When you’re quite pleased to see how you look in the mirror, it actually makes you feel really positive and confident about yourself—and there’s nothing wrong with that. The hair on the head, being our crowning glory, plays a big role in how we want to look or how we want to be seen.
That’s why many of us in Singapore are so particular about keeping our hair in great shape by practising good hair care and using top-quality products—but is that enough? The very things we do as “hair maintenance”—cleaning, styling, brushing, blow-drying, curling, treating, even towel-drying—could be the same stuff that’s causing our hair to thin out or fall off.
This 3-minute read will help you get to the root of hair loss, and better understand the common causes of hair loss across age, gender, and ethnicity.
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Genetics play a major role in hair health and appearance, but there are also a lot of medical conditions that could trigger hair loss. But don’t just assume that you got “the balding gene” from a family member, consult with a doctor as it could also be early signs of illness or undiagnosed disease.
The most common conditions linked to hair loss are androgenetic alopecia, anemia, autoimmune disease, congenital heart disease, neuromuscular disease, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), pregnancy, and thyroid disorders; and skin conditions, including psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis.
One example is lupus, an autoimmune condition wherein the body attacks its own tissues and organs, causing widespread inflammation. Its symptoms include falling or thinning hair, mostly on the scalp but also on the body and face—eyebrows, eyelashes, and beard included. Lupus weakens the hair along the hairline, which becomes uneven or patchy (commonly referred to as lupus hair). Likewise, it could cause scalp lesions that damage and scar hair follicles, leading to permanent hair loss.
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Often, it’s our hair-care products that do the most damage to the hair. It’s a fact: among the many ingredients of hair products are chemicals that cause hair loss. These include the stuff responsible for lathering, cleaning, and making hair smell great.
For one, sodium laureth sulfates are a common component in shampoos, and car wash soap! Sulfates are probably the most damaging of chemicals found in hair products. But it does help in making shampoo and soap get all foamy and bubbly.
Scent is a key consideration when choosing a hair product, but not many fragrances are natural or organic. The truth is, the bulk of hair products in the market today contains chemical fragrances, which could cause a hormonal imbalance that leads to hair loss.
The chemical components in hair products that are used to prolong shelf life and maintain consistency could most likely be harming your hair and skin, as well. Parabens may adversely affect hormones while Propylene Glycol, Diethanolamine, and Triethanolamine can cause skin irritation.
In essence, chemicals in hair products (especially those produced for the low-end market) break down the proteins that hair needs to grow, damage the keratin, and strip off the hair’s protective oils. Hair products that have these ingredients can cause hair to dry out, become brittle, and break off easily—whether you’ll be using it for your natural hair or your hairpiece or hair replacement system.
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Generally, healthy hair is a sign of a healthy diet—whether or not we’re eating enough carbohydrates, fats, and proteins; and getting the right minerals, nutrients, and vitamins. However, there are healthy-eating people with medical conditions that make them predisposed to nutritional deficiency.
These conditions tend to manifest on the skin, scalp, and body hair—making it weak, change colour, or fall out. Hair loss can occur when the body is not getting the recommended amount of nutrients and vitamins. For example, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to alopecia (spot baldness).
The all-important vitamin D stimulates cell growth and helps create new hair follicles while boosting immunity, keeping our skin healthy, and making our bones strong. We absorb vitamin D from exposure to the sun but there are foods and supplements to make up for the daily recommended intake.
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Many studies have shown that stress could cause hair loss, and many hair-loss conditions are induced by anxiety. Stress and anxiety may lead to the thinning or falling out of hair, mostly from malnutrition or nutrient deficiency—when you’re not eating well or producing the right hormones, for example.
Psychological factors such as stress and anxiety, or trauma and depression, may affect the body’s ability to grow hair. It also increases the production of sebum—the oily substance produced by the sebaceous glands—which can clog the pores and stunt hair growth.
An example of stress-related hair loss is Alopecia Areata, where clumps of hair suddenly fall out, leaving bald patches. Another is Telogen Effluvium (TE), where hair thins out significantly starting at the top of the scalp (the crown) then progressing to the sides and back.
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The way we live, our daily routines, and long-held habits are likewise factors that contribute to the health or detriment of our hair. Environmental circumstances such as sun exposure, air pollution, and the chemicals in our products can also cause hair thinning or hair loss.
Frequent hair bleaching or dyeing likewise wreak havoc on hair, just like braiding or tying back the hair too tightly. The repeated trauma and prolonged tension we put on our hair when we’re styling a braid or bun, ponytail or pigtail, cornrows or dreadlocks—these are likely to cause traction alopecia.
However, the most-overlooked causes of hair loss are our vices, mainly excessive smoking and alcohol intake. Drinking alcohol dehydrates the body, and hair becomes dry and brittle when we’re dehydrated, not to mention cause dandruff too. Alcohol also increases blood-sugar levels abnormally, leading to hormonal imbalances that are linked to pattern baldness.
Whether we’re losing sleep over late-night drinking or getting way too much alcohol-induced sleep, excessive drinking disrupts healthy sleep patterns—in turn, disrupting the body’s ability to replenish hair follicles. Alcohol also increases estrogen levels, which can cause hair problems.
Hair Replacement System: A Non-Surgical Hair Loss Solution
If you’re looking for a solution to thinned-out or bald patches, a hair replacement system is a good option—whatever the cause of hair loss. A hair replacement system does not entail surgery or any invasive procedure. Rather, it involves taking a hairpiece made of natural or synthetic human hair and attaching it to the scalp using adhesives or bonding materials.
The entire process takes less than two hours and no pain at all. However, a few people have experienced feeling hot or uncomfortable with the hairpiece. One might also experience itching or allergies if the hairpiece isn’t adequately cleaned or given regular maintenance.
Hair replacement systems can be shampooed, cut, and styled like natural hair. You don’t even have to take it off when you go swimming or hit the gym. It may have to be replaced from time to time due to the usual wear and tear, and since it’s in constant contact with the skin’s natural acids.
Wondering if you’re the right candidate for a hair replacement system? It’s a resounding YES! Anyone with a hair-loss problem, regardless of the cause, can sign up for it—males and females, young and old.