Everyone desires to have a full, healthy, head of hair. Not only do ‘shiny, lustrous locks’ add a lot to your beauty profile, they also reflect a lot about your overall health.
Many people mistakenly think that hair-health only involves their topical and outer routine. In actuality, having lovely hair mainly involves having a balanced lifestyle, healthy diet, and general good health.
There are many facets to consider when addressing your hair health. Assess your individual lifestyle and see which areas you might need to enhance to create changes. Treatment is very specific to the cause. General haircare tips outlined below should be followed by everyone.
Below are some basic guidelines to get you started:
HAIR LOSS CAUSES:
Hormones: Male pattern baldness is associated with testosterone and heredity. Women who experience unusual baldness can also have a problem with testosterone. Women can also experience hormonal changes during pregnancy that cause hair loss and changes during and after the birth. Undiagnosed hypothyroidism is a big cause of hair loss, especially in women. Have your hormones checked if you suspect that the above are the cause of your hair loss.
Sudden weight loss
Anemia: Iron deficiency is more common than most people think. If you are a menstruating woman and have long periods, consider getting additional iron in your diet, and supplementation if necessary. This is one cause of hair loss that is more common than others.
Lack of Sleep and Chronic or Severe Stress
Skin allergies: Some skin problems effect the scalp and can cause general or patchy hair loss.
Chemical allergies: Many commercial shampoos have toxic ingredients and detergents that many people react to in the form of hair loss. These also can strip the hair and scalp of natural oils. This also applies to hair colors and dyes.
Intestinal Parasites, Malnutrition, Mal-absorption: Infection with parasites can cause malnutrition since the micro-organisms are eating from your food source. Malnutrition and mal-absorption in general can come from many causes. A few are: side effect of medications, consuming too much processed foods, over eating spicy foods, not eating enough food, anorexia, and other intestinal and digestive disorders.
Side-Effect of Medication or Chemotherapy
Over exposure to chlorine or other environmental pollutants
Severe illness or recent surgery
Thinning hair and sudden hair loss can be symptoms of a serious disease. If this applies to you, visit your doctor for more thorough analysis and specific treatment.
GENERAL HAIR-CARE TIPS:
Circulation: Increase circulation to your scalp. Many yoga postures can assist in this. You can also use a slant board or massage your scalp daily with your fingertips while washing your hair or throughout the day. There are many essential oils that can be put into your shampoo, or as an occasional treatment, to help to increase circulation. Rosemary essential oil is one of the best choices.
Brushes and Combs: Use natural bristled brushes and wide toothed combs. Stay away from nylon bristles. Be gentle when combing/brushing your hair, especially when it is wet. If you have tangles, use a wide toothed comb and detangle from the bottom up.
Hot and Cold: Do not ever put hot water on the crown of your head. Try to avoid this area if you blow-dry your hair or use a cooler setting. Protect your hair and scalp from the elements. Severe cold weather or hot sunshine can dry your hair out. Use extra conditioner, do intense conditioning, and occasional oil treatment to keep moisture in. Make sure to massage your scalp after lengthy ‘hat-wearing’ as the scalp. Hats protect the scalp from the elements but also can create reduced oxygen to the scalp which can produce itchy scalp and other problems.
Diet and Digestion: Avoid soda, over consumption of alcohol, processed foods, spicy foods, meat with hormones, and overeating. Make sure you are getting a balanced diet of whole foods and vegetables that you can digest. More is not better! Don’t overeat! Make sure that you are having healthy elimination of what you eat and that you get checked for nutritional deficiencies if you believe there is cause for concern. If you are vegetarian, take extra care to get enough protein in your diet.
All nutrients need to be in balance for healthy hair. The most important ones are: Zinc, IRON, Biotin, B-Vitamins, Essential Fatty Acids and Beauty Proteins. Make sure you are getting proper amounts of these from your diet. If not, consult an appropriate source about the right supplementation for you.
Shampoo, Conditioner and Styling Products:
-Use natural hair products as often as possible. Alternate shampoos and conditioners to prevent build up. Even natural shampoos can be stripping so try to not wash your hair everyday, and do nourishing scalp treatments with oil or intense conditioner at least 2x month and more often if your scalp is dry or flaky.
-Use natural leave-in conditioners if you blow dry your hair to maintain moisture balance and protect your hair from heat damage. There are many different types to try. A spray leave in is better if your hair is thicker and a lotion leave in is better to create volume if you have thinner hair. One trick is to put the leave-in conditioner in your hair and let your hair dry naturally, this will allow the hair to absorb the moisture.
– Make sure to change your hair care routine with the seasons and according to different destinations you travel to. Indoor heating in the winter can dry out hair and requires very different hair products than a vacation in a humid climate.
Relaxation and Sleep: I can’t emphasize enough how important getting proper sleep and relaxation is for your overall beauty including your hair! Often times it’s enough to just realize you are tense and remind yourself to ‘relax’ your scalp, and your scalp will ‘relax’. Sleep allows your entire body to rejuvenate and regulate. Since hair is a reflection of your overall health, the more adequate rest you are getting the more likely your entire system will reflect this. Take 5-10 minutes minimum during a busy day to lay down flat and relax. Rest is important for skin health too, and remember that your scalp is part of your skincare routine.