Text by Jacquelin Huang/Hildra Gwee
Illustration by Cherilyn Celestine Ho
Many of you will feel that occasional tickle of a fallen strand of hair on your arm, but when it happens for the fifth time in an hour, you might start to think "AM I GOING BALD?!"
In today’s blog post, we are going to explore if millennials are losing hair earlier than their parents, what are the causes of hair fall, and when should we start worrying about hair loss instead?
HAIR SHEDDING VS HAIR LOSS
Let's set this straight - there is a difference between regular hair shedding and hair loss. Most of us will experience daily hair shedding as part of our scalp's normal process of regeneration. But how much hair fall is normal, and when should we start to worry?
We lose an average of 50-100 strands of hair A DAY. That might sound like a lot but we have on average 100,000 strands of hair on our heads, so losing 0.1% of our total volume a day doesn't sound so bad now, does it?
Additionally, 80 to 90 percent of our hair follicles are growing hair at one time, while the rest are resting or shedding. Read on to understand our hair growth cycle.
THE HAIR CYCLE
Between 80 to 90 percent of your hair follicles are growing hair at one time, while the rest are resting or shedding. This is called the anagen phase that typically lasts 3 - 7 years (asian hair has the longest time in this phase!), followed by a gradual transition to the resting phase (tellogen phase) where the follicle remains inactive for 3-5 months before the whole cycle restarts.
Hair shedding occurs during the tellogen phase.
Hair loss and other problems with hair growth may occur when your growth cycle is disrupted. While stress, diet and chemical treatments are common triggers, it should be noted that hair loss can be tied to our genetics.
Are you REALLY losing hair?
Are you truly experiencing hair loss or are you pulling your hair out thinking you are losing hair? You may be worrying over nothing!
There are several factors that could mislead you into thinking you are losing hair, especially when you are shedding hair.
Photo credit: Healthline
SUPPLEMENTS: the dangers of over-supplementation
'The ONLY way to long and healthy way is XXX vitamins!'
Do captions like this could make you wonder if your hair condition will improve after taking supplements? With online celebrities and influencers constantly advertising hair supplements, perhaps you are missing out on the secret to their luscious, swishy hair? Furthermore, the accompanying before and after photos seems to guarantee longer, shinier and more voluminous hair - though it is probably the work of lots of hair spray, photoshop and a good blow-out.
Taking vitamin supplements might make things worse! Studies have shown that taking hair supplements that contain vitamin A (vitamin A is a common ingredient for hair growth supplements to activate hair follicle stem cells) actually result in more hair loss if you do not actually have a deficiency. Not only does over-supplementation result in hair loss, it is also linked to causing issues with vision and skin.
Photo credit: New York Times
YOUR HAIR RITUAL
Have a look at the ingredients in your hair products. Does it contain alcohol that dries your scalp out and make it prone to itchiness? Are you getting chemical treatments to break the bonds in your hair, thereby weakening them? By the way, this is not just limited to salon-level damage. Under or over washing your hair can also play a big role in the maintenance of your hair!
Over-washing (more than twice a day) can increase friction between hair strands and strip your scalp of its protective oils - leading to increased frizziness and an imbalanced scalp (yes your scalp produces more oil to compensate for its dryness!) A way to tell if you are over-washing is by checking for more split ends or increasing dullness in your hair. Compensate for a loss of moisture with a few drops of Organic Hair Serum applied to the hair ends.
Under-washing can mean that your scalp is not thoroughly cleansed. Think of your scalp like your face - and you don't want your pores to be clogged. Every time you wash your hair, make sure to concentrate on cleaning out all build-up and dirt from your scalp. Always use an acidic shampoo because that helps to maintain a healthy pH for your scalp and not disturb its natural microbiota.
We advise a daily or alternate day wash if you are spending at least 6 hours outside of your home. A quick drizzle of our Volumising Dry Shampoo can help to absorb excess oil off your scalp and keep it dry and fresh. But remember - this buys you 1 to 2 "no-poo" days. Avoid going over that time frame!
OUR STRESSFUL LIFESTYLES
Poor diets, stress, and a lack of sleep - we are all guilty of this aren't we?
Millennials are the first generation to experience significant technological change and digitization of their lives. While digitization has many benefits including greater convenience and entertainment, it also means that millennials are now able to take their work home, and are constantly comparing themselves to others on social media. Stop the comparison and self-shame!
Credit: Victoria Heath
According to the Deloitte Millenial Survey, millenials responded that they are stressed most of the time, mainly due to financial issues and career instability. As compared to baby boomers and Gen X-ers, millennials have more trouble buying real estate, cars and making other ventures early in their lives due to the competitive economic climate. Throwing in the current covid crisis - it is no wonder we are losing more hair than before!
Before you convince yourself that you are balding, make sure that you have actual symptoms of hair loss.
Photo credit: Healthdirect Australia
- bald patches
- receding hairline
- a thinning ponytail
Before self-diagnosing, consult a professional like a scalp dermatologist or a trichologist!
Hair loss is certainly a worrying event but it is certainly not the end of the world. Sometimes all you need is a lifestyle change. Making a switch to more natural hair products and minimising treatments such as colouring and perming will also help keep your hair healthy and stay within the anagen (growing) phase for a longer period of time.
Let your hair down, love your hair and importantly, don't forget some much needed self care <3