Common Sense Thoughts About Hair Growth
There is a saying that a healthy body equals a healthy mind—it also equals a healthy head of hair. The overall condition of the body is inextricably tied into the health of the hair on your head.
There are genetic, inherited conditions that make hair loss all but inevitable—known as androgenic alopecia, it is more commonly known as male pattern baldness, but it also affects women too. You can’t fight what is in your genes, unfortunately, but you can take steps to maximize the growth of the hair you have, and there are medical treatments (drugs such as Minoxidil and Finasteride) which can help with the retention of hair for sufferers of androgenic alopecia.
Hair Growth Tips for 2012 from The Experts
There are a good many interesting hair growth tips, and most of them are just good common sense. Here are a few of the top tips about hair growth from the American Academy of Dermatology:
• Practice good, sensible hair care, the bottom line is that hair needs gentle handling. Mild shampoos, patting dry, allowing air drying, avoiding permanent solutions and bleaches will all go a long way to keeping both hair and scalp healthy.
• Some medicines can cause hair loss. If you notice your hair becoming thinner after starting a new medicine, talk to your doctor rather than quitting the medication or cutting down on its use. Always familiarize yourself with information on medications prescribed and discuss potential side effects with your doctor in advance if at all possible.
• Some hair loss is actually temporary and the result of trauma, illness, injury, even childbirth. Stress is an underappreciated cause of hair loss, and can cause your hair follicles to enter a stage called “telogen effluvium” which is the resting phase of hair growth. The telogen stage is normal, but stress can throw the body into this “shock” reaction that causes dramatic hair shedding. Minimizing stress, progressing beyond illness, injury or trauma will often result in a return to normal hair growth without the need for extraordinary measures to be taken to regrow the lost hair.
Other hair regrowth tips include:
• Eat a well balanced diet. Extreme diets that tout only one category of food as “good” and the rest “bad” with the latter to be eliminated completely are to be avoided—they can lead to nutritional deficiencies that can cause hair loss. A well balanced diet includes even some “bad” foods, because humans as omnivores have evolved to get full nutrition from a wide array of food sources. Dietary fat is widely considered an evil to be completely avoided, but the truth of the matter is that a body needs some fat to function— some dietary fat is especially essential to healthy skin and hair.
• Nutrients should come from food whenever possible, supplemental vitamins should be taken with caution and only under the supervision of a medical professional. Over consumption of some vitamins and minerals can actually cause hair loss as a side effect! That said there are a number of vitamins, herbs and minerals that are beneficial to hair growth which may benefit those lacking sources of same in their diet. Again, always consult with your doctor, some vitamins and minerals can interfere with the effectiveness of medications.
Why That Doctor’s Visit is Important
Some medical conditions present with hair loss as a symptom. This is especially true of thyroid dysfunction—an underactive thyroid will result in rapidly thinning, brittle and dry hair, an overactive thyroid may result in over production of the naturally occurring hair oil sebum, which can clog pores and follicles and lead to loss due to poor follicle health. When confronted with noticeable hair loss, one of the first actions taken should always be to consult with a health care professional to rule out underlying medical conditions. Often, as is the case with thyroid problems, getting on a regimen of medication to correct the problem will often result in the return of healthy hair growth.
Prevention Always Trumps Treatment
A number of hair loss tips are related to activities that should be avoided:
• Smoking, drinking alcohol, overconsumption of caffeine and too much salt in the diet are all known culprits in hair loss. Avoid these activities whenever possible, or cut down on their frequency.
• Avoid high sugar and high fat meals—sugar and fat have their place in a well rounded diet, but only in limited amounts and in balance with other nutrients.
• In our rush-rush society, too many people are chronically sleep deprived and sleep is that state during which the body heals and regenerates itself. Getting as close to the recommended eight hours of sleep a night will go a long way in reducing stress, and improving overall health, which will express itself in healthy hair growth.
Ladies Take Note
Some additional hair growth tips for women include:
• The use of harsh chemicals on the hair as is often the case with those who frequently dye, bleach, curl or straighten their hair can lead to hair breakage, brittleness and loss. Too frequent shampooing and hair can have a similar effect, Curling irons, and blow dryers (which can damage scalp and hair follicles with their intense heat) should be used carefully with all precautions taken not to scorch hair and scalp.
• Drink plenty of water— chronic dehydration is not only hard on all body systems, including the kidneys, but also leads to the development of dry papery skin and poor hair follicle health.
• Toweling your hair dry too vigorously after a wash can lead to stress on hair roots and follicles. Squeezing your hair gently and patting it dry is a safer option.
• Avoid perfumed soaps and shampoos which are often hidden sources of harsh chemicals. Whenever possible use mild, organic formulas that do not strip your hair and skin completely of natural oils.
• Avoid exposure to direct sunlight. Wear hats or other head coverings when it cannot be avoided. Sunburn can happen on the scalp just as easily as on other skin surfaces, and few of us would willingly put sun block on our heads. Using hair products with UV protection is an option, but again, avoid products that utilize harsh chemicals to achieve this end.
No Overnight Solutions
A few tips about hair growth pills are also in order. It must be understood that while there are medications and nutritional supplements that can help encourage the growth or regrowth of healthy hair, the rock bottom truth is that there is no “magic bullet” that will ensure a luxurious head of hair. Too many people suffering from hair loss go in search of tips for faster hair growth, which is something of a marketing myth. Hair is rarely lost overnight; its regrowth similarly takes time and patience to achieve even with the FDA approved drugs used to treat hair loss. Likewise, not even Minoxidil and Finasteride can restore hair to a completely bald head, all existing hair growth pills and other formulas can only encourage the growth and retention of hair from existing follicles.
Be realistic with hair growth expectations for the best outcome. Also be willing to undertake lifestyle changes that may be onerous, but will pay off in terms of better overall wellbeing and a healthy head of hair.