Why am I losing my hair?! This common question is often exasperatedly asked by both men and women. Unfortunately, the answer to the query is rarely simple — because hair health is multifactorial.
Based on internal and external factors, there can be varying causes for why your hair is thinning, lacking shine, or just… not as good as it used to be. Read on below for the leading factors that affect hair quality. Some of them may surprise you.
Get Hair, Health & Science News
Microbiome Imbalance (AKA An Unhappy Gut)
All of the microbes — bacteria, viruses, and fungi — that are found within and on our bodies comprise our individual microbiome. The gut is arguably the core of the microbiome, as well as the center of our immune system. When “bad” microbes overrun the amount of “good” microbes in the body, hair loss can happen.
Maintaining a healthy, balanced gut is not always easy — especially in this world of fast food, stress, medications (particularly antibiotics), inflammation, and infections. In addition to constipation, heartburn, and diarrhea, hair loss can also be a sign that you have a microbiome imbalance.
Getting a probiotic in your system is a good first step toward an optimal microbiome. Probiotics are the “good” bacteria that assist in supporting a healthy gut and, in turn, the body’s entire microbiome.
There’s a lot of talk about inflammation, which is really just a fancy word for swelling. It’s important to remember that inflammation is not always bad. In fact, it is needed as a part of our body’s immediate healing process for everything from a cut to an infection. But inflammation in the body can also be triggered by stress, unhealthy dietary choices, poor sleep habits, and lack of exercise, to name a few. Often these factors are found to stimulate chronic inflammation, which can contribute to hair loss.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “I’m so stressed I’m pulling my hair out!” But hair loss and stress can be linked without us forcibly pulling our strands out by their roots. During times of stress, whether acute or chronic, Telogen effluvium can cause hair to shed at an accelerated rate.
Note: Stress on the body does not only come from emotional occurrences, but can be from physical ones as well, such as surgery or an illness.
Hair Products With Heavy Chemicals
You want Instagram-worthy hair, we get it! But applying chemicals to the hair via products (especially coloring or bleaching agents) can lead to damage known as traumatic alopecia. Harsh chemicals in everyday hair care products can also cause irritation and inflammation to both the scalp and hair follicle. Whenever possible, choose products with more natural ingredients. Look for keywords on labels such as “organic,” “non-GMO,” and “paraben-free.”
Still falling into the category of traumatic alopecia, some examples of overstyling include applying extreme heat and twisting (e.g., hot rollers or a curling iron) and pulling the hair into constrictive hairstyles or braids. The latter can also lead to traction alopecia: When hair is forcefully pulled from the scalp into tight braids or styles, strands become damaged and can fall out. So be gentle and always use a heat protectant.
The thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland, is located below the Adam’s apple on your neck. It is a vital part of our bodies that helps regulate many processes within us, including metabolism and producing and releasing thyroid hormone into the bloodstream. Thyroid hormone is an important component of the hair follicle’s development and maintenance. So When the thyroid is not functioning optimally, hair loss can often result. Thyroid function can be tested through blood work and imaging with your doctor.
Our bodies are made up of vitamins and minerals, and when we are deficient in one or multiple nutrients, hair loss can happen. To boot, both hair structure and hair growth can be affected by nutritional deficiency. Having insufficient or low stores of factors such as vitamin D, iron, zinc, selenium, biotin, and amino acids (which are the building blocks of proteins) can trigger a decrease in hair growth.
A number of essential nutrients are found in Nutrafol’s Core solution, which helps improve and rebuild your hair.