Does it seem like you’re losing more hair than the proverbial 100 strands a day? While there are many causes of hair loss—genes, aging, hormones and pregnancy—there are other reasons that could be damaging your hair and causing them to fall out, some might even surprise you. Here, experts reveal three little-known reasons for your hair fall—and what you can do to stop them.
1. Your Hairstyling Habits and Products
“Excessive hairstyling, or hairstyles that pull your hair too tight, have the potential to cause alopecia,” explains Adina Mahalli, hair and skincare expert at Maple Holistics. “This underlying reasons for hair loss are often overlooked because the hair loss isn’t always obvious. Nevertheless, it usually occurs over time and can lead to bigger issues.”
But it’s not just your hairstyle. According to Mahalli, the chemicals in your styling products and your heat-styling tools could be damaging your strands as well. Her advice? “Give your hair a break from chemicals in hairstyling products, as well as avoid aggressively tight hairstyles to prevent further breakage and give your hair time to repair,” she says.
2. Your Diet
Your diet. And because your hair is made up of proteins, a deficiency in this nutrient could greatly affect your hair quality and growth.
“A drop in your protein intake can have an adverse effect on your hair strength and overall growth rate,” says Mahalli. “After about two to three months of a significant drop in protein intake, your body may ration protein by shutting down hair growth.”
Mahalli suggests increasing your protein intake as your first step as soon as you notice that your hair is falling out. “Lean meats, eggs, and a generally balanced diet can help repair damage to your hair.”
Sometimes, even seemingly harmless food—like spinach, if taken in excess—could pose a threat to your hair, according to Heather Downes, MD, board-certified dermatologist in Bannockburn, IL.
“Excessive shedding of the hair is called telogen effluvium (TE),” Dr. Downes explains. “One surprising cause of TE is the excessive consumption of spinach or kale. One study showed that eating excessive amounts of kale (greater than 15 cups/day in smoothies) can trigger TE.”
3. Anxiety and Stress
Anxiety and stress don’t just cause sleepless nights. According to Mahalli, they could also be the reason you’re seeing more hair in the shower drain. “TE may occur when you’re anxious or your body is under stress,” explains Mahalli. “Essentially, it means that your hair follicles are pushed into a premature resting phase.”
While you can’t control the factors that trigger your stress levels to shoot up, taking a few necessary steps to manage it—like deep breathing, avoiding alcohol, caffeine and nicotine, indulging in physical activities—might help to get your stress and hair loss under control.
Losing hair can be frustrating, but by changing a few lifestyle habits, you may be able to help stop it. If you’re looking for a topical solution to add to your hair loss prevention routine, try VEGAMOUR’s GRO Hair Serum, a nutrient-packed, 100% vegan formula designed to protect, nourish and strengthen your hair follicles for total hair wellness.