Is a hair dryer bad for your scalp?

All sorts of attention can make your hair look fabulous for tonight, but what about two years from now? See more pictures of personal hygiene practices.
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Hair dryers are a staple appliance in many modern bathrooms. They perform an essential function after you emerge dripping from the shower -- after all, who wants to go to work looking like a wet mop. But there's a dark side to the debate over where to use a dryer or not. They could be helping you achieve a killer look today, but what about down the line? Are you sacrificing future good hair days for short-term results?

The loss of hair (in tandem with thinning hair and hair prone to breaking) is the most common scalp problem that people experience [source: WebMD]. Losing 50 to 100 hairs a day is normal; much more than that and it's a bit distressing [source: Mayo Clinic]. As most people age, their hair often thins naturally and sometimes baldness sets in. But apart from that, many other devious causes can have hair looking less than divine and at younger ages.

Hair is delicate, and any number of factors can trigger it to jump ship in greater numbers than it should. Beyond aging and heredity, here are some of the possible causes of hair loss: increased physical and emotional stress, poor nutrition, excessive sunlight, trauma, exposure to certain chemicals and heavy metals, various medications and medical treatments, hormonal changes, scalp infections and other illnesses, as well as an assortment of conditions and diseases. It's a wonder anyone has hair!

Lots of the stuff on that list, however, is pretty much beyond your control. You can try to eat better and stress less, but how easy is it to harness your hormones or kick cancer without chemo? There's one other big potential factor, however, that hasn't been mentioned yet: How you care for your hair itself.

Your morning routine and ongoing hair regimen can be a variable in how healthy your hair looks. Continue to the next page to find out some of the hair crimes you could be committing.