Ever since ancient times, beautiful, rich hair stood as an emblem of beauty, wealth and even strength (poor Samson!) No wonder why presently, we’re desperately trying out every hair loss treatment out there.
A shiny and plentiful mane is not only attractive, but it is also indicative of good general health. Most of us procure a functional amount of nutrients and vitamins from our daily food intake.
However, when it comes to hair health, there are multiple variables that influence the state and sensitivity of our hair.
Brittle and lifeless hair can indicate a simple change of humidity in the weather, a vitamin deficiency or a serious, underlying health condition.
That is why it is important to register any sudden changes in our hair, especially when it comes to more drastic ones, such as hair loss. We fear hair loss because we subconsciously associate it with old age or disease.
However, the more we learn about what causes it and our best options to treat it, the more we can normalize a rational response to it, rather than panic and despair.
We naturally lose hair every day and there are lots of factors that cause it.
Sure, some of us rely on some enviable genes but without proper maintenance and nutritional intake, you can wave goodbye to your once naturally luxuriant hair.
Continue reading below for a detailed breakdown of the process of hair loss and how to tackle it.
Hair Loss Treatment And Hair Growth Mechanism
We don’t have nerve endings in our actual hair, which is why it doesn’t hurt whenever we’re having a haircut or exaggerate the temperature of the curling iron.
For this reason, we might think of hair as unreactive or even dead. However, our locks have a living component, which lies under the skin, where the root is located inside the follicle.
This is where hair absorbs all the necessary nutrients from the bloodstream.
This is why various health issues such as stress, medical conditions, trauma, smoking, alcohol and a poor diet can have a negative effect on hair growth; they all directly affect the body’s vascular composition.
Hair grows at an average rate of 1cm per month.
The optimum growth of hair occurs between the ages of 15-30 years, after which it comes to a gradual stall from the ages of 40-50.
The follicle growth cycle comprises of its creation followed by its self destruction.
Each cycle creates the new follicle from the raw materials and nutrients available in your system.
There seems to be a limit to this cycle, leading to hair loss with age, even with the help of hair care products, such as vitamins and shampoos, which do not seem to show any radical improvements with the passing of years.
The Factors Affecting Hair Growth
Nutritional deficiencies and hormonal fluctuations can also affect the amount and speed at which your hair is growing back.
For optimum hair growth, we recommended ensuring either the oral or topical intake of adequate minerals and vitamins.
According to nutritionists, people who suffer from certain nutritional deficiencies tend to suffer from dry, brittle and dull hair and may also suffer hair loss.
Fortunately, it is possible to address these issues by rectifying the nutritional deficiencies.
Healthy hair growth needs complex nutrients, along with an adequate oxygen supply.
Unfortunately, limited clinical knowledge exists about which specific nutrients we should monitor.
There has been limited research providing evidence regarding the ingredients which are required to maintain or promote hair growth.
The best we can do is to maintain a balanced diet along with an appropriate hair care program.
Damaging the hair follicles with dramatic and invasive practices also negatively impacts hair growth and health over time.
The over-processing of hair with colors, dyes, straightening, curling or perming is another major cause of hair damage and loss.
There are plenty heatless methods to achieve the same or similar hairstyle, which we have highlighted in here.
Additionally, tying your hair in a tight ponytail, tight braiding or using extensions can also lead to profuse loss particularly along the hairline.
The hair roots are unable to bear the additional weight of these enhancements, resulting in hair loss by the handful.
Genes And Hair Loss Treatment
Apart from a lack of nutrients, medical conditions and poor hair care, the hormonal fluctuations and the respective genetic sensitivity to such fluctuations, are also a primary cause of hair loss.
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), is a hormone originating from testosterone, and is present in skin, hair follicles and prostate. DHT activity alone is not the sole hormonal factor influencing hair loss.
According to research, genetics stand as the main factor influencing follicle reactivity to DHT.
If the receptor of the hair follicles are overly responsive, they are more likely to be triggered by even limited amounts of DHT.
