The following is a guest post by Helen Cartwright
Hair is a part of your image. Some styles and lengths can portray certain types of personalities. It doesn’t matter what hairstyle you have, you want your hair to be healthy and strong. Know how stress plays a role, how certain foods aide in hair growth, what to avoid that causes damage, and how to naturally fix your hair issues.
Hair Growth (and Loss)
Your hair is made up of a strong protein called keratin. Keratin produces cells which are considered your hair follicles. When new cells are produced, it pushes the old cells out and away from your scalp. Therefore, generating new hair growth. The hair that you actually see is dead keratin cells. Your head has up to approximately 150,000 hairs. Your hair grows about 6 inches per year when new cells are reproduced. It is normal to lose a few strands in the shower or on your hairbrush.
Typically, you lose about 100 hairs per day. Each hair strand (follicle) goes through 3 cycles. An active, transitional and resting phase. Different factors or diseases play a role into hair growth or loss (a.k.a. alopecia). Alopecia can be temporary or permanent. Understanding these factors can help you decide on the best treatment for your hair.
● Age – Unfortunately, with age comes the thinning of your hair. It takes 2 to 3 months for new hair follicles to produce. Leaving the remaining hair shorter and fewer.
● Disease – Whether it be genetically or a sudden onset, some diseases play a vial role in the growth process. For example; lupus, ringworm, and thyroid disease.
● Drugs – Certain drugs will cause temporary alopecia. Chemotherapy, arthritis, high blood pressure, and depression medications can lead to baldness. Also, taking too much Vitamin A or D will lead to alopecia.
An old saying that “stress causes gray hair” is just that, a saying. That has never been scientifically proven. What about the saying, “stress makes your hair fall out”? That question is debatable. Normally, everyday stressors aren’t the cause for your loss of hair. Being late to work, breaking up with a boyfriend, missing an appointment, running a stop sign, these types of stressors are emotional and feel dramatic at the time, but don’t cause a change to our body’s system. Physiological stressors on the other hand, could have an alopecia effect. These types of stressors cause a change in your body as a whole.
● weight loss of 15 pounds or more
● major infections
● start or stop of an oral contraceptive
● a severe illness
● abnormally high fever
● a major surgery
● changes in estrogen levels (usually low)
● serious infections
● a low-calorie diet
Usually these types of changes are temporary and go away when you have healed. Your hair will go back to its normal cycle and start the process all over again. Educating yourself and talking with a physician regarding the cause of your hair loss is an important first step. Also, making sure you’re using the correct product for your hair type and specific condition. Look for products that revitalize and de-stress your hair. The goal is to get your hair to a strong, healthy, and vibrant stage.
How to Naturally Fix Your Hair Issues
Things to Avoid
Split-ends, weak, dry, and brittle hair can be detrimental to your hair and appearance. You need to be aware of the signs and avoid the things that are causing damage to your hair. You know better than anyone how your hair originally looks and feels. If you notice a mass of hair loss, extreme oiliness or dryness, this means your hair needs to be given top priority. In the meantime, some things to avoid:
● prolonged sun exposure
● salt water
● swimming in chlorine
● excessive air-conditioning
● excessive – daily use of heating instruments (blow dryers, heating, & ceramic irons)
Watching what you eat isn’t only good for dieting, but it also plays a major function in your hair. Getting enough vitamins and minerals is essential to healthy hair. Just like it takes air to breathe, your hair follicles need oxygen too. Iron contains oxygen, therefore, transports it to your hair. Eating foods rich in iron will strengthen your follicles. Foods such as; spinach, broccoli, beans, and dark green leafy vegetables. Taking an iron supplement works fine too.
Another great mineral for your hair is zinc. Foods containing zinc; shrimp, lobster, clams, and fish. Copper is an essential mineral. A deficiency in copper causes your hair to turn gray and break off. Foods rich in copper are; cashews, oysters, squid, wild rice, cocoa bean, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds. An unfamiliar mineral that aides in breakage is selenium. Foods containing selenium are; wheat, spaghetti, oysters, barley, and yolk.
Adding vitamins A and E to your diets are beneficial as well. These helps protect and condition your scalp and hair. In addition, they prevent your hair and scalp from becoming dry and flaky with dandruff. Foods with Vitamin A; spinach, Swiss chard, eggs, and carrots. Vitamin E (which is also great for your skin, is contained in red bell peppers, mustard greens, broccoli, nuts, and tropical fruits. Adding foods rich in the above vitamins and minerals, increases the strengthening of each hair follicle.
Still having problem hair? No matter what you’ve digested or avoided your hair is still sending you signals – limp, dry, and breaking. If you are certain it’s not caused from an underlying condition, consult a licensed beautician for exact type of product to use. There are products for every type of hair color, style, and condition. Finding a product that will control your troubled hair is fundamental. Educate yourself with the brand and product. If you learn how to fix your hair issues, the results will be phenomenal.