Whether it’s noticing extra strands in your comb or finding clumps of hair in the shower drain, the moment you realize your hair is thinning can be harsh. But luckily, hair loss prevention has come a long way, and we now know that it’s not just about genetics. The great thing is that environmental and physical stressors are something we can take charge of. Simple and easy things like maintaining a healthy diet and selecting the right shampoo can protect against hair fall. It’s also important to know what can cause damage. Many guys are unaware of the impact everyday physical and environmental factors can have on their hair.
#1 Rough towel-drying. Vigorously drying your hair with a towel—the way most guys do it—is actually quite destructive to your hair’s cuticles, or the outer layer of each strand of your hair. Your hair’s structure is held together by three kinds of bonds, which contribute to the strength of your hair. When the hair is wet, it swells and the cuticle lifts up a little. When it dries, it comes back to its original position. When the cuticle is slightly lifted during the wet stage, it’s vulnerable to things that come in contact with it, such as your towel vigorously rubbing up against it when you dry your hair. But fear not, there are simple things you can do to mitigate damage. First, use a hair conditioner or a conditioning shampoo, which work to coat each strand of hair so that your cuticles are protected from towel drying. Second, change the way you towel dry your hair. Instead of rubbing your wet head with a towel, pat hair dry.
#2 Chlorine. The ubiquitous pool chemical damages hair by removing natural oils from strands and weakens the chemical bonds between hair fibers, leaving them prone to dryness, breakage and ultimately hair fall. Use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner daily—especially when you’re going for a dip—to help promote your hair’s health to stand up to the effects of chlorine, and also restore moisture and strengthen hair after it has been exposed.
#3 UV rays. Strong UV rays can degrade the bonds that hold hair together, causing brittleness, dryness, breakage and lack of manageability. You might not always be able to feel the burn, but the sun’s rays can cause hair shedding . Guys shouldn’t feel like they can’t enjoy a day outside in the sun—just be mindful of the best ways to protect against it, such as hair SPFs, wearing a hat, and restoring moisture to the hair with a hydrating shampoo.”
#4 Aggressive brushing or combing. This puts a lot of physical stress on the hair fiber, and can cause the cuticle to flake and strip away. Aggressive brushing while your hair is wet is even worse—it can lead to excessive pulling and breakage. Use grooming tools as intended and remember to be gentle with your hair.”
#5 Wearing a baseball cap. Any sort of physical stress on the hair, such as rubbing or pulling, can lead to hair fall and breakage. A tight baseball cap fits into that category since it causes rubbing on the front, sides and back of the head and hair. Using a shampoo and conditioner that moisturizes and strengthens hair can help alleviate the amount of hair fall and breakage.
#6 Using the wrong grooming products. If you take away one thing, just please, please, please stop using bar soap on your hair. It really can dry out hair and certainly won't protect it from shedding. The most important step any guy can take is choosing the right shampoo. Certain chemical ingredients found in hair products can cause hair loss. Preservatives that extend shelf life like formaldehyde and parabens are believed to affect hormones. The ethanolamines break down keratin and can irritate the scalp, and polyethylene glycol takes moisture away from hair shafts.
#7 Over-styling. Over 80% of dermatologists cite physical stressors, such as using heat styling tools and over-styling, as factors that play a role in contributing to hair fall in men. The dermatologists in this study even attribute over-styling to hair fall more than genetic predispositions. We know that the more that you do to you hair, the more you’re damaging the strands. So simplifying your hair regimen can help minimize damage and hair fall.