Although hair loss can affect both men and women at some point in their life, men tend to experience greater hair fall, largely because of the male pattern hair loss, or male pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia (AGA). AGA occurs due to excess androgens (male sex hormones). It is reported that by the age of 50, approximately 30-50% of men are bald. Also, the genes and familial tendency have to do a lot with the health of your hair. However, various bad habits can trigger hair thinning and hair loss in men. Let’s delve deeper into these issues.
1. Poor Diet
A diet that lacks adequate nutrition, primarily vitamins and minerals has a major bearing on hair health. Crash dieting and rapid weight loss extensively diminish the number of hair follicles growing hair. This occurs because the sudden cutoff of the required nutrients locks the hair follicles in the resting (or telogen) phase so that they cannot progress to the growth phase. This condition, known as telogen effluvium (TE), is the second most common cause of hair loss as stated by the American Hair Loss Association.
As of the 2015 CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) statistics, nearly 17 of every 100 adult men have a bad habit of tobacco smoking. Smoking tends to affect virtually every body part from head to toe, including your hair. The toxins in tobacco can cause your hair to fall out through a variety of mechanisms, as follows:
* Damage to the DNA of the hair follicle
* Disruption of the normal hair growth cycle
* Sparking oxidative stress leading to widespread inflammation in the scalp
* Inducing hormonal disturbances that interfere with the growth of hair
3. Consuming Alcohol
According to a study published in the Journal of American Society of Plastic Surgeons, consumption of more than four alcoholic drinks per week precipitates baldness, which is most prominent on the temples (sides of the head). Alcoholism can deprive your body of the essential vitamins; in fact, it is now regarded as the most common cause of pellagra – a condition that occurs due to vitamin B3 (niacin) deficiency where hair loss is a key feature.
4. Excessive use of hair-styling tools like hair dryers
Over-styling with hair dryers and irons can wreck the cuticle (the outermost layer of our hair shaft) of the hair fiber, producing multiple splits in hair that will break easily.
According to authors of a recent study, these styling tools can cook the hair fiber, which looks like a “bubble hair” when seen under a microscope. What happens is that the massive heat emanating from these styling tools expands the moisture within the hair, promoting extensive hair breakage. The high temperature also temporarily breaks the chemical bonds holding the hair protein coils together, which albeit makes your hair soft and manageable for some time, the repeated use of these heating tools will in due course lead to hair loss.
5. Unnecessary Shampooing
Whilst cleaning and shampooing help us get rid of the dirt and dandruff that could incite hair shaft damage, frequent shampooing can extract the natural oil from your hair, drying out the hair shaft further. Besides, shampoos contain sulfates (strong cleaners) that may amplify the electrical charges on the hair surface, making it more prone to frizz, friction, and fall out. Therefore, some shampoos are now fortified with vitamins to stimulate hair follicle growth and reduce hair loss.
6. Overusing other Harsh Hair Treatments
Some hair products and treatments do more harm than good. Though keratin and perming hair treatments are trendier in a female circle these days, men with unruly hair have also started embarking on to these unnatural treatments. These treatments rely on using harmful chemicals like formaldehyde that break the chemical bonds of the hair shaft. These chemicals can cause split ends or cracks in the cuticle, rendering the hair shaft vulnerable to breakage. If you continue to expose your hair to these chemicals, you’ll start noticing bald patches on your head pretty soon.
7. Rubbing or Brushing your Hair when Wet
Wet hair is fragile and prone to breakage. It’s a common practice among men to rub hair with a towel after a shower or brush wet hair by force. Both the habits can damage the cuticle, produce split ends, and aggravate hair breakage. Allowing most of your hair to air-dry and even applying a minute quantity of oil before brushing (preferably with a wide-tooth comb) can do the trick. A 2003 study revealed that coconut oil has a potential to guard the hair against damage induced by styling, grooming, or weathering.
8. Spending too much time outdoors in the sun
Needless exposure to the ultraviolet rays (UV rays) from the sun has a double-whammy effect on hair growth. These rays generate free radicals in the skin of the scalp. Although the hair pigment, melanin acts as a free radical scavenger, shielding your hair and skin from damage. Over time, the free radical generation overcomes the protection provided by melanin as it is degraded and UV rays then form cross-links between hair proteins, melting the hair infrastructure and imparting a great deal of fragility to the hair.
Even if your hair is damaged by one or more of the bad habits/factors, the good news is that it can be revived by quitting these habits, adopting healthy dietary habits, and taking the correct supplements when needed.