Top Tips from a Trichologist

Did you know that your hair is considered to be a barometer of your health and hair issues are often the first symptom of a medical or nutritional problem? Nope, us neither.

According to top Trichologist, Sally-Ann Tarver, from The Cotswold Trichology Centre, this is because your hair is not life sustaining and is the least important function or structure for your body to support.

Here, Sally reveals exactly what your scalp and hair could be trying to tell you about your health…

Deficiencies

You may have a deficiency, such as iron, B12 or vitamin D, which can have an impact on your hair and scalp health. These deficiencies are relatively common and often the first sign is a slight increase in hair shedding often unnoticeable to the suffer until noticeable hair thinning occurs. People with darker skin or those who are very sensitive to the sun (who avoid it) are susceptible to vitamin D deficiency. Where B12 deficiency is concerned, it is not just people who suffer from the autoimmune condition pernitious anaemia, vegetarians, vegans and type II diabetics are also susceptible to low Vitamin B12. You can read GLAMOUR’s big supplement guide here to find out which supplements suit your lifestyle.

Heavy Periods & Post Natal

Women who suffer with heavy periods or have had children are highly susceptible to hair loss due to sub optimum iron stores. Many will visit their GP for blood tests only to be told ‘everything is normal’. A woman with Serum Ferritin levels of between 10-30 would be classed as ‘normal, no further action’. They would not be considered clinically anemic but may experience a higher than normal loss of hair or daily hair shedding. Moderate hair shedding over a period of months or years will eventually result in thin hair.

Short-term hair shedding

A short-term heavy hair shedding is often related to an ‘incident’ 2-3 months prior to the onset of shedding. This is normally fairly simple for the Trichologist to pinpoint. Rapid weight loss, surgery, acute illness or stress, a fever, an accident or shock are all well known to cause this type of shedding. The amount of hair lost will be reflective on how severe the ‘incident’ or illness was. Over my years in practice, I have seen patients attend appointments with carrier bags half full of hair lost over the course of a week or so.

Sudden hair loss

Sudden hair loss can be rather dramatic and very upsetting. This type of acute hair loss is usually due to one of these types of incident 2-3 months before:

Rapid Weight Loss

If a person loses weight rapidly either purposely through crash dieting diet or accidentally through ill health, the body will reduce its support for its hair in favour of essential body systems. The result of this is often hair loss and weakened, brittle hair.

Hormonal Influences

Hormonal influences also impact hair loss and growth. The Thyroid gland, if unbalanced, can cause hair issues whether over-active or under-active. In the particular cause of an underactive thyroid, hair changes can begin way before most GP’s would even consider contemplating treating their patient with prescription medication. Hair becomes drier, can appear to change texture or gradually thin. The scalp can also become dry, itchy and slightly flakey.

Dehydration

A dry scalp can also be caused by dehydration. Unfortunately, at the sight of minor scalp flakes, many people will automatically reach for a medicated or dandruff shampoo which, in some cases can make matters worse. Observe the skin of other areas of the body. If your legs are dry and the backs of your hands are dry or appear excessively aged, it is likely that scalp flakes are also the result of dehydration and require moisturising and hydration (by drinking water!) rather than medicating.”

Article Credit: Bianca London – Glamour Magazine

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