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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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