Our locks are made up of protein called keratin, but there’s no denying that we all want those strands to look and feel their best. Society places a lot of importance on how our hair looks. With this emphasis on hair care in our lives, it’s crucial that we treat the health of our hair the same as we do for our bodies.
Outer Maintenance and Products:
Too much exposure to harsh chemicals that comes from different perms or hair dyes can leave your hair extremely dry, brittle, and more frizzier than normal. Too much brushing, combing, or tight styles can cause breakage at the crown or along the hairline. I know that some of you have heard the advice about brushing your hair a hundred strokes a day to make it shine. In reality, you really do not need to brush it that many times to stimulate the scalp. In fact, that much brushing can be detrimental to the strands. A scalp massage can be just as effective for stimulating and distributing the hair’s natural oils.
All shampoos and conditioners certainly gets your hair clean and moisturized, but does their nutritional claims ring true as well? The components that you see in many ingredient labels are designed to provide volume, body, protection, and shine, for example. But past that, there is an important component that cannot be ignored.
Something On The Inside:
To really change what’s going on with your hair for the better, look to internal sources. Since hair is mostly made of protein, be sure to include protein based foods within your meals so that your body can use these proteins for producing hair. As for vegans and vegetarians, you can get protein from sources like green and chick peas, tempeh or tofu, non-dairy milk, quinoa, nuts, nut butters and beans. Adding B vitamins and iron will help with growing stronger hair, providing blood circulation of the scalp, and nourishing the cells underneath the hair follicles.
The same goes with consuming enough water daily. The recommended amount for men according to The Institute of Medicine is roughly 3 liters a day. For women, it is about 2.2 liters. There are various lifestyle factors to consider in which this could change depending on how active you are, the climate you live in, your health status, and if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding. If the roots of our hair are deficient in water, it will eventually become brittle, dry and rough. Eventually, the hair will stop growing at the rate that it should grow. Our roots are the only means by which water is supplied from the body to the hair for hydration. Water nurtures our cells, including the ones responsible for hair growth, and provides them with the vitamins we get from our foods. If drinking all that water is not on your “to do” list, you can get it from the foods you eat. On average, 20% of our daily water intake can come from certain foods, especially raw fruits and vegetables.
Mind Over Matter:
There is a non-nutritional and non-physical aspect to achieving healthy hair that involves a state of mind. We’ve known for a long time that how a person feels mentally and emotionally can have a major impact on hair growth. If a person is under a lot of stress, exercise is effective in reducing the level of cortisone in the body. Blood flow is limited to the scalp when you’re stressed. The hair eventually drops out because too many hairs have entered the resting phase at the same time. Exercise increases blood flow to the scalp along with producing serotonin and endorphins. The hair tends to grow back once the stress is under control.
Eyes Wide Open:
Sleep is a restorative process for the body. The body’s growth hormones are secreted and cells are regenerated when we sleep. When our sleep is cut short, the nutrients our body needs are not properly absorbed, affecting hair growth.
Your hormone levels play a part on how hair grows. For women, menopause can change a woman’s hair when the levels of estrogen decrease. This hormone is important for promoting hair growth. While estrogen levels drop, testosterone levels increase disproportionately. Yes, the female body carries some testosterone. These changes shorten the hair’s “growth phase” and causes the hair that does grow to be thinner than before. Facial hair tend to grow with some women.
In men, hair loss is caused by the action of the hormone, dihydro-testosterone (DHT), which is brought on through genetics. These hair follicles gradually shrink over time and the hair spend less time growing and more time “resting”. The more time the hair spends in the resting stage, they eventually stop producing completely.
There are many natural remedies available that aid with hormonal imbalance. Always seek counsel from your physician when considering any treatment regimen.
While there are probably as many more valid reasons that affect producing a strong elastic head of hair, I decided to tackle some of the major causes. The formula to keep hair roots and shafts healthy is very basic: Combining the right products for your hair type, proper maintenance, consuming the proper nutrients, getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, moving that body and getting those hormones back in balance.