Shedding a few hairs in the shower or when styling is a natural process and the body is designed to grow, shed and replace your hair all the time. However, some people lose a lot more than just that normal 50 to 100 hairs per day, and don’t replace it very effectively. If you’re seeing too much hair on the shower drain or your styling brush, there could be more going on. In fact, in many cases it reflects a bigger underlying health problem. Here are some leading causes of hair loss and how to manage them.
Most of this article touches on general health as it is reflected by hair health. But here is a hair care tip that touches on a totally local effect. Hair loss can be caused by certain hair styles. Don’t pull hair tight or use rubber bands in it for extended periods of time. If you have a tight ponytail it may damage the hair shaft, which in turn will harm the hair follicles. This is called traction alopecia.
Next on the local effects list is related to toxins that you may be putting on your hair every day. Although hair products are much better than they used to be, they can still damage you hair. This includes shampoos and other products. If you would like to know more about that, here is another Cureology shampoo and hair care article on this topic. Of course toxins can affect your health as well, so hair loss of this type is both a local effect and possibly a reflection of your overall health being damaged by toxin exposure.
Here is a video review of hair loss causes and what hair care options there are for these very different situations:
Androgenetic Hair Loss
Some women will experience hair loss as a result of their genetic makeup, which cannot be avoided or changed. The technical name is androgenetic alopecia and it’s caused by a gene inherited from one or both parents. This type of hair loss is the equivalent of male pattern baldness in men and can be slowed through the use of topical solutions like 2% minoxidil in women (5% in men) and in men there are more mainstream options available such as finsateride — the best recourse is to visit a dermatologist as soon as you notice that your hair isn’t just shedding but thinning.
Hypothyroidism, or “low thyroid”, is a condition that has side effects such as weight gain, fatigue and hair loss. When these symptoms seem to be occurring together, it’s important to get the thyroid checked. Treatment may include prescription strength synthetic or natural thyroid tablets, which can help. Topical solutions can also be used to help regrow lost hair.
Telogen effluvium causes large clumps of hair to be lost. This condition can develop following pregnancy, significant weight loss, any form of surgery, new drugs, prolonged stress or really any new shock to your system. Also dietary deficiencies can lead to this condition, particularly low intake of iron, vitamins B6 and B12, zinc, or the amino acid L-lysine. Another way to promote healthy hair is to get enough vitamin C into your diet. One essential element to maintaining lively, healthy hair is collagen, which the body needs vitamin C to produce. You can increase your intake of vitamin C by consuming citrus fruits or through supplements.
Another tip for slowing hair loss is to eat hulled sesame seeds. Each morning, add one handful of sesame seeds to your morning cereal or sprinkle them over fresh fruit. White sesame seeds have plenty of magnesium and calcium, around 1200 mg combined. These two supplements can also help your scalp stay nourished.
This type of hair loss may also be reduced with scalp massages. Massage gets blood flowing and stimulates the scalp. You should massage your scalp at least several minutes every day. Since stress can cause hair loss, an additional benefit is that when you rub your head that can lower your stress level. Double benefit!
Thinning may seem severe but the good news is that this condition can be completely reversible because it is only related to hair follicles being dormant or asleep. If you’re experiencing hair loss it’s important to discuss stress with your physician. Treatment is based on removing the trigger, like stress or dietary deficiencies, but sometimes prescription topical medications like minoxidil can help.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Polycystic ovarian syndrome often goes undetected in many women. However, when an otherwise healthy woman begins hair, it can be due to the secretion of excess male hormones, as is characteristic of this condition. Using oral contraceptives (birth control) is often enough to rebalance the body and remedy the issue. Natural approaches to this complex problem include a weight loss program and diet in order to reduce insulin resistance and natural balance hormones.
Women are more prone to iron deficiency anemia. With anemia, blood lacks adequate counts of red blood cells which carry oxygen to your tissues. Anemia is characterized by symptoms such as fatigue, weakness and low body temperature. In many instances, it also leads to hair loss, which can be corrected by adjusting the diet to include more iron-rich foods and possibly taking an iron supplement.
You don’t have to keep losing your hair. If any of these scenarios sound like they fit you, be sure to make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your treatment options. Importantly, keep in mind that your hair can be a reflection of your overall health. So, examine your diet, your stress levels and triggers, and begin a solid dietary and exercise program as appropriate.