Role of Zinc in Maintaining Hair Health and Preventing Hair Loss

Zinc

Zinc is a natural trace element which is present in the body. It’s involved in regulating many functions such as maintaining normal hormonal balance and producing new cells. It also helps to absorb the correct amount of minerals, vitamins, and maintaining protein synthesis. These processes are important for healthy hair growth. Therefore, the correct amount is needed to help aid in prevention of hair loss and hair thinning.

 Mechanisms of Zinc in Promoting Hair Health

Since zinc is directly linked to building protein in the body, it plays a great role in the production of the hair-forming protein keratin, which makes up the structure of the hair follicle. If you have a zinc deficiency, the keratin formation is stopped. This can lead to weaker hair follicles and even hair thinning and hair loss. The mineral also prevents hair loss as it maintains the hormonal balance in the body.
Deficiency of thyroid hormone leads to hair loss in an individual. Therefore, the mineral is necessary in keeping the normal levels of this hormone in the body. A lack of it disturbs the function of the thyroid gland, which in turn can lead to chronic hair loss.

Zinc
Supplements that contains zinc are a good choice for your hair.

Zinc deficiency in the body can easily be treated with an increased intake of zinc-rich foods or hair supplements that contain the mineral. This has been shown to have positive results on the overall health of one’s hair. Foods with high amounts of the mineral are oysters, nuts, eggs, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, and spinach. Sweet potatoes are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have antioxidant properties and stop free radical formation in the body. These free radicals can greatly damage the hair follicles.

 

 

 

Hair Loss Causes: Could Your Hairstyle be to Blame?

Hair Loss

There are many different causes of hair loss, and also many misconceptions about them. How we wear our hair most often is based on what is most convenient or what looks good. This seemingly trivial task is something that we do not pay much attention to on a daily basis, and we only get to focus our attention on it when things start to change, like if we see the first signs of thinning or shedding hair.

We often attribute hair loss to internal factors such as our genes and the quality of our health but to many, it may come as a surprise to know that the choice of hairstyle can actually contribute to hair loss.

Baldness, another hair loss cause, scientifically referred to as alopecia, refers to partial or complete loss of hair on the scalp and in other areas of the body. This condition comes in many forms but the kind that is caused by wearing certain hairstyles is called traction alopecia, which is hair loss that results from styles that require the hair to be tugged or pulled, either gently or tightly for extended or frequent periods of time.

Hairstyles That Cause Traction Alopecia

Ponytails

The easiest way to keep hair from your face is to gather it toward the back or top of the head and hold it together with a tie. Although this hairstyle may be the most convenient to maintain, wearing the hair pulled backward or upward too tightly has its disadvantages. Its association with traction alopecia has been observed as early as in 1907. Women in Greenland were found to have receding hairlines due to prolonged wearing of tight ponytails.

Braids

Evidence of hair braiding or plaiting in history is shown on many archaeological findings, for example the statuette Venus of Willendorf that was dug up in a 1908 excavation near Willendorf, Austria, that was estimated to have been made between 28,000-25,000 BCE.

Through the years, interlacing strands of hair into braids has evolved from being a means to communicate a person’s status in society into a social art form among cultures that use the time to braid to socialize and teach their children.

Today, braids are used by both women and men with long hair and are popular among African-Americans. A total of 326 African-American women participated in a 2011 study. The study measured risk factors contributing to a common condition among them called central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA) – hair loss that usually starts at the crown of the head and spreads out to the periphery. The study concluded that there is a higher risk of CCCA caused by hairstyles causing traction or pulling.

Cornrows

While they may seem similar, braids and cornrows have distinct characteristics that set them apart. Braids use three or more strands weaving and overlapping and are tied at the end by a rubber band or clip. They are easier and faster to do and are usually let loose after a short period of time.

Cornrows, on the other hand, are tighter plaits that are woven very closely to the scalp. Because they take more time and effort to create, people with cornrows often wear them for considerable periods of time. This makes maintenance more challenging as the hair gets washed less frequently to maintain its form, which can lead to bacterial infection and eventual hair loss.

