Though hair loss is a physical condition, it is particularly upsetting and can take a toll on emotional health.
Hair loss is on the rise and may be associated with certain factors that can influence how healthy our hair is including environmental toxins, hormone imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, stress, autoimmune disease, and fungal infections.
But it's not just hair loss, other factors like thinning, dry, or brittle hair can also occur from external or internal influences.
Though genes do play a role in your hair's appearance, there is a lot that is in your control.
Fortunately there are many things you can do to promote beautiful and healthy looking hair and reduce hair damage. This will include not only external practices but also internal strategies such as nutrition in order to maintain the health of your hair and scalp.
Whether you are dealing with hair loss, thinning, dry, or dull hair, or maybe you simply want to experience stronger, healthier, fuller hair, our tips below target hair health from the inside out.
6 natural tips for stronger and faster growing hair
Check your iron
Your hair requires a lot of iron, so no matter what your cause of hair loss, you’ll need adequate iron to recover. Without enough iron your body can't adequately produce hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen for the growth and repair of cells, including cells involved in hair growth.
If you suspect you may be deficient in iron, ask your doctor to test your serum ferritin levels.
While iron supplementation may be recommended it's important to also investigate what might be contributing to your low iron such as malabsorption disorders, heavy menstrual bleeding, vegan diet, low copper levels, and infections such as parasites, H.pylori, or SIBO.
Organ meats as well as red meat, chicken, eggs, leafy greens, and seafood are also good nutritional sources of iron to include in the diet.
It's said that a scalp massage may help to dilate blood vessels underneath the skin which can lead to stronger, thicker, and healthier hair that is less likely to become damaged or break (4).
You can use essential oils such as rosemary oil to promote hair growth by massaging it with a carrier oil like jojoba, coconut or argan oil into your scalp or by adding a few drops to your shampoo before rinsing (5).
A regular routine of stimulating the scalp with massage can help to improve the health of the scalp while also reducing stress and tension. Not only can you do your own massage at home but it also doesn't require a lot of your time. A study found that as little as 4 minutes made a difference in hair health (6).
Frequent usage of heat on your hair using styling tools like blow dryers, curling irons, and straighteners can cause damage to your hair by increasing breakage and hair loss and reducing moisture.
If you can let your hair air dry naturally that will help to keep your hair strong and healthy otherwise be sure to use heat protectant products while using the lowest possible heat setting.
Eat enough protein
Though most individuals in developed countries have sufficient access to protein they may not always be eating enough on a daily basis.
The reason protein is so important for hair health is because most of our hair is actually made of protein, and more specifically a protein called keratin. Your hair uses the building blocks of protein, amino acids, in order to grow healthy and strong. There are 11 amino acids that are essential, meaning you need to obtain them from your diet.
For the average sedentary individual they require about 54 grams of protein daily, however this number will vary according to sex, activity level, and age (8).
For most people it won't be a problem reaching the necessary protein intake per day from whole food sources, however for those who are more active or simply struggle to reach their daily target, supplementing with a protein powder can help to bridge that gap.
Vitamin C has powerful antioxidant properties which can help to neutralize oxidative stress and maintain scalp health. Oxidative stress is associated with accelerated aging, decrease in hair production, and damage of the hair follicle (9)(10).
Vitamin C also increases the absorption of iron, which as discussed is one of the most critical nutrients for your hair.
In addition, vitamin C is a collagen booster, meaning it can help to stimulate collagen production in the body. Collagen is an important nutrient for hair as it provides the building blocks in the form of amino acids that promote the growth of hair.
You can benefit from vitamin C by eating vitamin C rich foods, supplementing, or even using it topically with vitamin C infused hair care products.
Looking for natural and non toxic topical treatments for hair? A herbal hair rinse can boost and nourish hair and scalp health without the addition of chemicals that can be harsh on hair and remove its natural oils.
Herbal hair rinses can add shine, softness, and growth to hair while preventing dandruff and oily residue.
A herbal rinse can include any number of herbs that benefit hair health including horsetail, lavender, rosemary, chamomile, nettle, and basil.
All you have to do is mix the herbs with water and let it infuse by storing in a container in a cool dark place for 4 weeks. When the rinse is ready, strain the herbs into a mason jar or spray bottle, and keep in your bathroom for easy use.
Apply the herbal rinse after shampooing and rinsing and let it sit for a minute or so before rinsing out.
Apple cider vinegar is also a rinse that you can do to boost the health of your hair. Apple cider vinegar may promote soft shiny hair and reduce dandruff by restoring normal ph balance. Simply combine 1 part organic unpasteurized apple cider vinegar with 5 parts water and apply to wet hair before rinsing. A spray bottle can make this process easier. Never apply apple cider vinegar undiluted as it can burn and cause damage.
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