A good hair day with tons of volume is ultimate goals, but when it’s lackluster and dull we’d rather shove it in a bun and ignore it. Our hair is a pretty big deal – we’ve all had that one terrible cut or a pair of bangs your mum trimmed way too high – so when we notice our hair is falling more than usual, we start to panic. The thing is, it’s actually normal to shed between 50 to 100 hairs every day, which we know, seems like loads. But if you’re losing more than that, it’s considered real hair loss, and it can have a huge impact on your confidence and self-esteem. Fortunately, our good friend, incredible doctor and hair expert behind the amazing Shiffa Oil and Ouai Hair Supplements, Dr. Lamees Hamdan, is here to set us straight on all our hair loss issues.
Dr. Hamdam explained that “There are actually so many things that can trigger hair loss, from hormones and genetics to our diets or stress, but it’s important to get to the root of the cause because the remedy will vary depending on the trigger.” Dr. Hamdam tells us everything you need to do for healthy hair:
7 reasons you could be seeing hair loss:
Genetics: As we age our hair thins, so when we reach the 40 or 50 mark, most women will see a change in their hair, but substantial hair loss is often caused by genetics. Genetic hair loss is best treated early on, so you should see a trichologist (a hair expert) as soon as possible, and they should be able to recommend a course of treatment. The other option is minoxidil, which is the only topical treatment that has been proven to reduce hair loss. The Regaine Women’s 5% Minoxidil Foam should show results within three months.
Hormonal imbalance: Certain androgenic hormones can cause hair loss in people that are sensitive to these circulating hormones, even when they are within the normal limits. Some other hormonal imbalances, namely thyroid, can also be the cause of hair loss.
Nutritional deficiency: Your hair needs two things: lots of nutrition and plenty of oxygen. Your body considers hair to be non-essential, so that means if your body isn’t getting enough nutrients, then your hair will be the first place it cuts the supply too.
Lack of exercise: If you don’t get enough oxygen your hair isn’t able to get rid of waste products and blood circulation will decrease. The more exercise you do, the better the blood supply to your extremities and the more oxygen can be spared to be sent to your hair.
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Stress: Stress is a big reason for hair loss. I always use calming and stress-busting essential oils in all my Shiffa Hair oils to help combat this. I am also a great believer in daily scalp massages, it literally takes less than a minute and gives good results. Try daily meditation or Yoga. I also think a steam twice a week is beneficial, not only does it relax you but it also helps with circulation.
Sickness: Sometimes hair loss can be the result of a high fever of flu. This hair loss should be temporary and will stop after a few months, and your hair growth should return back to normal. In the meantime, a supplement can help make sure that when the hair grows back, it is strong and healthy.
Pregnancy: It is also possible to see hair loss after a pregnancy, but this should be temporary, and by maintaining a healthy diet, your hair should recover from the stress of labor within six months.
Check out Huda’s trick for faking fuller hair and combatting hair loss:
What to do about hair loss:
For hair loss not related to an illness or medical condition, try taking a good hair supplement. You’ll need to wait 90 days to see results, as the natural hair cycle takes that long. You really have to respect the time hair takes, there are no overnight fixes, in fact, it takes at least six months or more of actual hair loss before you begin noticing it.
If your hair is still falling, it’s a good idea to have a blood test. Look at all iron levels, including ferritin (iron stores), white and red blood cells, zinc, vitamin B12, folic acid, as well as thyroid and hormonal. The blood levels may all come back normal, but because your hair follicles are extra sensitive, even with normal results your hair may still be affected. It’s best to take the results to a trichologist (a hair doctor) because your GP will read your blood test results differently to a trichologist. A GP will be able to see if the hair loss is arising from an undelaying medical condition, but they’ll also be looking at levels that might affect your general health, but not your hair – a non-vital tissue.
2 ways to give your hair new life:
If hair loss is due to a nutritional deficiency, then a supplement can definitely reverse it. Supplements work for everyone, but I recommend them especially to those who have noticed changes in their hair, for instance, a lessening of volume, shine or moisture. Taking supplements can’t create new follicles, but it will also help restore hair to its optimal condition and increase thickness and moisture.
Ouai hair supplements were specially created by hair guru Jen Atkin and myself to target different hair issues with a daily pill. Find out more about the Ouai hair supplements here.
Your ultimate vitamin guide: It’s important to remember that you need lots of vitamins to get healthy hair growth; taking a supplement like Biotin by itself won’t increase hair growth. And the same goes for your diet; you need a combination of healthy foods. The key vitamins to look for in any supplement are:
Vitamin E: Vitamin E contributes to the integrity of the cell membranes of hair follicles, providing physical stability and reducing the likelihood strands will fall. It also increases capillary growth, which improves the oxygenation of the skin and the transport of essential nutrients to the cells of hair follicles. This increased microcirculation encourages rapid hair growth and the healing of damaged hair shafts.
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Vitamin B: The body doesn’t store vitamin B, so you need to replenish it every day, as it’s essential for keeping the body healthy and for efficiently giving cells energy, including your hair cells. Niacin is a form of Vitamin B, (also known as nicotinic acid or vitamin B3), and is also one of those necessary vitamins in the B family that specializes in DNA repair.
Niacin: If your hair is damaged in any way, either from hot styling tools, coloring or disease, you really need to make sure you’re getting your daily dose of niacin so it can rebuild. Without niacin taken in balance with other B vitamins, you can end up with brittle, dry, breaking hair and a dry flaking scalp. Even though it’s actually one of those vitamins that can solve a big hair issue, such as hair loss or patchy balding due to dying or braiding hair, it must be taken with the other B vitamins in a formula.
Iron: Iron is really important, and an iron deficiency is one reason you could be seeing hair loss. You can take iron supplements, but the dose should be prescribed by your doctor, as iron overdosing can be a serious condition. However, the lowest quantity you can take that will make an impact is 5mg, which you will find in multivitamins or mixed supplements.
Make sure you take control over your hair loss by eating healthier. Hair is a protein fiber, so you need to eat protein to grow new strands (your body will better be able to process protein at breakfast and lunchtime). Zinc is a super nutrient for treating hair loss, and foods like walnuts, sunflower seeds, spinach, oatmeal, chickpeas, and eggs are rich in zinc, as well as other essential nutrients for maintaining hair health. Studies consistently show that women with hair loss have lowered iron and vitamin D levels, so eat more spinach, eggs, and mushrooms. Nuts and seeds like walnuts, flaxseeds, and sunflower seeds are great as they’re rich in omega 3 and 6 and help the elastin in your hair.
Check out Dr. Lamees’ tips for 5 Things You Should Never Do If You Want Hair Like Rapunzel here.