Everyone has a bad hair day now and again, but what if the problem persists and your once shiny mane becomes a cause for concern? Hair and scalp trouble can reflect…
Everyone has a bad hair day now and again, but what if the problem persists and your once shiny mane becomes a cause for concern? Hair and scalp trouble can reflect problems within the body. Here’s a look at some of the most common hair-related complaints and what could be causing them.
Help! My hair has become dry and brittle If your hair is very dry, you’ll know it can often lack shine and appear straw-like and unkempt with split ends. “Dry hair is often the result of a lack of sebum causing moisture to be lost from the hair,” says Jane Mayhead, consulting trichologist for London’s Hale Clinic. “This can be through a lack of secretions of sebum, or that the hair is very dense, leading to inadequate levels on the surface. Chemical procedures can also make hair lose its moisture content. Using a shampoo and conditioner for dry hair will really help, and a regular conditioning treatment can also be very beneficial.”
Dry hair and skin is common in menopausal women. Practicing yoga or tai chi may improve the condition as they calm your mind and reduce stress levels. If you’re fraught, this can lower oestrogen and thyroid in the body, which can make hair and skin dry. You should also check with your doctor that your thyroid level has not fallen below recommendations.
Help! My hair looks greasy all the time Greasy hair can often look lank, lacklustre and unclean. It’s a myth that washing your hair too often will make it even oiler; if fact, regular haircare is the recommended way to manage it.
“Sebum is the natural oil that is secreted by glands found in the skin,” explains Jane. “The oil coats the hair and skin to allow it to retain moisture. Oil secretions are regulated by hormones, and hormonal changes can affect the quantity of your oil secretions. “It might even be that your hair hasn’t got more greasy, just less dense. The denser the hair, the more surface area there is for the oil to spread over, which makes it less visible. Hair that’s lost density will have less surface for the oil to spread over, making it look a lot greasier.
“There’s not a great deal that can be done about certain hormonal issues such as puberty, but other underlying hormonal problems should always be investigated. More frequent washing with a suitable shampoo is advised to alleviate the problem.”
Help! I think I’m losing my hair The sudden and unexplained loss of hair is devastating for any woman, and is a sign you need to see your GP. Here are some of the possible causes…
ANAEMIA Iron deficiency in the body means there aren’t enough red blood cells to carry oxygen around the body. The hair follicles are starved and hair becomes wispier and wispier. You are likely to also feel very tired all the time, with no get up and go. SOLUTION: Iron supplementation, and eating lots of iron-rich foods, can bring levels back up to normal. Dark green leafy vegetables like kale, pumpkin seeds, red meat and seafood all contain good amounts – eat with a glass of vitamin C-rich liquid such as fresh orange juice.
POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME Caused by an excess of male hormones, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) causes a range of symptoms and can reduce fertility. Commonly associated with acne and excess hair growth, the condition can actually cause thinning of hair at the front and top of the scalp. Your GP can diagnose this condition with a blood test. SOLUTION: Losing weight if you are overweight, eating whole foods with plenty of fresh organic vegetables and avoiding any sugar or refined carbohydrates (which can cause blood sugar fluctuations) can really help to manage the symptoms of PCOS.
DIFFUSE ALOPECIA Also known as telogen effluvium, this kind of hair loss can occur at any age and quite suddenly too. You’re most likely to notice it while washing or brushing your hair; there will be an increase in the amount of hairs shed from the scalp. It usually manifests as thinning rather than a single bald patch. Causes tend to be either intense stress, nutritional deficiency, a very bad illness or to new medication and appears around six to eight weeks after the cause. SOLUTION: If the cause has been and gone, such as an illness or stressful period, the problem often rectifies itself in six to 12 months.
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