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Hair & How to Limit its Loss

Closeup of a young man getting a haircut in a barber shop Are you one of those who is losing their hair, even whilst relatively young? It is possible that you can blame your mother and father as both parents contribute to their offspring's chance of going bald. But while male pattern baldness through an inheritance trait is the most common cause, there are other reasons too, as well as ways to limit hair loss.

DHT is one of these reasons

In male pattern baldness, hair loss typically results in a receding hair line from the front to the back. An additional bald patch may develop on top and the trigger of this type of baldness is DHT - a powerful sex hormone that also promotes the growth of body and facial hair. Most men who lose the hair on their head, find that it grows abundantly elsewhere at the same time - including sprouting out of their ears and their noses. This can be very frustrating for them. Although not fully understood, DHT initiates a process of follicular miniaturization where the width of the hair shaft is gradually decreased until it either resembles fragile fuzz or is non existent. You may be able to halt the process with the help of natural remedies that block DHT. These include saw palmetto, stinging nettle, green tea, pygeum extract and pumpkin seed oil.

There are many other reasons for hair loss

  • Researchers have found levels of a key protein called prostaglandin D synthase are elevated in the cells of hair follicles located in bald patches on the scalp, but not in hairy areas. More about this here.
  • Diet can be top of the list and most don't make that connection between diet and hair loss.
  • Major illness or surgery – usually temporary because of the stress of the illness or procedure.
  • Stress and anxiety in general is a big cause of hair loss.
  • Sudden weight loss.
  • Hormonal problems such as an over active or under active thyroid but usually if the thyroid is corrected, the hair loss problem is resolved. Other reasons for hormonal imbalance affecting the hair can be menopause.
  • High levels of hormones during pregnancy and labor prevent any loss of hair but afterwards when hormones return to normal, hair “fall out” plays catch up and it may seem excessive even if it is not. A normal cycle of growth and loss soon starts up again.
  • Pharmaceutical drugs including anticoagulants, gout medicines, chemotherapy, too much vitamin A, birth control pills, antidepressants can all contribute.
  • Environmental such as the toxins in the water you use when washing your hair.
  • Fungal infections can cause hair loss in children.
  • Hair loss may be medical and the result of or even an early sign of disease such as lupus or diabetes.
  • Alopecia is a more unusual form of hair loss and we have written about it here.

What can be done about baldness?

For some men, it has become easier and more acceptable to embrace their baldness given a more macho fashion for very short or even completely shaven heads. For others, it can be very distressing.
  • Diet - and the standard American diet is particularly harmful to the hair. In fact, Americans have the highest rate of balding in the world and men (and woman) who adopt an American diet - high in bad fats, processed salt, sugar, too much meat from factory farmed animals and processed foods - begin to lose their hair at the same rate as Americans do. Choose a nutrient rich diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Juicing these is a the quickest method to get all the beneficial enzymes, phyto nutrients and antioxidants into your body to help hair follicles (and the rest of your body) function at its best. Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, alfalfa and parsley as well as others like green pepper and broccoli are particularly important because they deliver “the nutrients” hair needs to be healthy. These include vitamin E, vitamin C plus the B vitamins. In addition, include fresh foods rich in sulfur containing amino acids - specifically L-cysteine and L-methionine such as broccoli, brussel sprouts and cabbage in addition to eggs and legumes or a serving of grass-fed meat or free range poultry along with fish, nuts and olive oil. The B vitamins can be found in free range/organic eggs, wheat germ, oatmeal, brown rice, legumes and spinach.
  • Supplements - If you still need vitamin supplements after improving your diet, concentrate on some extra omega-3, vitamin A, vitamin E, B vitamins, zinc, iron and calcium – these are hair-enhancing.
  • Environmental - Two chemical culprits found in city water, chlorine and fluoride, weaken hair, leading to breakage, clogged follicles and shedding. Both irritate the cuticle on the hair shaft too, thereby creating dull, lifeless locks. A trusted shower filter is the way to go for healthy hair.
  • Shampoo-free hair washing – Just as harmful are shampoos and conditioners filled with harsh cleansers and additives and even when natural brands are used, the hair can still be stripped of natural oils. A simple and cost effective remedy is available. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda to one cup of water in a squeeze bottle. Shake well and apply to the roots, massaging for a minute or two. Rinse well. Next comes the vinegar wash which conditions, calms and boosts shine. Mix a quarter cup white or apple cider vinegar with one cup water. Pour over hair, avoiding the face and eyes. Rinse thoroughly with water.
Sometimes, just some simple lifestyle changes can mean the difference between losing your hair and keeping it on your head.