Tress Stress

Natural Ways to Prevent Hair Loss

Ancient Egyptians sought to stem hair loss and stimulate hair growth with a cocktail of iron oxide, red lead, onions, alabaster, animal fats and honey. Today, we’re still deploying creative approaches. Men’s hair loss, specifically, is a billion-dollar industry, touting solutions ranging from chemically laced topical treatments and drugs to transplants and wigs. Yet hairloss science is imperfect; it’s riddled with misinformation that allows companies to sell products of varying efficacy.

The average head holds about 120,000 to 150,000 strands of hair, and it’s normal for both men and women to lose 50 to 100 strands daily. We lose hair for several reasons. Chiefly, aging weakens hair and makes it more brittle; it also decreases hormone production, slowing hair growth. According to a study published in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, anything that interrupts the normal hair cycle can trigger diffuse hair loss. Triggers include physiologic trauma and emotional stresses, nutritional deficiencies, endocrine imbalances and illness, as well as genetics, including pattern baldness. Even air and water pollutants and sunlight’s phototoxic aging effects may facilitate alopecia (sudden hair loss).

While it’s impossible to completely stop natural hair loss catalyzed by aging and genes, the rate can be controlled and abnormal loss may be reversed while stimulating growth.

Dietary Changes. The typical North American fat-, protein- and salt-rich diet fosters an acidic environment in the body which can lead to premature hair loss. Iron-rich foods like lean red meats and dark green veggies contribute to ferritin levels sufficient to increase the hair’s growth cycle. Iron also delivers oxygen to hair follicles, further inciting growth. In a review of related research, the journal Clinical and Experimental Dermatology reports that double-blind data confirmed the findings of a study in women with increased hair shedding in which a significant proportion responded to llysine and iron therapy.

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