Are you guilty? 4 common hair loss habits

PHOTO: Are you guilty? 4 common hair loss habits

SINGAPORE - If your tresses are thinning out, something might be happening to your locks - at the root and along the shaft.

Hormonal changes and poor scalp maintenance can cause hair to detach from follicles at a faster-than-normal rate, leading to excessive shedding and even balding.

Strands that split and break easily suggest that the shaft may be losing keratin, a structural protein that determines its strength.

Now tackle these common causes for hair loss:

Cause #1: Too much… STRESS

When your body undergoes a traumatic period (common stressors are child birth, surgery and crash dieting), it triggers hormonal changes that affect the hair growth and replacement cycle.

Otherwise known as reactive alopecia or telogen effluvium, hair loss can occur two to four months after the stressful event, says Dr Eileen Tan, dermatologist at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre.

Cause #2:  Too much…  CHEMICAL ABUSE

Beware of harsh ingredients found in certain shampoos, hair dyes, styling products, and straightening (relaxing) creams.

Foaming agents like sodium lauryl sulphates (abbreviated as SLS or SLES) can irritate the scalp while artificial colourings can cause allergies,

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and parabens have been found to increase cancer risk when used at high concentrations. Opt for plant-based formulas instead.

Cause #3:  Too much…  TUGGING

Using sharp-toothed combs and excessive pulling at hair (think too-tight ponytails) can damage the follicle and shaft, leading to hair loss.

If you have fragile and tangled locks, use a conditioner that smoothens and strengthens, such as Himalaya Herbals Protein Conditioner ($8.95).

It's formulated with protein-rich herbs such as lotus and chickpea that restore strength to the hair shaft and reduce breakage.

Cause #4:  Too much…  GRIME

Not hitting the shower immediately after your workout could raise your odds of getting a fungal infection - not just on your skin but also the scalp.

Ringworm, the same fungus responsible for athlete's foot, can be contracted through physical contact with an infected person or dirty surfaces.

According to the American Hair Loss Association, the infection usually begins as a tiny pimple that worsens when the fungus eats into hair fibres, causing them to become brittle and break off .

Give your scalp and tresses a thorough cleanse with Himalaya Herbals Anti-Hair Fall Shampoo ($9.95).

With three antifungal herbal ingredients, eclipta, butea frondosa and pongamia pinata, the shampoo also nourishes hair and improves its texture.

Both products are available at Himalaya Boutique and all leading pharmacies.

Get a copy of the December 2011 issue of SHAPE Singapore to read about the latest news in health, fitness, beauty and nutrition. SHAPE Singapore published by SPH Magazines is available at all newsstands now.

Check out more stories at SHAPE Singapore online, www.shape.com.sg.

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