Healthy hair is the bedrock of avoiding hair loss, especially from conditions such as traction alopecia; which results from irritation and damage to the scalp. The condition arises when the hair follicles have been damaged to the point where they can no longer leave the telogen phase of the growth cycle.
The telogen phase, also known as the rest phase, is the part of the growth cycle where the hair follicle shuts down hair production in order to repair itself. When the follicle is badly damaged, it is unable to leave this phase and therefore becomes dormant.
When enough follicles are dormant, the distinct pattern of baldness that makes up traction alopecia occurs. The best way to avoid this kind of hair loss is there before to avoid the causes of traction alopecia in the first place.
Avoid Damage to the Scalp
Many hair care products do harm to the scalp, causing irritation of the scalp's sensitive skin and inflammation of the hair follicles. Products containing lye (often listed by its scientific name, sodium hydroxide) cause inflammation of the scalp, and can burn it if not cleaned off quickly.
Lye is used in hair relaxant lotions because it breaks down the keratin in the hair, and thus makes the hair permanently straighter. Unfortunately lye responds strongly with human skin, which causes damage that takes time to heal. When looking to avoid hair loss through traction alopecia, avoiding this kind of damage is essential.
Other haircare products can also cause irritation to the scalp. Because excess rubbing and scratching of the scalp are also ways to cause traction alopecia (as demonstrated by the amount of hair loss wearing a hard hat all day can cause) it is essential to identify which haircare products make your scalp itchy. Avoid these products at all costs.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Like every other part of your body, your hair requires certain vitamins and minerals in order to stay strong and full of vigour. By choosing a diet that is full of iron, selenium, magnesium and zinc, you can ensure that your hair gets the nutrients it needs to continue growing.
Eating a diet rich in the nutrients you require to avoid traction alopecia hair loss is not as difficult as it may seem. Many of the sources of one vitamin or mineral will also be an excellent source of at least one other nutrient your body needs.
Eggs, red meat, spinach and wholemeal bread are all good sources of iron. Pumpkin seeds and beef are rich in zinc. Both peanuts and oysters are excellent sources of both zinc and magnesium, while other magnesium-rich foods include broccoli, spinach and soy. Red meat, fish, mushrooms and eggs are all excellent sources of selenium.
In addition, the keratin in your hair is made up of protein. Protein is a requirement for growth and repair in the body, so in order to fix any damage to the scalp you need to eat plenty of protein. Eggs, nuts and dairy products are superb protein sources; so eating a healthy breakfast or snacking on nuts during the day is a good choice for healthy hair.
Give Your Scalp Time To Heal
Tightly-braided hairstyles, or styles that pull on the hair roots, are bad for the scalp. They cause inflammation of the hair follicles due to continued pressure and this leads to damage that needs time to recover from. Hair extensions, tight braiding and ponytails all pull on the hair follicles. When sufficient time has passed, the damage mounts up and the follicles deform.
When a deformed follicle enters the telogen phase, it does not come out of it until the damage is repaired. You can avoid this by styling your hair in a way that avoids undue pressure on the roots. Stop wearing tight braiding, do not use hair extensions, and tie your hair back loosely using a ribbon instead of a hair bobble. This reduces the pressure on the roots and cuts the risk of inflammation significantly.
The secret to healthy hair is not some mystical formula, it is a simple change to your routine that avoids harmful chemicals. A good diet with plenty of protein and the essential minerals for strong, healthy hair are all you need. Combined with using only mild hair care products that are easy on the scalp, you will quickly find your hair is in the best condition you have seen it in a long time.