By Kathleen Williams
Reasons For Hair Loss In Women
95% of hair loss in women is caused by Androgentic Alopecia (female pattern baldness). This may be inherited from your parents. What causes the hair loss in this condition is a chemical called DHT (dihydrotestosterone), which is hormone that all men and women produce).
People that make more DHT have a lot of the enzyme called 5_alpha reductase. An excess of DHT may cause hair follicles to the hair to become increasingly thinner, until the follicle will eventually stop producing hair at all. The baldness will be predominantly over the front and sides of the head and not in the crown area as with men. This will get worse with menopause.
A women’s biochemistry if often out of balance and this along with poor diet can create a toxic environment and unacceptable amounts of copper and salt in the system.
As hair thins the sebaceous gland that secreted sebum the hairs natural oil, will stay the same size and continue to produce the same amount of oil. This can make thinning hair overly oily, flat and lifeless. This makes frequent shampooing vital for hair loss cases with oily scalps. Sebum also contains DHT which can clog pores and deter healthy hair growth.
Hormonal changes are a common cause of female hair loss. After a pregnancy, or when taking birth control pills, many women experience hair thinning to varying degrees, but only on a temporary basis. While a woman is pregnant, and hormonal changes are occurring, more hair follicles enter the growth phase than normal. About two to three months after childbirth, the normal hair cycle returns and many hairs re-enter the resting phase, which causes excessive shedding to occur. If the condition does not change after six months, a woman may be experiencing hereditary hair thinning or maybe be lacking in certain nutrients to an unbalanced diet.
What you eat is reflected in the health of your hair. Your hair as well as your body needs a balanced, nutritious diet to stay healthy. Making a conscious decision to eat an abundance of fruits and vegetables that are loaded with vitamins and anti oxidants is essential. Whist, whole grains, nuts and seeds will provide minerals and vitamins. A lean protein will add sufficient iron to the diet and a fortified cereal breakfast will complete the nutritional pyramid. Of course drinking plenty of purified water will give your hair maximum hydration. Eating organic, will help deter the body from becoming toxic, especially from copper, and steering clear of processed foods will prevent a high sodium intake.
Salt and Copper wreak havoc
Unhealthy tissue concentrations of copper, can cause hair loss. These amounts would be below 1.7milligrams or above 3.5 milligrams. Copper toxicity can vary from person to person, and can depend on the individual’s metabolism and diet. Vegetarians for example are not always able to retain copper, which means they are more susceptible to hair loss.
How does copper get into our system
Drinking water that comes from old copper pipes is prime also from the food that we eat. For instance copper can be included in animals diets which in turn is then passed on in our daily regime. It is also not uncommon for farmers to incorporate copper into their anti-fungal and algae sprays. Birth control such as the pill and IUD both use copper, making women more susceptible to copper imbalances. Swimmers are also at risk due to a popular algaecide used in pool water.
It is common knowledge that too much sodium or salt is not good for us, but even if we are salt savvy and do what’s best by avoiding salt our bodies can still produce too much sodium due to too much stress, which will naturally increase sodium retention.
What to advise!
If you have a client suffering with hair loss, it might be a good idea to mention the above and advise the following:
Drink Bottled Water
Avoid foods high in copper, such as milk, chocolate, oysters, nuts, high fat meats and salmon. Avoid salt and eat a low sodium diet (steering clear of processed foods is a good idea as they tend to be high in sodium.)
Try to stay stress free. If a stressful lifestyle is on the agenda, then relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation will help to reduce sodium levels.
Other causes of excessive hair loss.
You should normally shed on average between 80-100 hairs each day, however any more than this and you might want to re-think your diet or lifestyle. Chemical treatments done incorrectly, or excessive pulling on the hair due to over tight ponytails or braids, are also likely to cause hair loss. If you follow a healthy lifestyle or do not fall into any of these categories and you are still experiencing hair loss, you may want to consult with your doctor or trichologist. As a more serious health problem may be the cause!
In the last part of the series we will look at a few of the natural treatments to stop hair loss and stimulate growth.