“Invest in your hair, it is the only crown you will never take off.”
Once, I saw this quote hanging in a pretty photo frame on the wall of a salon I visited. I was there, seated on a posh leather seat, being fussed around by a few hair stylists all at once. But instead of feeling like a pampered princess, it was the complete opposite. I felt ugly, insecure and exposed.
Because my crown was falling off… literally.
All my life, I never imagined I would have hair loss problems. If I could say so myself, my luscious locks used to be my best feature.
Being the fashionable teenager that I was, riding on the newest hair trend felt like the most natural thing to do. Ombre or balayage techniques with pink, purple, turquoise, rainbow streaks — you name it, I’ve tried it. I was always bleaching and colouring my hair for the sake of beauty, but little did I know that Beauty would bite me in the back years later.
As I got older, I started noticing signs of premature hair loss. Mind you, at a tender age of 22, losing hair felt like the most unlikely of all situations. I kept telling myself that I couldn’t be experiencing hair loss, I was way too young.
Eventually, I caved and visited Beijing 101 hair specialist to seek expert advice. I was determined to get to the root of the problem (pun intended).
What I learned was, regardless of age, hair loss was a common problem among women. The symptoms are buried in the little things we brush off every day until the problem becomes too visible to ignore.
If you suspect that you have hair loss problems, this post will help to shed some light. Here are the top 5 signs of female hair loss, as explained by my hair specialists.
1. Your ponytails are getting thinner
Living in a hot and humid place like Singapore, tying our hair up into a ponytail or a bun is something we do frequently. If you have longer hair, pay close attention to the thickness of your ponytail or the size of your hair bun.
You may not notice it at first because the differences are ever so slight, but if your ponytail feels thinner or if you require a few more twists to secure your hair elastic, it can be a telltale sign of hair loss.
Here’s a pro tip: If your ponytail circumference measures less than two inches (5cm), it means you have thin hair. Thick hair generally measures four inches (10 cm) or more in a ponytail.
If you’re vain like me and simply can’t stand the sight of yourself with thin and limp hair, all is not lost. Thankfully, there are easy ways to “cheat” and create the illusion of fuller, more voluminous hair.
2. You notice clumps of hair collected in your bathroom
Here’s a fun fact: Did you know that on average, we shed anywhere between 50 to 100 strands of hair a day?
We naturally have about 120,000 to 150,000 hair follicles on our scalp, where each hair follicle produces hair for an average of 25 cycles throughout our entire life if we keep them healthy (and not damage them with bleach and hair dye during our silly teenage years… but I digress.)
Counting how many strands of hair you drop in a day is an indicator of whether or not you are experiencing hair loss. At the peak of my hair loss journey, I once spent hours counting the fallen strands of hair around the house and it amounted to a whopping 258 strands!
But if unlike me, you do not have the time nor the obsession, a quick way to tell if you are shedding hair excessively is to observe your bathroom floor after a hair wash.
If it’s more than a few visible strands and they are gathered in large clumps, don’t kid yourself into thinking it’s normal. It’s not.
Is it factual? Do you have any point of references?
Do u think ppl do the counting?
3. Your hair breaks off as you brush it every morning
While brushing your hair, it may be normal for a few strands of hair to fall along the way. At the same time, you should be careful not to pull on your hair too hard. (Pulling on tangled hair will only break them, not untangle!)
A general rule of thumb is that if your hair falls off in strands when you brush it, you probably have nothing to worry about. But if you notice hair falling off in clumps when you run your fingers through your hair or brush your hair, you should be alarmed.
Another common issue faced by many women is hair breakage. Hair breakage is a fracture in any area of the hair shaft. If there are short pieces coming out when you brush or comb your hair, you are experiencing hair breakage.
Most of the time, hair breakage is due to dry or brittle hair damaged by heat (yes, your teenage dreams to achieve that “Korean” look with frequent rebonding and perming are to blame). While hair breakage might not necessarily mean hair loss, it could be a cause for concern as well.
Hair breakage that appears close to the scalp could be an early sign of a very serious type of hair loss called Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA). CCCA causes the destruction of hair follicles that, once destroyed, your hair will not grow back. It is best to seek medical help for this type of hair loss early to prevent complete loss of hair in the affected area.
4. You notice mysterious bald spots appearing on your scalp
While most women are more concerned about the crown of their head and their hairline, few women actually examine their scalp in greater detail.
If you have a hand-held mirror, hold it at the back of your head and run your fingers through your scalp. Do you notice mysterious bald spots on your scalp? They may be circular or patchy and resemble coins in size.
If you do, you could have a medical condition called Alopecia Areata. This is an autoimmune skin disease that causes patchy hair loss on the head and possibly other places on the body. Usually, the bald patches appear suddenly and affect only a limited area.
Don’t be too worried, though. It is usually not permanent and hair grows back within 12 months or less. More often than not, it could be caused by genetics, stress or hormonal changes. Women with hormonal hair loss sometimes experience it after giving birth or when approaching menopause.
If you’re unsure of the cause, do away with the unnecessary worry and frustration. It’s best you err on the side of caution and visit a doctor or a hair specialist.
5. Your hair parting is broadening or thinning gradually
Though it may come as a no-brainer to some, this sign is a sneaky one. Hair thinning occurs gradually and not overnight, so it could be tricky to spot your hair volume slowly decreasing around the parting of your hair.
If you notice your scalp becoming more visible at the hairline around your face or along your parting line, it could be a sign of hair loss.
Sometimes, the gradual loss of hair may not be obvious when we look at ourselves in the mirror every day. Seek a second opinion from your close friends or family, who can give your hair a closer look.
If you’ve decided that you need professional help with hair loss, you could visit a hair specialist just like me. Knowing that I was in good hands and an environment where I wouldn’t be judged was very encouraging and helpful. While it may be a hefty investment for someone in their early 20s, it was the best decision I made for my scalp and hair, which could give me long-term returns.
Scalp care is something that we often ignore until the consequences become visible. If you are experiencing thinning hair and would like to get your scalp health checked, Beijing 101 is offering a Hair Loss Treatment promotion going at only $40!
Hopefully, the hair loss warning signs and tips I have experienced come useful to you.