Hair loss can be a very sensitive topic for many people, both men and women. I have been a licensed Cosmotologist for almost 22 years. Hair is a huge part of people's expressions, their souls, their identity and a major part of their self esteem.
My first experience with hair loss was when I was 25. I didn't understand nutritional deficiencies, all I cared about was workingout and eating way less. I had no idea the toll it would take on my hair. The second major experience I had with hair loss was when I had a major blood clot from taking Yaz birth control when I was 31. I had to take a blood thinner and the side effect was hair loss. Between the medication and the stress that my body went through, I definitely saw hair loss. I didn't want to wash, brush or even look at my hair during that time. I have done extensive research for many years trying to get to the root of hair loss. My friends would make fun of me for how many "hair growing kits" I went though, in which none of them really worked. I saw a specialists, dermatologists, nutritionists, and my doctor for blood tests, I would constantly look up information in hopes someone would give me a quick fix and make my hair normal again.
I am going to put together the information I have collected throughout these years from different books, doctors and research I have to help educate you on the topic of hair loss and hair health.
Lets start from the outside in. This is knowledge I have acquired from other licensed educators in my field of cosmetology.
1. Our hair can look thin from dry brittle hair. That just comes from taking care of the outside of our hair. At the end I will list quality products that will actually help take care of your hair and protect it.
2. Get regular trims. NO! Getting your hair trimmed does not make your hair grow faster, that is a myth. What it will do is keep your ends healthy and strong which in turn will make it look longer and thicker.
3. Use a quality shampoo and conditioner! If you color your hair it is almost imperative you use a color care shampoo and conditioner, and I don't mean Pantene or Herbal Essence (nothing against these products, they smell great, if smell is what you are going for. It is not not the worst thing, but there are definitely better!) If you spend money to get your hair colored, why not invest in it to keep your hair looking its best.
4. When you get into the shower, wash your hair first and immediately apply your conditioner and finish with the rest of your shower. This way the conditioner has a few minutes to penetrate into the hair. Make sure you apply it from mid shaft down to the ends! We often just glob it on the top of our heads where the hair is newer and healthier instead of making sure it gets to our ends.
5. Deep condition your hair at least once a week for 20 min. Wrap a towel around it to keep the heat in. Some people would tell me this weighs their hair down....then you are not using the right conditioner!
6. If you can tolerate it, when it is time to rinse, do a cool water rinse at the end. This will help smooth down your cuticle and add shine.
7. When you wear a ponytail holder in your hair. Do NOT pull the rubber band out. You are only creating breakage by ripping it down your hair strands. Unwind the pony tail holder.
8. Brush your hair upside down to create blood flow to the follicle to stimulate hair growth and healthy follicles.
9. Scalp massages also stimulate hair follicles
10. Replace old hair dryers....if you can't remember the last time you bought a new hair dryer, it is most likely time to purchase a new one. Old hair dryers can dry your hair out.
11. Do not pull a curling iron through your hair shaft to smooth it!! Use a straightener.
12. When you blow dry your hair, aim the blow dryer down so it helps smooth the cuticle, you'll help create shine and get a GREAT arm workout. Make sure you also use the correct brush. If you are not sure, be sure to ask your stylist or message me!
13. When you use hairspray, don't just spray it on top of you head! Get underneath it...in the layers and sides etc!
14. PRODUCT AND TOOLS!!!!! When I worked behind the chair at Salon Lorrene in Palatine Illinois, I would have so many clients ask me, "Katie,Why is my hair so frizzy!?" or "Why does my hair get so flat through out the day?!, Why does my gray hair feel very dry compared to the rest of my hair!?, Why do I see my gray roots again and my color fading fast?" All kinds of questions. Here is what I would ask them, "Did you use the products you got last time that I recommended? No." Did you blow-dry and flat iron your hair with the tools and products I showed you? No." Did you try the hairspray like I mentioned? No.
