If you’re someone who battles with natural hair thinning, don’t feel bad; you’re certainly not alone. After doing a bit of online research, I discovered that somewhere around 40 percent of women struggle with this very thing at some point in their lifetime. Although sometimes it’s due to challenges like hormonal shifts, certain medications, thyroid issues, illness or infection (which is why if you’re noticing more shedding than usual, it is always beneficial to see your doctor or a dermatologist), sometimes the underlying cause is directly related to how we handle our hair on a daily basis.
The best way to narrow down the cause is by the process of elimination. Take a moment, check out these very-popular-yet-totally-underrated reasons why some of us see more hair thinning out than we should, in order to determine if just a few habit changes can get your hair back on track.
1. Super sleek ponytails
I’ll tell you what. I continue to stand amazed by the things that we as Black women can pull off when it comes to hairstyles, regardless of length or texture; a video right here reminds me of this very fact. If you don’t have time to check it out, it’s basically an instructional video on how to create a sleek ponytail on relatively short 4C hair. Although the stylist most definitely did her thing, it wasn’t without quite a bit of manipulation and product. While I was watching the video, my main takeaways were 1) the look was really cute and 2) it’s not something that should be done every day. I say that because yes, our hair is strong but it’s also pretty fragile too (kind of like how silk is). So, if going sleek is totally your thang, try and only limit it to special occasions. Otherwise, you could end up with a bit of thinning; the kind that could’ve been avoided if you had used this particular hairstyle—less.
2. Protective styling
Have mercy, this point can’t be emphasized enough! Protective styles are great—so long as you remember that the point and purpose of them is to help your hair to grow. If the style is too tight, if it’s putting too much pressure on a particular section of your hair (like your edges or your crown), if you don’t wash your hair regularly, if the style stays in too long, if you have a style that is too heavy (faux locs and braids can cause this sometimes) or you’re neglecting your scalp altogether—these are all things that can cause a protective style to work against, rather than for, you. If you are a big protective style person and you just read this and immediately knew that it personally applied, remember that protective styles should remain in your hair no more than 6-8 weeks max. It’s also important to keep in mind that you should give your hair a couple of weeks off in between installations. Oh, and technically wigs and weaves are protective styles too. Because of that, the less adhesives that you use to keep them in place, the better.
3. Always wearing the same style
Before I get off of this hairstyle topic, it has to go on record that another thing that can result in unnecessary hair thinning is wearing the same hairstyle, day in and day out. Not only is that boring, but the same hair placement and pressure can start to do damage to your hair follicles, resulting in extra shedding and breakage. So, if ponytails are your go-to style, move them around a bit. If you like braids, don’t always part your hair the same way. Your scalp and follicles need a break sometimes. Changing your hairstyles can help to make that happen.
4. “Harsh” styling tools
A part of the reason why, for the most part, heat is a no-no, is because it can take a real toll, not only on your hair but your scalp as well. When hair becomes dry and brittle, it breaks. When hair follicles become damaged, hair thinning occurs. That’s why heat-related styling tools need to be used at a minimum. When you do apply them, put a thermal heat protectant on your tresses first (cream is best for thick hair while a spray is best for thin). Besides, heated styling tools are used to stretch out your natural curl pattern. This site is called “Naturally Curly”, so you already know that we’re all for you letting your natural soul glow in the best way and as often as possible anyway.
5. A lack of Vitamin B12
In order for your scalp to regenerate new hair cells, it’s going to need a heavy dose of Vitamin B12. Unfortunately, this is a vitamin that many of us are deficient in. How can you know if you are? Fatigue, moodiness, dizziness, changes in vision and shortness of breath are some of the more common symptoms. Taking a B12 or B-complex supplement can help to restore your health in this area. It’s also a good idea to eat foods that are loaded with B12. Some of those include fortified cereals, salmon, beef, Greek yogurt and eggs.
If you were to ask a dermatologist what the number one cause of unnecessary hair thinning was, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if they said stress. I could write an entire article on why being over-stressed is never good for any part of your body, but the short reason why it’s bad on your hair is it can push your follicles into a resting phase; this means that it can prevent your hair from growing. Exercise and getting 6-8 hours of sleep can help to combat this. Another thing that you can do is pamper your scalp and hair follicles by heating up a combination of lavender oil (it stimulates hair growth) and jojoba oil (it moisturizes your hair follicles and thickens your hair) and massaging your scalp a couple of times a week. Not only is this a form of pampering but studies reveal that, by doing this regularly, you can see a noticeable improvement in 24 weeks or so. How cool is that?
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