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Handling hair loss

Handling Hair Loss

Worried about losing your crowning glory?

If so you're not alone. It's estimated that 40% of men in their 20s suffer from early hair loss and this percentage accelerates with age. For many men losing their hair is no big deal but for many others it's a process that they find traumatic. And British men are especially hung up about hair loss. A recent Gallup poll showed that they're more worried about baldness than anyone else in Europe, with three quarters of men admitting hair loss affected their self-esteem and over half saying it makes them feel old.

In reality it's quite normal to lose a little hair everyday ? in fact, it's not uncommon to lose up to 100 strands a day - but if this hair loss suddenly speeds up you may notice overall thinning and eventually loss of hair in one or several areas. Don't panic yet though as much of this can be slowed down or prevented altogether.

What Causes Hair Loss?

Men tend to lose hair in a concentrated pattern from the front through to the crown. A number of factors influence this including poor health, dietary deficiencies and stress but by far the greatest influence on hair loss is the male hormone DHT.

DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) is an androgen or male hormone which when it comes into contact with hair follicles causes the hair to shrink and decay and eventually fall out. The membrane of the scalp becomes thick and inflexible slowing circulation and nutrition to the hair follicle. This slows down the re-growth of new hair until it stops altogether. Over time the hair loss becomes more noticeable as hairs are lost and not replaced.

Another main factor in hair loss is the receptors in the hair follicle that attract DHT. The number of these receptors is determined in your genes. This is why early hair loss tends to be hereditary. And contrary to common belief, the genes for hereditary hair loss are carried on both sides of the family so if you want to know whether you'll go thin on top look at the heads of your mother's and your father's side of the family for clues. And don't assume you're safe just because your dad's got a full head of hair - the gene responsible for hereditary hair loss can skip generations.

What action can you take?

Prevention is always better than cure and there are many preparations on the market that claim to slow down hair loss. Some of these work better than others. The use of Copper is now thought to be very beneficial to both the hair and scalp. Copper Peptides can be used to effectively deliver copper to the roots of the hair follicle. Regular use can improve the health of the scalp, hair and hair follicle helping to limit the conditions that cause hair loss.

Take a good look at your diet and focus on healthy food choices. Choose lean protein and soy products as well as beans, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables that can all improve the strength of the hair.

The importance of scalp health should not be overlooked either if you want to limit hair loss. When the scalp is not fit hair growth is reduced. Over time styling product build up and excess sebum (oil) can have a negative effect on the hair follicle. Keep it clean with a good quality shampoo and conditioner as often as you need them, daily if possible.

5 ways to protect your most precious asset

Hair loss might be an inevitable part of the ageing process in some of us but that doesn't mean there aren't a few things you can do to hang on to your hair?

1. Feed your head. Okay, so hair itself is dead but that doesn't mean that the follicles that produce it are so make sure yours are adequately fed. Stock up on foods rich in B vitamins, zinc and iron (like breakfast cereals, liver and apricots) and vitamin C-rich fruits like strawberries which help the body retain the nutrients essential for hair health. And up your intake of silicon ? some studies have shown this to limit hair loss. Wheat, rice and onions are good sources.

2. Don't smoke. According to a study by Harvard School of Public Health in America, smoking not only increases levels of the hormones that trigger hair loss, it also constricts the tiny blood vessels that supply the scalp, quite literally starving your hair of nutrients.

3. Don't burn your bonce! Not only does sun make hair brittle and fragile, sunburn causes the scalp to produce a compound called super-oxide that can cause hair follicles to switch from a growth phase to a shedding one.

4. Stock up on soya. New research shows that a molecule produced in the intestine when soya is digested could halt the hair loss process because it blocks the effect of the hormone that triggers hair loss.

5. Dry properly! Human hair is three times weaker when wet and over-combing or rough towel drying can damage it. Instead, let hair dry naturally, use a hair-dryer on a cool setting or gently pat dry and style with your fingers.

How to thicken your hair - instantly

Hair loss a problem? Don't worry, there's plenty you can do to thicken your thatch?

Keep it clean.

Dirty hair tends to lie flat because of the weight of the oils secreted by the scalp so make sure your hair is always squeaky clean, especially if you suffer from greasy hair. For best results use a good daily-use shampoo and make sure you rinse hair thoroughly with plenty of warm running water.

Use thickening products.

Thickening shampoos, conditioners and sprays work by coating the hair shafts with special polymers which plump up the hair to make it look fuller, reducing the effects of progressive hair loss. They won't thicken the hair permanently though so use regularly.

Ditch the comb.

Repeatedly combing thin hair can make it look limp and flat so style with your fingers instead to add volume and texture.

Put the wind up it!

If hair loss is a problem, blow-drying may be the solution. As long as you don't overdo it (you don't want to end up with a bouffant) it's a good way to give fine hair more volume. Keep the dryer on a cool setting though since overheating hair damages its natural proteins, making it brittle.

Choose the right styling products.

The worst thing you can do if you have thinning hair is to have product overload. Using too much styling product just weighs hair down making it look flat and gappy. Swap waxes for lighter matt pastes and using mousses and sprays which add volume.

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