Hair loss is a medical condition known as alopecia. It’s characterized by the loss of hair from the body or head and affects both men and women. To some extent, hair loss is quite normal. For instance, someone with long hair loses about 50 to 100 strands every day when combing or brushing. However, loss of hair at a progressive and greater rate than this is not considered normal.
There are many types of hair loss disorders with different causes. One of the most common is male pattern baldness, which affects almost half of all men by the age of 50. Usually, it starts with hair receding from the forehead and lateral sides, followed by thinning on the crown. Those afflicted end up with a bald patch shaped like a horseshoe ring around the head.
Male pattern baldness runs in families, meaning that it’s a hereditary condition. The female version is a bit different, leaving behind thinned hair on top of the head. Its cause remains unknown but tends to be more common among women who have been through menopause.
The list below describes other types of baldness, their symptoms and causes:
- Telogen Effluvium
Caused by severe stress, childbirth, surgery, as well as long-term or short-term illnesses, Telogen effluvium happens when large numbers of hair enter the resting phase at the same. Affected hair starts to shed rapidly, leading to subsequent thinning. This condition also manifests as a side effect of chemotherapy or use of beta-blockers, anticoagulants, and high blood pressure medications.
- Alopecia Areata
Autoimmune conditions such as Down’s syndrome, diabetes, or hyperthyroidism may lead to alopecia areata. It’s a hereditary condition in which patches of baldness about the size of a coin start to form on the head or body.
- Anagen Effluvium
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy usually causes this form of hair loss. It’s characterized by wide spread shedding on the head, face, and body.
- Scaring Alopecia
Scaring alopecia is a symptom of various disorders that result from the destruction of hair follicles. Conditions associated with this type of hair loss include lupus, folliculitis decalvans, scleroderma, lichen planus, and frontal fibrosing alopecia.
Home Remedies and Solutions for Hair Loss
Most forms of hair loss are not permanent. In fact, some types of alopecia are due to reversible causes such as poor nutrition, bad hair care habits, and stress. Going bald may not be a life threatening condition, but most people don’t appreciate losing hair as it represents beauty, vitality, and youth.
Fortunately, there are many ways to reverse hair loss even without help from a health care professional. With that in mind, here are home remedies to stop or prevent hair loss in men and women:
Correct Hair Loss through Nutrition
Many people who suffer from hair loss resort to using topical applications, hoping that those would lead to a quick fix. However, sometimes the root cause of hair fallout is not on the outside, but rather, an internal problem. Hair requires proper nutrients to grow health and strong. So, if you don’t nourish your hair by eating right, it will eventually start to fall.
On the plus side, hair loss related to mineral and vitamin deficiencies can be easily reversed by simply eating healthy foods. Some nutrients can be especially helpful in promoting healthy hair. These include:
The basic structure of hair is essentially keratin, a type of protein made up of amino acids. Usually, dead hair falls out as part of the natural growth cycle. Without adequate protein in your diet, the body will not be able to replace old hair that sheds. A protein deficiency also causes existing hair to become weak and dry.
If you suffer from hair loss and healthy eating is not part of your lifestyle, this could be the root cause of the problem. Try to increase protein in your diet through foods such as fish, eggs, lean meats, poultry, and dairy products. With foods such as soy, whey protein powder, tofu, peanut butter, tempeh, and beans too, there’s no shortage of protein sources for those on a vegan diet.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is vital for strong hair. This nutrient produces collagen, which is the connective fiber that gives hair its structure. Vitamin C also aids in the absorption of other nutrients like Vitamins A, D, E, and K that are vital for healthy hair growth and overall good health.
Since the human body is not able to store vitamin C for long periods, it’s best to stock up your daily diet with foods that provide this nutrient. The best sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines, grapes, limes, and kumquat. However, you can also find plenty of vitamin C in other plant sources like Indian Gooseberry, tomatoes, melons, dark green vegetables, and peppers.
