Hair in the sink, or clogging your shower drain? Have you been shocked when you saw a photo or video of you from the back with a much-larger-than-you-realized balding spot? You can take some comfort in knowing this is not unusual. Most men only realize they are losing their hair when they see a photo or someone tells them they are developing a bald spot. And, if you’re like most, you immediately start to wonder if there’s a way to slow it down or even reverse it. You probably ignored it at the time, but now you’re remembering that ad or blog post you saw claiming that hair products can cause hair loss. In this post, we’ll reveal the truth about hair products and their connection to hair loss or hair retention.
Many people believe that certain hair products or the overuse of products can lead to hair loss and baldness in men. Does that mean you should ditch all of your hair care and styling products for the love of your precious locks? Of course not! Despite the common misconception that frequently using hair gel, hairspray, blow-dryers, shampoo, conditioner, etc. can contribute to hair loss the truth is that hair products rarely affect the loss or retention of our hair. However, there are some factors that you need to keep in mind while you regularly use these products.
Let’s get into the details of this myth and find out the factors that can contribute to hair loss and what you can do about it.
Can Hair Styling Products Cause Hair Loss?
You have probably heard that using hair gel, wax or hairspray speeds up hair loss and can lead to baldness. This is a myth. Hair loss may occur for multiple reasons, including an unhealthy scalp which can be caused by improper scalp hygiene but this isn’t the same thing as hair products causing baldness. The problem is that if you do not properly wash and clean your hair at the end of the day, the buildup from hair styling products can clog the pores of your scalp, irritate your skin and lead to itching and dandruff. In extreme cases there can be visible redness and flaking of the skin. Most of us wash our hair in the morning as this makes it easier to style before we start our day, but if you use a lot of styling products you should only wet your hair in the morning and leave shampoo and conditioner until the evening. And it goes without saying that you shouldn’t add any more styling products after that. The goal is to go to bed with clean hair and a healthy scalp and only subject your scalp to these products during the day.
Can Washing Your Hair Too Frequently Cause Baldness?
Another misconception is that regularly washing your hair can strip your hair of its natural oils and dry it out. This statement is partially true since most shampoos contain sulfur (a cleaning chemical), parabens (chemical preservative), and alcohol to remove grease and dirt from your hair. Sulfur can dehydrate the scalp and cause the appearance of flaky skin. Alcohol can easily dry out your hair, making it weak and prone to breakage. Additionally, polyethylene glycol is a chemical ingredient found in most shampoos that can make your hair rough and brittle. So overuse of shampoo can certainly be bad for your hair. Strive for a balance that will be determined by your genetics (how much oil your scalp secretes) and your lifestyle (do you sweat a lot or work in a dirty environment). Keep your hair clean but don’t shampoo more often than necessary to do so.
All of that said it is true that the rubbing action we use when washing our hair can accelerate the process of hair loss, although it is still unknown whether this causes additional healthy hairs to fall out, or just speeds the process of dropping hairs that were going to fall out soon anyway.
Washing Too Seldom is Bad Too
Think of it in this way; we wash our face regularly to keep our skin clean from air pollutants, dirt, and dust. Similarly, it is important to wash our hair regularly to get rid of the dirt and bacteria buildup. According to hair specialists, a healthy scalp helps to maintain the hair’s natural growth phase, which determines how often your hair will grow and shed. So once again we’re back to balance. If you don’t sweat excessively and you’re not genetically prone to an oily scalp it may not be necessary to wash your hair more often than every two or three days, but you should keep it clean. It’s not just about clean hair but also maintaining good scalp hygiene.
What Are the Best Shampoos for a Healthy Scalp?
It’s best to use an organic or sulfate-free shampoo for regular use that is gentle on your hair and scalp. Go for a water-based and alcohol-free shampoo to avoid drying out your skin. Two-in-one shampoos and conditioners are popular with men for saving time, but there are good reasons not to use these every day. The detergents in the shampoo work against the hydrating agents in the conditioner. It’s OK to use a 2-in-1 product most of the time, but you should apply a separate conditioner at least once a week and allow it to sit in your hair for several minutes. Since shampoo is primarily used to clean and remove grease from your hair, you need a moisturizing product to keep your hair hydrated. Conditioner helps to lock in the moisture in your hair and prevents your hair and scalp from drying out.
Can Hairstyling Damage Your Hair?
