In the pursuit of luscious locks and a healthy head of hair, many often turn to hair care products and hair transplant treatments. However, the key to healthy hair might not just lie in the bottles and serums on your bathroom shelf but also in the lifestyle choices made every day. As surprising as it might be to some, lifestyle factors can play a substantial role in determining the condition of your hair. From chronic stress to nutrition deficiencies and even sleep habits, these elements can significantly impact hair health.
So, what are they, and what’s the connection?
What Lifestyle Factors Can Cause Hair Loss?
While hereditary factors are often considered the main cause of hair loss in women and men, as mentioned, it’s important to recognise that lifestyle factors can also significantly contribute to this common issue.
Here are some aspects of your daily lives to look into before diving headfirst into hair transplant treatments offered by hair transplant clinics. These very well could be the hidden culprits behind your hair loss:
Stress, an inevitable aspect of modern life, can significantly impact our hair health. While everyday stressors like traffic jams or annoying office mates don’t typically lead to hair loss, chronic and severe stress can eventually take a toll on your locks.
This is because when enduring prolonged stress, your body responds by releasing cortisol, often referred to as the “stress hormone.” Elevated levels of this hormone can interfere with the natural hair growth cycle, causing more follicles to enter the shedding phase and fewer to enter the growth phase. This can lead to hair thinning and, in some instances, even baldness. Additionally, chronic stress may drive individuals towards unhealthy coping mechanisms like smoking, further exacerbating the issue of hair loss.
Do note, however, that while stress itself may not directly cause genetic hair loss, it can exacerbate or trigger stress-related hair loss conditions, such as:
- Telogen Effluvium: This condition occurs after a specific stressful or traumatic event or due to prolonged chronic stress. It results in a high number of follicles entering the resting phase simultaneously, with hair loss becoming noticeable months later when new hairs fail to replace the shed ones.
- Trichotillomania: This psychological condition is characterised by an obsessive urge to pull out one’s hair. The most effective treatment in this case usually involves psychological therapy aimed at addressing the underlying mental issues.
2. Nutrition and Diet
You’ve heard the phrase ‘you are what you eat,’ and when it comes to hair health, this saying holds true, too.
This means that ensuring your diet provides a well-rounded mix of essential nutrients is of utmost importance when it comes to fostering the growth and well-being of your hair. Conversely, insufficiencies in key vitamins, minerals, and proteins can contribute to hair loss. Take Vitamin D and Vitamin B12, which are crucial for hair growth; absence of these micronutrients can lead to brittle hair and potential hair loss.
Which other vitamin deficiencies cause hair loss, you ask? Some of the key nutrients for healthy hair that you wouldn’t want to be deficient in include:
- Protein: Did you know your hair predominantly consists of protein? This makes its presence in your diet pivotal for fostering strong and lush hair development.
- Iron: Iron is essential for producing a specific protein in the red blood cells. This protein’s primary function is to transport oxygen to the cells throughout your body, aiding in their growth and recuperation. This, in turn, promotes hair growth by supplying your hair follicles with the necessary nutrients and oxygen to grow healthily.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D plays a role in numerous signalling pathways that regulate the growth and differentiation of hair follicles. Existing research suggests that this essential vitamin serves as a stimulant for hair follicles, encouraging their growth. Therefore, insufficient levels of vitamin D in the body may exert an impact on the health and vitality of your hair.
- Zinc: Zinc serves to maintain the structure and integrity of hair follicles within the scalp. It is involved in the synthesising of DNA and RNA which is essential for cell division and proliferation.
- Copper: Copper stimulates blood flow to the scalp, allowing hair follicles to receive adequate supply of vitamins, minerals and oxygen needed to remain healthy and functioning.
- Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 increase oxygen delivery to hair follicles and stimulate replacement of lost strands.
3. Poor Sleep Habits
In today’s fast-paced world, securing a restful night’s sleep can often feel like a luxury. Nevertheless, the quality and duration of your sleep can influence the health of your hair. But how so?
During the stages of deep sleep, our bodies engage in vital restorative processes, including the repair and rejuvenation of hair follicles. Naturally, as you would have guessed, inadequate sleep disrupts these crucial functions, resulting in hormonal imbalances and disturbances in the hair growth cycle. This disruption can lead to an upsurge in hair shedding and a decline in hair regrowth.
Additionally, sleep deprivation can trigger the release of stress hormones that could induce hair loss. Beyond that, a compromised immune system brought forth by inadequate sleep may render you more susceptible to conditions like scalp infections and other disorders that could contribute to hair loss.
4. Consumption of Certain Medications
While medications serve the essential purpose of addressing various health conditions, it’s worth noting that some may come with unintended side effects, including hair loss.
One notable example is birth control pills, which are designed to influence hormone levels in the body. However, for certain individuals, this hormonal adjustment can even trigger conditions like telogen effluvium or androgenetic alopecia, both culminating in hair loss.
It’s important to note that medication-induced hair loss is typically temporary, and hair should start to regrow once you discontinue the medication. However, as always, it’s crucial to consult with your medical professional before making any drastic changes to your medication regimen.
Preserving Your Hair Health Amidst Life’s Challenges
To maintain the well-being of your hair despite life’s demands, it’s essential to proactively address these potential issues. Implementing healthy scalp practices and thoughtful lifestyle choices can help minimise their impact on your hair. From effective stress management techniques to dietary adjustments and improved sleep habits, a variety of strategies are available to enhance and protect your hair’s condition.
Take action today to ensure the health and beauty of your hair. If you do, however, require further information or have concerns regarding your hair’s health, it’s advisable to seek personalised guidance and support from a healthcare professional or a hair expert.