[guy]For a 21-year-old male college student, appearing older than your actual age could come with some bonuses – like purchasing alcohol without getting carded. But looking more like 30 years old when you\’re in your early 20s might mean something else, too: early hair loss.
Generally hair loss, clinically known as alopecia, has many different types and causes. These types of the disorder include: alopecia areata, which is temporary hair loss; androgenic alopecia, which is common male pattern hair loss, and telogen effluvium, which is temporary hair loss caused by stress.
Hair Woes
According to hair loss research conducted by specialists at HairLossHelp Inc., in Santa Monica, Calif., stress is directly linked as one of the causes of hair loss. HairLossHelp Inc. found that hair loss usually occurs three months after the stressful event has occurred and it may take three months after the stress period has ended for hair growth to resume. However the case of stress related hair loss or telogen effluvium can be worsened by other forms of hair loss such as androgenic alopecia.
With all the pressures of classes, exams, and jobs, college life is stressful enough without having to worry about losing your hair as a result. This was inevitably the case for political science senior Shakeya Lewis, whose full head of flowing black hair started thinning out over two years ago. \”With all the stress and problems I was going through at the time, my hair wasn\’t as nearly as long as it is now,\” said Lewis. Struggling to maintain her 15 credit class load with an over-active extracurricular life took its toll on Lewis and caused her to undergo enormous amounts of stress. \”I wore myself so thin that semester that it was ridiculous, and my hair bared the result of that decision.\”
After getting herself focused, restoring her gorgeous healthy hair to its crown and glory became a lengthy and important task for Lewis. \”After all the stuff I went through with school and everything else, my hair was so gone because I was so stressed out,\” said Lewis. Lewis then gave her hair, as well as her life, time to heal and grow healthy, without the stress and negative energy wearing her down.
Lewis is very close to the issues of hair loss, having six years of hair care experience, and may want to become a licensed cosmologist one day. She started out doing friends\’ hair in high school occasionally, and now she has five to seven clients a week. Lewis even has a fan group following on the website Facebook.com of over 30 college students, dedicated to her hair stylin\’ abilities.
Although there are many different products to help restore hair loss and medicate alopecia, there are very few that will work when stressed out about that huge research paper or midterm exam.
Terry Nelson, a cosmetologist for 18 years and currently at Styling Studio in Lansing, suggests that you relax, stay calm, and work on the issue that is at the root of the hair loss. She said relaxing yourself is the key to not only healthy hair but especially healthy living. “I found using aromatherapy helps people relax and soothes them when they\’re having a bad day, [and] takes their mind off of their problems,\” said Nelson.
Do You Like My Hat?
Experiencing hair loss at a young age can be an embarrassing or even traumatic experience for some people. According to Danny Martinez, cosmetologist/barber at Terry Cutz in Lansing, the emotional effects of early hair loss is different for women than it is for men. \”For a lot of women, unless they intentionally wear a short style, having long hair is attached to their pride and image,\” said Martinez. \”They may feel lacking or that having short hair is a shame. I think losing hair is easier for men because as long as it is unnoticeable, they don\’t care as much.\” Martinez, who has been a cosmetologist for 10 years and a barber for 24 years, is the former co-owner of Consolations Barber Shop in Lansing.
From a male perspective, there is also much emphasis placed on receding or thinning hair being a marker of getting older. While some worry over losing their hair (perhaps making it worse!), others accept their hairless futures. Journalism instructor Garry Gilbert realized at 25 years old that he would probably begin to lose his hair much like his father and grandfather before him. \”If you look at most of the men in my family, the Gilbert men all lost their hair really early on,\” said Gilbert. Gilbert was seemingly unconcerned with the thought of having a similar hair style to most of the men in his family. \”It didn\’t really bother me much; I never really considered hair implants or things of that sort.\”
Gilbert feels that many young men are embarrassed to talk about hair loss, especially male pattern baldness, which is the most common. He said there is too much emphasis put upon hair loss, when for many it is inevitable. \”I think that should not have much effect on who you are and your personality,\” said Gilbert.
Lewis feels that for women, hair loss can be emotional because our society uses hair as an indicator of beauty. \”Some women base beauty on how men respond to their image,\” she said. \”Some people feel that long hair is ingrained in a woman\’s make up.\” She feels that the image of anyone should be decided and based on what is best for that individual and not for society or pleasing a love interest. \”I think people need to do whatever they feel when it comes to their image, and not worry about the response,\” said Lewis. \”People are always going to talk anyway.\”
Healthy Lifestyle, Healthy Hair
Lewis feels that those who want healthy hair need to analyze their diet and lifestyle. \”The things you eat and drink could have an effect on many things – from how healthy, long or full your hair is, to the color your nails,\” said Lewis.
[apple]Does the old saying “you are what you eat†also speak to everything including whether you hair is as healthy as it could be? \”Having unhealthy hair could be [caused by] many different things,\” said Olin Health Center nutritionist Ronda Bokram. \”It could be stress, hereditary, medication side effects or even a thyroid condition, but it could also be your diet if you have poor nutrition or you are under eating,\” said Bokram. She also said the key to keeping healthy hair is having some fats in your diet and a variety of nutrients that consist of more than one food group.
It is not enough just to know whether you are going to experience baldness in ten years as a result of genetics or to even stay centered and stress-free. You must also know how to take care of your hair, and not let something like trying that new L\’Oreal Paris hair color, entice you into unnecessary baldness.
Maintenance, Please!
For interdisciplinary studies in social science junior Lizzie Solomon, her diet wasn\’t the problem; it was dying her hair and trying to keep up maintenance of it, which caused her hair to break off. Solomon, who decided to try something different her freshman year at MSU, dyed her naturally brown hair blonde. Then her golden locks started to thin. \”At first it didn\’t have an effect because my hair was still long, but by being in school it was hard to keep washing it and getting my hair done properly,\” said Solomon. \”So my hair started breaking off and I had to just cut it.\”
Martinez and Nelson both agree that maintenance is a very big issue in hair loss, and bigger than people may think. “Hair loss usually deals with more of how you care for it than anything else, it is all about how much wear and tear you put on it,\” said Nelson.
Martinez feels that it is more scientific and stems from hygiene within care. \”Whatever your condition, hygienic practices and cleanliness adds to whatever is wrong with your hair,\” said Martinez. \”Anything that is not cleaned properly turns to a fungus and with hair that leads to dry skin and flakiness and irritation of the scalp. If your hair is not sanitized properly and regularly, it causes flaking and stunts growth or results in loss.\”
Before blaming family genes for hair loss, consider possible alternative causes – you might actually be able to keep your hair thicker for longer. But then again, you might start getting carded.

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