About one-third of women experience hair loss (alopecia) at some time in their lives; among postmenopausal women, as many as two-thirds suffer hair thinning or bald spots. This means that in the United States alone, more than 52 million women will experience hair loss based on the current population.
How can you prevent this from happening to you or maybe regain some growth? Here are a few possible causes of hair loss, along with hacks to keep your hair thick and shiny.
Switch to higher-quality hair products
Hair products are more prevalent than ever. Dyes, dry shampoo, relaxer, mousse, toner, conditioner, bleach – many hair products contain harsh chemicals and hormone disruptors that soak into your pores and diffuse into the air you breathe.
- Bleach is especially rough on your hair. Your hair color depends on the ratio of two types of melanin in your hair: eumelanin, which makes hair darker, and pheomelanin, which makes it redder. Brown hair, for example, is mostly eumelanin with a moderate amount of pheomelanin, while black hair is almost entirely eumelanin. Bleach strips both melanins from your hair, leaving your hair lighter. But bleach also destroys precious oils that protect your hair’s integrity. The result is permanent damage that leads to brittleness and split ends. Even worse, bleach seeps into your hair follicles, which can weaken your roots and cause hair loss. Bleach your hair as little as possible, or preferably not at all.
- Dye also strips your hair of protective oils, both on the strand and in the follicle, which causes damage. On top of that, most dyes contain phenylenediamine (PPD), which can trigger spontaneous allergic reactions, even if you’ve been fine with it in the past. PPD allergies have doubled in recent years, probably because so many people dye their hair repeatedly. Switch to a natural hair dye to avoid PPD and most drying, oil-stripping chemicals. Better yet, embrace your hair’s original color.
- Shampoos, conditioners, mousses, and other hair products often contain phthalates and parabens, two chemicals that throw off your hormone balance by mimicking estrogen. Estrogen plays a central role in regulating collagen production; when you disrupt balanced estrogen levels, you don’t make collagen efficiently, and your hair, skin teeth, nails, and joints all suffer. Like bleach and dyes, many hair products also contain detergents that strip natural oils, damaging your hair from tip to root.
If you are taking a prescription birth control discuss with them if their are other alternatives
Thinning hair is one of the most common side effects of hormonal birth control, affecting about 25% of women who use it. Hormonal birth control includes:
- Oral contraceptives (birth control pills)
- Progestin implants (like Norplant)
- Hormone injections (like Depo-Provera)
- Skin Patches (like Ortho Evra)
- Vaginal rings (like NuvaRing)
Oral contraceptives such as vitamin, mineral, and antioxidants aren’t helping your hair situation. These products can leave women nutrient-depleted and at risk for inflammatory conditions like heart disease and cancer. Hormonal birth control can cause hair loss through a variety of shifts in your hormones.
You may have heard that people with higher testosterone tend to go bald. It’s actually more thanks to higher dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Stress and inflammation from pure estrogen birth control decrease the effectiveness of progesterone, which increases conversion of testosterone to DHT. That can cause hair loss and a host of other side effects. When birth control companies discovered this, they began adding synthetic progesterone to counter the side effects.
Minimize stress for stronger hair
Stress is one of the biggest causes of hair damage and graying. It causes systemic inflammation and rapid aging in your whole body, including your hair. In fact, there have been a few cases of extreme stress causing baldness overnight. Make it a priority to manage your stress. Here are a few ways to do it:
- Meditate: Take 5-20 minutes every morning or night to sit quietly and focus on your breathing.
- Take adaptogens: Adaptogens are herbs that increase your body’s ability to deal with stress.
Before you take any of DR RAFI’s recommendations it is important to consult with your own physician and make sure you are cleared by him to begin any of these steps. He knows you and your specific situation better. However, if you would like to schedule a consultation with DR RAFI, please click here.
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