Yes, to some extent. This is much the same case as hair loss from the rubbing action of washing your hair too often or too aggressively, although in this case it can actually cause the loss of healthy hair. Be gently with combing and brushing. If your hair tends to tangle regular conditioning will help. If you have long hair don’t hesitate to braid it at night so it won’t be tangled mass in the morning. You can experiment with various hairstyles, treatments, and dyes, whatever makes you happy. If you are dying or perming your hair, whether at home or at a salon give your hair special care in the days following with regular conditioning. When you regularly expose your hair to harsh chemicals, heat styling, hair dye, and other chemical treatments, your hair can easily become weak, dry, and brittle leading to accelerated hair loss.
Chemical straighteners can easily make your hair appear straight, but it thins out your hair in the process and makes it vulnerable to breakage. Hair dyes contain a harsh chemical agent known as paraphenylenediamine which can irritate the skin on your scalp, cause itching, and damage your hair and follicles.
Dying Your Hair Safely
If you plan on dyeing your hair, it’s a wise decision to do it with the help of a professional hairstylist for men. Hairstylists can provide you with after-dye solutions that reduce the harmful effects of the dye when applied as instructed. Most of these after-dye treatments use counter-chemicals to deactivate any remaining harmful chemicals from the dye, which otherwise can remain in your hair and scalp for days afterward.
If you are going to DIY at the very least you should purchase a good quality after-dye conditioner and use it as directed. The conditioner can act as a protectant for your hair and reduce the chances of breakage and damage to your follicles.
Primary Causes of Hair Loss
Your hair products should not be the only thing to blame for a sudden increase in hair loss. There are many factors which can contribute to hair loss in men and hair products and styling are just one of them. Here is a list of common causes of hair loss. Keep in mind that your hair loss may be due to a combination of factors.
- Natural Process of Aging
- Male Pattern Baldness
- Unhealthy diet
- Stressful lifestyle
- Hormonal changes and medical conditions
- Medications and supplements
Its’s worth noting that of the above list smoking is one of the worst. This is bad for your skin and your hair. Also, many men underestimate the effects of poor diet and lack of exercise on their overall health and therefore on hair retention. If you are experiencing premature excessive hair loss the first thing you should do is assess your lifestyle.
What to Do About It
If you are concerned about hair loss we recommend that you should begin by visiting your doctor. Sometimes there are medical reasons for hair loss which can either be treated to prevent further hair loss or cases where the hair loss may alert your doctor to a more serious underlying condition. If you get a clean bill of health from your doctor the next step is family history. It is true that hair loss and premature baldness can ‘skip a generation’. This isn’t really what is happening of course, but rather that the genes causing the issues may be recessive. If you have some family history of premature baldness your genes may be to blame. Regardless of the cause though, a healthy lifestyle will slow hair loss and we at Magnifaskin can help with a
Tips to Reduce Hair Damage
- Our hair is most vulnerable and prone to breakage when it is wet. Rubbing your hair vigorously with a towel can damage your hair. Instead, use a cotton cloth or an old T-shirt to dry your hair in a gentle motion.
- High-temperature blow dryers and heat styling can weaken and damage your hair. Weak hair is more prone to breakage and falling off. If you opt to blow-dry your hair, make sure you set the temperature of the dryer to a minimum level to avoid burning your hair. Many blow-dryers come with a temperature control option. You can even use low-temperature air to dry your hair.
- Adopting a healthy diet will reflect on the wellness of your hair. Include protein-rich foods in your diet that contain vitamin B6 and B12.
- Be gentle with your hair while you brush. Stroke the brush toward your natural hair growth and avoid being too hard on the scalp.
- Taking hot showers can be damaging to your hair. Try to use lukewarm or cold water for hair wash.
- What is your natural hair type? Does it get oily within a few days of shampoo? Does it feel dry and itchy? Choose a shampoo based on your hair type. For example, water-based and alcohol-free shampoos are the best for dry hair.
The Bottom Line
Hair fall has been a major concern for only women in the past. But over the years, men adopted self-care and grooming on a serious note. This increase in self-care in men has also led to the conscious use of hair products.
We associate youth and beauty with our hair. It gives us confidence. But when losing hair becomes a concern, it’s important to address the issue and find the root cause of the problem.
A sudden increase in hair fall does not always indicate early symptoms of male pattern baldness. Changing the products you use, leading an active and healthy lifestyle, and taking more care of your hair can solve the issue.