You may think that once you experience hair loss, there's no returning to normal unless you use medications or surgery. But that's not necessarily the case! There is hope for you to get your hair back to the way it used to be. In today's world, many contributing factors could be affecting your hair follicles. I'm here to let you in on a little secret. Hair loss can be reversed and it doesn't have to include major invasive therapies!
There are many types of hair loss (alopecia) that women can experience.
Some types of hair loss include:
- Androgenetic Alopecia (hereditary)
- Telogen effluvium
- Alopecia Areata
- Hair Shaft Abnormalities
What Causes Hair Loss in Women?
While some hair loss issues are hereditary, others are from lifestyle behaviors and environmental factors. Read on to see some reasons why you may be experiencing this.
Toxic Heavy Metals
This is a major issue that is oftentimes overlooked. These toxic heavy metals can be from the industrial, agricultural, and pharmaceutical industries. They are found in our environment via the soil, water supply, beauty products, non-stick cookware, kids’ toys, and in our food. You may already be aware that heavy metals are related to serious health problems like gut imbalances, neurological issues, and muscular problems. However, more recent studies have begun to show how we are also seeing it affect things like hair loss. Heavy metals like thallium, mercury, arsenic, copper, lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), and bismuth can disrupt the formation of the hair shaft in keratin, resulting in hair loss.
Some inflammatory diseases or health conditions like eczema or psoriasis can cause scarring to the scalp and lead to hair loss. This inflammation damages hair follicles, interrupting the process of hair regrowth. If you can reduce the amount of inflammation on your scalp, you may be able to help your hair follicles recover.
How many of you women style your hair every day or even just most days of the week? While we all want to look good, this practice may be contributing to your hair loss. Over styling with tight ponytails, perms, straightening, and harsh chemical products can very well lead to thinning hair or even hair loss. If you can, try to let your hair dry naturally a couple of days of the week and avoid using toxic hair products. You may even see improvement by switching to a non-toxic brand.
Hormones play a huge role in multiple processes in the body. Even the tiniest imbalance of certain hormones can cause havoc within the body. If you are struggling with thyroid disorders, PCOS, adrenal fatigue, or any other hormonal issue, it can affect the growth of your hair.
Food Sensitivity and/or Allergies
If you have a food sensitivity (that you may or may not know about), it could be causing hair loss. Since allergens can cause rashes on the skin, hair follicles could actually die if you are exposed to the allergen for a long period of time. When your body is exposed to a food that you are sensitive to, it sets off an autoimmune response that could result in your own cells attacking your hair follicles.
Stress and Anxiety
If you find yourself stressed out every day or if you are dealing with anxiety, it can lead to additional health problems. High amounts of our stress response can lead to apoptosis (the death) of epithelial cells. Epithelial cells are where continual regeneration of the hair follicle during cycling occurs.
You may not be aware that you are being exposed to mold, and it could be affecting your health without knowing it. Mold can not only be found in moist basements but can also be found around your house, especially if you live in a damp climate. Mold releases tiny spores into the air and then we breathe them in. Over time, the accumulation can interfere with our health. Our body is exposed to these spores, and an allergic reaction occurs. When we have an allergic reaction, our body releases histamines, and inflammation occurs. Inflammation can lead to increased swelling of our blood capillaries, which can reduce the flow of blood to our hair follicles. This means our hair follicles aren't receiving enough oxygen and nutrients, and this can lead to our hair becoming weak, brittle, and even causing it to fall out.
What To Do To Reverse Hair Loss
- Eat A High Antioxidant Diet To Decrease Oxidative Free Radical Damage To Hair Follicles
- Avoid Products that Contain Toxic Heavy Metals
- Buy Non-Toxic Beauty Products
- Learn to Manage Stress
- Get Tested for Mold Exposure and Hormone Imbalances
- Try Using Supplements/Herbs
- Betaine HCl- this is great for digestion and gut health. It’s important that the food you eat is being broken down into amino acids that are needed for hair formation and growth.
- Saw Palmetto- helps balance hormones and inflammatory response, which can both lead to maintaining healthy hair.
- MSM-Sulfur, the main ingredient in MSM, is needed for connective tissue formation that makes up hair. Sulfur is also needed to form one of the most powerful antioxidants, glutathione, helping fight free radicals and oxidative damage to the hair follicles.
- Basil Tea Rinse- includes anti-inflammatory properties and stimulates blood flow to your hair follicles
- Nettle Tea Rinse- Stimulates new hair growth
Hair loss can cause emotional effects similar to dealing with a chronic disease. It can have effects on your self-confidence and emotional wellbeing. That’s why I want to help you.
If you want more information and help with gaining your hair back, stay tuned for the launch of my online program to reverse women’s hair loss! No matter where you live in the country, you’ll be able to get professional help and advice that includes testing and supplements. My telehealth services for women's hair loss might just be your answer to feeling confident again in your own skin.
Reshma Patel, PA-C, founder of Ananda Integrative Medicine, is an integrative provider in Brentwood, Los Angeles. She offers in-person services as well as telehealth services. With over 17 years of experience in urgent care, she knows what works best for patients. If you are struggling with hair loss, Reshma can give you guidance on where to start.
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