A lot of hair loss causes are surprisingly common practices in our self-care routines.
I've wondered a lot about what causes hair loss and how much is normal, as I'm sure most have at least once in their lifetime. Of course, hair loss could be as innocuous as losing a few strands when you brush or shampoo, but having clumps fall out is scary.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), it's typical for people to shed between 50 and 100 hair strands a day—but whether you're shedding a normal amount or permanently losing countless strands, it's easy to become preoccupied with hair loss, especially as you age.
It's also easy to quickly spiral from "Maybe I'm brushing my hair too often" to "Yep, WebMD just confirmed my suspicions, I have some extremely rare illness and need to be quarantined ASAP."
If you've already checked with a doctor and do not have a medical condition that can make hair fall out, you could be doing one of several things that causes hair loss for otherwise healthy people. Adjusting these habits should help keep your hair on your head and your sanity in your psyche.
You Wear Your Hair Pulled Back Every Day
Hair loss is when your hair falls out and doesn't grow back until whatever is causing it stops. So, if your everyday look includes a hairstyle that tugs on your strands, unfortunately you're going to need a new look. Tight ponytails, braids, and updos are common culprits. Of course, this doesn't mean you can never tie your hair back in a sleek bun—it just means you should be wary of doing the same, tightly-bound styles very often if you're concerned you're losing your hair.
The AAD suggests loosening the pulled-back look around your hairline when you do wear your hair back and opting for looser braided styles rather than smaller, tighter braids.
You Use Long-Lasting Hair Products
While it seems intuitive after an hour of styling your hair to seal the look with a product that promises long-lasting hold, the AAD says these products can actually cause hair loss over time. Products that promise durability actually make hair breakage more likely if you comb your hair after spraying them on—and the more breakage your hair sustains overtime, the more likely you'll experience hair loss.
You Brush Your Hair When It's Wet
Typically, a wide tooth comb is a safer option to avoid pulling out too much hair. If you have to brush your hair wet—like if you have particularly curly locks that are impossible to detangle when dry—a lot of people swear by the Wet Brush ($9; amazon.com). The flexible bristles gently work through wet, knotted hair, smoothing with minimal tugging to limit the chances of hair loss.
You're Not Being Gentle Enough When You Dry Your Hair
Okay, so not everyone can run out the door with wet hair and have faith they're going to look socially acceptable when their hair air dries—but there's a middle ground between not touching your wet tresses and tugging so hard with round brushes while blow drying that our heads tilt and our roots pinch. This may seem intuitive, but it bears repeating: If you're blow drying your hair, try not to pull the hair so taut that it hurts. And, of course, don't use other heat styling tools like straighteners and curlers when your hair is wet. (Use of these should be limited as well to keep your hair as healthy as possible).
If you want something even better for your hair than heat styling, you could towel dry–but even this shouldn't be done too aggressively because it can also lead to breakage.
For more tips on how to protect your hair from damage, adopt some of these habits of people with healthy hair.