Hair loss can be distressing — particularly for women. Of course, there are medications, but many of us would like to avoid the unnecessary use of these drugs. So what are some natural alternatives? Here are a few:
More research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of this treatment, but there is anecdotal evidence to support it. The idea is that acupuncture needles help to stimulate the flow of blood to the scalp. In turn, it can help to support the regrowth of hair. And of course, acupuncture is very low-risk, unlike some of the medications used to treat hair loss. Many conventional hair growth products have undesirable side effects.
The idea here is the same as acupuncture — massaging the scalp helps to stimulate blood flow to the area and regrow hair. It is a gentler approach for those who may be wary of needles. And if you do it yourself, it’s free. But it may take longer to see the benefits of this treatment.
Test your hormone levels
Often, hair loss is associated with a hormonal imbalance. It is important to understand what is causing your hair loss so that you can take the appropriate approach to treating it. Naturopathic doctors can order lab work that will test your levels of estrogen, testosterone and progesterone. If you are not currently working with a naturopath, find one in your area who has experience with hormonal imbalances.
Upgrade your diet
Not surprisingly, a nutrient dense diet composed primarily of whole foods can help to promote healthy hair. In addition, it is a good idea to cut out processed products and other foods that can contribute to hormonal imbalances, like soy. A diet that includes plenty of veggies and omega-3 fatty acids will likely help to improve the health of your hair. And if you consume animal products, it’s best to choose high-quality, free-range and grass-fed options.
Anemia can lead to hair loss, so getting tested for it is a good idea for those of us experiencing thinning hair. If you are anemic, choose a high-quality iron supplement. Preferably, you should choose a food-based one, as the body will absorb more of the nutrients. And include plenty of iron-rich foods in your diet, like spinach and other leafy greens.
Early research suggests that there may be a link between vitamin D deficiency and hair loss, though more research is needed. It seems that low levels of vitamin D are linked to telogen effluvium, the loss of hair by excessive shedding. In addition, vitamin D can help to balance hormones, so if your hair loss is hormonal, increasing your vitamin D could be beneficial in that way, as well. This is significant because a large portion of the population is deficient in vitamin D.
It’s a popular belief that biotin can help to improve the health of your hair. And there may be some truth to these claims. It’s thought that biotin can improve the hair’s keratin structure. However, it’s unclear exactly what role biotin plays in the health of the hair and biotin deficiency is relatively rare. While biotin may be ineffective for many women, it could potentially be beneficial for those with a deficiency.
Cut back on stress
Hair loss can often be attributed to stress. When the body is under chronic stress, the adrenals release excess amounts of the stress hormone cortisol. Many naturopathic doctors and others believe that this can lead to adrenal fatigue and a hormonal imbalance. Since we know that hair loss is often hormonal, it’s not hard to see the role that stress can play. So hair loss might be your body’s way of telling you that there’s something in your daily life that’s not serving you. It would probably benefit your overall health — not just the health of your hair — to assess and determine if there are any positive changes you can make.
There are a number of herbal remedies thought to support the health of the scalp and hair. Specific recommendations will depend upon your unique condition. Many acupuncturists and Chinese medicine practitioners are trained to give advice in this area.
Hair loss can be upsetting and it is frustrating when you find yourself trying many different treatments and still not seeing results. For that reason, it is important to figure out the underlying cause of your hair loss. A medical professional can help you to determine it. Once you have this information, you can begin to take a more effective approach. And the good news is, there are treatments that to do not require the use of drugs. The treatments mentioned here are good places to start. A medical professional can help you to develop a treatment plan that is unique to your needs.
— Sarah Cooke