“A healthy head of hair enhances your appearance and gives you a boost of confidence, but are you damaging it without knowing it?” asks Dr. Chris Varona, a hair restoration specialist and the owner of Varona Hair Restoration in Newport Beach, CA. “Hair is delicate, and once damaged, very hard to fix. There are a lot of common mistakes people make, but there are numerous everyday hair-care habits that can keep your mane in top condition.”
Varona breaks down some of the ways people improperly care for their hair and offers tips on doing the ‘do right:
• Putting hair up too often. This strains the hair and can actually cause it to fall out or break. This type of hair loss is called traction alopecia and is very common. “Switch up your ‘do often and wear it down when you can,” Varona says. “Loose styles are easier on the hair than tight ones. If you start to notice broken hairs or hair loss around the hairline, it could be hairstyle-related. This isn’t only a problem for the ladies. Men with longer styles are at risk for traction alopecia, too.”
• Styling wet hair. Wet hair is weaker than dry hair, and brushing or styling before you’re fully dry can lead to breakage and damage. “The solution is simple: let your hair dry completely before brushing, combing or styling,” Varona says. “Heat and wet air are equally problematic. Don’t use your hot styling tools like a flatiron or curling iron until your hair is fully dried.”
• Starting non-surgical hair loss treatments too late. “These treatments work best in the early stages of hair loss and are more of a preventative treatment than a restoration option,” Varona says. “But once hair loss is highly visible, the damage is already done and non-surgical options just don’t work.”
• Blow-drying hair incorrectly. While thin hair is most susceptible to heat damage, thick or curly hair shouldn’t be subjected to the high heat of a blow dryer for an extended period. “If you must blow dry, use a continuous motion and a flat nozzle attachment, which directs the warm air and helps the hair dry quicker and more evenly,” Varona explains.
“The particulars of how you treat your hair make a big difference,” he concludes. “Many people don’t know exactly how to treat their hair to keep it healthy, and knowing the factors that can take a toll on your hair is very important.”
About the Author
Dr. Chris Varona is a leading hair restoration specialist and the owner of Varona Hair Restoration in Newport Beach, Calif. One of the few hair surgeons who perform FUE graft extractions manually himself, Varona focuses on follicular unit extraction (FUE surgery) and also performs follicular unit transplantation (FUT). He has performed over 5,000 cases. Raised by medical professionals in Milwaukee, Varona played piano from the age of 4, attended the Highschool of the Arts for piano performance and did conservatory training for 14 years, but working at his parents’ medical clinic convinced him he had a calling to medicine.