Q. Can coloring your hair cause hair loss or thinning? If so, is there a safe way to color?
A. While bleaching your hair could lead to loss if the product were left on for too long and hair follicles were damaged, it's a myth that coloring causes hair loss or thinning. What coloring does is dry your hair. And that can cause breakage, particularly if you're coloring at home. My advice is to make sure a professional does your coloring. Find a good stylist at an affordable price and be sure to spend extra time conditioning your hair on your own.
Q. How can I tell if a new hair loss product or technique I'm trying is really working?
A. I've got a great technique for taking a hair count that anyone can do. First, don't get fanatical, but collect any hairs you find on your pillow, in the shower, in your brush, on the sink for one week and put them in a clear plastic baggie. One month later, do the same thing. After another month repeat it again. After 90 days, compare that bag to previous ones and you should see a decrease in hair loss. If not, it's time to try something else.
Q. Does periodically moving your part really help your hair maintain volume?
A. Absolutely. Shifting your part means you won't have constant tension on hair in that one area. That will lead to less breakage and less trauma to the hair follicle. Switch it every week or two and you'll see less hair loss in the area you used to favor with a part. The same goes for always wearing a ponytail or braided hairstyles. Change your look to give your locks a rest.
Q. I lost a lot of weight years ago and my hair has been thin on top ever since. Is there something I can do to get my locks back?
A. Congratulations on your weight loss! It's not easy and that's a great accomplishment. You didn't give up on shedding pounds and I don't want you to give up on reclaiming your locks either. It sounds like dietary changes that helped you slim down could've led to temporary hair loss. You might not be getting enough protein or could be vitamin deficient. I'd like you to go to a doctor and get a blood work-up. Tell them you're particularly interested in your iron, zinc, copper, vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin C levels. When you find out what's amiss, work with them to eliminate any deficiencies. I offer some great, nutrient-packed recipes in chapter 15 of my book, Women's Hair Solutions to Thinning and Loss, as well.
Q. My hair is blonde, poker straight, baby fine and now thinning out. Can you suggest any products to use?
A. I could, but you really need an individual consultation. Women in America have become a new marketing target for hair loss products. To make sense of which products are right for you, you need someone to offer you an in-person, free consultation or to go to your dermatologist for an examination. Generally speaking, though, as someone who's been online, in salons and seen every infomercial, I think laser therapy, Rogaine and a good diet will likely do wonders for you. Be patient when looking for progress, though. It could take a year and a half to two years to get the best results.
Q. My hairline has started receding upfront and on the sides. Are there products I can use to save those hairs that frame my face?
A. This could be from traction alopecia, pulling your hair back too tight in a ponytail or with braids and causing it to break at the root. Or even wearing hats or headbands that rub against these areas. But if that's not the case, I'd recommend massaging your scalp to get more blood supply to the front of your head. Lay crosswise on your bed, with your feet elevated by a pillow, your neck supported by the mattress, but your head hanging off the edge. Start over your ears using all 10 fingers -- no nails -- to massage both sides of your scalp in a clockwise motion. After 30 seconds, move up 1/2 inch and repeat until you reach your hairline. Good luck!
Jeffrey Paul is the author of Women's Hair Solutions to Thinning and Loss and owner of the Jeffrey Paul Restoring Beautiful Hair center in Fairview Park, Ohio. Check out his new hair loss blog at jeffreypaulsalon.com.
Got more questions about hair loss in women? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we may answer yours in an upcoming post!
Originally published in the March 2013 issue of Family Circle magazine.
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