Hair Loss Causes
Tightly woven cornrows pulls on your scalp and can cause traction alopecia.

Dreadlocks

Commonly referred to as dreads, this become a permanent hairstyle by those who choose to wear it because of the time it takes to create. Dreads are teased, knotted and left to grow for weeks at a time. As hair grows and sheds through time, it gets tangled into more knots and results in a matted look. Dreads are washed less often – usually every three to seven days. Those who wear them sometimes use a bandana or scarf to absorb oil when they sleep.

Like cornrows, dreads bring a higher risk of hair thinning and hair loss because of increased tension. They also bring a higher risk infection from clogged pores due to oil build-up. Traction alopecia may appear to be non-cicatricial or without scars in the initial stages. However, a delayed tension and traction can cause the hair follicles to be permanently damaged.

 

Buns

 If you are wearing a bun, you might want to go easy on its tightness. Buns worn by ballerinas or librarians are usually pulled back very hard. This is not limited for women as some long-haired men nowadays opt to wear a man bun as a trend. When worn regularly, the scalp can appear to be red and itchy with multiple hairs breaking off. This is a result of constant tugging at the roots – all clinical signs of traction alopecia.

Weaves

An artificial way to make short or medium hair appear longer or thicker. This is achieved  through the use of hair extensions that are either woven, glued or taped. These are anchored either to the hair or scalp. Although they may provide a temporary boost to your confidence, they can make you a candidate for permanent alopecia. This is because it strains the hair, damages the scalp, and causes scarring.

Avoid the Common Hair Loss Causes

Hairstyles are worn to be functional and fashionable. But care should be exercised in making sure that they do not cause damage to our hair and scalp.

To avoid temporary or permanent alopecia, hairstyles should:

Be worn loosely and alternately in short periods of time to avoid the damage that constant tension and traction brings.

Allow the hair to be shampooed and washed regularly to avoid sebum build-up and infection. Also, avoid regular use of chemicals or heat that can dry or damage hair.

Text by Anne Sarte

Photo credits: Raíssa Ruschel via Flickr

Rod Waddington via Flickr

Experiencing Male Pattern Baldness? 11 Ways to Support Your Hair

male pattern baldness

Male pattern baldness occurs because of genetic factors and hormonal imbalances. Over time, hair follicles begin to shrink and eventually stop the production of new hair. However, the follicles remain alive allowing them the potential to grow hair again at some point. There are many steps one can try to stimulate the regrowth of hair.

Power Food that can help to stop Male Pattern Baldness

Nutritional deficiencies can be a contributing factor in hair loss. Some foods contain nutrients that are especially vital to overall hair health. Foods that can be included to promote healthy hair include: fatty fish, spinach, yogurt, egg, plant and animal protein. Other great sources are: seafood such as oysters and lobsters, as well as red, yellow, and orange fruits and vegetables.

Water

Dehydration can be a main factor in hair loss. Sufficient hydration is essential for healthy cells, including hair cells. Most adults need between 9 and 13 cups of water daily. Alcoholic and caffeinated drinks should be limited, and replaced with water, natural juice, or herbal teas.

Hygiene

One part of good hair health is keeping the hair and scalp clean. Doing this with a gentle product that will not stress the hair follicles is ideal. The other component of good hair hygiene is not using too many products. Gels, hairspray, high heat, and other styling agents can cause damage to the hair if used too often.

Reduce Stress

Male pattern baldness is not a result of stress. However, stress can lead to increased hair loss. Avoid stress triggers to prevent further hair loss. Proven methods of stress reduction include; meditation, time in nature, the right amount of sleep, and listening to music.

Scalp Massage

Scalp massages promote the flow of blood to the hair follicles and help strengthen the roots of the hair. A massage of 5 to 10 minutes, two to three times per week is recommended according to anecdotal evidence.

