It’s more than normal for men to lose hair. In fact, some look pretty sexy with balding or completely hairless noggins. However, the same cannot necessarily be said for women. Sure, we may have shorter than short haircuts from time to time, but no strands at all on our heads (which may include eyelashes and eyebrows, by the way) is a completely different story – one that most of us don’t want to tell.
In addition to issues of vanity, if you lose more than 50-250 strands per day (which is considered normal), it can be a sign of other things going on in your body. It may mean that your daily styling regimen is too harsh, or it can signal an underlying illness (like thyroid issues, anemia, skin conditions or an autoimmune disease) or be indicative of stress overload (anxiety can intensify hair loss).
So, you may want to seek medical attention if you are concerned about what is going on in your body to cause your hair to fall out at faster rates. However, if you aren’t overly worried or already know the cause and just want to stop (and possibly even reverse) your hair loss, here are some vitamins and oils you’ll want to consider using for complete and total hair health:
Although normally a suggestion for preventing and treating colds, some health experts (like those at WebMD) believe that zinc can help you with hair loss as well. Because your body has no way of storing this one nutrient, you need to take it regularly to keep your levels where they should be.
Foods that contain zinc include seafood such as oysters, lobster and crab, as well as other meats like beef, pork and chicken. You can also find this particular mineral in eggs, cereal, baked beans, yogurt and cashews.
The B vitamins may also help reduce the number of strands you lose daily and keep your hair luscious and healthy. These include niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, and all of the other B’s, but folate is maybe the most important one to make sure you get in your diet.
You’ll want to eat a variety of foods to make sure you get as many of the different B vitamins as you can. You can do this by consuming foods such as leafy green veggies, whole grain cereals, lean proteins (like fish, chicken and turkey), beans and nuts, and different seafood. Foods highest is folate are beans, lentils, spinach and asparagus, just to name a few.
If you are losing more hair than normal, it could be a sign that you are iron deficient or anemic. Although not all health experts believe that there is a link, some research has pointed to a definite correlation, making this one key nutrient helpful in restoring a head full of hair.
Foods that are high in iron include liver, beef, soybeans, artichokes, spinach and prunes. If you want to take an iron supplement, you may want to check with your doctor first as it can upset your digestive tract and taking more than you need can be dangerous. If he or she approves, you may also want to take it with vitamin C to increase your levels of absorption.
Calcium helps stimulate the hormones that are necessary for hair growth, like androgens and other enzymes. It also makes the hair that you do have healthier and strong.
Calcium can be found in a multitude of dairy products like milk and cheese. You’ll also get more of this nutrient in your diet if you choose to eat foods such as broccoli, oranges, apricots and sardines.
Some studies have found that vitamin D promotes the growth of healthy hair follicles. So, be sure to get enough of this key vitamin in your diet by taking a fish oil supplement or eating high D vitamin fish like herring, catfish, trout and salmon. You can also find it in certain tofu, soymilk and regular milk too.
Vitamin D is also created in your body when you spend some time in the sun. Commit to getting at least 15 minutes of direct sunlight a day and it will help you grow a mane of hair that glistens in its rays.
Certain Oils Work Too
In addition to these five vitamins and minerals, there are certain oils that help reduce or stop hair loss as well. They are:
- Rosemary – Rosemary has been used for ages to help prevent and reverse baldness. You can either dry it and make a tea out of the flakes that you can pour on your hair, or buy or make an oil to put on your scalp after you shampoo (just be sure you rinse it out afterward).
- Lavender – Lavender is another non-vitamin option that has been found to promote healthy hair growth and retention in addition to its traditionally soothing qualities that can lull you into a restful and peaceful sleep. You can find lavender oil at health stores; simply massage your scalp with it up to three times a week and prepare for your hair to grow!
- Atlantic Cedar – If you’ve never heard of Atlantic cedar, you are not alone. It is a tree which produces oil that is used in a lot of perfumes and cosmetics, but it has also been found to help treat baldness. On a side note, it also acts as an insect repellant, making it great to use during those summer months when you’re most bothered by pesky flying bugs. You can find it at health stores as well.
Whether you choose to try some of the traditional vitamins, like B, D and zinc, or are willing to use rosemary, lavender or Atlantic cedar oil, you’re likely to notice a fuller, healthier head of hair. It may also mean more haircuts will be necessary, so your hairdresser will thank you too!