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Ten bad habits that cause hair thinning

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And everything you can do to preserving your crowning glory
“Oh my God, you look thinner!” It’s everyone’s favorite greeting but heaven forbid if someone was referring to our lustrous locks! Sadly it’s commoner than you think. Talk to any women in her 20s-40s, and chances are she’ll tell you that hair fall is ruining her beauty sleep. Of course we all have periods when we shed more than usual but if you can see your parting getting wider or if you scalp is discernable through your strands then it’s time for to cut back on habits than could be worsening hair thinning. “Many aspects of our lifestyle, from the way we style our hair to the food we eat and the stress of our jobs can impact the strength of hair fibers,” says Dr. Sonal Shah, trichologist and co-founder of Richfeel Hair and Scalp Clinic. Thick, lustrous hair can be yours with just a few tweaks to your lifestyle and current strand habits. Check out the ten worst things that cause hair fall.

1. Taking hot showers

It may feel comforting to soak tired, sore muscles at the end of the day in a steamy shower but all that heat is bad for your skin and strands. “Hot water dehydrates strands, causing them to become dry and brittle,” says hair stylist Teresa Chen. “Not only is hot water washing out the protective oils from your scalp but it’s also opening up your scalp’s pores, stimulating them to produce more oil,” she explains. The result: your scalp gets oilier and you shampoo oftener to get rid of that. The more you wash, the more hair you lose. “I always advise clients to use tepid water to shampoo and cool water to rinse out conditioner,” says Chen.

2. Using hot styling tools

Skipping heat protectant products when you style is the worst thing you can do for your hair. “There’s a reason why products like Toni&Guy Heat Protection Mist: High Temperature Protection are there,” says salon owner Ahlan Cheng wryly. If you’re too lazy to use such a spray the heat from the dryer or straightener can damage strand proteins and cause excessive dryness and dullness. “These hair products not only nourish and style strands but create a barrier between the hot plates of the styling tool and your hair shaft,” she explains. Thus hair stays strong and shiny. Some hair products are also infused with sun filters that shield against UV rays. We recommend Schwarzkopf Bonacure Color Freeze Spray Conditioner For Color. As an additional safety measure, let your hair air dry most days and use a blow dryer a couple of times a week at the coolest setting possible.

3. Going on crash diets

Of course it feels great to fit into your skinny jeans again but starving yourself of valuable nutrition forces your body to direct whatever little energy is has the little it has towards vital functions like supporting your heart and brain, rather than helping your hair gleam. “Starvation diets are the number one cause of dullness and hair thinning among young women,” says wellness expert Naini Setalvad. Save your strands by eating a balanced diet with adequate protein like fish, chicken, lentils and beans, fresh vegetables, fruit and whole grain. “You hair is primarily comprised of protein and not getting enough can ruin your hair,” says Setalvad, adding that you need to eat two bowls of cooked lentils or two egg whites or pieces of chicken/fish daily.

4. Ill-treating just washed strands

Your hair is most fragile after a shampoo when it’s most prone to breakage. “Just-washed hair is saturated with water that causes the cuticles to be slightly raised,” explains Chen. “Roughly brushing it and aggressive towel drying can cause the cuticles to snap.” The best way to save wet strands? Use a brush like Tangle Teezer Aqua Splash Detangling Brush- Pink/White that’s specially formulated for combing wet hair. Then blot dry gently—never rub—with a soft towel to soak up water and air dry. If you have to use a wide toothed comb or brush use one with wide apart bristles like Vega Shampoo Comb or Kent Salon KS07 Grooming & Straightening Brush for Thick and/or Wet Hair.

5. Pulling your strands back tightly

Tying your hair back tightly might look chic but over time it can cause breaks in hair and a receding hairline. The roots bear the brunt of all that tugging and in time, the hair follicles weaken their grip on strands, causing them to fall out. “Scars are then created on follicles making it impossible for hair to regrow there,” says Dr. Shah. If you’ve noticed your hairline looking wider than usual, opt for softer, open hair styles. Wear your hair down and if you have to tie it up, keep it soft and loose.

6. Using long-lasting hold styling products

If your hairspray or gel claims it ‘all day stay’ you should avoid it like the plague, says Chen, unless you like tough, coarse strands. “Typically such formulations have higher alcohol levels that dry out strands, making them weak and brittle.” When you comb or brush hair later, it invariably breaks and falls off. The trick is to opt for soft hold styling gels and creams that infuse strands with moisture and nourish them from within. Nykaa recommends Pantene Pro-V Oil Replacement

7. Pulling back hair in the same ponytail position and using harsh hair

Pulling your strands into a ponytail in the exact same spot every day causes extra stress and surface breakage, causing hair to get weaker and break in the spot leaving you with a bunch of flyaways that need to be patted down with hairspray. To prevent this from happening, experiment with high and low ponies and occasionally plaiting your strands.

8. Itchy scalp conditions

Dandruff, flaky and itchy scalp conditions cause constant itching that could result in hair loss due to scratching induced hair damage. Tearing at your hair with fingernails damages the hair fiber and leads to hair fall. Fix the problem at the root. Visit a dermatologist to find the cause of itchiness and if its dandruff, invest in a good quality shampoo that contains scalp calming selenium, zinc and tea tree oil. Try Head & Shoulders Dry Scalp Care Shampoo

9. Exposing strands to sunlight

It’s not enough to slather sunscreen on your face and protect your eyes with sunglasses. Your hair needs protection too. Constant exposure to UVA and UVB rays can weaken the strength and elasticity of your tresses, causing the cuticles to weaken. The result: brittle, dull hair. Dr. Shah suggests covering up with a scarf or carrying an umbrella when you know you’re going to spend time outdoors. You could also try using a conditioner with a built in sunscreen like L'Oreal Paris Colour Protect Conditioner formulated to sun-protect colored strands.

10. Being lazy about washing your hair

We know how convenient it is to skip shampooing thanks to super convenient dry shampoo. But use it one too many times and you could end up with product buildup, dandruff and an itchy scalp. Not only can this dull hair and slow down hair growth it can also cause hair fall. There’s no harm using dry shampoo like Batiste Dry Shampoo Floral & Flirty Blush Seduction Fleurie in an emergency but remember to wash hair at least every third day especially if you sweat a lot or use many products. To prevent excessive dryness switch to a sulfate-free shampoo like Richfeel Sulphate Free Shampoo and Schwarzkopf Bonacure Color Freeze Sulfate-Free Shampoo
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