5 Reasons You're Losing Your Locks

by Raychel Agramon, RN, MPM September 21, 2020 0 Comments

5 Reasons You're Losing Your Locks

The hair growth cycle is a dynamic one. On any given day, 90% of your strands in the anagen phase, which is the active growth stage of hair. While it’s normal to lose 100 to 150 locks a day, some situations may push you to lose more hair than usual. If you don’t want to shed clumps of hair anytime soon, then you need to be mindful of the 5 reasons why your mane is thinning – and what you could do about them.

  • Stress
  • Everyday life is filled with stress. It can stem from any even that may anger or frustrate you. While it’s the body’s automatic reaction to a demand or challenge, long-standing stress may adversely affect your hair. 

    In fact, three hair conditions have been attributed to stress. They are:

    • Telogen Effluvium

    Here, stress causes your hair to prematurely enter the telogen or resting phase. With TE, simple activities such as hair washing or combing can lead to hair shedding.

    • Alopecia Areata

    Severe stress may put the body in overdrive. It may even trigger your immune system to attack your own follicles. When this happens, hair loss follows suit. 

    • Trichotillomania

    Apart from making your hair rest longer, stress may make you want to pull them out as well. This condition, called trichotillomania, can be a person’s way of responding to stress, tension, or frustration, among many other things.

    What you can do:

    Since stress is the root cause of your hair loss, you must learn how to manage it. Here are some methods that may help relieve your stress, thereby minimizing its toxic effects on your hair:

  • Be positive. Spend time with people who have optimistic mindsets.
  • Perform relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, or meditation.
  • Write your thoughts on a reflection journal. 
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes a day. 
  • Hormones 
  • The hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is the foremost culprit behind hair thinning. It commonly occurs in androgenetic alopecia, which is also known as male or female-pattern baldness. 

    DHT is converted from testosterone through the action of 5-alpha reductase. In comparison to testosterone, DHT is 5 times more likely to bind to androgen receptors,

    When DHT binds in the scalp, it causes the hair follicles to be miniaturized and inflamed. The growth phase (anagen) also lasts shorter, which renders the growing hair unable to break through the skin. Additionally, DHT also makes the telogen or resting phase of the hair longer, if not constant. 

    Sadly, this type of hair loss is oftentimes irreversible.

    What you can do:

    • Opt for topical Minoxidil or oral Finasteride, both of which partially reverse baldness. While effective, you need to continue taking any of these medications if you wish to reduce hair thinning. 
    • Try new and emerging treatments for androgenetic alopecia as recommended by your dermatologist. These include anti-androgens, growth factors, antifungals, prostaglandin analogs, or laser therapy.
  • Genetics 
  • If hair loss commonly occurs in either your mother’s or father’s side, then there’s a good chance that you would suffer from it as well. According to Cranwell et al., heredity accounts for an 80% tendency of going bald. 

    For one, mothers may pass a variant androgen receptor (AR) gene to their sons. Located on the X chromosome, this could alter the hair follicles’ response to DHT. As such, a faulty AR gene could make the individual more likely to develop androgenetic alopecia. 

    Another bad genetic gift that you could get from your parents is a variant on Chromosome 20. According to Dr. Brent Richards, having this – and another X-chromosome variant – can increase your risk of hereditary baldness by as much as seven-fold. 

    Unfortunately, his study showed that as much as 14% of the world's population have these variants.

    What you can do:

    While there’s virtually nothing you could do to change what you have been born with, you could take gene testing from androgenetic alopecia. A positive result would mean that you are 70% likely to develop the said condition. 

    A negative result, however, does not clear you of this condition. It only means that you are 70% less likely to develop androgenetic alopecia. 

  • Nutrition
  • It has long been said that you are what you eat. With that being said, a poor diet may be a good reason for your hair problems. According to a study, the lack of the following nutrients can lead to hair thinning:

    • Iron

    Iron deficiency, which is the most common nutritional problem in the world, may contribute to hair loss. After all, iron is essential for the growth and repair of cells – with fast-growing hair cells being one of them. 

    • Zinc 

    Zinc is a mineral vital for cell growth, division, and healing. A deficiency in this nutrient may lead to hair thinning, as seen in a study of patients with telogen effluvium and male-pattern hair loss.

    • Niacin

    Also known as Vitamin B3, it helps deliver oxygen and other nutrients to the hair follicles. Without enough levels of niacin, your hair will not be able to receive the nutrients that it needs to grow. 

    • Selenium 

    This trace element helps protect your locks from damaging free radicals.

    • Folic Acid

    A deficiency in this nutrient may lead to megaloblastic anemia, which has hair loss as one of its symptoms.

    What you can do:

    Since a deficiency in the above-mentioned nutrients affects hair growth, it's best to eat sources that are rich in the said vitamins and minerals. In case you can't tolerate their food sources, you may always opt for supplements. 

  • Environment
  • City living makes everything convenient. However, it also exposes you to smoke, pollution, and other environmental toxins. 

    For one, polluted air can trigger sensitive scalp syndrome, which can lead to dandruff, itchiness, pain, and an oily scalp. Over time, these toxins can eventually lead to hair damage. 

    Additionally, a study has shown that smoking and second-hand smoke damage hair follicle DNA. This vice can also lead to oxidative stress, with free radicals destroying the strands and triggering hair thinning. 

    What you can do:

    You need not uproot yourself from the city to save your hair from thinning. The best thing you could do is to defend your hair from such pollutants. There are hair care products that can help shield your strands from these harmful toxins.

    With that being said, you should also try to quit smoking. At the very least, you could limit your exposure to people who do. Not only will this save you from respiratory disease, but it can also keep your hair safe and strong.