This is the explanation behind highly inconclusive studies between the relationship between testosterone and hair loss.
Some people can have high levels of testosterone but no hair thinning, because their follicles aren’t as sensitive to DHT.
How Can Hair Loss Be Prevented?
The most important step in combating hair thinning is to identify the causes, and then follow up with a hair loss treatment plan.
If you think you’re losing hair due to health related issues, then you should immediately see the doctor.
Once your condition stabilizes, your hair should naturally return to its original healthy state, without any additional help.
If you’re losing hair due to inadequate care, then you need to implement certain changes in your care regimen.
Try and reduce the frequency of straightening or heat curling. Additionally, experiment with switching the hair coloring products with more natural, non-toxic brands.
Avoid keeping your hair in a tight ponytail or wearing extensions frequently to prevent stress and strain on the hair follicles.
Is It Possible To Strengthen And Regrow Hair With Vitamins And Supplements?
However, there is very little evidence to back these claims up.
There are no studies to support the claims that the use of vitamins or supplements can make hair thicken. Unless the hair thinning is directly due to a serious deficiency of vitamins, you shouldn’t set your expectations too high..
If vitamin deficiency is the cause, then it is advisable to take a blood test to check which vitamin you are lacking. The most common hair loss deficiencies are iron, zinc or vitamin D, so seek to rectify these levels.
Other significant vitamins for the body which also have a measurable impact on hair quality are vitamin C, omega 3 and 6, amino and fatty acids, vitamins B, vitamin A and E.
These vitamins are commonly found in daily supplements or as part of a multivitamin combination.
So it is usually unnecessary to make extra effort to take specific supplements.
Is Hair Growth Affected By Diet?
A good and balanced diet positively affects your body, including the hair.
It plays a vital role in keeping your nails, skin, and hair healthy and beautiful.
Specific food groups help grow hair such as lentils, salmon, walnuts, and fish.
Fast food, oily and spicy foods, potato chips, caffeine, alcohol and other highly processed foods will have a negative effect on your overall health as well as hair’s luster.
Having a healthy diet and taking appropriate vitamins is a great way to maintain your health and improve your hair. However, keep in mind that their effects are limited, as they cannot change:
- Your genes
- Hormonal levels
- Your body’s reaction to the medications
- Medical conditions
- Your hair care routine
Is It Possible To Regrow Hair?
As surprising as it may be, there is a topical over the counter medication available, which is medically approved and available to anyone, known as Rogaine (minoxidil).
There is an extensive amount of research available that supports the use of minoxidil for hair growth and improvement.
The drug is available at concentrations of 2-5%.
The product is recommended to apply the product twice a day, and for best results, the sooner the product is used the better, as the rate of success decreases with age.
The hair growth systems that are available on the market make use of minoxidil as a main component.
These hair growth systems are advertised and marketed as having plant extracts, vitamins and other alleged miracle ingredients.
However, it is really only the presence of minoxidil which has an actual effect on hair.
Those who suffer hair loss due to clinically proven hormonal imbalances can take finasteride to help balance out the hormones.
It prevents the transformation of testosterone into its more potent form, DHT, which is a major reason for hair loss in both men and women.
We recommend having a consultation with your physician prior to taking this medicine due to the potentially serious side effects.
Hair loss is a serious concern for both men and women, across all ages.
This compels people to buy into heavily advertised hair growth systems, vitamin supplements and other hair care products, which unfortunately have little to no effect on hair regrowth.
Instead, we advise to stay away from trending treatments, and stick to the tried and tested solutions.
It is also fundamental to be informed on the causes, effects and hair loss treatments available, before deciding on any specific course of action.
Always seek medical advice and limit exposure to products or services that promise dramatic results overnight.
Remember that losing hair is a natural process and you can only reduce the factors that cause it, not entirely eliminate them.
Keep your expectations realistic and embrace your natural locks, as you should always prioritize health over aesthetics.
How helpful did you find this article? If you’re also experiencing hair loss or have any additional concerns, don’t hesitate dropping us a comment below.