The Frenzy of Hair Loss
Have you ever freaked over observing handfuls of your head hair coming out in the shower, your parting becoming wider, bald spots erupting on your scalp or the dreaded receding hairline? If you have, you will most likely find this article useful and encouraging, as there are many things that can be done to alleviate the problem.
First, let’s discuss the obvious causes of hair loss
Telogen effluvium is a phenomenon brought on by acute or chronic stress, or an isolated traumatic event, in which you shed large amounts of hair. With telogen effluvium the hair is forced into the shedding phase from the growing and resting phase too quickly, resulting in increased loss of hair often observed in the shower or when shampooing the hair. This typically will occur six weeks to three months after stressful events or an increased stressful state.
A sudden drop in hormones following the delivery of the baby can signal a change in the hair cycle also creating a “forced” shedding phase of the hair. The loss of hair typically shows several weeks into the post-partum period.
Lack of protein in the diet to be specific. If you are low on good lean proteins in the diet, the body will likely ration protein and shut down new hair growth. This typically occurs in men and women 60 days after they switch to lower protein diets
Male pattern baldness
About two out of three men experience this by the age of 60. The hair loss can be genetic or linked to dropping levels of testosterone or elevated DHT in the blood, causing accelerated hair loss.
Female pattern baldness can be linked to genetics or very likely connected to imbalanced hormones, estrogen dominance, low or excessively elevated testosterone, or insulin resistance (leading also to weight gain around the mid-section).
Changes for men and women specifically. Women discontinuing birth control pills or hormone replacement and men experiencing a sudden drop in testosterone due to excessive stress can result in loss of hair approximately 60 days following these events. As women enter menopause, the male-hormone receptors in the scalp become more activated, which can lead to the follicles miniaturizing and thus more hair loss.
1 in 10 women aged 20-49 suffer from anemia due to iron deficiency. This not only causes hair loss but also fatigue, headaches, bruising, difficulty concentrating, cold hands and feet, and dizziness.
This means an underactive thyroid. Located in your neck, the thyroid produces hormones that are critical to metabolism, growth, and development. When the gland is under-producing due to stress, genetics, or aging, hair loss can is often the result.
Vitamin B deficiency
Low levels of Vitamin B are often the culprits of hair loss. In addition, this can lead to loss of memory, mood, concentration, and anxiousness.
Alopecia Areata is a disorder that stems from an overactive immune system that sees the hair as foreign and targets it by mistake, causing loss of hair.
Sudden weight loss
This is a form of physical trauma that can cause hair thinning. Even though weight loss is promoted for the health effects that come along with it, hair loss can be a temporary side effect especially if the weight loss is accompanied by loss of essential vitamins and nutrients necessary for scalp health.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome
As many as five million women have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which can start at age 11. PCOS is both a metabolic and female hormone imbalance that can disrupt the normal functioning of ovulation and menstrual cycles, leading to weight gain, facial hair, acne, irregular and painful menstrual cycles, ovarian cysts, and hair loss. This syndrome is treatable and should be evaluated and balanced to help mitigate the escalating risk for infertility and diabetes.
The use of antidepressants, blood thinners, blood pressure meds like beta-blockers, lithium, methotrexate, and ibuprofen (NSAIDs) all can potentially lead to hair loss.
Vigorous styling and the use of hot tools can lead to damaging the hair and hair falling out. This also includes tight braids and bleaching chemicals applied to the hair.
Skin conditions of the scalp
An unhealthy scalp can cause inflammation, making it difficult to grow hair.
Hair Re-Growth Plan
- Consult your dermatologist or hormone specialist to correct the underlying condition.
- Consider the use of lavender drops in your conditioner. Research has shown that lavender promotes hair growth and can help arrest hair loss.
- EFA’s essential fatty acids found in fish, nuts, seeds, and flaxseeds are wonderful for the skin, hair, and nails. Try to eat salmon, trout, or halibut three times weekly. Go for a handful of almonds or seeds daily.
- Zinc 15-25 mg daily is an excellent hormone balancer and promotes the lowering of estrogen in men.
- DIM supplement daily promotes healthy estrogen metabolism in men and women to help avoid unnecessary serum dominance of estrogen, a culprit of hair loss.
- Vitamin B Shot weekly, twice monthly, or daily use of B-vitamins with food.
- Hormone therapy can help men correct low testosterone levels and women with PCOS correct high DHT and testosterone levels.
- Lowering inflammatory foods in the diet to correct excessive insulin production (which has the nice side effect of weight loss around the mid-section).
- Copper 2-3 mg daily. This supports the collagen in the hair, making it stronger.
- Use a conditioner daily that has vitamin E and Biotin in it.
- Limit bleaching, heavy hair products, and over-drying your hair.
- Try washing your hair every other day instead of daily.
- Use Nioxin Shampoo, which can be very supportive to the scalp.
- Consider treatment for yeast of the scalp or systemic candida if this is an underlying issue.
- Reduce inflammatory foods in the diet, sugar, high glycemic foods, and all artificial foods with excessive additives.
- Increase the water that you drink to at least eight glasses daily.
- Have your hormone and thyroid levels checked by a blood test as you age. Get them into the optimal ranges and balanced.
Originally published in the Summer 2017 issue of Southern Oregon Magazine