Hair loss – what you can do about it
Hair loss happens! If you’re affected, here are some ideas that may help.
Although it might make you think of your poor old grandad and his balding head, hair loss can happen to the best of us, whether male or female. However, men and women tend to have a different experience of hair loss.
What does hair loss look like?
Men tend to lose hair from the front and/or crown of their heads initially. The affected area often extends over time until they have little hair left on the top of the scalp. Eventually, they may be left with hair just around the base of their scalp and at the sides.1
In contrast, women tend to experience a general thinning of the hair all over the scalp.2
Why does hair loss happen?
Hair loss is a normal process, and most of us lose between 30-150 strands in total each day.3
Healthy hair growth occurs in a three-phase cycle that occurs in the hair follicles (the small dimples in the scalp that the hair emerges from) as follows:
- Growth of hair
- ‘Resting’ of hair on the scalp
- Shedding of hair
Increased hair loss can occur when a greater than usual proportion of the hair follicles are in the shedding phase than are in the other two phases.3
Hair health in Chinese medicine
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the health of the hair is thought to be related to the health of the blood, which is believed to maintain hair health to keep it in good condition.
However, from the perspective of TCM, if too much heat is present in the blood, it can have detrimental effects on the hair follicles as well as to other issues such as redness and irritation of the scalp.
Biota is traditionally used for hair loss
Biota is traditionally taken in TCM to both reduce hair loss and to enhance hair growth. It’s traditionally in TCM used to help maintain the health of hair follicles by cooling excess heat in the blood.
Hair loss and vitamins
Vitamin B7, also known as biotin, can help to reduce hair loss if your dietary intake is insufficient. Make sure you eat plenty of eggs and almonds, because they are a rich sources of biotin.
Other ways to help with hair loss
- Eating a healthy balanced diet will help you to feel and look good, inside and out! Specifically, include sources of protein and zinc for hair health such as red meat, chicken, legumes and eggs as well as sources of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids from fish, nuts, seeds and cold-pressed oils
- Stop smoking if you haven’t already – it may aggravate or accelerate some forms of hair loss4
- Many of the products used to dye, straighten and style the hair can damage its structure and make it more vulnerable to breaking and falling out. Use only gentle, products on your hair, and avoid subjecting it to heat, tension (like always tying it up in a ponytail if you have long hair) and harsh chemicals
- Wear a hat to protect your hair and scalp from UV rays, which can increase the likelihood of hair loss4
- Seek out a counsellor for emotional support if you are finding hair loss difficult to cope with
- Blume-Peytavi U, et al. Br J Dermatol 2011;164(1):5-15.
- Ali I, et al. Br J Bermatol 2011;14(3):508-513.