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If you’re in your 20s or 30s and already noticing you have hair loss or hair thinning on the front of your forehead or near your ears, this hair tips blog post is for you.

young girl with frontal hair fibrosing signs (hair thinning)
On average, dermatologists are seeing more than 50 additional customers per year than ever before, with Frontal Hair Fibrosing issues (hair thinning or hair loss around the forehead).

Now, I’ve written quite a bit about the 7 main reason for hair loss in our blog [HERE], but this one's a bit different because we're going to be specifically discussing the relationship between using sunscreen and makeup, and hair loss or hair thinning.

There are many different types of hair loss, and studies are ongoing, but they’re beginning to suggest there may be some things we’re doing ourselves that could be contributing to this type of hair loss. Let’s get right into it and talk about 4 of these factors and what you can do NOW, to help this area of the scalp with regards to hair loss and hair thinning.

1 - You’re pulling back your hair too tight

The American Academy of Dermatology suggests that the constant pull on your hair – like with buns and ponytails, cornrows and even dreadlocks or hair extensions – can cause Traction Alopecia (they even have a name for it) because the constant pulling can damage hair follicles and cause permanent hair loss.

This is a hair issue that was most commonly seen in ballerinas, as they pull their hair back in a tight bun before practice, as well as in Afro or textured hair types that use cornrow styles or protective hairstyles often.

What can you do?

It’s okay to do it once in a while, but you need to loosen the hair when you’re doing these styles. Even when you’re pulling your hair in a pineapple at night to sleep, be sure to make it loose, like 2 or 3 inches lose, since you’ll have it pulled back for the whole night - which is when your body heals while you rest.

2 - Your sunscreen and makeup are causing hair loss/hair thinning

There have been quite a few studies on how the usage of some ingredients that make sunscreen and makeup stay on your skin, can be irritating and difficult to wash off, blocking the hair follicles from essentially “breathing” and cleansing themselves by producing sebum (natural oils that protect your skin). This type of hair loss is called Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia - or FFA - and there have been SO MANY studies on the correlation of sunscreen, cosmetic products and hair loss or thinning.

woman with makeup and hair thinning or hair loss on the forehead
Wearing makeup + sunscreen close to the hairline can prevent follicles from growing hair.

What can you do?

Avoid sunscreen in these areas and instead wear a UV protectant hat to protect your face and scalp from the sun to avoid burning. Skip sunscreen and makeup from going anywhere near these delicate areas (shown with the dotted lines, above). You can still apply them delicately on your face, just gently blend NEAR these areas but not ON them.

3 - You’re not washing your face all the way up into your hairline

If you’re wearing makeup, sunscreen, sweating (which is one of the normal ways for your body to detox), then not cleansing it off your hairline can cause issues.

The scalp creates its own protective layer of semi-occlusive oils, called sebum. These oils protect the skin and trap water beneath it, reducing moisture loss. This is what makes your skin feel smoother and soft and have that radiant look. If the skin is not cleansed properly it will not be able to absorb moisture from the air and, in turn, cleanse itself off.

What's more, some of the ingredients in sunscreen and makeup are especially used for the purpose of these products sticking to your face better. Such an ingredient is Zinc oxide; if you didn't use this ingredient in sunscreen and makeup, then these products would "slide right off" or be easily wiped off the skin. But they need to be cleansed off using a good-quality (yet delicate) skin cleanser.

What can you do?

Next time you wash your face, use a gentle and most natural cleanser possible and wash all the way up there to remove anything that is on your skin where your hair grows. You can even wash a little bit beyond the hairline into your hair, and then just blot dry. Wait a few minutes before applying your gentle moisturizer or lotion.

4 - You’re using harsh products, or too many layers of products on your face and hair

The combination of cleansers, moisturizers, lotions, oil serums, vitamin C or retinoids, plus your shampoos and many styling agents, have ingredients that can all build up on the skin –like silicones and film-formers that make your hair shiny and "clump up" – in the case of curly or coily hair, or hairspray and mousse that give that hold for styling.

curly wavy hair with film-formers and overuse of hair products
Many wavy and curly hair styles overuse hair products that can cause build-up on hair and scalp.

What can you do?

Again in this case, it’s really important for you to cleanse properly, but use products that don’t contain silicones, harsh cleanser or harsh preservatives like phenoxyethanol (look at the label of your products; it'll usually be right at the end of the ingredients list), that can do anything from cause skin irritation to rashes and enrage eczema.

Bottom line is, when it comes to the relationship between hair growth, hair loss, and the use of sunscreens and makeup, there have been many correlations. Studies are ongoing, yet there are things we can do to prevent further hair loss from happening in these areas. Studies will undoubtedly continue, but now you know some ideas for prevention and possibly reversing the hair loss on your forehead. Knowledge is king!

Are you noticing some hair loss on your forehead or side burns? Are you going to make a more conscious effort to wash off all the sunscreen and makeup off your hairline? We'd love to know, comment below!

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