cells, speed up cell metabolism, increase circulation, prevent hair loss and help to repair damaged cells. Pearl powder also contains the three amino acids that are vital in collagen production.
By taking pearl powder, collagen, elastin and keratin production is stimulated, which in turn, improves hair growth, volume, thickness, and shine with less shedding.
5. MSM Supplement is also Good for Hair Growth
MSM is a sulfur compound with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that is found in plants and animals. It is usually used for treating conditions such as arthritis, tendonitis, headaches, muscle cramping and soreness, osteoporosis, joint inflammation, and skin aging like wrinkles in the past, but has been shown recently to promote new hair growth and strengthen existing hair.
Clinical studies have shown that MSM promotes the formation of bonds at the follicle level. These bonds strengthen existing hair strands and help promote new growth. The subjects who took MSM daily saw measurable benefits compared to those who received a placebo. In addition, when taken together with a collagen supplement, the synergistic effect provides even greater benefits for hair growth.
It can be found in many common food products such as tomatoes, apples, raspberries, coffee, or tea, but in order for MSM to show a noticeable benefit to your hair, simply consuming these foods are not enough, hence a MSM supplement.
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