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Quiz: Do you know what causes hair loss?

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Using too much hair spray or dye can cause permament hair loss.

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Using too much hair spray or dye can cause permament hair loss.

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Hair products can affect the look and feel of your hair, but the NHS says they don't cause hair loss. Hair may become brittle from product use, but that kind of damage to the hair shaft is usually temporary. It's when you hurt the root of the hair that permanent damage is caused.

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100 brush strokes a night helps hair grow.

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100 brush strokes a night helps hair grow.

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This practice is supposed to increase shine and volume, but aggressive brushing can increase wear and tear, causing split ends and breakage. A wide-toothed comb is a better choice than a brush as it limits hair loss when you're combing out knots and tangles. Combing stimulates the scalp and distributes natural oils along the hair shaft. It also increases blood flow to the scalp which encourages growth.

Always use a conditioner before combing your hair out after a shower. It's best to comb curly hair while it's damp and let straight hair dry a little first.

Stress can make your hair fall out.

Stress can make your hair fall out.

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Intense stress or a traumatic event can trigger a condition known as telogen effluvium. This can shock the hair growth cycle causing more hair to shed than normal. You may notice hair loss or thinning 6 weeks to 3 months after stress begins. The condition can also be triggered by intense physical stress, such as:

  • Childbirth
  • Illness
  • Crash dieting

It's thought the body redirects energy for hair growth to more important bodily needs. The good news is that it's usually reversible and hair grows back normally once the stressful period is over.

Which conditions can trigger coin-shaped bald spots?

Which conditions can trigger coin-shaped bald spots?

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All of the above conditions can trigger alopecia areata which causes bald patches on the scalp, although it can also affect other areas of the body. It's linked to autoimmune conditions, such as hypothyroidism, when the body's natural defences malfunction. Teens and young adults are most affected. You're also more at risk if the condition runs in the family. Usually hair grows back within months, although finer and lighter than usual at first.

Your diet affects your hair.

Your diet affects your hair.

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  • Correct Answer:

Your hair needs good nutrition, just like the rest of your body. If you become iron or protein deficient, or if you get too much vitamin A, your hair can fall out. Your hair is expendable, so it's often the first to go if your body needs resources elsewhere.

  • For protein: eat plenty of meat, eggs and beans.
  • For iron: eat fortified cereal, spinach, red meat, and tinned sardines.

It's better to get your vitamin A from food rather than supplements, so you don't overdo it.

Which of these can trigger hair loss?

Which of these can trigger hair loss?

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  • Correct Answer:

Tight pony tails, braids, extensions and other tight hair styles can put severe stress on your hair, causing it to pull and ultimately break. This is known as traction alopecia. Constant tension can eventually damage the hair follicles causing them to permamently waste away. This can also be caused by harsh chemicals used to dye, straighten or bleach hair.

Washing your hair every day is fine as long as you are gentle and don't towel dry too roughly. Tight head gear, that's worn often, can also rub at parts of your hair causing damage. Choose a loose-fitting hat that protects your hair from the sun's damaging UV rays.

Hair loss only happens to women after menopause.

Hair loss only happens to women after menopause.

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  • Correct Answer:

Women can experience hair loss at any time in their life. Female pattern baldness is more common during menopause, thought to be caused by fluctuating hormone levels. Other causes of hair loss include:

  • Pregnancy (excess hair sheds about 3 months after delivery)
  • Hereditary factors
  • Infections or certain illnesses
  • Trauma or emotional stress
  • Chemotherapy cancer treatment
  • Medication side effects

If your hair is thinning, seek medical advice to get to the root of the issue.

Hair loss is natural and rarely requires treatment.

Hair loss is natural and rarely requires treatment.

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Losing your hair, for whatever reason, can be a deeply distressing experience. You don't just have to live with it.

Depending on the cause, treatments include:

  • Improving your diet
  • Treatment for stress or depression
  • Scalp lotion
  • Steroid injections
  • Surgical options like hair transplants and implants
  • Wigs

Talk to your GP who may recommend counselling. There are also support groups like Alopecia UK with online forums to help you cope.

Your Score:   You correctly answered   out of   questions.
Your Score:   You correctly answered   out of   questions.
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Well done! No losing it for you!

Quite good! You aren't stressed over your tresses.

Not great, but no need to tear your hair out. Brush up and try again!