Q: Dear Healthier Talk,
I just turned 33, but I’ve been slowly losing my hair for years now.
I’m really started to get freaked out!
It’s thinned so much that I’m starting to see my pink scalp showing through.
I don’t want to go on Rogaine because I don’t like the sound of some of the potential side effects like growing hair in places I don’t want it. (HELLO… who wants hairy hands?)
Since I’m a woman Propecia isn’t an option, but I wouldn’t want to take it anyway.
Are there any natural things I can try to keep my hair on my head where it belongs?
A Hairy Situation, Tallahassee, Florida
A: Dear A Hairy Situation,
If you’re experiencing unexpected hair loss you might want to take a look at any medications you’re on.
Thinning hair can be a side effect of a number of different drugs including some…
- blood thinners,
- arthritis drugs,
- heart drugs,
- gout drugs, and
- high blood pressure drugs.
Check with your doctor to find out if any of the medications you’re currently taking could be contributing to your hair loss.
4 healthy hair tips to help halt hair loss
If drugs aren’t behind your hair loss issues than how you’re handling your hair could be.
Are you guilty of making these hair-care mistakes?
For a healthier head of hair try making these 4 simple changes to your regular routine.
1. Wash your hair less:
We know, mom always taught you to keep your hair “squeaky clean,” but the truth is hair that squeaks has been stripped of the natural oils that help to keep it healthy.
To make matters worse, most shampoos and hair products are loaded up with damaging harsh chemicals that can dry out your hair and cause it to break off.
If you’re a “wash it every day” gal try switching to an every other day routine for a couple of weeks and see if it makes a difference. If you can wait even longer between washing do.
2. Switch to gentler products:
Of course you’re still going to need to wash and condition your hair so when you do why not make the switch to gentler products that aren’t loaded up with a whole bunch of harsh chemicals?
Finding safer body care products is just an online search away.
One company we like is The Honest Company (honest.com).
And the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org), with their Skin Deep Database, is an excellent resource for helping you pick out safer bath and body products, and learning what the worst chemical offenders are.
3. Ditch the ponytail and pins:
If you wear your hair pulled back into a ponytail or bun… of if you use a lot of clips and pins to style your hair… you might want to stop.
Tight hairstyles, or ones that twist your hair, can cause tension on the hair shaft causing it to break off.
4. Air dry:
There’s no question about it, hairdryers are certainly convenient. And there are times when they’re absolutely necessary too, such as at the gym in the winter if you shower after your workout.
But let’s face it, directing hot air onto your already brittle hair is a recipe for hair-loss disaster.
To keep from drying your delicate locks out even further, whenever possible air dry your hair. You can use a gentle leave-in conditioner or other styling product to help you get the look you want without the heat.
And avoid overusing other heat-styling devices such as flat irons and curling irons.
Eat more of these 4 healthy-hair nutrients
Diet can play a big role in your hair health too. And making some changes in what you eat, or the supplements you take, can go a long way towards making your frizzy tresses your crowning glory once again.
1. Eat more iron-rich foods:
Low iron levels could be behind your thinning hair. One study linked iron deficiency to hair loss in 72 percent of pre-menopausal women.
And you don’t even need to be officially anemic for dipping iron levels to affect your hair health.
To naturally raise your iron levels you can eat more…
- dark leafy greens,
- and dried fruits.
If you think your iron deficiency may be more serious talk with your doctor about testing your levels and taking a supplement.
2. Fit in more zinc-filled foods:
Low zinc levels have also been linked to some cases of hair loss or thinning hair. It’s believed that the deficiency may cause changes in the protein structure of the hair shaft.
Zinc deficiency has been linked to the alopecia areata, a condition that causes hair loss.
In one small study published in the journal Annals of Dermatology a group of volunteers suffering with alopecia were given a supplement of 50 mg of zinc twice a day for 12 weeks, and their hair growth was monitored.
At the end of the study 66.7% of the patients saw positive therapeutic effects from the supplementation.
Adding a few more zinc-rich foods to your diet can help restore your zinc levels if they,re running low.
A few zinc-filled foods to consider are…
- red meat
- pumpkin seeds,
- wheat germ
3. Bump up your B vitamins:
The B vitamin biotin is believed to help strengthen hair. You can easily raise your biotin levels by eating more eggs and nuts.
And vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, is thought to help prevent hair thinning and perhaps even bald spots.
You can also raise your levels of both biotin and B5 by eating more eggs, cheese and avocados.
Other biotin-rich foods include…
- and salmon.
And pantothenic-acid-rich foods include…
- shitake mushrooms,
- chicken and turkey,
- sweet potatoes
- and sunflower seeds.
Or you can take a B-complex supplement to cover all of your B-vitamin bases.
4. Up your omega-3s game:
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to every single cell in your entire body and a diet high in nourishing omega-3s can combat dry, brittle, breakage-prone hair and hair loss.
Our bodies can’t make the omega-3s on their own so we need to get them in food. You can do this by eating more wild-caught fatty fish including…
- and tuna.
Other omega-3-rich foods include…
- Salba or chia seed,
- pumpkin seeds,
- and peanut butter.