A Griffin Center Series: Myths and Truths about Hair Loss: Part I: Can Hair Products be the Source of My Hair Loss?
While some types of hair products can be damaging to your hair, hair products are not the likely to be the source of your hair loss. The most common cause of hair loss in men is due to genetics. For women, in additional to the inherited female pattern hair loss, there can be hormonal problems, reactions to medications, and diseases such as lupus and lichen planus, which can lead to permanent hair loss.
While most hair products will not lead to hair loss, some products can severely damage the hair and scalp. For instance, harsh hair products, which are used to strip the hair of color as well as straightening agents, can cause severe damage to the dead strands of hair – causing them to break and even fall out. For black patients, chemicals added to heat treatments can result in a skin reaction pattern that can produce a permanent scarring problem which is very difficult to treat.
Hair products, especially those made up of harsh chemicals like permanent hair dye, perm solutions, and hot oil treatments can cause damage to the stands of hair, making then easily breakable and likely to fall out. Some patients are much more sensitive and are easily bothered by these products. Usually the skin will become inflamed and give a warning signal that something is wrong so you can stop use of the product before permanent damage can occur.
Normally though, styling products do nothing to stop the hair follicle from growing hair. The loss of hair from the products and harsh chemical treatments generally is temporary and the damaged hair will re-grow if just left alone lone enough.
Patients with fine hair are also at high risks of breakage from combing and chemicals. Mid shaft breakage makes their hair have even less volume and, due to the damage of the cuticle of the hair shaft, the hair loses its shine. Fine hair is easily tangled and can be damaged by the use of a black plastic comb which is used to strip out the tangles. The use of detanglers and cream rinses may aid in preventing the maddening tangles.
In some instances, hairstyles like tight braiding on the scalp, cornrows, or tight fitting ponytails can results in traction alopecia, a condition that causes the scalp to scar and results in permanent hair loss. This traction loss is seen most commonly in black women, but is also seen in men. Once a person recognizes that thinning is occurring, stopping the cornrows will stop the loss.
Each person differs in their hair strength; some people lose hair easily with little pressure on the follicles, and others are much more resistant to pressure on the follicles. Extensions, which have risen in popularity recently, also put follicles under constant pressure and can lead to hair loss.
Even though most hair products do not cause permanent hair loss, they can be very damaging to your hair. Try to avoid treating your hair with harsh chemicals or wearing hair styles that put excessive strain on the hair follicle. If you are experiencing abnormal hair loss, make an appointment to see a Dr. Griffin as soon as possible.