Okay, we’ll continue our discussion on what I feel are the top 12 reasons that women experience excessive hair breakage, falling and thinning. To read the first part of the article Why Is My Hair Breaking, see Part 1 here.
4) You Suffer From Hand in Hair Disease. After chopping off their relaxed hair and feeling their soft coils, many women and/or their mates become afflicted with a new disease called HIMH Syndrome. Those suffering from “Hand in My Hair Syndrome” can be seen idly playing with their own or someone else’s hair, pulling it, stroking it, twisting or braiding then and untwisting and unbraiding it, twirling it around a finger, flipping it around, etc. Though we poke fun at those with this “disease,” constantly pulling and twisting your hair could be a symptoms of a serious anxiety disorder known as trichotillomania, or compulsive hair pulling. You will certainly find that your hair is breaking.
PubMed Health describes it as: Trichotillomania is hair loss from repeated urges to pull or twist the hair until it breaks off. Patients are unable to stop this behavior, even as their hair becomes thinner.
Experts at PubMed Health go on to say: Trichotillomania is a type of impulsive control disorder. Its causes are not clearly understood. It may affect as much as 4% of the population. Women are four times more likely to be affected than men and derive a sense of relief, pleasure or gratification after the hair pulling.
Most of the time the HIMH sufferer is unaware of their habit. This syndrome not only contributes to oily computer keyboards , television remotes and steering wheels. It can also cause troublesome oil smears on important documents at work and lead to severe and rather embarrassing hair breakage.
Most women with HIMH Syndrome have one favorite spot on their head where their hand goes almost automatically to twirl and pull their hair. If that spot coincides with where your hair is short and breaking, you at least know what the problem is. There is no pill you can take to treat this disease, but it can be managed by diligent use of protective styles like flat twists and French braids where you can’t get to your hair. Wigs are also helpful to keep hair “out of sight” and hopefully “out of mind.” If your problem seems serious, please see your doctor about therapy.
5) Poor Scalp Health. Some scalp conditions and medications affect your body as well as your hair. In other cases, you may just need to take better care of your hair or scalp than you have been doing. White flakes are dandruff and can be easily managed. However, yellow flakes usually indicate a more serious scalp problem called seborrheic dermatitis which is related to hormonal imbalances, scalp fungus and possibly neurological problems. Put nourishing oils in that area then massage the scalp for about 10 minutes. Try to do this twice a day. In the morning and at night before you go to bed. Neem oil mixed with coconut oil, Jojoba oil, Vitamin E oil, rosemary infused olive oil are all excellent choices for improved scalp health. Most dandruff and scalp itching is caused by either an allergic reaction to a product, or by bacteria or fungus on the scalp.
6) High Levels of Stress. Worry, anxiety and stress can wreck havoc on your hair and skin. When stressed out some women experience their hair breaking in just one spot – typically one side, the crown or the back of their head.
Stressing can make your hair fall out to the point where you have bald spots. A shock to your system – heart attack, emergency surgery, child birth complications, crash diets, job loss or other severe stress, thyroid problems — can push hair into its resting, or telogen, state. Approximately 45-60 days later, you may notice that your hair is falling out. This condition (telogen effluvium) is often described as hair “coming out in handfuls.” Yikes!
Try to avoid stress if possible, but hey, life brings us both cherries and lemons. Manage your stress with relaxing activities such as a massage, a hot bath, a dance or aerobics class at the gym, a bike ride or a hike with your children, a good book, or talking it out with a friend.
7) Failure to Properly Moisturise and Seal Hair. Keep your hair and scalp moisturised. Usually the area where women are experiencing breakage is where their scalp is itchy and the hair dry and crunchy. A daily scalp spritz of aloe vera juice, distilled water and essential oils that kill fungus and bacteria such as clove, lemongrass, sweet orange, peppermint, rosemary, oregano and lavender. Because the ends of your hair are the oldest and are more prone to breakage you should focus on moisturising and sealing your ends every day to every few days, depending on your hair type. After applying your leave-in conditioner apply a water based moisturiser then seal the moisture in with an oil and/or butter to trap moisture in the hair.
8) Damaging Hairstyles, Styling Tools and Styling Methods. Avoid styles which pull on your hair follicles, excessive heat from flat irons and blow dryers, sleeping on rollers which may damage the scalp, and chemicals such as relaxers, bleaches and dyes.
Reduce or eliminate the use of high heat to straighten or curl your hair. This includes being out in the sun without protective headwear like hats and scarves. Too much sun can turn your hair into a brittle, dry mop that breaks and splits easily. Wearing styles that pull your hair too tight (such as braids, hair pieces, cornrows and ponytails), may cause traction alopecia. When your hair follicle is damaged by styles that constrict the scalp, your hair cam break off or fall out. Scientific studies have shown how damaging certain styles can be to the hair and scalp.
Protective styles are worn to protect the ends of the hair which are the oldest and are more prone to breakage. If your hair is very long, the ends of your hair could be 10 or more years old! When wearing a protective style hair ends are tucked away, protecting them from rubbing against your coat collar and/or being exposed to heat, the sun, or cold drying air. Low manipulation styles may expose hair ends, but your hair is not styled on a daily basis, so it has the opportunity to avoid being handled and thereby, avoid breakage.
