No this isn’t another article about which shampoo or conditioner you should buy to look after your hair – but it is an article dedicated to giving you some tips as to the best vitamin and health supplements you should be using as part of your regular hair care regime. Although many hair problems such as hair thinning and loss, graying, brittleness and even dandruff can be due to our genetics or age – it’s not to say that we can’t do something about it. For some people even just changing their diet could have a positive impact on the quality of their hair.
Hair – what is it?
Before getting in to the treatments for improving your hair it’d be useful for you to have some understanding of what your hair is and how some hair problems can occur. Your hair is a tissue substance made up from a fibrous protein called keratin, which is also the substance that forms your finger and toe nails. Although hair itself isn’t ‘alive’ it does need a supply of nutrients, from the blood, which is achieved by nourishing the hair follicles in the scalp – which is where the hair grows fro m. Everybody loses hundreds of hairs a day from their head quite naturally. The good news is that the lost hairs are replaced by new ones (we’ll come back to hair thinning and loss later as they need a little more explanation here) and, as an average, everyone’s hair grows by about a half inch a month.
What causes hair problems?
Hair loss and thinning problems usually arise when the hair becomes dry and/or brittle causing the scalp to gradually lose the ability to grow new hairs when old ones fall out. Another problem with hair care can be dandruff, which is caused by an excess of dead skin cells accumulating on the scalp. Hormonal issues, stress and a poor diet are often the root, if you’ll excuse the pun, causes of hair problems. However, genetic factors, a poor immune system, thyroid problems or a range of ongoing medical treatments, such as chemotherapywhich have to be undergone fully, could all also just as likely be the problem.
Encouraging good hair growth.
If you hair is starting to become lifeless or dry and brittle – nourishing the roots of the hair is the first step to take which, for most people, will mean taking a mutli-vitamin and mineral supplement. You’ll need to be patient as your body needs time to assimilate these extra nutrients, but after 6 months your hair should feel and look healthier; although this isn’t a miracle cure for hair loss. Particularly helpful for dry hair is a health supplement that’s rich in fatty acids like fish oils or evening primrose oil. The omega-3 fatty acids here will re-moisturize your hair and should reduce any tendency towards having dandruff and can help even if you have psoriasis or eczema of the scalp. Vitamin A can be particularly important here in helping to fight dandruff as a lack of vitamin A in your body can cause flaky skin. Underactive thyroids can also have a negative effect on your hair. A zinc supplement will boost your thyroid function, but you must take a copper supplement at the same time to keep you body’s mineral balance steady. If hair graying is your problem the copper will help to restore some color to the hair. Copper will boost the melaninin your body – which is responsible for the color pigment of your hair.
Male hair loss and thinning.
There is still, to date, no miracle cure for hair loss. You can call it hair loss or hair thinning – but to be really honest the sooner you accept you’re going bald the better. Can you do something to slow down the hair loss – well yes of course. The health supplement Biotin or a vitamin supplement of the B vitamin complex will help to strengthen your hair and the condition of your scalp. Indeed, if your hair loss was caused by a dietary deficiency of biotin – the biotin supplement can restore hair loss. A selenium supplement can also help in terms of hair loss by encouraging new hair growth.
Other hair care comments.
Using a mild shampoo will help to protect thehair follicles and scalp, as will wearing a hat in excessive sunlight and avoiding heavily chlorinated swimming pools. A weekly scalp massage will also have benefits – relaxing you as well as stimulating the blood flow through your scalp. If you’re a smoker then be aware that you’re four times more likely to go gray at a younger age than a non-smoker! Hair loss, especially a sudden loss of hair, could be indicative of a more serious underlying condition – so consult your physician if this happens to you. If your hair loss is due to a current medical procedure – finishing that procedure is more important than your hair for the moment and, as always, consult your physician before taking any supplements. Finally, if you think your hair loss might be due to a thyroid problem – consult your physician.