Whether from hormonal changes, nutrient deficiencies, thyroid problems, immune issues, or as a side effect of birth control pills or medications—hair loss can be devastating, no matter the cause. And, disturbingly, its incidence is higher than many of us may be aware of—up to 40 percent of women experience hair loss by the time they are 40, and this number continues to grow with each passing decade, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Though some hair loss each day is normal (between 50 to 100 hairs), if a client is experiencing any unusual or excessive hair loss, it’s best to advise them to consult a doctor to determine the underlying cause and ensure it is corrected.
But as their trusted hair resource, a professional stylist can offer some natural tips to help them combat the hair loss and nourish strong, healthy hair growth. Paulina Nelega, a registered clinical herbalist, who works with Hair Essentials, has been helping individuals who are facing hair loss for more than 20 years. She offers these 8 natural tips for combatting hair loss, which can be passed on to your salon clients who request additional information:
Up the antioxidants. These powerful free-radical scavengers protect all of our body’s cells, including the hair follicles, from the effects of oxidative damage. Free-radicals contribute to chronic degenerative conditions including inflammation and arthritis, as well as premature aging and hair loss. Including a colorful spectrum of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, along with herbs and spices such as rosemary, oregano, turmeric, and black pepper, will provide an abundant supply of protective antioxidants such as flavonoids, carotenoids, vitamins A, C, and E, and minerals such as zinc and selenium.
Indulge in healthy fats and oils. Omega-3 are integral to good health—and because we’re unable to manufacture them ourselves, they must be obtained from the diet (hence their name, essential). You can boost your omega-3 intake by including cold-water fish (sardines, mackerel, herring, anchovies, wild salmon) in your diet or taking a purified fish oil supplement. Other dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids include nuts such as walnuts, brazil nuts, and macadamias, and hemp, flax, or chia seeds.
Avoid sugar and excess refined carbohydrates. Too much sugar in our blood ends up creating inflammation in the body, including the hair follicles, which can contribute to hair loss. It can also eventually lead to diabetes which, amongst other concerns, causes compromised circulation—and poor scalp circulation can result in hair loss. Some diabetes medications are also associated with causing hair loss.
Use hair-healthy supplements. Take an all-natural dietary supplement, which can help combat hair loss, repair and revitalize hair follicles, and stimulate healthy new hair growth. Hair Essentials is an all-natural dietary supplement, certified gluten-free, that features over 20 key nutrients, including herbs, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, amino acids, silica, vitamins, minerals and more, that work synergistically to combat hair loss.
Stay hydrated. Keeping your follicles hydrated is especially important during the heat of summer, when we perspire more. Make it a habit to carry a refillable water bottle with you and take regular sips of pure water, herbal teas, green tea, or fresh-pressed juices throughout the day. Even during the winter, staying hydrated is important—indoor heating also dries out our skin, including on the scalp.
Try a shower filter. On the topic of water—adding a water filter to your shower will remove hard minerals that can build up on the hair, leaving it dull and lifeless. It will also remove chlorine and other chemicals that can dry out the scalp and hair and even alter the pH of your scalp. This can affect the health of your follicles as well as the quality and quantity of sebum produced. Sebum keeps the scalp and hair naturally moisturized and also protects against infection, which can cause inflammation in the follicles and hair loss.
Avoid washing your hair everyday. Soapsuds in many shampoos can strip away your hair’s natural moisturizing and protective oil (sebum). This can cause a rebound effect of ‘greasy hair’ as your scalp tries to compensate by producing more sebum. Reducing the number of days per week that you shampoo, can help your scalp rebalance its sebum production. As well, chemicals in hair care products and physical stress from blowdrying and styling, can also end up damaging the hair shaft and the outer cuticle, as well as the follicle.
Increase circulation. Exercise and massage are great ways to maintain healthy circulation, important for providing a continuous supply of fresh, revitalizing oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to the scalp and follicles. Try massaging your scalp for a couple of minutes before showering—it will not only invigorate your scalp, it will also help move impurities out to the surface where they can be washed away. A build up of wastes from metabolism or chemicals from hair care products can affect scalp pH, sebum production, and cause scalp inflammation and follicle damage that can result in hair loss.
Paulina Nelega is a registered clinical herbalist for Hair Essentials and has been assisting individuals facing hair loss for nearly two decades. Hair Essentials is a breakthrough proprietary blend of more than 20 herbs, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, amino acids and other nutrients. Hair Essentials can be purchased online atwww.HairEssentials.com or by calling 800-536-9353.