If you are experiencing hair loss you may be wondering what is behind it. Sure, we may first consider our genetics but what if there are other causes? What if there were ways to slow it down or even reverse your hair loss? We’ve investigated the many causes of hair loss through our Trichology program. Through our research we have come up with the main causes of hair loss as well as techniques that may help.
What is Behind Your Hair Loss?
First, let’s talk genetics. While it is true that hair loss runs in families, simply having a predisposition to hair loss does not mean you will experience hair loss. There are a number of things that can trigger hair loss in someone who is predisposed to it. Typically, genetic hair loss is seen when certain hair follicles become sensitive to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The follicles this generally happens to are in your temples, hair line, crown and throughout the top of your head. This is why male “pattern” baldness has a pattern. The hair follicles around your sides and back are not as sensitive to DHT which is why most people with androgenic alopecia or genetic hair loss, retain their hair in these areas. In these sensitive hair follicles, testosterone is changed into DHT. DHT triggers baldness. It does this by a process known as miniaturization. Hair follicles become damaged over time and grow shorter, finer hairs until they stop producing any hair at all. At that point the hair follicle disappears, never to return again. Essentially, if it weren’t for testosterone or it’s conversion into DHT you would not experience pattern baldness.
Since testosterone is critical for health in both men and women, we certainly can’t inhibit its occurrence in our bodies. Scientists have come up with ways to block DHT or block testosterone’s conversion into DHT. Images International carries a full line of products with ingredients like Kigelia and sage which inhibit 5-alpha reductase, which is responsible for turning testosterone into DHT. There are also drugs on the market that block DHT but they come with undesirable sides effects. The treatments at Images International are drug free and plant derived.
Beyond topical products that are designed to treat hair loss you can also make shifts in your diet to improve your hairline. Researchers noticed hair loss was less prevalent among Asians than in white people. As Asian diets have begun to become more Western influenced, rates of hair loss increased among their population. Not only did it increase, it started earlier as well. In addition, researchers also noted a rise in diabetes, cancer and heart disease. It has been proven time and again that our diets effect our bodies in many ways. The scientists observed that an Asian diet includes plant-based foods rather than dairy and meats. This naturally means there is less fat and sugar. It is hypothesized that a low-fat diet might put your sex hormones into check by promoting more sex hormone-binding globulin or SHBG. Essentially it puts the reins on testosterone so there isn’t excess.
One study compared men experiencing hair loss and found that of the balding men, they were more likely to have insulin resistance. This result has been repeated in many other studies in both men and women indicating that as the body becomes unresponsive to insulin it’s metabolism changes which effects the entire body. One theory is that is impairs blood circulation which is critical to a follicle producing hair.
Women experiencing polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, also have hair loss issues related to hormones. Women with PCOS have higher than normal amounts of testosterone, they may also have insulin resistance. This two-fold effect often causes thinning hair.
In addition to the above-mentioned causes of hair loss, there are other common causes as well such as thyroid hormone imbalance, nutritional deficiencies as well as medication side effects. Images International offers a free consultation that includes a hair and scalp analysis. Your health history, family history, lifestyle and hair and scalp behavior are all reviewed. A unique plan is developed to address your own needs.
What You Can Do
If you’d like to do all that you can to protect your hair you can consider the following:
- Eat a plant heavy diet. Fruits, vegetables and grains are full of antioxidants and nutrients both of which encourage healthy hair growth.
- Avoid hormones and chemicals in food and cosmetic products. Aim for organic and natural products. Check with the EWG Skin Deep database to see how your products rate. Many foods and products in our lives contain hormones as well as hormone disrupting ingredients.
- Limit sugar intake. Sugar is linked to inflammation which is detrimental for our bodies and hair.
- Get plenty of protein. Protein is essential for healthy hair growth. Great sources of protein include beans, soymilk and tofu.
- Start a scalp care regime that detoxes the scalp regularly. Excess buildup can damage the hair follicle and speed up hair loss. Removing residue, bacteria, fungus and parasites on a regular basis can significantly improve the health of your hair and scalp. The scalp care line at Images International is also designed to increase circulation, decrease inflammation and block DHT.
- Try low level laser therapy. This red-light therapy improves circulation on your scalp so your follicles get plenty of oxygen and nutrients.