Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A hairy situation!

The condition of our hair is often a true reflection of our health. 
We have all heard the old wives' tale that personal, work-related or financial stresses will result in disastrous effects on your hair. Myths include turning grey and massive hair loss. This is simply not true. Like we do with our skin, it is also important to maintain a regular hair-care regime. There is nothing we can do externally that will alter the quality of hair that grows. We can, however, improve its condition. 

STRESS & HAIR: A normal head of hair contains between 120,000 and 150,000 strands and approximately 90% of those hairs are in the 'growing phase'. This phase will last between 2 - 3 years and grow at about half an inch per month. Towards the end of the cycle the hair then moves into what is known as the 'resting stage'. This stage lasts for a further 3 - 4 months before the hair falls out, and is then replaced by a new one. Research has shown we can lose up to 100 hairs per day, often without even noticing. This will also vary depending on length, strength and how often you wash your hair. 

WHAT CAUSES HAIR LOSS: There are certain medications and diseases that can cause hair loss. Examples include some blood pressure medications, thyroid disease, and nutritional deficiencies. Vitamin D deficiency and excess Vitamin A are well known causes of hair loss. However, there is no definite cause of shedding. There is actually a lag time between either a stressful event/medication course and the actual hair loss itself. If you do suffer from severe or sudden hair loss I would recommend you see your doctor or Dermatologist for a proper evaluation. It would also help to look back at significant stressors over the last 3 - 9 months that may have contributed to the hair loss. Other causes may include:
  • Low-calorie/FAD diets - sudden and drastic change in normal diet
  • Hair products - eg shampoo, wax, dry shampoo
  • Childbirth - normal falling levels of oestrogen after childbirth can cause a sudden loss  
  • Illness/high fever/disease - eg psoriasis, eczema, polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Temperature and environment - exposure to extremes, including excessive travel 
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: I am a firm believer that if we live a healthy and balanced lifestyle our hair and skin will benefit. Diet and exercise is a key component. Unfortunately, if you were born with thin hair, using voluminous products is probably the only way you will achieve slightly thicker hair. However, a well balanced diet that includes plenty of protein and iron can make a difference. Some healthy hair food includes:
  • Beans - legumes, lentils, kidney beans (great source of protein, iron and zinc for growth)
  • Salmon and oysters (contains zinc, a powerful antioxidant) 
  • Dark green vegetables - spinach, broccoli (great source of iron and calcium) 
  • Eggs and low-fat dairy products (protein and zinc for growth) 
I hope you find this information informative and helpful. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and any questions you may have.



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