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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 November 20, 2018

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.

Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

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2. You put the cart before the horse.

“Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

3. You don’t believe in yourself.

A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.

The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

5. You’re in too much of a hurry.

If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

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6. You don’t enjoy the process.

Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

7. You’re trying too hard.

Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

8. You don’t track your progress.

Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

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9. You have no social support.

It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

10. You know your what but not your why.

The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

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Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

  • The more specific you can make your goal,
  • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
  • The more encouraged you’ll be,
  • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?

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