There are a multitude of reasons as to why our luscious locks may not be looking as lovely as they once were. Hair loss and hair thinning can unfortunately occur uninvitingly and unwelcomed at any stage of life. The results can evoke a myriad of unwanted emotions and feelings.
The degree of loss depends solely on the causative factor, which could stem from environmental, biological, emotional and/or physical incidence. Figuring out the insult causing the loss can prove challenging, however the answer will provide the measures needed to care for your hair effectively and sufficiently. Always speak to your Doctor if you are experiencing any unexplained hair loss.
It is important to note there is no ‘miracle cure’ for hair loss. There are many claims out there, many bogus ones at that, commonly found on the World Wide Web stating colossal promises that will help grow your hair overnight! This is simply not the case. Generally the average strand of hair grows 15cm per year, that’s 1.27cm per month; hardly noticeable. So where do we start? After addressing the cause and removing the insult, the best place to start is on the inside. Hair growth has a lot to do with what is happening on the inside of us, not just on the outer. Here are a few beneficial tips on maintaining, repairing and improving hair growth internally.
A healthy diet which includes an adequate ratio of good quality, unprocessed macronutrients being fats (25%), protein (20%) and carbohydrates (45%) is the place to start.
- Protein - Protein is made up of individual amino acids that enable the body to build and repair tissues, produce hormones, neurotransmitters and enzymes. Protein plays a significant role in the formation and building of hair, bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. Amino acids are vitally important when it comes to hair growth. Significant sources of protein include; lean meats including chicken, turkey and fish, nuts, seeds, legumes, eggs and dairy products.
- Fats - believe it or not fat is very good for you, the right amount and type of course. Fats are an important component of cellular structure and cellular barrier function, lipid synthesis, immune health and regulating inflammation. Essential fatty acids aid in the reduction of dry, scaly skin, which is particularly beneficial when it comes to follicular health. Quality sources of fats include avocado, olive oil, fish, nuts, seeds, eggs and Greek yoghurt.
- Carbohydrates - Carbohydrates in the form of whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables contain an abundance of micronutrients crucial for human health. Avoid refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta and rice.
Nutrients for Hair Growth
Zinc is a cofactor in many biochemical reactions that occur in the body, over 300 as a matter of fact! It is essential for the formation of bio membranes found in DNA transcription factors and is necessary for the building of all new tissues including the formation of hair.
Vitamin C is involved in the biosynthesis of collagen formation and connective tissue maintenance. Hair follicles contain fine collagenous fibers as well as dermal papilla. Dermal papilla is a cluster of specialized fibroblasts known to play a key role in the regulation of hair growth. Research suggests Vitamin C stimulates the growth of dermal papilla cells and elongation of the hair shaft.
Silica is a mineral that is necessary for the bonding of collagen molecules in connective tissue and the formation of keratin; a protein found in hair, skin and nails. Silica is responsible for the structural integrity of hair, reinforcing its strength and durability.
Also known as vitamin B7, plays an integral role in maintaining the strength and integrity of hair, by providing the cross linkages between the proteins that make up the structure of hair.
Rosemarinus officinalis (Rosemary) and Ginkgo biloba are both circulatory stimulants; they aid in improving blood circulation throughout the body including to the scalp. Applying rosemary essential oil combined with a base oil like jojoba to the scalp, may stimulate follicular cell growth and improve your hair overall.
Rectify existing deficiencies
Hair follicles require a sufficient supply of nutrients due to a hasty active metabolism and the high rate of follicular cell turnover. Deprivation of macronutrients; fats, proteins and carbohydrates and micronutrients; vitamins and minerals caused by exogenous or endogenous factors may lead to structural abnormalities in the hair and/or hair loss. It is important to replenish and restore possible deficiencies not only for the condition of your hair but overall health and wellbeing too!
Managing existing health conditions
Existing health conditions, such as scalp infections (tinea capitus), alopecia and some autoimmune diseases, can have a negative impact on hair growth. Certain autoimmune conditions such as lupus, hypothyroidism and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome may be accompanied by hair loss. Managing existing conditions is important when it comes to overall health, including the health of your hair. It is important to speak with your health practitioner in order to manage any existing conditions effectively.
Stress, emotional and or physical, can negatively impair hair growth and perpetuate hair shedding and thinning. It is important to identify, address and manage stress accordingly and fittingly. Take some time out to do what truly lifts your spirits and leaves you elated; do it regularly! If this is not sufficient, it’s always okay to ask for help, speak to your health care professional in order to help manage symptoms effectively.
Certain products including hair dyes, sprays, treatments, wax and gels can be riddled with harsh chemicals that can cause damage to your hair and interfere with hair growth. Hair appliances that induce heat such as hair dryers, straighteners and curling irons may also cause damage to the hair shaft. If such an experience occurs, it is best avoided. Brushing your hair gently may decrease breakage and loss too. Organic hair products and hair dyes may be a safer option. Speak to your local organic hairdresser for their expert opinion on your individual hair needs.