THE BLOG
14/10/2015 13:19 BST | Updated 14/10/2016 06:12 BST

Eight Bad Lifestyle Choices that Compromise Hair Health

Bad lifestyle choices definitely affect the condition of your hair. Copious amounts of medical studies unquestionably prove that apart from genetics and biological causes such as fluctuating hormone levels, the big culprit to hair damage takes the form of bad lifestyle choices. Thanks to a wider dissemination of medical information, more and more people can no longer ignore the medical facts that show altering one's lifestyle could lead to better hair and overall health. The growing awareness, especially among the younger generation, has fortunately brought about more serious considerations about lifestyle choices as an undeniable aspect of healthy and beautiful hair.

How your lifestyle affects your hair depends on how good or bad your daily habits are. Here are eight of the bad hair-damaging habits you might be guilty of doing, which could lead to hair loss. Read up to learn more about the bad effects of your daily habits on your hair. Educate yourself to overturn hair damage and loss, and remain on track to becoming a healthier and more attractive version of yourself.

1. Smoking

2015-10-13-1444714938-4696763-sunsetsummerhipsterpipelarge.jpg

Photo courtesy of Snapwiresnaps Tumblr via Pexels

Hair loses its lustre and robustness as we age. It is part of the natural biological cycle of humans. However, smoking can accelerate the aging process, which could most likely lead to early balding in both men and women.

According to a study conducted by Ralph M. Trüeb, a medical professional who co-edited the authoritative book Aging Hair published in 2010, there are multi-factorial mechanisms concerning the effects of smoking to hair loss. One of these effects involves the process by which smoking damages the dermal hair papilla. The study concludes that smoking-induced damage to the DNA of the hair follicle could eventually lead to hair loss.

In this light, the effects of hair loss on human health can be clearly alleviated with a simple, yet for some people understandably difficult, lifestyle change: quitting the habit of smoking.

2. Stressing too much

2015-10-13-1444714972-9675043-worriedgirl413690_640.jpg

Photo courtesy of RyanMcGuire via Pixabay

As part of the biological makeup of the human body, hair is quite sensitive to any changes that occur internally. Any inside biological disturbance, therefore, poses a threat that could lead to dull and thinning hair. Stressing too much affects the immune system and is one serious cause of a compromised crowning glory.

As defined in medical literature, the common form of hair loss caused by stress is called Telogen Effluvium. Stress in this condition forces the hair follicles to go into "resting phase" mode. In some individual cases, hair suddenly falls out even with mere brushing or washing!

Stressful things you do that make your hair damaged include a number of things, from excessive worrying to refusing to take a breather in the midst of a busy schedule. With the built-in stress that comes with our hectic modern lives, choosing to be a bit more relaxed can have positive effects to keeping and making your hair healthy.

3. Taking insufficient vitamins

If you are truly vitamin deficient, which could be determined accurately by a blood test, chances are the condition of your hair is visibly affected. Zinc and iron are some of the common vitamins related to hair health. Getting a sufficient amount of these nutrients can bring back the density of your hair.

A warning, though: the market is saturated with bold claims about reversing hair damage with excessive taking of supplements. You would think that if these claims were all true, then there should be no balding person to see anywhere in the world. Obviously, the case is quite the opposite. The reason for this is that there are a lot of unsubstantiated claims about vitamin deficiency and hair loss, compounded by the lack of related hair experiments performed on people in an appropriate and independent study.

Vitamin deficiency can be a concrete cause of hair loss, but avoid the urge of doing "self-treatments" by taking many vitamins in pill form.

5. (Not) eating healthy

2015-10-13-1444715158-2876464-17200661946_c698038429_b.jpg

Photo courtesy of Jonas Weckschmied via Flickr

Prevalent effects of a damaged hair on one's well-being include the dreaded blow to one's confidence and even depression. The good news is reversing hair damage, and by extension improving overall health, is achievable with something as easy and practical as following a healthy diet. Incidentally, recent reports show that there is a positive trend among younger consumers gearing toward healthy eating habits.

But don't be too hasty in concluding that a healthy diet can only mean having vegetables and fruits. Although there is a huge debate on the matter - with notable Hollywood-based vegetarian Kimberly Snyder arguing for a plant-based diet - that incorporating healthy sources of nutrients from animal products can help with hair restoration.

For her part, Lisa Caddy, a London-based certified trichologist (hair medical professional), warns that ferritin deficiency can badly affect hair growth. Ferritin is especially found in abundance in red meats and is a form of stored iron essential for human bodies to manufacture hair cell protein.

Whether you follow a plant-based diet or eat animal meat, ensuring that you have a general healthy diet can spell the difference between having a bad and good hair day.

4. Depriving yourself of sleep

Getting a good night's sleep is a sure-fire way to keep our health at an optimum level. Many doctors recommend a seven- to eight-hour snooze session. Bad sleeping habits negatively affect the body and this could manifest in the condition of the hair. How so? Lack of sleep weakens the body's ability to absorb nutrients, which are very essential for hair health. A weak body results in weak and damaged hair. Ensuring you get the recommended amount of sleep will not only enable you to avoid having unhealthy hair. It will also allow you to avoid being unhealthy, pure and simple.

6. Harsh salon treatments

2015-10-13-1444715192-3782278-barber378816_640.jpg

Photo courtesy of Mrkkn via Pixabay

Have you ever experienced losing hair after a salon treatment? If so, you can bet the cause to be the harsh hair procedure you have been subjected to - from coloring and thermal straightening to perming. Harsh salon procedures can cause so much damage that the hair could literally start to fall out during and after the session!

By the same token, at-home styling such as wearing your hair in a very tight ponytail on a regular basis or wearing heavy braids, weaves or extensions can likewise result in serious hair damage and profuse hair loss. If you find yourself losing so much hair, especially along the hairline, then you might want to consider letting your hair down, as the saying goes.

The roots of the hair can only take so many chemicals and added strain from these procedures. You must avoid them at all costs, especially if you are already suffering from hair loss by the handful.

7. Pulling out your hair

More of a psychosocial issue, excessive plucking of the hair characterizes a debilitating condition called Trichotillomania. According to statistics, up to 4 in 100 people can be trichotillomania sufferers. If you are personally going through this problem or know someone who does, then an important intervention measure is to seek medical help. In some cases, psychological treatment and/or counselling can treat the problem. As a supplementary and beneficial measure, hair transplant procedures can restore your hair to its former glory.

8. Ignoring dandruff

Research suggests that not treating your dandruff can potentially lead not only to hair damage but also to hair loss. According to a study published by the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, the ingredient ketoconazole, which is found in some anti-dandruff shampoos, can help in reducing thinning hair. If you do not suffer from dandruff, a general rule of thumb is to choose a shampoo with gentle film-forming agents. A helpful tip to is read the label and find ingredients that include "acrylates" and "copolymers." These shampoos will be gentle enough for everyday use and will make your hair appear like it has more volume because dirt build-up was cleansed out.

2015-10-13-1444715249-1375995-16568601826_bdf8fcbbd5_b.jpg

Photo courtesy of Sharon Wesilds via Flickr

Good lifestyle choices is an essential part of healthy, beautiful hair. In some cases, you might consider undergoing treatments, such as hair transplant procedures, if genetics and biological factors are the direct cause of your damaged and thinning hair. But whether or not there is need for you to undergo medical hair treatments, the imperative remains for you to let go of bad lifestyle habits in order to achieve and maintain overall health for your hair and body.