Your 12-Step Recipe For Reversing Hair Loss
Like many of us, you may have had one (or several) of those bewildering moments when you leave your shower in the morning to find what seems like half your hair piled up on top of the drain. You may have thought, “well, I’m really losing my hair this time.” But the next day, and the day after that, your full head of hair remains completely intact.
For most people, some amount of shedding (even sudden bouts of what seems like extreme shedding) is not only common, but harmless. But when your hair loss is caused by a genetic predisposition or an underlying condition, it can be more than a passing inconvenience. It can mean the difference between volunteering for the next bake sale or avoiding the event altogether out of fear that your loose locks might find their way into someone’s brownies.
Though losing a certain amount of hair in a day is normal, losing so much that you’ve invested in a special hair-catching shower drain accessory, or so much that you’ve noticed thinning patches near your hairline, means you might not be looking at a normal case of the hair regeneration cycle. This begs the following question…
Why Are You Losing Your Hair?
When your hair loss becomes significant enough, you start to worry about more than just cleaning your shower drain. Maybe your favorite hairstyles are no longer an option, as you focus on covering up thinning patches. It’s bad enough your self-image is suffering, but the additional stress of wondering why this is happening can mean that your hair loss is a very real hindrance to your happiness.
Before you turn to costly (and not necessarily effective) surgeries, shampoos, or medications, understanding why you’re losing your hair and trying some natural remedies should be your first steps toward stopping hair loss at the “root” of the problem.
The reasons for hair loss can range from vitamin deficiencies and genetics to stress hormone changes and other imbalances. Once you understand the reason for your hair loss, you can begin the process of correcting that core issue. In correcting whatever problem is causing your hair loss, you can even improve your overall health along the way.
Common Types of Hair Loss
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition that directly affects the hair follicles and causes the hair to fall out in small, circular patches. The disease is cyclical, meaning that the hair can grow back and fall out again at any time. Alopecia areata sometimes progresses into total hair loss (alopecia totalis). Certain studies indicate that there may be a connection between alopecia areata and deficiencies in zinc, iron or vitamin D.
Probably the best-known form of hair loss, male pattern balding, comes from an over-exposure to the hormone, DHT (dihydrotestosterone), which harms hair follicles. Even young men can suffer from male pattern balding, but more typically, it begins around age 50 and is considered a permanent form of hair loss.
Women who experience female pattern balding may notice hair thinning around face, sides, or top of head. Also considered permanent, most women will maintain some hair and not experience total hair loss.
A temporary type of hair loss, telogen effluvium is induced by high stress levels. Instead of total or patches of baldness, an overall thinning of hair happens and is noticeable by the loss of hair while shampooing, brushing or from gentle tugging. This type of hair loss occurs when the follicles are shocked into hibernation by some event or sudden change. It often happens to new mothers who have just given birth, but it can also happen to those who are engaging in crash dieting, or who have introduced a new medication, especially anti-depressants.
Underlying illnesses like thyroid disorders are a common cause of ongoing hair loss. If your thyroid is over or under-active, it’s important to bring it back into balance, not only to reverse hair loss, but to improve your overall health.
Hair loss is closely linked to deficiencies in important nutrients, such as iron. It can also be related to normal hormone fluctuation (such as during pregnancy), and use of or exposure to synthetic hormones such as those found in birth control pills.
Other hormone-related hair loss can be due to male or female hormone imbalances. For men, male pattern baldness is specifically linked to exposure to DHT, which metabolizes testosterone. For women, hormone variations during and after pregnancy, or in response to stress, can lead to temporary types of hair loss.
5 Foods to Avoid to Correct Hair Loss
As if you needed another reason to reduce your sugar intake! Consuming processed sugar, like sugary cereals, leads to a huge spike in your blood sugar levels, which is known to contribute to early hair loss.
So many ingredients, so little time. Anything processed or packaged likely contains harmful chemicals that can disrupt a healthy balance of hormones and nutrients.
Avoid vegetable, corn, and soy bean oils, all of which can affect hormone levels and increase inflammation.
Caffeine can affect your hormones, including stress hormones, and can also cause dehydration.
Alcohol can create toxicity in the liver and increase inflammation, in addition to contributing to vitamin deficiencies and dehydration.
Your 12-Step Recipe for Reversing Hair Loss
Saw palmetto is known to promote hair growth, especially in men. This highly-effective herb essentially blocks DHT, helping to keep your hormones in order.
Studies indicate that zinc helps to support enzymes related to hair follicle health, and that it’s used to treat both telogen effluvium and alopecia areata, which are thought to be due in part to zinc deficiency.
A combination of Biotin and B5 can help your hair recover from harsh practices such as excess washing, direct sunlight, and styling with heat. You can also supplement with biotin and B5 during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. To increase your levels of these important B-vitamins, you can supplement, or more ideally get them from foods such as eggs, grass-fed red meat, avocados, and almonds.
Give your body a little help in managing stress hormones with herbs such as Ashwagandha and Rhodiola, which can help turn back the clock on hair loss.
Take orally and add to shampoo to help offset hair loss factors from the inside and outside. The many benefits of aloe vera include moisturizing and protecting the hair follicles.
The omega 3s in fish oil nourish skin and hair, minimize inflammation, and help to balance hormone levels. Try a combination of fish oil supplements and omega 3-rich foods such as nuts, wild-caught fish, and egg yolks.
Pumpkin seed oil provides multiple benefits, including stopping DHT and thickening hair, and is a good source of zinc.
The top essential oil for hair health and stimulating hair growth is rosemary. Try a pre-shampoo scalp soak, or add several drops to your shampoo. Lavender, clary sage, and cypress are also known to support hair health.
Research indicates a strong correlation between vitamin D deficiency and alcopecia areata, as well as other autoimmune issues. Vitamin D levels impact hormones, the immune system, and cell health. Make sure you’re getting enough by taking a high-quality supplement in addition to eating Vitamin D-rich foods and getting 15 minutes of direct sunlight daily whenever possible.
Low iron levels have been strongly connected to hair loss, especially in women. Choose iron-rich foods first, and don’t overdo the supplements as a precaution to avoid too much iron.
While there are many factors associated with hair loss, you can combat aging and oxidative stress by including vitamin C in your anti-hair loss arsenal. This well-known antioxidant is found naturally in many healthy foods, and it can offset the affects of free radicals, which are harmful to your hair and health.
High in B-Vitamins, guava leaves will help your hair recover from common environmental hazards, as well as stimulate fast growth. Simply boil a handful of guava leaves in 1 liter of water for 15 to 20 minutes. Once boiled, allow it to cool it to room temperature. Once cooled, strain the water and gently apply it on your hair from the root to the tip. Concentrate on your scalp and the roots of your hair.
Reversing and preventing hair loss might seem complicated because the condition can be caused by many different factors. But solutions are out there for those who care enough to invest the time and effort.
Remove the factors you can control, and add a few hormone-balancing measures to bring hair health and growth back to where it should be. By paying attention to the health of your hair and scalp, you can get a glimpse into the overall health of your body. If you can identify and resolve the issues that are causing your hair loss, chances are you’ll be giving yourself an overall health upgrade.