3 Surprising Causes of Scalp Problems

Lack of Moisture
Anything from the climate to harsh coloring chemicals and artificial heat used during the colder months can dry out the scalp and leave it raw, itchy, inflamed and sensitive. That’s when moisturizing shampoos and conditioners and leave-in treatments become essential. Moisture is important for a healthy scalp since it enables the scalp to produce natural oils. “Natural oils make hair shiny. They also keep hair from becoming dry and prevent other issues from arising that are associated with a dry scalp. Think of your hair like your skin—it’s happier when it’s hydrated and less prone to cause issues,” says stylist Giovanna Lampo of the Fekkai Salon in Greenwich, CT.


Stress
Be it emotional or physical stress, the effects can be seen in your hair. “The scalp is sensitive to stress,” says Santa Clarita, CA, dermatologist Bernard Raskin, MD. “It can take a few weeks to a few months from the start of a stress-related incidence to take effect.” Hormonal fluctuations play a role, too. “Telogen effluvium is a condition in which hair sheds in response to stress brought on by pregnancy, surgery or emotional factors,” says Houston dermatologist Jennifer M. Segal, MD. Once hair enters the resting stage, it temporarily stops growing and sheds or falls out in clumps. “As you adapt to the change and resume your normal lifestyle, hair will slowly resume its normal growth pattern,” says Dr. Raskin.


Menopause
Menopause brings about hot flashes, weight gain and dryness, especially on the scalp, which can lead to thinning and hair loss. “Menopausal and post-menopausal women may start to notice their hair thinning. Unlike men, who thin on the top of their heads, women thin throughout the entire scalp and to some extent around the sides,” says Dr. Raskin. It’s not a question of will it happen, but more of when it will happen. One reason for a change in your hair during menopause is due to a decrease in estrogen in the body—estrogen helps keep hair in the growing cycle. “This decrease creates a hormonal imbalance in the body, prompting hair to thin and fall out,” says Louisville, KY, plastic surgeon Nana N. Mizuguchi, MD.


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Why Your Hair is Thinning
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