Let's talk about hair loss.
Something we often like to try to push aside. It's time we all talked a little more about hair loss.
As we age, hormone changes, heredity, mental health, medical conditions and medications can all have an effect on our hair. Balding patches, thinning and receding hairlines aren't just for the men. Hair loss can happen gradually over time, or pretty suddenly and unexpected. Although this is more common in men, women aren't immune to natures way.
Expensive treatments are available to prevent further hair loss and restore growth but we don't necessarily need to be thinking about those now.
To be honest, I've found over the years that clients who are going through this, often see something that others don't. In other words, it is usually not as bad as the person thinks. Our mind can have a really hard time with accepting our fate and we generally tend to wind ourselves up. Just another reason I wanted to write this blog. We need to open up about how we feel. I think we'd soon discover that we all have at least one friend who is feeling the same way about their hair. It is more common than most of us realise.
The average hair loss for a healthy head is around 100 hairs a day. After pregnancy you'll find a lot more is coming out (You can read my blog on post partum hair here ). Your hair stylist should be able to recommend some changes or techniques to help minimise the risk of hair loss. Keeping your hair and scalp healthy is always a good place to start.
The most common hair loss is down to your family genes and will come with age. This is called pattern baldness. It occurs gradually and leaves you with thinner hair.
For some of us, it's pretty obvious what the cause is. We have the same hair patterns as our elders. Mum went thin at 40 , Dad lost all his by the time he was 21.
For some of us it's conditions such as Alopecia. This is an autoimmune disease which causes patches of balding often triggered by physical or emotional stress. Shock can also lead to thinning of the hair which can continue for several months after.
Hair loss occurs when the regrowth cycle and shedding cycles are disrupted or if the hair follicles themselves have been destroyed and replaced with scar tissue. Damaged follicles can be caused by hot oil treatments or chemical resistance which cause inflammation and sometimes scaring. Not forgetting excessive hairstyles that pull the hair tight such as ponytails or cornrows. This is called Traction alopecia and unfortunately it can be permanent.
If you are feeling concerned that you are losing your hair, do consult with your doctor first. As I mentioned, medical conditions do play a big part in hair loss as well as medications. These medications are generally to treat cancer, arthritis, depression, heart problems, high blood pressure or gout. Hair loss in these cases does grow back.
If you are having chemotherapy, please ask your doctor about the cooling cap which can reduce hair loss throughout the treatment. Other medical conditions include Menopause, Lupus, Diabetes, Thyroid issues, Ringworm, Trichotillomania and Hormonal imbalances. These can all be treated too.
It's good to know where the issue is stemming from if we can. It's also sometimes reassuring to hear that the hair will come back in the future.
If your hair loss is sudden, this usually means it is a medical condition so it's time to see your doctor. If the hair loss is gradual and not coming out in clumps, you can pretty much assume its just age catching up with you.
So, if you are thinning naturally what can you do to help it?
Now there isn't much that we can do about our genetics but we can try to look after what we have, while we have it. Avoid those tight hairstyles I just mentioned. Be gentle to your hair when brushing and washing and try to stay away from as many chemicals as possible (You can read my post on ingredients of your hair products here). Try to keep UV rays away and protect your hair against the sun (You can read summer hair care blog here).
Of course we can work on our hairstyles to help hide or disguise any thinning areas but there are also a lot of products and treatments out there that claim to help with regrowth, hair thickening etc.
What actually works? Honestly, nothing is going to beat a good healthy diet. Having the right nutrients in your system does positively impact your hair.
Your hair needs the following to stay strong and promote healthy growth: Vitamin A, Vitamin B (Biotin), Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Iron, Protein and Zinc. So, trying to avoid any the expensive hair treatments, there are products available that claim to help.
Now, I am not a huge fan of putting harsh ingredients on a scalp and hair and the good news is, you can use organic products that help with regrowth and maintain healthy hair. Essential oils have been used for thousands of years for their medicinal purposes and ancient cultures believed that plants were in fact magical. Most of these oils can be mixed with a carrier oil such as coconut oil so that we can use them safely on our hair and skin.
The essential oils to be looking out for and how we can use them alongside our normal hair routine.
A lot of these oils can also be found in our hair products so do pay attention to the ingredients before you purchase.
This oil balances the oil-producing glands in the scalp. As it has antifungal and antibacterial properties so is often used to treat dandruff too.
When mixed with Lavender and Rosemary oils, it has been found to reduce hair loss in those with Alopecia Areata.
This can be mixed with a carrier oil and applied directly to the scalp.
Leave this on for 10 minutes and wash as normal.
Clary sage oil
This contains a linalyl acetate which increases hair growth. It also helps hair strength, reducing breakage.
This can be added to your conditioner and used daily.
Shampoo as normal and then leave the conditioner on the hair for 2 minutes before rinsing.
This speeds up the hair cycle and generates the growth of cells. It contains a linalyl acetate which increases hair growth and also has has
antibacterial properties, which can improve overall scalp health. This can be applied with a carrier oil directly to the scalp.
Leave on for 10 minutes and wash as normal.
Great for Dandruff too, this oil helps to keep the scalp flake free and is most effective when used daily, It can be added to your shampoo or conditioner following the manufacturers instructions.
This is a menthol which gives you that tingly cold feeling. This actually increases the circulation on application which can help to promote growth.
It also increases the amount of folicles and their depth too.
This can be applied with a carrier oil directly to the scalp.
Leave on for 5 minutes and wash as normal.
Great for improving hair thickness as it improves cellular generation.
This can be applied with a carrier oil directly to the scalp twice a week.
Leave for 3 minutes and wash as normal.
Tea tree oil
Powerfully cleansing, another menthol oil with antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties. Tea tree oil can help to unclog follicles which in turn, increases hair growth. Tea tree oils so come in many concentrations, so it’s vital that you follow the manufacturer’s directions. This is also great for dandruff and itchy scalps.
Once correctly mixed with your carrier oil, apply to scalp and leave for 2 minutes before washing as normal.
This helps to promote hair growth by stimulating the scalp and actively preventing hair loss. Like Cedarwood oil, It has also been found to help with Alopecia Area.As it is very strong, you only need a little mixed with your carrier oil. Do check your label.
Apply to the scalp and leave on for 10 minutes, then wash as normal.
Fantastic for dry scalps as it stimulates sebum production. You will want to steer clear of this if you have oily hair. Ylang-Ylang can help to improve hair strength and texture.
Mix 5 drops of Ylang-Ylang oil with 2 tablespoons of warm oil.
Massage it into your scalp and wrap your hair in a hot towel to warm.
Leave on for 30 minutes and then wash as normal.
Moving away from the essential oils, you could also consider cleansing shampoos followed with a thickening treatment, which can work well in helping the hairs regrowth. These treatments remove follicle-clogging sebum & fatty acids along with environmental residues from the scalp and hair.
Caffeine shampoos will also stimulate the roots and energise your hair however the caffeine ingredients do take effect quickly which means you need to be careful that you don't overload. These products also contain Sulphates and Chloride as well as many other chemicals.
Other current treatments include Finasteride and Minoxidil, which sadly don't work for everyone and they only work for as long as you are being treated. We also have the option of Steroid injections and hair transplants but these can cost between £1,000 and £30,000.
You may or may not have heard that the USA has very recently grown hair successfully through Papilla Cells using mice. Maybe it's the answer, maybe it isn't but time will tell.
I think for now, the essential oils are the best place to start and hopefully this information will help you to retain your hairs strength and promote it's growth.
Thank you for reading.