Going bald and losing hair has been a problem for men and women since the dawn of time. Baldness or loss of hair is referred to as Alopecia. If hair falls out in patches, it is termed alopecia areata. This is usually temporary and rarely leads to baldness. Alopecia totalis means loss of all scalp hair. A less dramatic, but more prevalent, type of hair loss is androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness. However, in this condition presence of androgen, male sex hormones are involved, and as well there is genetic predisposition.
In addition to heredity, factors that promote hair loss include: stress, infection, thyroid disease, drugs such as those used in chemotherapy, ringworm and other fungal infections, surgery, high fever, poor diets, vitamin deficiencies, over brushing, syphilis, tumors, advancing age, and an over-abundance of the male hormone DHT.
Women also suffer from hair loss as they age and reach menopause, though they don't lose as much hair as men. In addition, most women lose some hair two or three months after having a baby because hormonal changes prevent normal hair loss during pregnancy.
There are some drugs that claim to regrow hair, but they only achieve mild results and are full of side effects, for example minoxidil (Rogaine) should not be taken by people with high blood pressure, and it may cause acne on the forehead and back. Another is finasteride (Propecia) it can be taken orally (men only) and causes sex problems, rash and if handled by a pregnant woman it can cause birth defects in the genital area of the fetus.
Natural Treatments for Hair Loss
Researchers have yet to find the exact cause of hair loss. However, it is normal to lose about 100 hairs per day. In most cases, hair loss occurs due to inadequate diet and less intake of vitamins. Here are some methods that have been used and work on some people.
Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in starch. These are high in antioxidants which may provide protection for the hair follicles and encourage hair growth. A diet that contains whole foods, such as potatoes, cucumbers, green and red peppers, and sprouts can give strength to hair because they are rich in the mineral silica. Foods that are high in iron, such as lean meats, are important for people with a known iron deficiency. Include Lentils, brown rice, green peas, oats soybeans walnuts, tofu, and tempeh in your diet.
Vitamins are essential for growth of hair. Some important vitamins that affect the hair growth are biotin, Vitamin B complex, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Inositol, zinc, and silica. These supplements also may help maintain the color and thickness of hair. As well, fish oils improve hair textures and prevent dry and brittle hair. Saw palmetto is believed to have a similar mechanism of action to drug finasteride (Propecia), which has been used in low doses for hair loss.
Most health food stores carry a variety of natural hair care products. Bhringaraj oil or brahmi oil are applied to the scalp regularly to stimulate hair growth. Use Herbal Glow shampoo for Thinning Hair and cut done on the use of conditioner.
Avoid rough treatments. Do not use a blow dryer or other heated appliances on your hair; let it dry naturally. Do not comb your hair until it is dry, as wet hair tends to break off.
If you’re losing large amounts of hair, see a physician.
Note: The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. Do not stop your medications without the prior evaluation of your doctor. If you have questions, or symptoms are worse, please see your Naturopathic Doctor, Family Doctor or pharmacist.