We've all been there. A few too many strands on that comb or in that drain can send you straight into panic mode. But anxiety certainly won't improve hair loss. By studying the many reasons for hair loss, we can begin to understand how to combat it.
There are two general reasons for hair loss: hereditary and reactive.
Hereditary hair loss refers to a genetic predisposition to hair thinning, which includes "male pattern balding" experienced by about 50% of men over the age of 50, though genes can also cause hair loss much earlier. That said, if you're a male under 50 and experiencing significant hair loss (especially if your hairline isn't actually receding), you should consult a physician to see what's stressing your scalp. Even if you're predisposed genetically, there are still plenty of medications, lifestyle changes, and natural remedies to explore.
Reactive hair loss refers to internal imbalances and external stressors affecting hair loss and hair strength. These include diet, hormones, stress, behaviors, environmental factors, and even skin conditions such as psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis.
So, how can you take control? Here are a few ways.
1. Eat well and/or supplement: Deficiencies in iron, zinc, B vitamins, protein, and complex carbohydrates can all have a negative effect on hair growth. B12, commonly found in animal products, is often found to be low in vegans and vegetarians. Generally speaking, it's important to eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes to keep your hair and scalp in optimum shape.
2. Stay on top of other health issues: Thyroid problems, hormone imbalances, and other conditions can be found at the root of hair loss. Be sure to consult a doctor if you're experiencing any symptoms related to these conditions.
3. Take it easy on the styling: Heat styling as well as tight braids, buns, and ponytails can take a toll on the strands. As for styling products, pay attention to ingredients. Polyethylene glycol and alcohol can dry out strands and lead to weak, brittle hair that's more prone to breakage. Use water-based and/or gentle natural formulas for best results.
4. Find healthy ways to cope with your stress: Stress and anxiety can raise androgen levels, which increases the likelihood of hair loss. Therapy, meditation, and natural supplements are effective ways to reduce stress in our day to day lives. Adaptogenic herbs such as amalaki (also known as amla or Indian gooseberry), ashwagandha, rhodiola, and cordyceps have also been shown to relieve stress (see this study here).
Elanveda Healthy Hair is a 100% natural Ayurvedic formula of herbs and botanicals that have been used for centuries to promote thicker, stronger hair.† Its powerful, wild ingredients work together to help eliminate factors in the body that may inhibit hair growth, while nourishing the scalp to encourage healthy new strands.†
Are you dealing with hair loss? We'd love to hear about your experience and suggestions in the comments!