Both emotional and physical stress (such as a serious illness or recovery from surgery) have been associated with hair loss. It is possible that stress induces hormonal changes that are responsible for the hair loss, since hair loss is a known consequence of other hormonal changes due topregnancy, thyroid disturbances, or even from taking oral contraceptives.
Nervous habits, such as scalp rubbing or hair twisting or pulling may also be responsible for hair loss. These habits may be responses to psychological stress in some people and may be another cause of stress-related hair loss. Excessive hair-pulling is a form of impulse-control disorder medically referred to as trichotillomania.
The hair loss from hormonal changes often disappears after a period of months to two years. As with other stress-related symptoms, learning and practicing effective stress-management techniques can help reduce the severity of the symptoms.
What causes male hair loss?
Some men have areas on the scalp that are very sensitive to the male sex hormones that circulate in men’s blood.
The hormones make the hair follicles – from which hair grows – shrink. Eventually, they become so small that they cannot replace lost hairs. The follicles are still alive, but are no longer able to perform their task.
The condition usually starts in men aged 20 to 30 and follows a typical pattern.
First, a receding hairline develops, and gradually the hair on top of the head also begins to thin.
Eventually, the two balding areas meet to form a typical U-shape around the back and sides of the head. The hair that remains is often finer and ot grow as quickly as it.
What to eat for healthy hair
Eat the correct balance of the following vitamins and minerals to supply hair with all that it needs to remain shiny, lustrous and strong…
As hair is made of protein, ensuring you have enough protein in your diet is crucial for making hair strong and healthy. If you are not consuming enough protein in your diet, your hair is likely to become dry, brittle and weak. Extremely low protein diets may result in hair loss. Choose chicken, turkey, fish, dairy products and eggs as excellent sources of protein along with vegetarian sources such as legumes and nuts.
Iron is an especially important mineral for hair and too little iron (anaemia) is a major cause of hair loss. The hair follicle and root are fed by a nutrient rich blood supply. When iron levels (serum ferritin) fall below a certain point, you may experience anaemia. This disrupts the nutrient supply to the follicle, affecting the hair growth cycle and may result in shedding. Animal products such as red meat, chicken and fish provide iron with a high bioavailability, meaning the iron is readily available to the body. Vegetarians can raise their iron stores by including lentils, spinach and other leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, kale and salad greens.
Vitamin C aids the absorption of iron so foods high in vitamin C are good to eat in conjunction with iron-rich foods. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant so is used readily by the body. The best sources are blackcurrants, blueberries, broccoli, guava, kiwi fruits, oranges, papaya, strawberries and sweet potatoes. Vitamin C helps in the production of collagen that strengthens the capillaries that supply the hair shafts.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important fats our body cannot make itself, and therefore must be obtained through our diet. Omega-3s are found in the cells that line the scalp and also provide the oils that keep your scalp and hair hydrated. Look out for oily fish such as salmon, herring, sardines, trout and mackerel and plant sources including avocado, pumpkin seeds and walnuts.
Vitamin A is needed by the body to make sebum. Sebum is an oily substance created by our hairs sebaceous glands and provides a natural conditioner for a healthy scalp. Without sebum we may experience an itchy scalp and dry hair. Include animal products and orange/yellow coloured vegetables which are high in beta-carotene (which makes vitamin A) such as carrots, pumpkins and sweet potatoes.
Zinc and selenium
Scalp protection involves other important minerals, notably zinc and selenium. A lack of zinc can lead to hair loss and a dry, flaky scalp. Fortified cereals and wholegrains are a good source of zinc along with oysters, beef and eggs.
The sun can damage our hair just like it can damage our skin so ensure you eat foods rich in vitamin E to provide protection for your hair. Nuts are nutritional powerhouses, providing zinc and selenium as well as vitamin E so try to include them as part of a balanced diet.
Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin. Too little biotin can cause brittle hair and may lead to hair loss. Include biotin rich foods such as wholegrains, liver, egg yolk, soy flour and yeast.
Make your own hair mask for a deep, nourishing treatment every two weeks. Whisk an egg yolk and mix with half a mashed avocado and a spoonful of honey. Massage onto damp, clean hair and leave for 30 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.