Protective/low-manipulation styles include two strand twists, flat twists, braids (with or without extensions), buns and up-dos, full weaves, and wigs. Really, any style that protects the ends of your hair from exposure to water, heat or wind is a protective style. Protective styling is a really good way to maintain growth if your hair is breaking at the ends. But the less stress you put on hair by manipulating it with things like combing and heat styling, the less likely it will be for your hair to suffer damage resulting in split ends and breakage.
9) Use of Hair Products That Your Hair Hates. Not every product works on every head of hair, even if you have the same hair type as someone else. If you are somewhat of a PJ (product junkie) and itching to try a new product, please try just one at a time so that you can accurately assess how your hair responds to it.
There are many variables in hair care including body chemistry, municipal water quality, and even the pipes in your home that may impact how your hair responds to products. Not only that, what worked for your hair six months ago may not be working NOW, and require an adjustment in your routine.
Sometimes something as simple as adding a bit of your favorite hair oil and some Aloe Vera juice to a conditioner can change your hair’s response.
10) Improper Protein/Moisture Balance. Black Hair 101 breaks down the issue here, setting out how your hair behaves when there is too much moisture vs. too much protein. Remember protein adds strength and moisture adds elasticity… too much “structure makes the hair hard and rigid and in some cases tough.”
When your hair has been over-moisturized, your hair will look mushy, soft, and won’t hold a curl. Your braid outs and twist outs will be very limp and disappointing. Overmoisturized hair has a spongy feel to it. When hair lacks sufficient protein, it will pull and stretch when combed, then break. “It will always stretch first then break because of the low structural protein stores, and overabundance of moisture.”
On the other hand, too much protein will “leave your hair hard and unmanageable and tough like a Brillo pad.” As discussed above, hair that is properly moisturized has enough elasticity that it won’t break when performing normal grooming. “Hair that breaks with very little tension or stretching is a sign of an overabundance of protein, and a deficiency of moisture.
Be sure to take the time to analyze your hair so you know if you need to add more moisture, or if protein strengthening treatments is the answer. Jumping on a treatment regime without knowing why you are using it just because someone else did is foolish.
11) Tugging, Pulling and Breaking Your Hair When Detangling. Tangles and single strand knots lead to breakage, which is one reason why you should totally avoid combing your hair when it is dry. Detangle dry hair with your fingers only; always detangle wet hair with a wide tooth comb after conditioner has been applied to hair.
Comb your hair only when properly moisturized and conditioned with a detangling conditioner with a lot of “slip” to it. This enables the strands of your hair to slide by each other. Protect your hair from being pulled and tangling while you sleep with a silk or satin pillowcase, or a silk or satin scarf/hair bonnet. If you notice split ends or you are suddenly getting a lot of tangles or knots, it may be time to trim your hair ends. Aim to clip ¼ to ½ inch 2-3x per year to keep your hair healthy and lessen the opportunity for breakage caused by split ends and knots.
12) Poor Nutrition or Health. A good diet is essential to nourishing all parts of your body, including your hair follicles. Solid nutrition includes not only what you eat, but what you drink. For some women, drinking more water improves their hair condition almost instantly. Avoid waiting until you are thirsty to drink, by then you are already dehydrated. Aim for 6-8 glasses of water per day, plus tea, coffee or juice. If you are dehydrated, your hair is as well.
Warning labels on some medications indicate that hair loss is a side effect of the drug. Anticlotting drugs , cholesterol-lowering drugs, antidepressants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), high blood pressure medications, drugs for menopause, birth control, and antibiotics may be culprits. Hair usually grows back once the medication is stopped, but not always.
If you eat a lot of fast food or out at restaurants, nutritional supplements may be helpful. Speak with your doctor or pharamcist for recommendation and guidance for a daily multi-vitamin or herbal supplements, especially if you take prescription medications.
Some women take vitamins of particular benefit to their hair. In the UK one of the most popular remedies for hair loss is Nourkin tablets and cleansing regime. In the U.S. It is common for hear about people taking Hairfinity, MSM horsetail, or 5000 mcg of Biotin daily.
Many women suffering from hair loss and breakage ingest a diet much too high in simple carbohydrates (baked goods, breads) and too low in protein (meat, beans, soy, fish, eggs, dairy). Both your hair and body need sound nutrition to thrive, so eating quality protein foods, fresh fruits and a variety of vegetables daily will provide your hair with the support needed.
In closing, these 12 tips will help you take better care of the hair and scalp on your entire head; but be sure to give the areas suffering from breakage a bit of extra attention and care. Be gentle and patient as you work to correct the damage done to your hair. Your hair will slowly grow back. Ultimately, hair loss suffered by breaking or falling can be alleviated with the right hair care regime for your hair and lifestyle.
About the Author (Author Profile)Blogger, writer, relationships/dating expert, fitness trainer and natural hair enthusiast since 1997. Sharing information from grandmomma, books and scientific journals, as well as my personal discoveries and experiences with natural hair as we journey from relaxers, flat irons and weaves together.
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