Hair Products - Female Hair Loss Guide

Most women enjoy styling their hair and use a variety of hair products to do so. Hair can be permed, bleached, coloured, straightened, braided, highlighted, gelled, and tinted and so on…

There are endless ways of styling your hair in order to make a strong statement of your identity or as part of an overall ‘look’ and there is no shortage of products or salon treatments available for you to do so.

But like anything, moderation is the key. Overuse of these products can damage or weaken the hair to the point where it starts to thin and eventually falls out.

Hair loss is the worst case scenario but it’s important to be aware of the damage excessive use of these products can do as well as the benefits.

Gels, mousses and sprays can achieve quite striking effects but using too much of these products or too often can have an adverse effect on your hair. What happens is that these start to build up in your hair to the extent that they ‘weigh’ the hair down. This may sound strange but they can put an unnecessary strain on the hair which then weakens it.

Another factor is that they can lead to dry or frizzy hair or the dreaded ‘split ends’.

Colouring your hair or having it bleached, highlighted or permed can also put a strain on it if done to excess or by someone who is not experienced enough in these procedures. If you are looking to change the colour of your hair then choose products which are made from natural ingredients such as plant extracts or use a temporary colour only.

Salon treatments

Perms are amongst the most popular salon treatments but require a good deal of expertise. If the person giving the treatment prepares too strong a solution, leaves it on too long or uses too much then it can damage the hair. And this is more of a risk if the person having the treatment doesn’t have healthy hair to start with.

Hair colouring is another popular treatment but care has to be taken as this has the highest risk of hair loss. Many hair colour products contain strong chemicals which can strip your hair of essential nutrients or damage individual strands. Choose ones with fewer chemicals or organic ingredients.

Another option is to have a colour done by a professional hairdresser. This equally applies to bleaching or highlights.

Hair extensions and braiding have become increasingly popular, especially amongst younger women and whilst they add thickness to thin or fine hair they are not without their risks.

Benefits and risks of hair extensions

There are two types of hair extensions:

  • Artificial hair
  • Real ‘human’ hair

Most women prefer human hair to artificial hair but it is more expensive. Whichever one you choose you will find that there are three methods of attaching these extensions which are:

  • Weaving: the hair extension is woven into the root of your hair on your scalp. This increases the length and thickness of your existing hair but it mustn’t be woven too tightly or it will damage your hair.
  • Clip on extensions: these are the name says. These extensions are attached to a hair clip which can be easily attached and removed as necessary.
  • Hair strand placement: this complex procedure involves attaching individual strands of hair to your own natural hair, just below the scalp. This also provides extra thickness and length to your hair but must be carried out by a professional hairdresser.

There is less risk of damage than with weaving but it can cause hair thinning.

Hair extensions give extra body and shine to your existing hair and look great but some women find that they can be problematic as well. This tends to depend on which of the three methods above you have chosen but temporary ones such as the clip on extensions can become detached quite easily. And they also have to be taken off before you go swimming or take a shower.

Many women find that a permanent method such as weaving avoids any of that and is more convenient. But if the weaving is too tight then it will pull down on your existing hair which causes it to fall out. It can also damage the hair follicles which lead to hair thinning or breakage.

If you are thinking of having a hair extension then think carefully: if you have very thin hair to start with a hair extension may not make that much of a difference and could increase your risk of hair loss. You may feel that it would increase the thickness of your hair but there needs to be a sufficient amount there to start with to act as an attachment for the extension.

However, it may be the case that a hair extension can hide the signs of your hair loss and act as a temporary measure until you decide upon a hair transplant or a wig.

You need to weigh up the risks as well as the benefits of hair extensions and talk this through with a professional hair stylist.

Hair braiding

Hair braiding such as corn rows, twists or tree braids are very popular with young people especially girls of Afro-Caribbean descent. This highly fashionable hair style has been sported by various celebrities and sports stars which help to explain its popularity.

However, caution has must be exercised with this style as research has found that it can lead to damage, hair thinning and loss.

One particular problem with it is traction alopecia. This is a form of hair loss caused by hair being pulled too tightly for a long period of time. And this is more of a problem for Afro-Caribbean races who tend to favour this hairstyle more than others.

This is also a problem with the dreadlocks type of hairstyle. All of these hairstyles bind the hair tightly which then exerts too much pressure on the hair follicles. And this causes them to become weakened and then break.

So, think about the potential risks if you are looking at having this particular hair style.

Ways of reducing this risk

Whatever hair style, treatment or product you use, the main thing here is to avoid excess usage which will damage your hair in the long run. It’s a good idea to have a week or so when you give your hair a break and let it return to a natural state. This allows it time to heal and to be nourished by essential nutrients.

Consider switching to a deep cleaning shampoo which will remove any potentially harmful chemicals from your hair and so limit the risk of damage.

If you want to change the colour of your hair then use a dye which is made from natural ingredients rather than one which contains chemicals.

If you want to change your hair style from straight to curly but don’t want a perm then look a having a gentle body wave and use hot curlers instead. This takes longer than a perm but does reduce the risk of long term damage.

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