Five surprising reasons why your hair is falling out – and the easy fixes to stop it from happening

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Are you seeing more hairs in your brush, or have you noticed more coming out when you wash your hair? Perhaps you’ve spotted spare-looking patches on your scalp you’re sure weren’t there before?

You’re not alone; excessive hair fallout in women is a “modern” problem often related to stress – and the horrors of the past year certainly haven’t helped to dispel the issue.

It’s good to remember that it’s normal to lose up to 100 hairs a day, and the hair’s different growth phases dictate that there are times when significantly more fall out than at other times.

If the problem is significant and chronic it’s good to see a specialist (hormones, illness and genes could be at play), but before that, consider a few other causes of temporary hair shedding that can be easily sorted out.

Lockdown 'facelifts'

Scraping your hair back into a tight bun or ponytail, as many of us have been guilty of doing a lot during lockdown, can be disastrous, warns homeopath Ann-Louise Holland, creator of Kansha Alchemy Good Hair Nutrient Complex, £29.99 here.

“Hair needs to move and be moved to increase blood circulation to the scalp, which is what brings nutrients and healthy growth to the hair. Scraping your hair back achieves quite the opposite.”

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In the long run, it can even cause traction alopecia, or hair loss caused by repeatedly pulling on it – which can become permanent if you persist with it.

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If you must scrape it back, “at least untie it twice a day and brush it through thoroughly using a boar bristle brush (such as Moroccanoil Boar Bristle Brush, £39.85 here ) , says Ann-Louise. “This will both massage the scalp and distribute natural oils down the hair shaft, keeping hair supple, your scalp nourished, and your stands stay put.”

Shampoo dodging

“There is a misguided belief that any form of shampoo is damaging to the scalp and hair, and will make your hair fall out,” says Head & Shoulders trichologist Dr. John Grey.

“The opposite is true. Not washing, as well as co-washing (‘cleansing’ your scalp with conditioner instead of shampoo) are major causes of hair fallout, causing blockages and aggravating scalp diseases which in turn make hair break.”

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If your hair is flaky or oily, he recommends Head & Shoulders Daily Protect, £5.99 here. “It has an active ingredient that doesn’t just suppress dandruff, it balances the scalp’s microbiome, giving healthy bacteria a chance to thrive.” And a healthy scalp, he says, means stronger, thicker hair.

Suffocating your scalp

The wrong conditioner can pose a problem as well, as can dry shampoos and styling products. Certain silicones, conditioning agents and thickening resins can stick to the hair and scalp. This can weigh hair down, dull it or worse, cause hair loss.

A gentle shampoo and a silicone-free conditioner, used daily will sort this out. If the shampoo is free from sulphates, it won’t dry out your hair and scalp no matter how often you use it.

Try the sulphate-free Maui Moisture Revive and Hydrate Shea Butter Shampoo and Conditioner, which both feature in this month’s brilliant OK! Beauty Edit box. It contains over £50 worth of sustainable products you can get your hands on for here as little as £13*.

Sunbathing

We all love the sun but we also know that basking in it causes ageing and cancer. And guess what – exposing your hair and scalp to sunlight can make you lose your hair as well.

“UVA and UVB rays divert all the scalp’s attention to trying to protect its DNA, cancelling out its main functions of growth and hair detention,” says Abi Cleeve, UK MD of Ultrasun.

“Hair gets thinner and follicles widen, causing hair fallout. Properly protecting your scalp at all times is the key to preventing this, so always wear a hat in the sun.” A UV scalp protector by Ultrasun will be available later in the year.

Covid-19

A July 2020 survey by the Indiana University School of Medicine about post-Covid symptoms found that among 1,567 members of a survivors’ group, over a quarter reported excessive hair loss.

“We know that stress and flu infections can push hair into its ‘shedding’ phase,” says Dr Stephanie Seyda, Founder of Natucain. “At this point, more evidence is needed to understand whether the reported hair loss is a medical side effect of Covid-19 or related to increased stress brought on by the illness, but there appears to be a link.”

If you suspect a more chronic hair loss issue, Natucain Hair Activator, £150 here, is a 100 per cent natural, hormone-free topical hair-loss treatment that encourages a longer growth phase for you hair, using a patented stem cell molecule derived from botanicals. A 90 per cent reduction in hair loss has been reported.

Ingeborg van Lotringen is the author of Great Skin: Secrets The Beauty Industry Don’t Tell You, £9.67 here.

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