Is your hair thinning? – Guest Post by Kirsten Tremlett of Byron Wellbeing

Hair ThinningWe think of hair loss as being a male issue, but in fact over one-third of women will experience significant hair loss in their lifetime

Excessive or accelerated hair loss may be due to a number of factors including:

* Androgenetic predisposition: A genetic condition that sensitises hair follicles to male hormones (androgens) in a woman’s body. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the more potent form of testosterone, shrinks follicles until they no longer produce hair. Insulin resistance and polycystic ovarian syndrome are conditions also associated with this type of hair loss, as insulin stimulates androgen production

* Alopecia areata: An autoimmune condition where the immune system sees the hair as foreign and targets it by mistake. Lupus, another autoimmune disease, can also lead to hair loss

* Telogen effluvium: When a large number of hair follicles enter the ‘resting phase’ at the same time, causing thinning. Triggers include physiological or emotional stress as well as endocrine imbalances such as hypothyroidism (low thyroid function)

* Nutritional deficiencies: Common deficiencies that lead to hair loss include zinc, vitamin A, EFAs, iron and protein. Ferritin (stored iron) levels at or below 30mg/L are strongly associated with telogen hair loss

* Certain medications: Some antidepressants, anti-coagulants, the contraceptive pill and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can all cause hair loss. Over-styling hair, using harsh chemicals, curling tongs and hot blow dryers can damage hair also


What you can do:
* Improve blood glucose regulation: This stabilises insulin levels and helps reduce androgen over-activity associated with PCOS and insulin resistance. Adopt a low GI diet and aim for 30g of fibre a day in the form of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lentils, beans, and chickpeas

* Boost your intake of antioxidants: Higher levels of free radicals have been found in hair follicles of men with hair loss. Defend your follicles with sulphur-rich foods, e.g. garlic, onions and cruciferous vegetables (kale, broccoli, cauliflower). These, combined with brightly coloured fruit and vegetables can increase levels of the ‘master antioxidant’, glutathione

* Olive oil massage with essential oils: Olive oil is loaded with antioxidants to nourish your scalp. Massage stimulates blood circulation which keeps hair follicles active. Add a few drops of peppermint, rosemary or clary sage essential oils for their circulation-boosting properties. Healthy hair follicles hold on to hair longer!

* Switch to sulphate free or low-sulphate shampoos as synthetic sulphates are known to damage hair follicles

Natural anti-androgens:
The hormone DHT is often the culprit in hair loss, as it causes the hair follicle shaft to narrow. Try these natural remedies to reduce DHT levels

* Spearmint oil: Taken as a tea twice daily, this significantly decreases plasma levels of androgens

* Reishi mushrooms: Found to inhibit 5-alpha reductase, the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone to DHT

* Green tea: Either as a tableted extract or a drink also reduces 5-alpha reductase


FROM MEGAN – And, of course, I will add coconut oil! Here is a précis of what Bruce Fife has to say about hair in his book, Coconut Cures (pgs 160 – 161)

Coconut oil can do wonders for your hair….Some claim that it helps prevent both premature graying and baldness. It is also great for the scalp and helps control dandruff…

Coconut oil has a long history of use as a hair conditioner in the (Pacific) islands…. What has been observed for centuries is backed by science. Studies have shown that using coconut oil in the hair can help prevent combing damage and improve its health and appearance.

An interesting study was reported in the Journal of Cosmetic Science …. In this study coconut oil was compared with sunflower oil and mineral oil – the two most extensively used in hair formulations. “The findings…clearly indicate the strong impact coconut oil application has to hair as compared to the application of both sunflower and mineral oils”.

Among the three oils, coconut oil was the only one that reduced protein loss for both undamaged and damaged hair when used as a pre-wash and post-wash grooming product. Neither sunflower nor mineral oil reduced protein loss in hair. The authors of the study indicated that the difference in results was due to the composition of each of the oils. Coconut oil, being rich in medium-chain triglycerides is able to penetrate the hair shaft, protecting it from protein loss as well as giving it more body…..

(From all oils) Only coconut oil can protect the hair from protein loss and prevent hair damage. Therefore, it is the best oil to use for your hair care.

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