Supplements

Several supplements can respond to nutritional deficiencies which may be triggering poor hair health or hair loss. Some of the most common choices are: Vitamins A, B, C, D, and E.

Male Pattern Baldness
Peas contain a lot of B-vitamins, a vitamin that is good to eat when suspecting pattern baldness.

Natural Remedies

There are several all-natural solutions recommended to men who are trying to fight male pattern baldness. Some research shows that onion juice applied directly to the skin may help promote hair growth. Other studies have shown that applying saw palmetto to areas where hair growth is desired can be effective.

Physical Exam

It is important to visit a healthcare provider if you are concerned about your hair loss, as many conditions may lead to baldness, including male pattern baldness. So, it is important to make sure there are no serious underlying health conditions that need to be treated.

Medications

Finasteride was created to treat enlarged prostates, a side effect of this treatment was hair growth. It was later approved in 1 mg oral doses, to be prescribed for the treatment of male pattern baldness. Minoxidil was the first medication approved by the FDA for treating male pattern baldness when applied directly on to the head.

Hair Transplant

There are two primary methods for hair transplant surgery currently being used; follicular unit extraction or follicular unit strip surgery. The method used will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of hair, and the amount of the scalp that is affected.

New Style

Some men find it liberating to shave their hair entirely when faced with male pattern baldness. The look is embraced by celebrities and men all over the world. It is easy to maintain, and can give a sense of freedom to men who are terrified of losing their hair.

If you are suffering from male pattern baldness, there are several steps you can try to address the issue and help encourage healthy hair growth. Medical intervention and assistance are necessary for some men, but others find lifestyle changes and natural remedies preferable. Experiment with the methods you feel most comfortable with to fight male pattern baldness.

5 Natural Healthy Hair Tips Backed by Science

Hair Loss Solutions

Many tips for Natural Hair Loss solutions have little scientific research to back it up with.
So here are 5 natural hair loss solutions supported by clinical research.

Healthy hair tip #1 Onion Juice

A study from 2002, looked at the results and affects of onion juice applied to areas that had suffered from hair loss. The results were impressive with nearly 94% of men and 71% of women experiencing convincing results. Juice enough onions to create a paste that can be applied to the scalp. The study encouraged participants to apply the juice twice daily for two months. Results were shown in the experimental group after two weeks.

Healthy hair tip #2 Green Tea

A 2005 study showed significant hair growth of those, who in an experimental group, were given dehydrated green tea in their drinking water. The polyphenolic mixture found in the tea is responsible for the reaction. This may make you consider drinking more green tea if you do not already! Alternatively, many people have had success in just applying the tea directly on the scalp as a mask.

Healthy hair tip #3 Essential Oils

A study from 1998, found aromatherapy to be very useful as a potential solution for hair loss. The herbs used were rosemary, cedarwood, thyme, and lavender. Therefore, combine a few drops of the essential oil into the carrier oil and massage into the scalp daily. It may take some testing to discover which oils work best for you.

Healthy hair tip #4 Saw Palmetto

The compounds in saw palmetto have been used to help with various forms of hair thinning  – specifically when related to DHT.  Follicles metabolize testosterone into DHT, however, with scalp follicles the DHT causes the follicle to shrink, and hair thins.  Saw palmetto naturally helps those experiencing thinning for this reason, especially.

Hair Loss Solutions
Herbs like saw palmetto can help promote healthier hair.

Healthy hair tip #5 Stress Reduction

Stress is the primary cause of several types of hair loss. In addition, focusing on the factors which are causing unhealthy levels of stress in the individual’s life can help the affected hair follicles to recover.

Proven stress relivers include mindfulness, meditation, physical activity, music, laughter, and yoga. In addition, time in nature, and quality time with friends and family are also great natural solutions to poor hair health.

In conclusion, trying one, or several, of these natural hair loss solutions will let you gain control of the health of your hair. Finally, most solutions do take the time to show any effect. So, be patient and give these options the best chance of working.