For many people, hair loss is a serious concern. There can be various causes, such as: heredity, hormonal changes, medical conditions, medications, trigger events and excessive hair styling and/or hair treatments. Fortunately, you can take steps to address it. One way is to balance your hormone levels, another is to reduce stress. You can also eat a proper diet to address nutritional deficiencies.
On average, adults have 100,000 hairs on their head. They lose 50-100 hairs daily. This is normal. As long as there is a balance between hair loss and regrowth, there won’t be a problem.
Causes and Risk Factors
If you notice you have thinning hair, your first question is probably, “Why?” or “Why me?”. People experiencing hair loss can have one or more causes. Let’s go over the why, before we talk about how we can treat it.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology1, about 80 million men and women in the United States have hereditary hair loss. It is so common that most people know what male-pattern baldness is. However, women can also have female-pattern baldness. Both can be linked with a family history of hair loss. With men, this can start during puberty. Also, their hair can become shorter, finer and softer.
2. Hormone Imbalances
Hormonal imbalances and changes can contribute to hair loss as well. While some changes are temporary, such as pregnancy or menopause, some experience a constant imbalance of hormones. This may be an indication of a thyroid problem that can be addressed.
For women, another cause can be Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This is a hormonal imbalance that cause hair growth in the wrong places (such as facial hair) and hair loss in the right ones (scalp).
3. Thyroid & Other Medical Problems
Medical conditions that can cause hair loss are for example: thyroid problems (both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism), lupus, pituitary gland diseases, heavy metal poisoning, some types of cancer, HIV and other chronic medical illnesses.
Physical or emotional experiences that causes intense shock can also cause temporary hair thinning for several months. These “triggers” can be one of the following: surgery, death in the family, and sudden or extreme weight loss. Stress is an absolute killer.
5. Hair Management
If you are addicted to hair styling, such as, getting a perm, think twice. Tampering too much, can turn your hair brittle and very dry. This can result in hair loss. Thinning can also be caused by hair pulled too tight.
Do not brush or comb your hair right after a shower, when your hair is still wet and more prone to breaking. Aggressive towel-drying is also all too common, especially with men so remember to be more gentle with your locks.
Certain medications can also cause hair thinning, such as:
· Acne medications
· Chemotherapy medications
· Cholesterol-lowering medications
· Hormone replacement therapy
· Medications for Parkinson’s disease
· Mood stabilizers
· Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)
· Oral contraceptives
· Thyroid medications
7. Other Factors
Apart from those listed above, other factors are stress, malnutrition and age. Chronic diseases like diabetes are also possible factors.
Conventional Treatment for Thinning Hair
Conventional treatments for thinning hair include medications like, Finasteride, Minoxidil and Prednisone. Surgical hair transplants are also becoming more common.
However, I want to recommend natural treatments that could potentially save your hair and your money.
8 Natural Treatments for Thinning Hair
1. Go Herbal
Apart from improving your memory and encouraging blood flow, Gingko biloba, can also fortify your hair. This tree extract has many other benefits, as it is anti-inflammatory and contains a great source of antioxidants.
Another beneficial herb is saw palmetto. This fruit’s extract is used to regulate testosterone levels. This powerful extract is used to treat people with prostate cancer2.
A study conducted, noted that over a third of a group of men and women, who used Saw Palmetto Extract in the form of a hair lotion and shampoo base, over a period of three months, noticed increased hair density 3.
2. Lower Stress
These are many ways to lower stress levels in your everyday life. One way is slow down the pace. Learning to prioritize can do wonders to your health.
Yoga is a proven and effective way to reduce stress. While I won’t cite specific poses that promote hair growth, keep in mind that yoga is a holistic system that promotes your wellbeing. Regular practice offers wonderful benefits. People swear by it (including me). Going upside down regularly promotes blood flow to the scalp.
You can experience peace and tranquility through practices like meditation. When we learn to become mindful of our activity, we can experience a greater appreciation for even the most mundane of things. This way, we can better see the important things in life.
Ironically, if we don’t stress about hair loss, there’s a chance we’ll stop it or slow it down.
3. Yes to these Foods
· Antioxidants: broccoli, red pepper, kiwi, guava and papaya
· Biotin: almond, nuts, legumes, whole grains, nutritional yeast.
· Vegetables rich in iron: lentils, spinach and kale to name a few
· Vitamin A: sweet potato and pumpkin
· Zinc: beans, mushrooms, dark chocolate.
4. No to These Foods
· Food allergens
· Processed foods
· Soft drinks
· Trans fats: all vegetable oil, soybean oil, corn oil
5. Natural Supplements
· B-complex vitamins
· Daily multivitamins
· Omega-3 fatty acids (such as Flaxseed oil)
· Vitamin C
6. Biotin Shampoos and Conditioners
Today, there are many choices for shampoo and conditioners. Going for natural ones is always better than going with products made by multinational corporations.
7. Cooler Showers
Hot water can dehydrate hairs so unless you live in an extremely cold place, try turning off or turning down your water heater. Prolonged exposure to heat leads to thinning.
8. Essential Oils
Before using any conventional or natural treatments for hair loss, check with your doctor. People who are pregnant, breastfeeding or have any ongoing medical issues should always practice extreme caution.
Conventional treatments have a lot of side effects so it’s always best to check first if you really need that medicine. Some of the side effects are:
loss of interest in sex
rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
severe scalp irritation
swelling in your hands or feet
trouble having an orgasm
undesirable growth of facial hair
However, some natural treatments may also have similar side effects so make sure you talk to your local holistic healthcare practitioner.
We mentioned the many causes of hair loss, including risk factors. I hope you are now able to identify them for yourself and for your loved ones.
Women who experience hair loss should immediately get tested for hormonal imbalances, including thyroid issues. Early detection will make recovery easier and faster. In most cases, hair will grow back and will be completely solved.
If you think your hair loss is hereditary, don’t despair! You can still take the same steps to slow down the process and keep those locks for as long as you can.
As always, consider the natural ways of improving your health. A plant-based diet partnered with regular exercise can mean a world of difference. Less stress means better progress. Remember that these steps are towards a better quality of life.