Does Hair Hold a Mirror To Your Health?

Snow Queen

While Iridology (the study of the human iris) has long been recognised  as a means of detecting certain types of health problems, it does not always follow that hair problems indicate an underlying health issue. As many of us know we can be as fit as a flea and pass every medical test otherwise yet still suffer unexplained hair loss.

What we do know is that hair does not take kindly to extreme temperatures and those who over-process their hair or move to tropical climes in particular can suffer from brittle or falling hair. Hair also dislikes the winter, reacting to extreme cold by becoming frizzy, dry and brittle. Extremes of temperature or overuse of heated hair products will dehydrate the hair and strip it of its natural oils so it is important to be aware of and use the appropriate protective products and head wear in extreme temperatures. Overwashing should also be avoided as this too can strip hair of its natural oils. Weather and hair treatment aside, a lot of people are literally dehydrated because they do not drink enough water each day despite the fashion for carrying personal water bottles around. Two litres a day is the recommended amount to cleanse the body of toxins and keep it hydrated.

Generally speaking hair problems first show themselves when you find you are having more ‘bad hair days’ than good and notice that the texture is becoming thinner and wispier. If you are a man or suffer from Alopecia you might also begin to notice bald spots forming.

At this point you should visit your doctor and get tested for

  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Hormone imbalance including thyroid dysfunction
  • Diabetes

and request a Ferritin test to establish if your body is synthesising Iron properly. Bear in mind that if you have a family history of hair loss, you may need to aim for a 40% higher than average Ferritin reading (if it is in the middle range) and if it is too low you may also need to take an Iron supplement to counter anaemia. Additional B12 can also be helpful.

It is also worth paying to see a trichologist or dermatologist who can diagnose and treat any scalp problems. If you have a scalp condition, wash your hair with a medicated dandruff shampoo that contains salicylic acid. Otherwise seek a PH-balanced shampoo that preferably avoids parabens. Tea tree oil shampoo has been shown to be beneficial to the healing process if you seek a herbal option.

30% of women suffer from hair thinning following menopause. Up to 50% of women can be helped through HRT therapy, though this does not work for everyone.

Premature Greying

Greying from your 20s is mostly genetic. But stress (which uses up the vitamin B), nutritional and hormonal factors can also influence hair colour. However if there is no obvious genetic or stress-related reason it is worth having the medical tests above done. In my own case Vitamin B12 tablets have made my fading hair darker again.

Shorter Hair on Crown

If you’ve noticed that the length of your hair is shorter on top owing to breakage, it is likely that your diet lacks protein. Ensure you eat some protein every day and reduce sugar and alcohol (which also contains loads of sugar) consumption and stop smoking.