If you're worried about hair loss as you age, there are natural solutions you can try before you turn to fad products and chemical procedures.
The first thing to realise is that hair loss is not a disease. It's a natural part of life. In fact, both men and women tend to lose hair volume with age as a normal process.
For men, hair loss is often most noticeable in the 30's. And for women, most hair loss usually begins during menopause but is often noticed during perimenopause too, which generally starts around the age of 35 to 40.
Understanding the Hair Growth Cycle
A normal part of the hair growth cycle is shedding.
At any given time, 90 percent of scalp hair is in a two to six year growth phase and 10 percent is in a two to six month dormant phase.
When the dormant phase ends, hair is shed. New hair subsequently emerges from these follicles. Throughout a normal growth cycle, many hairs are shed.
Loss of 50 to 100 hairs daily is not a cause for alarm, but noticeable thinning indicates significant hair loss or balding is coming.
Although hair loss and balding are not a health problem to be concerned about, it can cause a degree of anxiety or emotional distress for some people.
Ultimately, causes of hair loss can be a number of factors, including general ageing, genetic predisposition, thyroid imbalances, eating disorders, illness, hormonal effects of birth control pills, pregnancy, menopause and even the overuse of certain medications.
Understanding Hair Structure and Function
Each hair originates in a deep pouch-like structure that penetrates the dermis.
A hair root extends down into the hair follicle and widens into an indented bulb at its base. The papilla, which is the centre of hair growth, extends into the indentation that contains capillaries and nerves that supply a hair.
Newly dividing cells at the base of the hair multiply, forcing cells above them upward. Cells gradually die and harden into a hair shaft as they move upward.
A hair shaft has two layers: cuticle and cortex. The cuticle or the outer layer consists of flat, colourless, overlapping cells.
The cortex is the inner layer. Pigment and keratin, which is a tough protein, are contained in the cortex. The cortex forms the bulk of a hair shaft. Coarse hair such as scalp hair contains an additional inner core called the medulla.
Hair is lubricated by sebaceous glands located in hair follicles. Illness or stress can lessen pigment secretion and cause hair shafts to whiten. Age-related whitening is genetically determined and hair colour is determined by pigment and air spaces in the cortex and medulla. Hair colour and texture are inherited characteristics. Humans scalp hairs generally shed every two to four years while the human body hairs shed more frequently.
While you cannot change your genetics, you can control nutritional deficiencies, your lifestyle and to a certain extent, hormonal imbalances.
Therefore, you can control some of the factors that contribute to hair loss. In fact, with a few simple steps and lifestyle tweaks we'll share with you here, you can improve your hair growth and volume and reduce the impact of hair loss quite dramatically.
1. Eat to Reduce Hair Loss
Since nutritional deficiencies can cause thinning hair, one of the first natural solutions for slowing hair loss is to eat a nutrient-dense diet that includes a variety of fresh produce and seasonal whole foods.
Certain vitamins and minerals are linked closely to hair loss in men and women. A diet rich in vitamin B12, has been shown to help prevent hair loss. Foods that are particularly rich in B12 are free-range animal products such as eggs, whole dairy foods, wild caught fish and grass-fed meats (if you're not vegetarian).
For vegans and vegetarians, the best sources of B12 include fermented foods such as kimchi, tempeh and sauerkraut, as well as the following list of whole foods:
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Dried apricots
Additionally, nutritional yeast is a wonderful plant-based source of B12 as well as good quality, plant-based nut milks.
Vitamin E is another crucial nutrient that is important for promoting healthy skin, nails and hair, with the best sources being the following:
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Leafy greens
- Pumpkin Capsicum/Bell Peppers
2. Get Enough Sunshine
Vitamin D is also critical to strengthening the hair follicles, so a deficiency may cause hair loss. The best source of vitamin D is sunshine, so it's important to expose your body to natural sunlight in responsible doses regularly to ensure you're getting enough of this vital nutrient for your hair and your health
3. Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth
A little known remedy for hair loss is Diatomaceous Earth.
The magical natural ingredient in Diatomaceous Earth is Silica - a naturally occurring agent that is known to stimulate hair growth and is actually being now recognised as an effective treatment to prevent balding.
Diatomaceous Earth is derived from sedimentary mineral rock and the fossilised remains of tiny, aquatic organisms called "diatoms" that are formed from microscopic plant remains in the earth's surface.
A virtually taste-less, chalky-like, siliceous powder, Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth is very easy to ingest as a daily protocol to boost hair volume and strengthen your skin and nails.
Simply mix 1 teaspoon of Diatomaceous Earth briskly into a glass of chilled filtered water and drink rapidly. It's best to do this on an empty stomach at least 30 minutes before breakfast or another main meal.
4. Lifestyle Factors To Help Prevent Hair Loss
Stress contributes to hair loss. To combat this, make sure quality sleep, relaxation and downtime is a priority.
Do something that nurtures your parasympathetic nervous system--the system that helps you regenerate - for at least 30-60 minutes each day. Suggestions include a calming session of yoga or meditation, walking bare foot on the beach, or an evening salt relaxation bath with essential oils and epsom salts.
To nurture your downtime, it's important to remove distractions such as electronic devices and general interruptions to help you get the most from each relaxation session.
5. DIY Treatments for Hair Loss
In addition to taking control of your diet and lifestyle to reduce hair loss, you can also try these DIY home treatments for hair loss. One very useful ingredient is rosemary essential oil which is known to be quite effective for promoting healthy hair growth.
An easy way to experiment is to add 5 drops of rosemary essential oil into approximately 3 tablespoons of coconut oil and combine.
Coconut oil is widely known in the hair care industry for being effective for growing healthier, thicker and longer hair because the natural vitamins and fatty acids help to nourish the scalp and penetrate the cuticle of the hair.
Massage the mixture into your scalp and leave it for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, shampoo and condition as normal with 'low chemical' hair products.
Scalp massage in its own right is a brilliant way to stimulate hair growth and reduce stress. You can massage your own scalp or have a family member, friend or your hairdresser do it for you. For optimal results, massage for 15 to 20 minutes.
The Main Take Away
Hair loss is natural phenomenon for both men and women over time, however it is not a problem to be concerned about unless you're shedding tresses of hair at an alarming rate.
To slow down or even reverse hair loss, the first steps are to make adjustments to your diet and lifestyle. Follow as many of the tips and protocols shared with you here as you can and you'll go a long way to slowing the onset of hair loss by nourishing and adding volume back to your hair.
Tolman Self Care.