Dr. Mallika Marshall: Hair dye, hair loss

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January 30, 2013, 8:42 am
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(NECN) - Celebrities such as January Jones have recently noticed some unusual hair loss, and it may be the color and treatments that are causing the damage.

Medical Expert Dr. Mallika Marshall stopped by "The Morning Show" to share some important information for women - and men - who are noticing a change in hair health.

She answered the following:
* What effect do hair treatments and products have on hair?

I'm sure it's no surprise to anyone that all of the things that we modern women (and men) do to manipulate our hair can take a toll…dyes, relaxers, perms, blow dryers, flat irons, curling irons, hair sprays….all of these things can lead to damage and breakage.  And the FDA says that some people have experienced hair loss from hair dyes alone.
* What can be done to fix it?

The good news is, hair dye and bleach and many of these treatments cause temporary hair loss…that is, the hair usually grows back. Hair isn't living, so it can't repair itself, but it grows back from the root, so with time, new hair grows back.
* What do these chemicals do to hair?

Chemicals like bleaches and dyes, fundamentally change the structure of your hair, making it weaker. So if you dye your hair and then use flat irons or blow dryers, you're at much higher risk of breakage. Plus your hair will look more dull and frizzy.
* What do you do to reverse the process?
Give your hair a break from dying and avoid using too much heat on your hair. Also, if you're going to dye your hair, don't go too much lighter than your natural color…nor more than three shades or so. Dying hair darker, rather than lighter, is less damaging.  Dermatologists say conditioners and hair serums can help chemically treated hair.  
* Should you try to dye your own hair at home?

If you're going to do it yourself, follow the directions carefully and do a skin test before you proceed to make sure you won't have an allergic reaction. Also, never use dye on eyebrows or eye lashes.
* Can pregnant women dye their hair?

The concern has been that dye may be absorbed by the scalp and reach the developing fetus.  Recent studies suggest that it's unlikely to cause significant harm. That said, to minimize your exposure, have foils applied instead of a single process dye so that the color doesn't touch the scalp. Also, vegetable dyes, like henna, are safe to use but check the labels carefully.
* How much hair do people typically lose in a day?
Anywhere from 50 to 100 strands of hair each day. On the days when hair is washed, people can lose up to 250 strands.
* What are the signs that a woman is losing more hair than she should?

There may be a larger amount than usual on her pillow when she wakes up, or in her brush or comb. Some hair comes out when a person pulls or tugs their hair when brushing so bear that in mind.  
* What medical conditions cause sudden hair loss?  

The most common are pregnancy, thyroid disorders, and anemia. Others include autoimmune diseases, polycystic ovary syndrome, and skin conditions such as psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis. Other reasons for hair loss include extreme stress; physical trauma like surgery or intense illness; dramatic weight loss over a short period of time; and taking too much Vitamin A.
* What about hair loss over time?

Hair loss or thinning is not just a problem among men.  Women tend to develop hair thinning as they age…often noticing it by the time they're in their 50s or 60s. What happens is that each time a normal hair follicle is shed, it isn't replaced with a hair that's equal in size, but with one that's finer and thinner. Eventually they quit growing all together.

Tags: health, hair, Dr. Mallika Marshall, hair loss, hair dye, hair health, healthy hair
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