The market is flooded with products claiming to reverse hair loss and return your tresses to their voluminous glory. Most over-the-counter hair loss treatments contain a cocktail of vitamins with seemingly proven efficacy in restoring a full head of hair, but for many of us who have diligently taken our prescribed dosage of vitamins, the promise of fuller, thicker, healthier hair is seemingly nothing more than a pipe dream.
Unfortunately, there is no magic pill remedy for hair loss, or at least not in the sense that one gummy with a heaped serving of vitamin D will do the trick. Hair loss and its many root causes is an intricate and oftentimes sensitive problem to tackle, requiring a multidimensional approach to keep at bay.
As most hair loss treatments seemingly don’t live up their hype, you may be sceptical about the many hair loss treatments available and have given up entirely on replenishing your hair. However, there is a near inexhaustible range of options to choose from when selecting a hair loss treatment and finding the perfect fit for you all comes down to your needs and your situation.
Read on for a full breakdown of what hair loss treatments actually are and why you may not have found your perfect fit.
WHAT ARE HAIR LOSS SUPPLEMENTS, REALLY?
Hair loss is impacted by a wide range of causes, from diet deficiencies to hormonal imbalances.
Most over the counter hair loss treatments aim to rectify a potential cause of hair loss with a slew of vitamins and minerals with benefits directly linked to hair growth. Among these are vitamins A through D whose antioxidant properties reduce oxidative stress and fight free radicals. Oxidative stress can lead to inflammation, which in turn disrupts the hair cycle, so it makes sense for these vitamins to act as a remedy, right?
Another key mineral in hair loss supplements is biotin, whose health benefits are manifold. A key proponent in the metabolisation process, Biotin essentially helps ignite the process of turning food into energy for the body to use and go about its normal function. This includes the hair! Topping up your biotin levels will help ensure healthy bodily function and proper nourishment to be delivered to the hair. However, there is no current unequivocal evidence that biotin helps hair to grow back, only that it can help hair grow stronger.
These vitamins and minerals are used as a broad cover-all when dealing with hair loss. Their benefits are linked, though not directly responsible for improving thinning hair so in most cases these alone won’t be able to reverse thinning hair. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are other treatments at hand with proven success rates when it comes to reversing thinning hair. We just need to figure out why our hair is thinning in the first place.
HOW TO TREAT HAIR LOSS AND HAIR THINNING
First thing’s first, we need to figure out why our hair is thinning in the first place. The best thing to do is consult your doctor for a professional opinion, because without it, we can only guess at the situation making treatment near impossible.
If bolstering your hair health and density is in order, your doctor may prescribe minoxidil. Minoxidil was originally developed as a blood pressure medication but has been found to be effective in stimulating hair follicles when applied topically. While Minoxidil is still shrouded in a little mystery, the main use as we currently understand it is to stimulate blood flow to the head and scalp, which in theory would allow more oxygen and nutrients be delivered to the hair follicles.
If it does turn out that there is a vitamin deficiency behind hair loss, we will be able to better target that deficiency with a prescribed dosage of vitamin C or A.
WHAT CAN I START DOING RIGHT NOW FOR HAIR LOSS?
While over-the-counter supplements may not be the best course of action, there are some practical things we can start implementing into our lifestyles today that can help to our hair grow healthier.
You should be looking to your diet as the most immediate thing to alter. Even the slightest adjustments can have a huge impact. Here is a list of foods you can add to your routine that all have proven efficacy in dealing with issues associated with thinning hair
Carrots: Carrots are rich in vitamin A which helps nourish your scalp. Carrots also help add shine and strength to the hair.
Green peas: Full of vitamins for healthy hair such as zinc and iron.
Oats: If you don’t like porridge, that’s OK. Try adding oats to your diet once or twice a week in smoothies. Oats are full of omega 6 fatty acids which are essential for normal nail, skin and hair growth. Oats also contain zinc!
Walnuts: Walnuts are packed with zinc, iron and B vitamins which are amazing for your hair growth. Like oats, walnuts are also full of omega 6 fatty acids. Try adding a handful of walnuts to your weekly diet.
Eggs: Eggs are full of protein and vitamins for building strong healthy hair. Eggs are also full of omega-6 fatty acids!
Spinach: Popeye was on to something. Spinach and other green, leafy vegetables are full of vitamins A, C and iron which are all linked to healthy hair growth.
Salmon: Salmon (and other fatty fish such as mackerel) are full of both omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids which are needed for healthy hair. Studies have shown that these fatty acids included in a healthy diet reduce hair loss in women and increase hair density.
There are also some proven benefits of taking a select and targeted dosage of some vitamins and minerals to counteract the effects of hair loss
Collagen: One thing I have been blown away by as I have entered my 50’s is the amazing benefits of collagen.
Collagen is a protein found in abundance in the body and is utilised as the building block for many body structures (muscle integrity, joints and ligaments and skin). As we get older, our bodies produce less and less collagen naturally. That is why adding a collagen supplement to your diet is so beneficial. Collagen is essential for building new hair proteins, so without it, our propensity to grow new hair is diminished drastically.
You may not see the effects of adding collagen to your diet straight away and changes can sometimes take up to a month to notice but stick with it! As an added bonus, collagen will also help make your skin glow!
Iron: Hair growth is dependent on oxygen being circulated through your blood to repair hair-production cells. Iron is essential for producing Haemoglobin, which is the vehicle your blood uses to carry oxygen. Low iron means poor oxygen circulation.
Zinc: Hair loss is a common symptom of zinc deficiency, so your hair loss could simply imply you need to up your zinc intake. Zinc helps keep the oil glads around the hair follicle functioning for optimum hair growth. Zinc also plays a major role as the building block for hair tissue regrowth.
Hair loss is a notoriously tricky problem to solve and one that may require a specialist opinion to reverse. Hair loss supplements overall should be taken with the knowledge that their efficacy is unproven and unlikely to cause any drastic changes to the situation. If you are experiencing thinning hair. Make sure you check in with your doctor to find the cause and best course of treatment, and in the meantime look to make some of the diet changes listed above and implement iron, zinc and collagen into your daily intake.