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Correct These 7 Bad Habits to Lessen Your Risk of Going Bald

Correct These 7 Bad Habits to Lessen Your Risk of Going Bald

“Ugly is a field without grass, a plant without leaves, or a head without hair.”
Ovid, The Silent Woman

Did you know that by the age of 60, about 66% of men are bald? Going bald is usually regarded as a sign of age, loss of looks and contributes to a negative body image. American men are currently spending about $1 billion a year on products and pills which may or may not help with the problem. One research study shows that simply plucking out the remaining hair may actually help. Now that is much cheaper!

In one study, about 60% of Spanish men interviewed were worried that future baldness would affect their self-esteem.

“If my skull were made of glass, I wouldn’t want you to see my thoughts, so I’d fear going bald.”–Jarod Kintz

If you are going bald, there may be hereditary factors involved. Or it may simply be a result of medication you’re taking, problems with your thyroid, chemotherapy or some immune disorder.

“Many aspects of our lifestyle — from what we eat to how we style our hair — affect the strength of hair fibers.” — Alan Baumann, MD, hair transplant surgeon.

Very often, though, people get into bad routines which can aggravate hair loss and increase their chances of going bald. It is estimated that people lose up to 100 hairs a day. Very often, more severe loss is due to poor hair hygiene and simply bad habits.

Here are seven bad habits that will contribute to losing your hair — and end up looking like me!

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1. Choosing the wrong shampoo

The type of baldness which is called androgenetic alopecia was always associated with men, yet women suffer from it too. The enemy here is dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which comes from the male testosterone hormone and is known to damage hair follicles. Women also have testosterone, albeit in much smaller quantities. But when that testosterone starts converting to DHT, it does their hair just as much damage.

Make sure that your shampoo has ketoconazole, which is an anti-fungal agent. It acts by reducing the levels of testosterone and DHT and that helps the hair follicles stay healthy. Belgian men who used this ingredient (1%) in their shampoo a few times a week for six months reduced their hair loss by 17%.

2. Taking hot showers

Did you know that hot water can dehydrate your hair as well as your skin?

The problem here is that all the hair’s protective oils are being washed away. In addition, the pores in your scalp go into panic mode and that can damage your hair roots. A warm shower is much healthier. After shampooing, rinsing hair with the coolest possible water also helps.

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3. Drying your hair too roughly

Experts warn that if you brush your hair in the shower and then follow that with vigorous towel drying, you are asking for trouble. A much better method is to reduce the after shower brushing by doing it before you jump in the shower. Afterwards, pat dry with a soft towel. (Too much blow-drying is also damaging.)

4. Eating unhealthy stuff

We mentioned the testosterone and DHT link above, which is enemy number one. This DHT is often fortified by eating an abundance of fried food. If you eat lots of sugary snacks, this also boosts the testosterone — and that just means more DHT.

Increase your consumption of mustard greens, spinach, rosemary, green tea, peas, eggs, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and sesame seeds. All these foods are rich in Vitamin B, iron, zinc and protein which can help you keep your hair healthy. Just remember that your hair is mostly made up of protein so you should aim to get about 46 a grams day — about 30% of your total calories.

5. Taking the wrong birth control pills

Lots of women are sensitive to androgen, which is contained in many birth control pills and causes them to lose hair. If you are not sure, take pills which are low in androgen so there is no risk to your beautiful hair. (You can always have a test to see if you have an androgen sensitivity.)

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6. Getting too much sun

Exposure to the sun has great potential to harm your hair. Apparently, the hair cuticle (the outer layer which is crucial for its protection) can get weakened, making it more brittle and possibly resulting in hair loss.

The best solution: Always wear a hat, preferably one which has built-in sun protection.

7. Indulging nervous habits

Last but not least, be careful regarding all those nervous habits which can ruin a good head of hair over time. I am thinking here of constantly pulling or twirling your hair, rubbing your scalp, head scratching and so on. Pulling your hair tightly into various shapes and styles does not help at all as the hair follicles (the cells and tissues around the hair root) can become scarred.

There are many medical, genetic and environmental factors involved in hair loss, which can only be altered with difficulty and/or expense. But changing the above habits hardly costs a penny — and you might even save on your electricity bill by cutting down on hot showers and blow-drying your hair!

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“I bet the reason people are afraid of going bald is because it makes them think of the end of life. I mean, when your hair starts to thin, it must feel as if your life is being worn away … as if you’ve taken a giant step in the direction of death, the last Big Consumption.”– Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Featured photo credit: Kyle Sloss and Leila Sloss the Bald ppl/Jess Sloss via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on July 23, 2019

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

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Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

More to Help You Stay Motivated

Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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