For some, hair loss in accepted as just another one of those things that occurs with age. For others, it can come as a big knock to their self-confidence.
There are many reasons why one might start to experience the loss or thinning of head hair. There’s no doubt that genetics plays a role. It is estimated that more than 80% of cases of male pattern baldness are hereditary.
Underlying health issues can also be a factor, as can stress and many other lifestyle factors.
Whilst there are numerous over the counter medications available to reduce the occurrence of hair thinning and improve growth, many of these synthetic options come with unwanted side effects.
Hence, there are an increasing number of people who are looking towards more natural ways to preserve their youthful head of hair. Thankfully, there are plenty of options to choose from.
In this article, we’ll look at how we can stop extensive hair loss in its tracks by regulating hormonal imbalances, improving thyroid function, balancing nutrient deficiencies and improving scalp circulation – all with the help of healthy, natural remedies.
1. Boost Scalp Circulation With Oil Massage
When done properly, hair and scalp massage can provide a wide range of benefits.
- As well as strengthening the hair’s roots, massage can effectively increase blood flow to the hair follicles. The blood contains many important micronutrients and amino acids that are important for the growth of healthy hair.
- A good massage can also help to condition the scalp and reduce the build up of plaque, which can sometimes block pores and lead to hair thinning.
- Last but certainly not least, massage can also promote relaxation and reduce feelings of stress. As mentioned earlier, stress is one of the main contributors to hair loss in both males and females.
Oils that are often used for their calming and hair strengthening properties include rosemary, coconut, almond, olive, castor and amla.
Scalp massage will typically work best when performed by a professional who is trained and experienced, but that doesn’t mean to say you can’t experience benefits by doing it yourself!
Get comfortable, and using either your fingers or a massage brush, apply gentle pressure to your scalp, covering all areas from your forehead and temples to the back of your head. Mix up the strokes, working the oil in thoroughly.
Once you’ve finished, wash the oil out with a good shampoo and conditioner, like aloe vera!
2. Include Aloe Vera In Your Hair Care Regime
Sebum, a natural oil produced by the scalp, often combines with environmental toxins, dead skin cells and synthetic hair products to form a layer of plaque on the skin. This plaque can suffocate hair follicles, causing thinning and brittleness of hair.
Some people have success using an aloe vera based shampoo and conditioner. Aloe vera is a natural ingredient that is thought to help bring plaque to the surface and break it down.
The plant also has alkalizing properties that can help to reduce inflammation and bring the scalp and hair’s pH to a more desirable level.
3. Ditch The Meats
Research suggests that animal fat intake may increase sebum production. Excessive sebum production in the scalp has been linked to high levels of the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, which prevents your hair from being able to absorb nutrients and oxygen.
Meat can also act to boost testosterone levels, which may sound desirable, but can in fact worsen the problem.
When testosterone and the enzyme type 2 alpha reductase combine, they form another hormone called dihydrotestosterone (commonly know as DHT). The sex hormone DHT is known to contribute to both male and female pattern baldness by binding to scalp follicle receptors, causing them to shrink.
So do your best to limit your consumption of animal products, and source the bulk of your calories from plants instead.
4. Consider Your Amino Acid Consumption
Your hair is made up of the structural proteins keratin and collagen, which are made from chains of amino acids (otherwise known as ‘the building blocks of protein’).
The ones that are involved in hair growth include methionine, lysine, cysteine, arginine, glycine and proline. Methionine and lysine are classed as essential, meaning that they are not produced in the body and need to be sourced from the diet.
The other four are classed as inessential, meaning that they can be sourced from the diet.
Providing you are consuming enough calories, with a healthy balanced diet there should be no reason why you would not be getting all the required amino acids that you need for healthy hair growth. That being said, if it feels right for you, you could also consider taking a supplement (but they are by no means necessary).
5. Up Your Iron and Vitamin C Intake
Iron is an important mineral that has been shown to help improve circulation to the scalp, allowing for improved delivery of essential nutrients and amino acids to the hair.
Although iron can be found in red meat, as discussed earlier animal products may increase sebum production and worsen the effects of hair loss. It may therefore be wise to source your iron from foods such as dark leafy greens, wholegrains and beans.
As well as strengthening the immune system, Vitamin C boosts the availability of iron, in turn helping to increase the blood flow and nutrient availability to your hair. It also helps to build collagen, the main structural protein found in hairs. You can find it in abundance in citrus fruits, red peppers, berries, and leafy green vegetables.
6. Don’t Skimp On The Healthy Fats
Omega three fatty acids are well know for their ability to boost brain power and reduce inflammation. In addition, they have been shown to help maintain hair health and improve elasticity, reducing the likelihood of hairs becoming brittle and breaking off. You’ll find plenty of omega threes in flaxseeds, leafy greens, and walnuts.
It may also be worth lowering your consumption of omega six fatty acids, which promote inflammation. The ratio of omega sixes to omega threes may be just as important as the total amount of omega threes you take in. In a typical western diet, the omega six count is high due to the high consumption of vegetable oils and overly processed foods. Cut your consumption, and cut your inflammation levels.
7. Get A Further Mineral Boost
Zinc is an important mineral that is involved in the growth and repair of hair. You can find it in abundance in chickpeas and wholegrains.
Magnesium is another crucial mineral that encourages hair growth. It is available in leafy greens, almonds, and wholegrains. When combined with zinc, magnesium may also improve sleep quality and promote better recovery. This may in turn reduce stress levels, a key contributor to the hair loss problem.
Last but not least, selenium also encourages the growth of hair follicles, and can be found in brazil nuts and a variety of seeds.
8. Address Any Thyroid Issues
Thinning hair is a common symptom of hypothyroidism, also known as underactive thyroid. If you feel like you do have an issue with the thyroid gland, it is best to consult a medical professional.
There are also a few natural remedies that may help the issue:
- Add sea vegetables such as kelp, nori, dulse, kombu and wakame, all of which are rich in the mineral iodine. Iodine has been shown to help support a healthy, active thyroid gland.
- Consider investing in a good quality water filter. In many places, particularly in the USA, tap water typically contains fluorine and chlorine, two chemicals that inhibit iodine absorption and cause thyroid issues.
9. Consider Supplementing With Superfoods
Whilst superfood supplements are not a replacement for a healthy balanced diet, they can help things along. To optimise your hair health, consider trying the following:
- Indian Gooseberry has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, and exfoliating properties, which can help to maintain a healthy scalp and promote hair growth.
- Liquorice Root can help to reduce stress levels, as well as soothing the scalp and helping to clear any dry skin and plaque build-up.
- Fenugreek seeds contain the hormone antecedents that enhance hair growth and help rebuild damaged hair follicles.
What are some of your favourite natural remedies for hair loss?