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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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