As far as gray hair, gray is a different texture. It usually is very course and it will change the way your hair has always been, unless you color it. The color will cover the gray adding pigment returning it to somewhat of its normal state. Your hair grows about a 1/2 an inch a month, so it is best to get your roots covered at least every 4-6 weeks. I would repeat myself for the 800th time, I can not change the texture of your hair! Not unless I chemically perm it or chemically straightened it. BUT what I can do is give you the tools to support the style you like and want. You are not just going to wake up to perfect hair. (unless maybe your my 5 year old little girl with youthful hair. As we age, we need to put in a little more effort) I use to not have to blow dry my hair too when I was younger and it would dry pretty perfect, NOW if I don't blow dry it....it is like hot mess express hahah no matter what kind of haircut I have or give you.
How do we get moisturized skin if we have dry skin? We use lotion. How do we get color on our nails? We use nail polish. How do we get lift on our very fine flat hair?? YES!!! We use a volumizer mouse or gel at our roots with maybe a light gel on our ends for some hold! Blow drying your hair with a round brush adds volume. When you straighten your hair, do not start the straightener right at your roots, start further down so you leave the volume at your roots! When you are done you can spray UNDER the hair shaft for added support. It all comes down to the right product and tools for your hair to create the look you want!
15. The last tip I want to mention is, Do no color your own hair with box color. Over processed hair turns dry, brittle and can crack off creating breakage resulting in your hair looking very thin.
Those are just a few of the outside tips!
Let's go deeper into the hair health care from the inside and reasons for hairloss.
According to the "American Academy of Dermatologist", it is normal to lose anywhere from 50-100 stands of hair a day. I pulled a lot
of information from the Web MD article I had along with my one on one conversations with different Doctors regarding hair loss.
1. Unfortunately, certain medication side effects will cause hairloss like Chemo, the Mayo Clinic States, "hair will not grow back until certain medications are discontinued use."
2. Androgenetic Alopecia or pattern baldness, is a hereditary form of hair loss and is usually permanent.
3. Male pattern baldness is DHT, a hormone dihydrotestosterone, causes the follicles to shrink, once a follicle is "dead" it is difficult to revive it. (Health guide written by Michael Martin reviewed by Dr. Mike Bohl, MD, MPH ) There is no cure for male pattern baldness, but some medications can slow it down. Minoxidil is an FDA-approved, over-the-counter treatment you apply to your scalp. It slows the rate of loss and helps some guys grow new hair. But once you stop using it, hair loss will return. (WebMD)
4. Telegenic Effluvium, This is an interesting one. It is related to our response to stress within our bodies. Some examples are child birth, surgery, severe emotional stress, serious illness. The thing is, you won't see this hair loss until like 3-6 months AFTER the incident occurred. So it can be hard to connect the two. The good news is, hair usually does grow back to its normal growth pattern in about 6-9 months.
You will often hear women say their hair feels so much thicker then they are pregnant. Often times they think it is their prenatal vitamins they take. The reason being is, your hair goes through different phases a growing phase (anagen phase), the transitional phase ( catagen phase), telogen phase (resting phase) which lasts around 3 months and the new hair phase (exogenous phase) where the old hair sheds and the new hair grows. During pregnancy your hair can stay in growth phases longer than normal and does not shed its normal amount, because of the increase in estrogen, which makes you hair appear thicker. When your natural growth pattern returns after you have given birth, usually 3-6 months later, your hair will release all that hair it didn't shed through out your pregnancy. And yes, your hormones play a huge part. It may take awhile for your body and hormones to adjust to get back to normal.
5. Alopecia Areata, I have seen this type of hairloss on my clients they didn't even know was there. They are little round patches of baldness on certain areas of your head maybe the size of a nickel or quarter. According to Mayo Clinic, it is when the immune system attacks hair follicles, and may be brought on by severe stress or could be hereditary. The most common type of treatment is corticosteroid injections injected into the the bald patches.
6.POOR NUTRITION! I have experienced this. The very first thing I notice if I am not getting the proper nutrition or enough calories when I am training hard for a fight or in general is my hair. Cutting calories and loosing weight, also means you can cut out important nutrients as well. If your body is lacking something, it doesn't need hair to survive. Your body will start grabbing the nutrients that can be for your hair to fuel other parts of your body that needs it more. Your hair is made out of protein called keratin. So, if you are not getting enough protein in your diet, guess what? Neither is your hair for hair health.
