A Whole Person Approach to Hair
Losing a few hairs, here and there, is normal. The average person loses about 50-100 hairs per day. But when you start to pull out clumps of hair in the shower, or you notice that hairline looking more and more sparse - it may be time to look a little deeper.
Hair loss can be triggered by a number of factors and may be a sign that something else is going on in the body. Let’s take a look at the most common types of hair loss, what causes hair loss, and how you can holistically treat your hair loss!
So what causes hair loss anyways?
Not everyone’s experience with losing their hair is the same. While some hair loss is hereditary - other types are caused by medications, nutritional deficiencies, stress, or medical conditions.
Common Types of Hair Loss I See
Androgenetic Alopecia (Female Pattern Baldness)
This is the most common type of hair loss in both men and women and tends to be hereditary. It can feel like a life sentence, but it doesn't have to be. Androgenetic alopecia can be exacerbated by other underlying conditions. This is what we can address and work to slow the progression of genetic hair loss.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition that attacks the hair follicles and prevents new hairs from growing. Hair tends to fall out in small patches around the scalp and hair loss may occur in other areas too (such as the eyebrows or eyelashes). Many autoimmune conditions are believed to originate in the gut. One study showed complete remission of alopecia areata in an elderly man after a fecal transplant.
This type of hair loss occurs when many hair follicles enter telogen, or the resting phase of growth, without starting the new growth phase. This causes the hair to fall out and not regenerate as it normally would. It is usually caused by a medical event, like surgery or childbirth, or after extreme weight loss or under-eating.. Telogen effluvium does not typically lead to complete balding, but it’s common to lose several hundred hairs a day. In many cases, hair growth restarts within 6 months.
Common Causes of Hair Loss
Imbalances and Deficiencies
The body relies on having the right amount of resources to stay healthy and strong. Because the hair strands are not physiologically necessary for life, the body does not prioritize its nutritional needs. Therefore when we are thinking about hair health, we often aim for the most optimal levels. When resources are limited or out of balance, nourishment that would go to the hair has to be used for more important matters.
Sex hormone imbalances like estrogen and progesterone
Vitamin or mineral deficiency (especially iron)
Protein deficiency (vegans/vegetarians)
Major Medical Events
Major changes in your body’s health can disrupt hair follicle growth. Usually, hair grows back after the event or treatment has been completed.
Extreme weight loss
Infections (like scalp ringworm)
Stress causes the body to shunt all its resources into your survival. Growing hair isn’t at the top of the list of functions that keep you alive, so your hair follicles may stop growing hair during times of chronic or extreme stress.
Stress or anxiety
Major life changes
Traction hair loss (hair loss due to tight pulling or styling of the hair)
How we treat hair loss holistically
To understand this a little bit more, think of your head like a garden. To grow healthy and strong plants, we need a good fertile foundation. If your garden is lacking the right nutrients to grow, you have to replenish the soil. Pouring fertilizer on may help for a while, but the soil will continue to be depleted until you address the root issue.
Understanding the root of hair loss will make a lasting impact on our hair health.
Why is your hair falling out?
What do you eat?
When did it start?
What other symptoms are you experiencing?
How are your energy levels?
Are there underlying imbalances?
These questions help us determine why you are losing hair so we can use the appropriate nutritional and trichological therapies, herbal formulas, products and supplements to restore health.
Check out our Aesthetically Nourished program to see how we use Medical Nutrition Therapy and trichology to help you regrow healthy hair!
How to Prevent Hair Loss and Grow Healthier Hair
Preventing hair loss is the most effective way to maintain your luscious locks for years to come. Consider including these techniques into your current self-care routine to give your hair some TLC:
Give yourself a daily scalp massage to stimulate the hair follicles and bring healthy blood circulation to the scalp.
Hydrate daily to ensure a hydrated scalp and moisturized locs
Maintain a healthy diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids to support a healthy scalp environment
Keep iron at optimal levels by eating iron-rich foods like beef, beans and chicken
Supplement with vitamins as needed