Here’s how to encourage stronger, thicker hair
Whether your hair is curly or wavy, long or short, let’s get one thing straight: hair loss is inevitable. On an average day, women tend to shed up to 100 strands of hair, so it’s no wonder we often notice a few errant strands in our hairbrushes or shower drains.
In 2023 however -- with factors like stress, air pollution, aging, nutritional deficiencies and pesky virus’ all adding to the toxic load of heads everywhere -- hair loss appears to be becoming more and more common.
While many find hair loss distressing, don’t be alarmed. There are a number of things you can do to encourage longer, fuller, thicker locks.
Here are some of the most common causes of female hair loss, including how to deal with it.
What causes female hair loss?
Thinning hair can often be the result of genetics, but for others, the hair loss is reactive to different lifestyle factors. For the latter, increased hair fall can be a symptom of stress, a diet lacking in nutrients, hormonal imbalances or even an illness.
Hair loss can also occur as we age, or when we’re subjecting our strands to excessive damage, such as heat styling, hair extensions or even intensive hair treatments. You might also find that you’re more inclined to hair loss if you’ve recently lost a significant amount of weight, or after taking certain medications.
And then there’s that post-viral effect on our locks. Since COVID-19 hit, the issue of hair loss has become of notable concern in salons near and far. It has beensaid that COVID-related hair shedding can begin approximately two to three months after catching it and last about three to six months. The technical term istelogen effluvium and it involves excess hair fall out due to brushing or showering. The reason it occurs post-COVID is due to the physical stress on the body which disrupts the normal hair growth cycle. Other factors that add to this include high fevers, emotional stress and nutritional deficiencies. Incorporating adaptogens, like rhodiola into your daily routine canhelp the body adapt to these stressors.
How do I deal with hair loss?
If you’re concerned at the considerable amount of hair that you’re losing – particularly if it’s sudden or if you start to notice patchy parts of your scalp where regeneration is sparse – it’s best to seek the advice of a professional trichologist or GP, who can offer advice and further treatments options to address it.
But if it’s only an uplift in shedding, try not to panic. There are a multitude of different treatment options, and hair loss is really common (and stressing about the state of your hair will sadly only make the situation worse).
The hair cycle is actually longer than you’d expect, so it can actually take up to three months to identify whether it’s an issue, or just a temporary thinning. The best thing you can do is maintain healthy hair practices in a bid to prevent further hair loss and revive ailing locks.
Prevent and protect
Focus on the health of your hair for a few months by incorporating these simple practices into your daily routine.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Exercise. Stress management. Nutrients. Repeat. Health is key to happy hair so follow a balanced diet rich in nutrients, including vitamins (such as vitamin A, C, E, and Biotin) and minerals (such as iron, zinc, and selenium). Modern farming has ensured most of us need to look at supplementing these to ensure we are not nutrient depleted. Regular exercise and stress management techniques can also contribute to overall wellbeing, which can positively impact hair health so hit the pavement and work on your box-breath.
- Eat protein-rich foods and complex carbohydrates
Protein is particularly important to the health of our hair because our strands actually consist of protein. Ensure you’re getting enough protein-rich foods on your plate with each meal – at least a palm-sized portion – such as lean meats, eggs or tempeh.
Complex carbohydrates can also benefit the hair, so ensure that you’re getting enough fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet, as well as oats, beans or quinoa.
- Give your hair a break
Be gentle with your hair when it’s already dealing with loss. Chemical treatments and hair colouring can exacerbate the situation, as can all those tight, sleek top knots and ponytails.
Commit to a few months without heat styling while your hair repairs, and take extra care of it when it’s wet, as this is when the hair is at its most fragile. Ensure that you only use a detangling spray and a comb to brush it out while it’s still fresh from the shower, and use a UV protectant if your hair is going to be exposed to the sun (yes, your hair needs sun protection too).
Softer hair ties that won’t snag or pull at your hair can also be beneficial, so consider investing in silk scrunchies or hair ties that will protect your hair.
After two to three months of these daily practices, reassess the health of your hair. Is it feeling thicker, stronger and healthier? If it takes a little more time, don’t get discouraged. Remember that restoring the health of your hair and encouraging new growth takes time, so give your body the time and nourishment it needs to repair any imbalances.