- B Complex Vitamins
For hair to grow strong and healthy, it requires a constant supply of blood and oxygen. Vitamins B6, B12, and Folic acid support formation of hemoglobin, the special protein that transports oxygen from the lungs to other cells including hairs follicles. Without adequate amounts of B vitamins, this can cut off oxygen supply to hair. In fact, some forms of alopecia are associated with deficiency of Vitamin B12.
Protein rich foods such as chicken, red meat, pork, fish, and soybeans are great sources of vitamins B6 and B12. Folic acid abounds in foods such as leafy greens, broccoli, beets, avocados, some fortified cereals, orange juice, and wheat germ.
- Vitamin A
Vitamin A is an anti-oxidant that promotes healthy production of sebum, the oily substance produced by oil glands in follicles to prevent hair from breaking. You can get vitamin A from both plant and animal sources.
Vegetarians can choose vitamin A rich foods such as carrots, as well as vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, collard greens, mustard greens, swish chard and sweet potatoes. Animal sources that contain vitamin A include fish oil, eggs, fortified milk and liver.
Iron is an essential element that supports hemoglobin functions. Your body requires this nutrient to carry oxygen to cells and tissues. Without adequate iron, lesser oxygen will reach hair follicles, which can be a major contributing factor of hair related problems.
Iron can be found in egg yolks, liver, turkey, red meat, dark leafy greens as well as beans, lentils, soy beans, chickpeas, raisins and prunes.
Lack of adequate zinc in the diet causes hair disorders such as dandruffs and alopecia. The reason for this is that zinc plays several important roles that promote healthy hair growth. This mineral supports proper functioning of oil secreting glands in the hair follicles. It also promotes cell reproduction, as well as tissue growth and repair.
Foods such as eggs, milk, fortified cereals, oysters, shrimp, mussels and poultry are good sources of zinc.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Healthy fats are essential for proper hair growth. These nutrients help to make hair elastic and less susceptible to breakage. If your diet does not include a good dose of healthy fats, hair can grow weak and break easily. Including enough amounts of healthy oils in your diet will also provide the added benefit of keeping the scalp less itchy or prone to dandruffs.
Omega 3 fatty acids provide a wealth of health benefits including preventing hair fall out. Best sources of omega 3 fatty acids include flaxseeds, soybeans, walnuts, sardines and salmon.
Every cell in the body relies on water to function properly, including hair follicles. Each hair shaft comprises of 1/4 water. So, if you don’t drink enough water, hair becomes weak. Staying hydrated keeps hair follicles functioning at their best. This also flushes out toxins from your body, which could be a major contributor of hair loss. To promote healthy hair growth, aim for at least 8 glasses of water every day.
- Consider Taking Hair Boosting Supplements
If you find it difficult to include all the nutrients mentioned above into your healthy hair diet, consider taking hair boosting supplements. This will bridge the nutritional gap in your meals by ensuring that your hair gets all the nutrients it needs to grow.
The best part about supplements is that there are many cheap options available. However, make sure to research the ingredients contained in any nutritional product before adding it to you regimen.
Those made of organic ingredients are the best since they contain natural components that are less harsh than chemicals and preservatives found in artificial supplements. It’s also wise to consult your doctor before using any hair-growth boosting supplement to ensure that it’s safe to take.
Practice Proper Hair Care Routines to Prevent or Correct Alopecia
Proper hair care is essential if you want to promote healthy growth and prevent fallout. As a general rule of thumb, it’s important to wash hair regularly to keep the scalp clean and prevent chances of infection that may cause premature hair loss.
Clean your hair with a mild shampoo once or twice every week to prevent drying out essential oils from your scalp. Hair shampoos are not all created equal, so take time to choose one that’s suitable for your hair type. For instance, some shampoos are specifically designed for normal, dry, fine, or greasy hair. For better results, enrich the scalp with protein rich shampoos. While such shampoos won’t repair damage, they will prevent further hair loss by filling the gaps on shafts to make them thicker and smoother.
For acute hair loss that fails to improve with proper dieting, treating the scalp with topical herbs and essential nutrients might help you overcome the problem.
