Hair loss, for most of us, is a prospect that is frightening. We tend to lose more hair at certain times in our lives than others. Sudden loss of above average amounts of hair can be a sign of greater imbalances in the body. How do you know if you are losing too much hair? And more importantly, what can you do about it?
For men and women it is normal to lose 50-100 hairs a day. Most women experience hair loss 2-3 months after having a baby because hormonal changes prevent normal hair loss during pregnancy. It is also normal to experience some thinning of hair as you age, (for women after menopause).
Other common causes
of hair loss:
Androgenic Alopecia: this type of hair loss commonly affects men, and is thought to be hereditary. Hormonal imbalances or mineral deficiencies are possible other causes.
Demodex Follicularum: a species of tiny mite present in nearly all hair follicles by the time a person reaches middle age. Normally they do not cause any damage to the hair, but some people are more sensitive to the presence of these mites than others. In these cases the scalp initiates an inflammatory response. As it tries to kill the mites, it shuts down the hair follicle, thus causing hair loss.
Other common causes: stress, poor circulation, acute illness, skin disease, radiation exposure, sudden weight loss, iron deficiency, diabetes, thyroid disease such as hypothyroidism, drugs such as those used in chemotherapy, poor diet, ringworm and other fungal infections, chemicals in hair dyes and products and vitamin deficiencies.
What you can do:
- Essential fatty acids such as flax oil and evening primrose oil improve the texture of hair.
- Vitamin B complex with B3 (niacin), B5, B6 assists with stress related hair loss. These vitamins are essential for healthy growth of hair.
- Biotin and Inositol are vital for hair growth. Biotin deficiencies have been linked to skin disorders and hair loss.
- Methylsulfonyl-methane (MSM) aids with keratin production, the protein that is the major component of hair.
- Vitamin C with bioflavonoids aids in improving scalp circulation and boosts the antioxidant action of hair follicles.
- Vitamin E increases oxygen uptake, improving circulation.
- Zinc and Copper stimulate hair growth by enhancing the body’s immune function.
- Tin is another important trace mineral, deficiencies of which have been shown to contribute to hair loss.
- Silica aids hair growth and makes hair stronger.
Ginko Biloba increases circulation to the scalp. Horsetail is a good source of silica. Nettle is an excellent source of Iron. Fresh aloe vera juice is recommended.
Food based nutrients from fresh, organic foods are the easiest way for the body to absorb and utilize vital nutrients. Eat a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables, and low in starch. Eliminate processed foods, fried foods and sugar from diet. Fruits and veggies contain flavonoids, many of which are antioxidants that may provide protection of the hair follicles and encourage hair growth. Berries are a delicious source of such anti-oxidants. Dark leafy greens are packed with B-vitamins, and minerals, very helpful for high stress levels.
Many good food sources of Biotin include: brown rice, bulgur, green peas, lentils, oats, soybeans, sunflower seeds, brewer’s yeast, and walnuts. The Schizandra berry is a fruit commonly used in Chinese medicine that has extraordinarily high levels of tin.
High protein foods such as hemp seeds, spirulina and other green superfood blends provide many essential amino acids necessary for healthy hair growth.
Soy foods such as miso, tempeh and tofu appear to inhibit the formation of di-hydrotestosterone, a hormone implicated in common hair loss. Miso has also been shown to protect the body from radiation exposure as well.
Helpful Home therapies:
- Use a mixture of apple cider vinegar and tea from culinary sage leaves as a hair rinse to help hair to grow. This may be used as often as every other day. Use in place of shampoo, massage into scalp, rinse and condition hair as usual.
- Tea tree oil combats bacteria and mites that can contribute to hair loss. Massage up to 10 drops into scalp before shampooing the hair.
- Use shampoos and conditioners that contain biotin, silica and/or MSM. Avoid synthetic hair products and dyes. Allergic reactions to such products occur frequently. There are a host of dangers associated with many of their common ingredients. Choose a hair formula that is organic, plant based and PH balanced.
Hair is very fragile, especially when wet. Do not wash it more than necessary, and handle hair carefully while drying it. Gently pat hair with a towel and then air dry. Do not use hair dryers, or other hot appliances on your hair. Avoid rough treatment to the hair such as the use of fine-tooth combs, tight hair bands, ponytails or other treatments that tend to pull on the hair and break it. Hair sticks that support the hair in a loose bun, or up-do, are a gentle way to keep hair out of your face and avoid breakage. Avoid hats that are too tight and do not allow the scalp to breathe. Choose hats made from natural fibers that have some ventilation.
To improve your circulation, lie head down, with your feet up a wall at a forty-five degree angle for up to 15 minutes a day, encouraging blood flow to the scalp. Daily scalp massage with Jojoba oil or aloe a gel is also recommended.
According to Louise Hay in her book, “You can heal your life” mental and emotional factors contribute to the manifestation of disease in the body. Hay claims that hair loss often occurs as a result of fear and mistrust of the process of life, as well as a need to control everything. A helpful affirmation for changing this thought pattern is: “I am safe. I love and approve of myself. I trust life”. Repeat this affirmation to yourself, while looking lovingly into your own eyes in a mirror.
NOTE: None of the above treatments mentioned are meant to be a substitute for medical care. If you have serious concerns about hair loss, please consult a health care professional.
- Hay, Louise L, “You Can Heal your Life”, Hay House Publishing, 1984
- Balch, CNC Phyllis A, and James F. Balch, MD, “Prescriptions for Nutritional Healing,” Third Edition, Penguin Putnam, New York, 2000
- Wolfe, David, “Eating for Beauty,” Sunfood Publishing, San Diego, 2007
- Zeek, “The Art of Shen Ku”, Penguin Putnam, New York, 1999
- Katz, Sandor Ellix, “Wild Fermentation”, Chelsea Green Publishing, Vermont, 2003