It happens to the best of manes: that moment in the shower where, suddenly, you are staring in horror as your fingers are holding a clump of wet hair. Penny James of Penny James Salon, celebrity hairstylist and the only certified Trichologist IAT in New York City, doesn’t want you to freak out. That’s what she tells the movie and music stars who come for her valuable advice and treatments (no, she’s not telling who they are, but trust us, you’ve all heard of them). Sometimes your hair falls out or gets thin for reasons you might not believe. Here, James tells Yahoo Beauty about five possible and lesser-known triggers to hair loss.
Food poisoning: When you get sick to your stomach from bad sushi or somesuch, your blood circulation can get upset and causes your hair growth to go prematurely into a shedding phase. This is called “Diffuse Hair Loss” and usually lasts about three months, when these hair follicles are replaced by new ones. The good news: this should correct itself and not be permanent.
Extended high fever: Same reaction as food poisoning, which is caused by disruption of blood circulation and sometimes a hormonal shift. The normal life of a hair (if you don’t pluck them from your head to get rid of grays or as a nervous tick) is anywhere from two to six years, but you grow new hairs every two to three months.
Rashes: Similar to above, but your hair can also fall out or stop growing if you have eczema or psoriasis in your head and you are scratching your scalp, creating scabs, and preventing follicles from opening. Go to a dermatologist and see if you can get prescription anti-itch shampoo. Stop scratching. Stop picking the scabs. Not kidding. If you don’t, it will be harder for your hair to grow back.
Car accident (or any sudden traumatic event): When you go through any sort of extreme shock, you can develop what’s known as Alopecia Areata, small bald patches that appear on your head. Trauma can trigger an autoimmune reaction, where white blood cells attack the hair bulb, which goes swiftly into the resting phase, and falls out, but just in particular spots (and can be tingly or slightly painful). Scientists and doctors still don’t have a complete answer why this happens in patches, but they agree that, with the right treatments (topical such as lotions with Minoxidil and/or emotional therapy), your hair can recover completely.
Dairy, wheat, soy, or other food allergies: We are talking about actual, blood-tested allergies to ingredients like these, not simply a food intolerance (or a fashionable food trend). When your body has a true allergic reaction, your immune system can act violently, sending signals throughout the body to ward off attacks. It is very rare, but in certain cases, these issues can contribute to scalp problems and Alopecia Areata. If your doctor says to avoid particular foods due to true allergies, heed this advice.