Studies show that an increasing number of people struggle with the rather embarrassing problem of thinning hair. How to take care of your hair to enjoy its healthy look for as long as possible? Is it worth taking any preparations? Or is it enough to change eating habits? Below, we answer these and other questions.
How to take care of your hair?
Lush, well-groomed hair undoubtedly boosts attractiveness. However, beauty treatments are not enough to achieve flawless hair. Apart from lifestyle, personal care, sleep, and general well-being, the appearance of hair is primarily influenced by your daily diet. Your diet should include products rich in vitamins that contribute to thick, bouncy, and shiny hair.
If you eat just about anything, you are at risk of premature hair loss. Therefore, it is good to know which hair vitamins to consider and what to eat to achieve beautiful hair.
Hair and nails are keratinized epidermis material, which used to have a protective and thermoregulatory function. Due to evolution, we no longer need our hair, and it has been considerably reduced. A relic of ancient times when humans lived in caves, hair is more of an aesthetic problem (especially for women) if they cover body parts other than the head. The beauty industry has been trying to develop effective methods of hair removal, ranging from waxing to laser treatments.
But head hair is a different story. Most people, it seems, make an effort to prevent premature balding. The beauty market abounds in many products that are supposed to help with this, although not all commercially available products are effective enough.
It is worth knowing which hair vitamins actually work. Lifestyle changes should accompany the use of such preparations if the problem is caused by inadequate sleep, an unhealthy diet, or chronic stress. Home remedies often turn out to be equally effective. The use of preparations alone will not help.
The hair grows from a follicle located on the skin and is nourished by an extensive network of blood vessels. It is directly adjacent to the hair muscle, which is involved in thermoregulation and reacts by contractions in stressful situations. Hair growth and subsequent loss of hair can be summarized in the following sequence:
- 1. First, the hair grows for several years (the growth phase always lasts a long time, regardless of the use of different products).
- 2. Next, the hair dies (2 to 3 weeks).
- 3. To eventually be pushed out by new hair, which usually takes several months.
We lose about 100 hairs every day. This amount should not be a cause for concern. However, if larger amounts are found in the bathtub drain or on the carpets, the problem should be consulted with a specialist, and appropriate measures taken. Excessive hair loss is always a sign of some imbalance within the body.
How to prevent hair loss?
Of all the factors mentioned here, a healthy diet is the most important. A deficiency of nutrients, vitamins, and trace elements found in certain foods are often responsible for excessive hair loss. Nutrients are first supplied to essential tissues. Since the hair has a low priority when it comes to the “distribution” of vitamins, any deficiencies make themselves known by the weakened condition of the hair follicles.
If your diet lacks adequate amounts of proteins, fats, complex carbohydrates, or micronutrients – hair will start to fall out in as little as three months. Therefore, the first step you should take in case of progressive hair loss is to change your eating habits.
What else can cause hair loss?
One of the most common causes is various diseases. In particular, systemic diseases have a negative effect on the condition of the hair. People with diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and thyroiditis may experience premature balding. Hormonal imbalances also lead to increased hair loss, especially in the case of androgynous alopecia.
Many women experience hair loss after childbirth. This is due to an imbalance: during pregnancy, the amount of estrogen in the body increases significantly, which results in better hair condition, only to fall sharply after the birth of the child. The concentration of sex hormones is drastically reduced, which does not remain without effect on the appearance and well-being of women.
Another cause of premature baldness may be stress. The nervous system works to enable a person to ‘fight or flight’ in the face of danger. Adrenaline puts the body in a state of mobilization. It would be healthiest if the accumulated energy could find an outlet (fight or flight), but the modern world is governed by rules that often make it impossible to choose one of these options. The result? Premature deaths, heart attacks, strokes, and neuroses…
Baldness is also sometimes associated with severe stress. Prolonged emotional tension causes the neck muscles to stiffen, along with the adductor muscles. As a result, the follicles do not receive enough “food” from the blood vessels and are exposed to hypoxia. This leads to stunted hair growth and subsequent baldness.
Invasive beauty treatments
Certain beauty treatments are also responsible for excessive hair loss. The hair dyes commonly used today contain chemicals harmful to the hair follicles and the scalp. Hot air styling dries out the strands and makes the hair brittle. “Dry” shampoos do not add shine to your hair either.
Natural care and styling methods are best. Artificial dyes can be successfully replaced by dyes containing only natural plant compounds. Instead of using shampoos with a high concentration of surfactants, it is advisable to get their milder alternatives, which do not damage the epidermis. While discussing various hair care methods, the topic of blow-drying your hair should not be overlooked. Hot air from a hairdryer is not good for your hair’s health and appearance.
