It tends to be something we don’t think much about until there’s some problem or issue. Many people say that you can tell a lot about a person’s health from the state of their hair.
I started to have some trouble with my hair several months ago. At first I thought it might just be related to stress, which is definitely a contributing factor for many people(!). Stress in general, or an acute event of stress, can wreak havoc on your body. Results of stress tend to show up in your hair a few months after the onset of stress. I came to discover my issues were thyroid-related, along with several other factors. It’s been very distressing, but it’s also caused me to learn a lot, which I can now share with you.
If you’ve noticed a significant change in your hair, getting your thyroid and other hormone levels checked is an important step. Unbalanced hormones can cause massive changes. In a perfect world our bodies run perfectly in balance, but let’s face it, this is not a perfect world.
Don’t expect a quick result
Unfortunately no matter the cause of your hair issue, it takes a long time to turn around. Unless you want to rub chemicals like Rogaine directly into your brain, I mean head…then you’re looking at months, not weeks for a noticeable change.
Another frustrating aspect is that it can be difficult to determine the exact cause(s). There are so many factors that figure into a healthy body and lifestyle, and finding the true culprit(s) of problems can take an unenjoyable amount of time. For me though, I always like to understand WHY, so it’s worth going through the detective work to come to some answers. Here, I’ve done some of the work for you, so hopefully you don’t have to scour the internet for hours and hours as I did!
This is going to be a two-parter. Second part coming in August.
I’ll start with 5 things you can do for hair health that you may not be doing:
1. Only wash your hair twice a week
I really hated this when I first started, but I’ve gotten used to it. As a society, we’re taught to over-wash. This strips hair of its natural oils, which throws things out of balance. Streaming water is also hard on your hair in general, so the more you’re subjecting yourself to it, the more vulnerable you’re making your hair. You also tend to lose more hairs on the days you shower than on days you don’t.
2. Home oil treatments once or twice a week
As I mentioned in my skin article, oils provide numerous benefits for our skin! Since the scalp is part of the skin organ, oils can are also beneficial to it.
My favorite oil for skin and hair is coconut oil. In terms of hair health and growth it can help prevent breakage, moisturize, infuse nutrients, boost circulation and act as an antibacterial agent. Plus it smells amazing!
Castor oil has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties. It’s also high in Vitamin E, minerals and omega 6 and 9 fatty acids.
Another excellent one is avocado oil. It’s packed with nutrients which are great for your body, and also wonderful topically. Benefits? It helps moisturize, strengthen and repair previous damage.
Other oils such as olive oil, rosemary oil, lavender oil, etc are also great for hair health. Try experimenting with heating up and mixing different combinations to get a variety of benefits. Maybe I’ll do a post on oil treatments? (comment at the bottom if you say yes)
With oils, it’s important to buy them pure, organic and cold-pressed.
3. Scalp massages
If you have a friend or significant other willing to massage your scalp, great. Or if you can afford to pay someone to do it, cool. Otherwise, you can do it yourself! The idea behind scalp massage is to ramp up circulation, which can lead to hair growth. There also is some evidence that a tight scalp is more likely to experience hair loss. So stimulating the scalp not only gets the blood flowing, but also (gently) moving the scalp around, provides even more benefits.
A scalp massage can be performed on its own, with CLEAN hands, using the pads of the fingers (not nails!). Or, even better, combine this with the oil treatments. You can just stroke the oils through your hair, or you can massage them in, providing stimulation to the scalp and encouraging the oils to penetrate more deeply and thoroughly.
4. Make sure to get enough omegas in your diet or via supplements
Here’s one I was not doing the best job on. I have to say I feel better overall after pumping up my omega intake, and it’s helped my hair, so yay!
As is true throughout my website, I will only be providing vegan sources. Some good sources of omegas are found in seeds: flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds. Spirulina is also a good option. Oils such as flaxseed oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil, canola oil, etc are good sources as well. Taking the oils as supplements is another way to go.
5. Use a pH-balanced, NO sulfate shampoo & conditioner
You’ve probably been hearing about the damages inflicted by sulfates in shampoos and conditioners. Sulfates can strip the hair of essential oils, aggravate skin, and cause damage to hair strands. There seems to be mounting evidence that sulfate-free products are better for you in the short-term and long-term.
Another common culprit of hair damage/loss is a misbalanced scalp pH. Rebalancing it can lead to the unclogging of hair follicles and a restoration of natural oils of the scalp and hair. Look for hair products with a pH of around 5.
Look for Hair Health: Part 2 in August! And let me know what else you’d like to see me include!
*I am not a doctor, dermatologist or nutritionist. These are my findings, which I hope can be beneficial to you.