7. STRESS!!!! Mental and emotional stress. Especially in these times. Be kind to yourself!!!! The main reason I started this blog at this time was to help inspire people to find an outlet and a release to plug in their stress. I hate when people use to tell me, the more you stress about it the worse your hair is going to get. It is like a vicious cycle. It is true though. You need to find something to distract you. I promise you it helps.
Now that we have covered some of the reasons for hairloss, I get a ton of questions on what are some examples of foods and vitamins to eat to supply our hair and body with what it needs to ensure hair health! Do not and I repeat DO NOT take additional iron or any of these vitamins I am educating you about without consulting a nutritionist or your doctor. If you feel your hair is thinning, my recommendation would be to see your doctor and have him do some blood work to make sure there is not an underlining issue that is causing it. You can ask him to test your thyroid, or iron levels. Or you can look for a good quality multi-vitamin that has these in it. I will link some below that were recommend to me by other specialists to be the best absorbed ones.
Here is what I have found and acquired in information about hair vitamins, mainly from the Dermatology Partners of the North Shore, and the book "Natural Food Supplements, Elements of Health"
1. Protein, The classic equation DRI(Dietary Refernce Intake) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pounds. This amounts to: 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man. 46 grams per day for the average sedentary women. The general guidelines for endurance and strength-trained athletes from the academy of Nutrition and Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine suggest consuming between 1.2 and 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for the best performance and health.
2.Vitamin B, especially Vit. B 12: Salmon, leafy green, liver and organ meats, eggs, milk, beef, legumes, chicken and turkey, yogurt, brewers yeast ( I actually use to take this just in a powder form, it is very chalky, I recommend just drinking beer hahah JUST KIDDING, just make sure you mix it with something) pork, fortified cereals, sunflower seeds, oats
3. Iron: Beans, lentils, tofu, bakes potatoes, cashews, spinach, nuts, oysters, chicken, cooked turkey, ham, tuna, wheat germ, dried apricots, and seeds.
4. Biotin: Egg yolks, legumes, nuts and seeds, liver, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, bananas, broccoli, yeast, and avocados.
5. Folic Acid: Yeast, liver, green vegetables and whole grain cereals.
6.Vitamin D: The sun, but limited amount, salmon, canned tuna egg yolks, fortified foods, soy milk, cow's milk, orange juice and oatmeal.
7. Vitamin C: Broccoli, cauliflower, green and red peppers, sweet and white potatoes, citrus fruits and spinach
8.Magnesium: Pumpkin seeds, almonds, spinach, cashews, peanuts, dark chocolate, avocados and tofu.
9. Hydrolyzed collagen: Bone broth, chicken, fish, egg whites, citrus fruits, berries, garlic and tropical fruits.
11. Sea Greens: Kelp, seaweed and sea vegetables.
12. Inositol: Cantaloupe, citrus fruit, beans and brown rice.
13.Silica: Apples, carrots, almonds, oats, seeds, leafy green vegetables, bell peppers and BEER!!! (bonus! haha)
14. Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Walnuts, chia seeds, salmon, flax seed and fish.
I became a hair stylist because not only do I love the creativity that comes along with it, but I love to make people feel great about themselves. When your hair is not at your best, I know for myself, my moral goes down a bit. This information is to help you be the best you can be from the inside out! Like I mentioned earlier, the best thing I would do is look for a vitamin that has most if not all these in it. I myself do take additional vitamins, but it is not without consulting with my doctor and own research and knowledge. I am a certified NESTA Sport Nutritional Specialist, and a licensed stylist. I am NOT a licensed nutritionist or dietician. These again, are facts based on classes I have taken, doctor recommendations throughout the years and from my own experiences and research.
As always, please reach out with any questions or concerns and I will do my best to help you!
"GOOD HAIR DAYS MAKE ME FEEL LIKE I CAN RULE THE WORLD"