If you are pressed for time, use the cool setting or, if you have time, let your hair dry on its own. Use curling irons and flat irons only on special occasions.
Dietary supplements for hair strengthening
To stimulate hair growth, it’s a good idea to use over-the-counter dietary supplements. This is a cheap and effective way to strengthen your hair. So it is not only worth ensuring a healthy diet but dietary supplementation as well.
Supplementation is the catchword of modern times. We have pills for everything: joint pain, back pain, toothache, dietary supplements that support weight loss, nutrients for bodybuilders, etc. Preparations approved for legal sale should be safe to use, especially if they can be bought without a prescription. However, the black market offers a whole lot of products that have not been inspected and approved. They usually cost less, but due to unknown substances in the composition, they can be harmful to the body.
Therefore, if you are already buying dietary supplements, only do so from verified manufacturers. It is better to buy a more expensive preparation and ensure that you will not harm yourself than to order anything from shady sellers. But what hair vitamins should you include in your diet to achieve beautiful, shiny hair?
It is time to list the essential nutrients. We tried to include all essential vitamins, minerals, and trace elements, which affect the condition of the hair. For the sake of clarity, we have divided the individual compounds into separate categories.
It is one of the most valuable compounds. It acts similarly to a hormone, stimulating many processes occurring inside the body. Vitamin D3 supports the immune system, improves bone health, promotes new cell growth. Deficiency of this compound results not only in hair loss but also in disruption of some body functions. The richest source of vitamin D3 is the sun: exposure to UV radiation stimulates the body to produce it, which is not without effect on hair condition. Vitamin D is available in pharmacies, among other valuable supplements.
Biotin is another essential nutrient. It determines the proper functioning of enzymes responsible for processing carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Research shows that low concentrations of this substance in the body may result in excessive hair loss. Biotin is found in plant foods (rice, carrots, spinach, tomatoes) and animal foods (liver, eggs).
Vitamin A (beta carotene)
Vitamin A is involved in the process of creating new skin cells. Its deficiency contributes to excessive hair loss, as well as to several other health problems. However, keep in mind that excess vitamin A is very harmful to the whole body: it can even damage the liver. Vitamin A is found in dairy products, spinach, kale, carrots, pumpkin, fatty fish, red peppers, tomatoes, and apricots.
Vitamin E consists of organic substances that are involved in many processes. The most important for hair and scalp condition is tocopherol – a substance, which is a powerful antioxidant. It protects the body against the damaging effects of free radicals, prevents cell damage, and strengthens the hair follicles. High levels of vitamin E can be found in nuts, seeds, berries, vegetable oils, and parsley.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant. It ensures proper absorption of iron, which has a great influence on the condition of hair. Ascorbic acid strengthens blood vessels and oxygenates follicles. It is found in bell peppers, citrus fruits, papaya, brussels sprouts, kale, strawberries, tomatoes, and broccoli.
Group B vitamins
Vitamin B12, the most important of all B vitamins, prevents anemia and its deficiency manifests itself in various ways, including poor hair condition. Vitamin B12 is present in animal products (beef, fish, offal, eggs, and shellfish) and legumes. However, it is worth noting that the compound is not absorbed as much when consuming plant products, which is why vegans and vegetarians should definitely include a suitable dietary supplement.
Vitamin B5 stimulates the production of creatine – a substance influencing hair and nail growth, among other things. It also regulates fatty acid metabolism and accelerates the formation of new cells. Rich sources of vitamin B5 include fish, bran, yeast, nuts, and animal products (eggs, poultry meat, milk).
Vitamin B2 (pantothenic acid/riboflavin)
Vitamin B2 prevents hair loss. It is found in milk and milk products, legumes, wholegrain bread, and spinach. Pantothenic acid regenerates hair follicles, prevents hair from turning grey, and soothes inflammations of the scalp.
Other important components
To achieve beautiful, healthy hair, you should eat foods containing several other nutrients: zinc, iron, silicon, ferritin, copper, selenium, and folic acid. Hair and nails, in particular, need plenty of silicon, which is found in fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, and bran.
Hair loss is not an unmanageable problem. For proper growth, hair requires certain substances, a deficiency of which manifests itself in weakened follicles and other health problems. For example, an insufficient amount of zinc in the body may be the reason for eczema and ulcers. In addition, it leads to a change in the protein structure of the follicles, which results in the weakening of the hair and premature baldness. Therefore, it is a good idea to pay attention to what you put in your grocery basket.