The following are some of the tried and test natural topical applications you can try at home jumpstart hair growth:
- Scalp Massage with Oil
A scalp oil massage can be very nourishing for your hair. As you rub and knead the head, circulation improves and allows cells in the follicles get optimum supply of oxygen and nutrients. Massage also keeps your hair follicles active.
The beauty of scalp massages is that you can treat the hair and scalp with a wide range of nourishing oils. A few good essential oils that promote healthy hair growth and reduce breakage include olive, palm, almond, lavender, geranium, and rosemary oil.
Neem is a poplar herb used in many hair care products. Its astringent properties help to keep dandruff and lice at bay, thus prevent hair breakage due to infections. Creating a homemade Neem treatment for your hair allows you to weed out preservatives and other harmful chemicals found in commercial hair products.
To use this remedy:
- Boil fresh Neem leaves in water. Extract all the essential ingredients by allowing the water level to evaporate until it reaches half the initial quantity.
- Strain the solution and use it to rinse your hair once a week.
Fenugreek is a great herb that promotes new hair growth and repairs damage. It contains hormonal antecedents that have the ability to rebuild follicles and promote growth. The nicotinic acid in Fenugreek also stimulates growth of new hair.
Here are the directions for using Fenugreek:
- Let fenugreek seeds to soak in one cup of water overnight
- Grind the seeds in the morning to create a thick paste
- Use the paste on your hair directly and allow it to remain in place for about 40 minutes
- Repeat this remedy once every morning until you see results
- Onion Juice
The sulfur in onion juice helps to treat hair loss in a number of ways. It reduces inflammation, regenerates cells, and improves circulation in hair follicles. In a 2002 study published by the Journal of Dermatology, up to 74% of test subjects reported of significant hair regrowth by simply applying onion juice to the scalp.
Here’s how to use this remedy to correct hair loss:
- Grate 1 or 2 onions and collect the juice by straining it.
- Apply the juice on the scalp and leave it in place for about half an hour.
- When done, wash your hair with shampoo and rinse off.
- Repeat this remedy once or twice a week when shampooing your hair for the best results.
- Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera’s alkaline nature changes the pH on your scalp and hair to promote growth. Adding this herb to your hair care routine will also alleviate dandruff symptoms, as well as add luster and strength to damaged hair.
You can prevent further hair loss with aloe vera by applying gel from the plant’s leaves directly to your scalp. Let the gel stay on the head for several hours so that it can penetrate pores on your scalp. Continue with this process 3 to 4 times every week to prevent further hair loss.
- Beet Root
Beetroot is much like a super food for your hair. It’s packed with protein as well as Vitamins B and C, which are all essential nutrients for healthy hair growth. If you’re suffering from alopecia caused by a lack of these nutrients, you can use beetroot to correct the problem.
There are two ways to use this herb when trying to correct or prevent hair loss:
- The first method is simply drinking beetroot juice. You can use this ingredient when making smoothies at home.
- Alternatively, apply beetroot pate directly to the scalp. Simply grind a few beetroot leaves in boiling water to create the paste. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing your hair and repeat this several times a week for the best results.
- Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is a great source of protein and essential fats that prevent hair loss and enhance growth. This explains why many beauty care manufacturers include this ingredient in their hair products.
To apply coconut milk on your hair:
- Grate the white fleshy part of coconut and mix it with water
- Bring the water to a simmer for about 5 minutes
- Strain the solution to collect coconut milk and allow it to cool
- Apply the milk on your skull thoroughly
- Let the coconut milk remain in place for about 20 minutes before rinsing your hair with mild shampoo
If your diet and hair care routines are right, the root cause of hair fall could be stress. Both physical and emotional stress can disrupt the normal cycle of hair growth, causing many strands of hair to enter the shedding phase at the same time in a condition known as Telogen Effluvium.
The good news is that hair loss due to stress is not permanent and it can be control. Here are some suggestions you may want to try to eliminate stress and prevent hair fall:
Meditation is a great way to clear your mind and find a sense of peace. However, this relaxation technique does a lot more than simply eliminating entangled thoughts that crowd up your mind. It also restores hormonal balance besides reducing stress.