Some of the most common reasons for hair loss are determined by your genetics. People can inherit a pre-disposition for hair loss conditions such as male pattern baldness and alopecia areata. Even so, your hairline is not absolutely completely out of your control. There are some habits which have been shown to be associated with hair loss that you can moderate or avoid all together.
Use of harsh chemicals
Unsurprisingly, regular use of harsh chemicals such as dyes, straighteners and relaxers can damage your hair, leading to splitting and breaking1. Researchers investigating hair loss caused by over-processing recommend waiting a minimum of eight weeks between treatments1. Also be cautious that the product is not applied for too long, or in an unnecessarily high concentration.
Fans of tight hairstyles such as ponytails and braids, beware of traction alopecia. When pressure on the hair follicle is forceful enough, the hair is pulled out prematurely. It is designed to grow back, however if the cycle is repeated on a regular basis, permanent damage to the hair follicle can result in hair loss2. The concept is similar to waxing or epilating body hair. The more often you wax, the less hair you notice growing back. To avoid traction alopecia, try varying your daily hairstyle.
Similar to the tight hairstyle, a hat worn tight enough to pull on the hair, or helmet that rubs in the same spot over long periods of time can also lead to traction alopecia.
Diet, weight and the party-animal
Your diet and weight can influence many aspects of your life, including your hairline. Consumption of alcoholic beverages as well as obesity at a young age has been linked to male pattern baldness3,4.
Do you work outside or live in a sunny climate? Increased exposure to sunlight has also been associated with the development of male pattern baldness4.
Overall, although your genetics are most likely going to play a large role in your hair retention, there are some ways in which you can contribute. If you are worried about your hairline, your dermatologist or hair restoration expert can help assess your individual situation.
Article by: Dr. J.L. Carviel, PhD, Mediprobe Research Inc.
1 – Ahn HJ and Lee W-S. An ultrastuctural study of hair fiber damage and restoration following treatment with permanent hair dye. Int J Dermatol. 2002 Feb;41(2):88–92.
2 – Khumalo NP, Jessop S, Gumedze F and Ehrlich R. Determinants of marginal traction alopecia in African girls and women. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008 Sep;59(3):432-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2008.05.036.
3 – Severi G, Sinclair R, Hopper JL, English DR, McCredie MRE, Boyle P, et al. Androgenetic alopecia in men aged 40-69 years: prevalence and risk factors. Br J Dermatol. 2003 Dec;149(6):1207–13.
4 – Su L-H and Chen H-H. Androgenetic alopecia in policemen: higher prevalence and different risk factors relative to the general population (KCIS no. 23). Arch Dermatol Res. 2011 Dec;303(10):753–61.