We are bombarded with television commercials, billboards, and magazine ads featuring attractive people with thick, bouncy, shiny, and full heads of hair. While these ads mainly focus on beauty, it’s worth noting that there is a strong correlation between hair health and physical wellness. How to improve hair health weighs on the minds of many individuals. Seeking to do so? Know that there are steps folks can take.
But first understand…
The condition of one’s hair frequently provides insight into one’s overall health. There are key factors that come into play regarding hair growth and health. They may include:
- Environmental exposures
- Medications/medical treatments
- Treatment of hair
- Medical conditions
Some individuals are predisposed to hair loss via genetics. Though genetic balding is likely permanent, hereditary hair loss may also be slowed with treatment. Nonetheless, for everyone, some amount of hair loss is a normal part of life. Per WebMD, a leading source of medical information, most people shed 50 to 100 strands every day. Hair may be noticeable in one’s hairbrush or on clothes. Individuals may also lose up to 250 strands per day on days when hair is freshly washed.
Baldness is typical for aging men. The U.S. National Library of Medicine shares that more than 50 percent of all men over the age of 50 will be affected by some form of male pattern baldness at some stage of their lives. Though less common, hair loss may also occur in women. Hair shedding is a type of hair loss. The term is used to describe hair that is still growing, yet more than usual amounts fall out. This leads to thinning hair. For women with hair loss beyond what’s considered normal, there may be a medical cause. It may signal conditions such as:
- Hair dye reactions
- Poor nutrition/deficiencies
- Scalp infections
- Thyroid problems
- Other medical disorders/illnesses
Seeing your doctor is key
Many women are embarrassed to discuss hair loss as it is mainly associated with men. Sometimes, they may self-address the issue or buy products that claim to fix the problem. While over the counter shampoos, conditioners, and scalp serums designed to boost hair replenishment are tempting to try, and may sometimes help, note that they may be expensive and ineffective. In addition, genetic factors may be irreversible, rendering some hair thinning products useless.
Getting at the root cause
Before splurging on costly stuff that possibly risks causing further damage, talk to your doctor first to evaluate probable causes and solutions. Folks who are experiencing hair loss, head discomfort, brittle hair, scalp issues, or other related conditions should also see a physician promptly for evaluation and treatment. A doctor will likely assess a patient’s diet and lifestyle and review medications to determine the impact on hair health. Bloodwork and other tests may be ordered by a doctor to help ascertain and likely treat causes of hair issues.
Evaluate other causes and solutions
People with hair issues such as split ends, tangles, brittle, or lackluster hair often search the internet for solutions. Most hair problems can be traced to how we treat our hair. Are we washing it too frequently? Using chemicals that can damage our hair? Or perhaps overprocessing or using too much heat to style our hair? It’s likely that using better products and changing our hair practices can lead to improvement.
Poor diet and hair connection
Poor eating habits can lead to vitamin deficiencies which can negatively affect the quality of one’s hair. Should a physician suspect scalp/hair issues are related to an unhealthy diet, it’s likely that vitamin rich diets can improve hair health. Per Healthline, another reliable medical resource, protein restriction can happen in some very low-calorie diets and lead to hair thinning or loss. Also, undereating and overeating may also be harmful. Vitamins and minerals contribute to a healthy scalp and prevent hair follicles from thinning. Thus, it cannot be understated that a well-balanced and nutritious diet is key to good hair health.
A hot topic
For more information on how to improve hair health, please see our related article, Hair Nutrition.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a medical resource. Consult your doctor for medical advice.