Since the health of your hair depends on the health of your entire body, your diet needs to include all required nutrients. That said, there are some vitamins and minerals that are especially important for hair health.
Many women have low IRON and are unaware of it, and lack of iron can lead to hair shedding. Menstruating women require about 20 milligrams of elemental iron each day but because people are generally eating less red meat, many are getting less than half this amount.
Using a protein shampoo will never give your hair the protein it requires for growth. If you do not eat meat, make sure you get plenty of PROTEIN from other sources such as peanut butter, nuts, dairy, tofu, whole grains, beans, broccoli, and brown rice.
BIOTIN is one of the B vitamins your hair loves. Rich sources are brewer's yeast, lentils, sunflower seeds, soybeans, and walnuts.
Not only fruits, but green leafy veggies will give you plenty of the VITAMIN C necessary for healthy hair.
Get your daily doses of hair strengthening ZINC by eating oysters, lean beef, peanut butter, turkey, and pumpkin seeds.
OMEGA-3s are not only good for heart health. Getting enough omega-3 will help keep your scalp moist and your hair from becoming brittle. Add walnuts, tuna, salmon, flaxseeds, or mackerel to your diet.
Scalp and Hair Care
As with most things in life, you cannot lose by letting your common sense guide you. Add to that a bit of knowledge and you can keep your hair, and follicles fit.
- Brushes made with metal or hard plastic bristles can cause breakage. Try a brush with gentle boar bristles, or those made of flexible nylon.
- The less heat you use when styling your hair, the better. Heat can weaken hair proteins, causing brittleness and breakage. If you use heated styling tools, use the lowest possible heat setting. You may want to avoid using a metal heat absorbing brush when blow-drying your hair.
- Not only can high settings on dryers and curling irons fry your hair, but burns on the scalp can cause damage to hair follicles. Be careful.
- Let your hair air-dry whenever possible.
- Give yourself a regular scalp massage (or better yet, bribe someone to give you one). Dip your fingertips into some coconut or almond oil and rub you scalp with a circular motion, for several minutes, prior to shampooing. A massage increases blood circulation in the scalp, and blood delivers vital nutrients and oxygen to the hair.
- Even if you love to color your hair, try to wait at least six to eight weeks between treatments. Consider going for highlights sometimes, instead of full coverage.
- It is never a good idea to brush wet hair since shafts that are healthy and still growing might stretch and snap off. If you need to, use a wide tooth comb or vent brush on wet hair and use your fingers to gently undo tangles.
- After washing your hair, pat it dry with a towel. Rubbing your hair with a towel can cause breakage.
- Avoid hairstyles that pull tightly on the scalp, use elastics, or clips. For instance, corn-rows, plaits, tight braiding or ponytails, are hard on the head. If you love these hair styles, alternate them every few weeks to give your hair and follicles a needed rest. Also avoid winding your hair very tightly onto rollers, especially if they are heated. Hairstyles that pull and stress the scalp can cause more than breakage. A serious type of hair loss, traction alopecia, can result from the continuous strain.
- Choose hair products that are gentle or sulfate free, and will not assault your head with harsh chemicals.
Sometimes if we need a medication, its side effects are a risk we are willing to assume. However, if you are worried about hair loss, there are some medications that come with more risk of hair loss than others.
The American Hair Loss Association suggests that if you are a women on birth control pills, talk to your doctor about taking one with a low-androgen index. This will help you avoid the effects of DHT, a form of testosterone related to hair loss.
The risk of hair loss is slight with most prescription medications. Drugs with the highest associated incidence of hair shedding are heparin, Accutane (used for acne), interferon, Altace, and certain anticonvulsants such as valproic acid and Klonopin.
A lower risk of hair loss is linked to commonly prescribed antidepressants such as Zoloft, Paxil, and Effexor. Also, there is a small risk with some anti-arrhythmia medications, and the drugs naproxen, Acyclovir, Cyclosporin, and Lupron.
Mental and emotional stress can contribute to hair loss. It is important to keep stress at a minimum. Get plenty of sleep. Most people need at least eight hours every night, or more. Stay active and find time to do things that you enjoy. Spend time with people who care about you, keep learning, and make sure there is laughter in your life.