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The Roots of Hair Loss

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The Roots of Hair Loss

The Boyfriend has been fretting about his thinning hair for a while now. It started with my wisecrack about his bald spot and has escalated into a cabinet full of products and a head of hair that’s crunchy with gel–to give form to his lacklustre mane.

The Boyfriend has been fretting about his thinning hair for a while now. It started with my wisecrack about his bald spot and has escalated into a cabinet full of products and a head of hair that’s crunchy with gel–to give form to his lacklustre mane.

Though he is hardly balding, his hair is thinner than it used to be, and his father’s comb-over experiment has left him a little nervous. In my attempts to get him off the gunk and toward more natural products, I’ve discovered some interesting facts.

Hair loss has many causes, but we can do something about the relentless thinning. Nutritional deficiency, stress, and illness play their part in hair loss, but poor circulation and damaging products are equally significant, if lesser-known culprits. Even if, like The Boyfriend, you are genetically predisposed to lose your hair in the end, you can slow the process with natural treatments.

Be Good to Your Scalp

A buildup of cosmetic products can block the follicles on our scalp and inhibit hair growth. Sebum, the waxy substance produced by sebaceous glands, can block the follicle if hormonal or environmental stress causes its overproduction.

Recent evidence suggests that alopecia (baldness) is accelerated by excessive sebum and resulting fungus. Environmental pollutants such as toxins and chlorine also damage the scalp, and harmful UV weakens skin cells and inhibits the hair’s ability to regenerate.

The good news: there are plenty of treatments for a healthy scalp. Even with alopecia, which targets specific follicles with powerful androgen hormones, a healthy scalp can significantly delay hair loss and ensure hair is as thick and strong as possible while it grows.

Your hair roots need both nutrients and oxygen for healthy cell regeneration. Try incorporating foods rich in B vitamins and protein into your diet and limit saturated fats. When you shampoo, massage your scalp from front to back, then back to front, helping the flow of toxins away from the scalp as well as oxygen and nutrients to your follicles. Ask your aromatherapist for scalp-stimulating formulas and enjoy it!

Many natural solutions to hair loss can be used in conjunction with conventional remedies. Talk to your local health food store advisor or natural health practitioner about finding the best combination for you, and look forward to running your fingers through thicker, stronger hair–whether your own or The Boyfriend’s.

Hair-friendly Help

Luckily for you and The Boyfriend, there are effective botanical alternatives to look for in your hair products.

  • Saw palmetto–powerful antioxidant and effective anti-androgen (Check with your doctor first if you take oral contraceptives or hormone treatments.)
  • Nettle and rosemary extracts–stimulate circulation to the scalp, encouraging a healthy growth cycle
  • Kelp–rich in iodine and one of the best nutrients for strong hair cell growth
  • Panthenol (vitamin B5)–applied directly to the hair to repair damaged cells
  • Inositol–a powerful antioxidant B vitamin that protects your hair from environmental stress
  • Jojoba oil–a gentle but effective cleanser for sebum

Harmful to Hair

Some commercial hair products contain ingredients that might be better left off your head.

  • Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS)–used to degrease your car engine, and is found in 90 percent of all shampoos. It is a low-cost detergent that produces the lather we associate with cleansing, but it corrodes follicles. SLS is used in clinical studies to deliberately irritate the skin.
  • Cocamidopropyl betaine–a foaming agent that may cause dermatitis.
  • Propylene glycol–an antidrying agent also used in antifreeze.
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