Alopecia areata is the second most common cause of hair loss, affecting 2% of the global population. Alopecia areata is one of the types of alopecia that impacts your hair follicles and usually appears in round patches. This is a type of non-scarring hair loss that can be combated through various means.
While it's always best to see a doctor if you suspect you have alopecia areata, there are a few things you can do to mitigate your hair loss. So, keep reading to learn more about what to avoid when you have alopecia areata.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease, so diet plays a big role if you're looking for hair loss prevention tips. You should try and minimize your intake of the following items:
While dairy is a natural source of Vitamin D, which is great for maintaining testosterone levels, products containing cow's milk can negatively affect your testosterone levels. This is because cow's milk has high levels of estrogen and progesterone, which suppress the hormones necessary to synthesize testosterone. Hair loss commonly stems from low levels of testosterone, so limiting your dairy intake might help with your hair loss problems.
Dairy products tend to aggravate skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis if you're prone to them. This can cause hair loss problems by itself, so you should limit your intake of dairy products.
If you regularly eat foods high in sugar, you might be causing more harm than you realize. High blood sugar levels cause your blood vessels to stiffen and narrow, interfering with the normal flow of blood. This makes it harder for blood and nutrients to reach your hair follicles.
When your hair follicles don't receive nutrients, they become damaged, leading to hair loss.
Read more: Alopecia Areata Self-Care: Tips for Living With This Autoimmune Disorder
Refined carbohydrates in foods like bread, spaghetti, pizza, and cake can contribute to hair loss. Refined carbs turn into sugar once ingested, so you get the same negative effects as you would eating a high-sugar diet. Refined carbohydrates also affect how your body handles stress, which can lead to even more hair loss problems.
You must realize that male pattern baldness and alopecia areata aren't the same. While sleek ponytails, slicked-back hair, and cornrows all look fantastic, they can all cause hair loss problems if you don't take care.
You want to avoid wearing hairstyles that tightly pull your hair back every day. While it's perfectly fine to pull your hair back every now and again, you want to minimize the amount of tension on your hair follicles.
Try to limit how often you use heat to style your hair. There are links between alopecia areata and heat treatments, so skip the curling wand the next time you wash your hair. Consider using some heat-free styling hacks to achieve your signature do.
While considering reducing the heat you apply to your hair, you should also think about how you're showering. Steaming hot showers can do wonders to release tense muscles after a long day's work, but the heat can negatively affect your hair. To mitigate this, consider loosely putting your hair up while you take a warm shower and then turn the temperature down before you wet your hair.
You'll find your hair less dry and frizzy when you reduce the heat.
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Managing your stress is one of the best ways to try and prevent hair loss. While it's impossible to completely avoid stress, you need to find a way to manage it, so it doesn't take over your life.
Your hair follicles are constantly cycling through phases of growth and rest. During the resting phase, you shed hair. If you experience extreme amounts of stress, it can cause your hair follicles to switch to the resting phase, resulting in hair loss.
If you don't manage your stress levels, more of your hair will enter the resting phase prematurely, and you'll start to notice clumps of hair falling out.
When you manage your stress, you'll also find you sleep better and have more energy for activities you enjoy. Your body will thank you for taking care of it.
Managing stress isn't always easy, but if you take the time to unwind every day and do something for yourself, whether it's taking a walk or doing some meditation, you'll start to notice a change in yourself. Reminding yourself that it's ok to let go for a while will help you recharge and even help you tackle the problems that have been causing you stress.
If you find yourself in an environment where you can't let go of the stress, you might need to evaluate if it's possible to leave the environment. Sometimes this means making a career change or making big changes to your personal life.
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When dealing with alopecia areata, you need to protect your scalp from the elements. While everyone should practice sun safety when leaving the house, if you have alopecia, you should take extra precautions.
Using sunscreen and physical barriers like hats and scarves to protect your scalp is a must. This limits the amount of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays emitted by the sun. While your hair usually provides some protection from the UV rays, if you have alopecia, you need to cover it up.
While the sun doesn't directly cause hair loss, exposure to UV rays can cause weakness and breakage. Sunburn can also aggravate alopecia and cause hair follicles to be damaged.
Having alopecia doesn't mean you can't live your best life. You simply need to take extra precautions. If you're going to be in the sun for a long time and won't be wearing a hat, you need to apply sunscreen to your scalp, even if it makes your hair greasy. You can always wash it off later, but if your scalp is burned, you'll have bigger problems than greasy hair.
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Exercise is a great way to burn off excess energy and manage your stress, but it can also affect your alopecia. Unfortunately, sweating can be a problem if you're experiencing hair loss. This doesn't mean you need to stop exercising. You simply need to make some changes to the way you approach sweat.
Sweat is a natural side effect of exercise. As we exercise, our bodies heat up and produce sweat to try and cool down. While sweat is natural, it can lead to hair thinning and can trigger your alopecia.
The lactic acid in sweat is the main culprit when it comes to hair loss. If lactic acid is left on your scalp for long periods of time, it can cause inflammation and damage your hair follicles.
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is also produced when you sweat. DHT is an active form of testosterone, which is mainly only found in sweat. DHT can bind with your hair follicles and, in turn, prevent your hair from growing naturally.
The combination of your natural sebum and sweat can also block the pores on your scalp, which not only leads to hair loss but can also cause itchiness and irritation. If you scratch your scalp often, you can end up damaging your hair follicles.
The best course of action is to wash your hair as soon as possible after exercising. You don't want your sweat to stay on your scalp longer than necessary. The longer it stays on your scalp, the more damage it does. Just make sure you don't use harsh shampoos or scalding hot water when you take your post-exercise shower.
When you have alopecia areata, you need to make some lifestyle changes. This includes knowing what things to avoid when you have alopecia areata. Since alopecia areata is a disease that causes the immune system to attack hair follicles, you need to work with it, not against it.
Up to 95% of hair loss in men can be treated or, in some cases, reversed, so start your journey now.