5 Habits That Are Making You Lose Hair – Huffington Post

Posted: Sunday, March 30, 2014

SPECIAL FROM Grandparents.com

Suddenly seeing clumps of hair on your pillow in the morning or clogging up the shower drain can be scary. But hair loss isn’t just from aging—there are some bad habits that could the cause. An average person loses between 50 and 100 hairs each day, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). If you’re seeing bald patches or thinning, however, read below to see if it’s your behavior that’s the culprit.

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    If you experienced a traumatic event, like a divorce, your stress could be causing your hair loss. Extreme stress from “the three B’s – bereavement, bankruptcy, and break-up or divorce can knock emotions out and change the cycle of the hair,” says Jerry Shapiro, M.D., an adjunct professor in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center. In fact, hair loss can occur six weeks to three months after a stressful event. This kind of hair loss is called telogen effluvium, which can also be caused by infections, major surgery, or having a baby. Think back over the last few months and see if there were any extreme stress events. (And keep in mind that regular everyday worries and stress probably will not lead to thinning hair.) The good news: for most, your hair will grow back normally once stress is reduced.
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    A healthy, balanced diet is the key to everything, including healthy hair. A diet that is not high enough in iron or protein can lead to hair loss, says Dr. Shapiro. Those with eating disorders and those who crash diet often experience hair loss. If poor diet is your issue, you can usually reverse hair loss by balancing your food intake. Good sources of protein include meat, eggs, fish, nuts, beans, and seeds; add iron to your diet with foods like lentils, green foods like spinach and other veggies, cereals fortified with iron, clams, and oysters.

The body uses vitamin A to help with vision and hair growth, however, high levels of vitamin A can have a converse effect and contribute to hair loss. Avoid taking excessive vitamin supplements that could cause a spike in your vitamin A. Certain medications can also be responsible for elevated vitamin A levels, particularly retinoids commonly used to treat acne and psoriasis. While you are taking retinoids there is not much you can do about hair loss, says Dr. Shapiro. However, once you stop medication or excessive supplements, your hair should resume its normal growth.

One other vitamin to pay attention to: vitamin D. Though studies are not conclusive, some research suggests that low levels of vitamin D and iron can cause thinning hair in women. Ask your doctor to test your vitamin D and iron levels, and discuss whether or not you should take a vitamin supplement.

What if your habits aren’t the cause?

There are many other reasons your hair may be thinning:

  • Some prescription medications, like those used to treat arthritis, depression, and high blood pressure can cause hair to fall out.
  • Auto-immune diseases like lupus cause the body to attack it’s own healthy cells, including skin and scalp, which can lead to hair loss.
  • Thyroid problems. Talk to your doctor and ask her to test your thyroid to make sure it’s functioning properly—hair loss can be a sign of hypothyroidism.
  • Hormone imbalance. As women age and hormones change there can be a surge of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which can cause hair on the head to thin, while hair to sprout on the chin and face.
  • Hereditary hair loss. According to the ADD, 80 million men and women experience alopecia, or common hereditary hair loss.

If your habits aren’t causing your hair to thin, talk to your doctor.

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