Myth 1: Mostly Men Experience Hair Loss
Fact: While hair loss, especially complete balding, is mostly associated with men, female hair loss is on the rise. According to the American Hair Loss Association, 40% of women deal with hair loss and the Cleveland Clinic claims 50% of women experience major hair loss by age 70. For either sex, it can be absolutely devastating for their self-image and emotional well-being.
Unfortunately, society has forced women to suffer in silence. It is considered far more acceptable for men to go through the same hair loss process. Furthermore, the medical community also acts as if women's hair loss is nonexistent. Since it doesn't appear to be life-threatening, most physicians pay little attention to women's complaints and essentially tell patients that "it's no big deal" and "you'll just have to live with it."
Of course, what these physicians don't seem to realize is the psychological damage caused by hair loss and feeling unattractive can be just as devastating as any serious disease, and in fact, the emotional toll it takes directly affects physical health.
The American Hair Loss Association recognizes that hair loss for women is a serious life-altering condition that can no longer be ignored by the medical community and society as a whole.
Balding in males and females can be related to androgen hormones, such as dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It is essential for a range of functions within the human body, which both men and women produce. As the hormone responsible for male sexual maturation, DHT is what makes men physically different from women. Because these hormones play a more critical role in male development, men have more of them, which correlates to the complete balding known as male pattern baldness. In females, however, hair thinning tends to occur all over the scalp rather than complete balding.
Myth 2: Hair Loss is Not Reversible
Fact: If you believe that thinning hair means you’re resigned to a life of wearing extensions, wigs, and hats to cover up sparse strands, it’s time to reconsider. As the science behind hair loss continues to expand, so do the non-medicated alternatives to support hair and scalp health. Taking a holistic and multifaceted approach to bolstering both the health of your body, scalp and hair is the best choice in achieving sustainable results.
Certain types of hair loss, such as telogen effluvium, which is stress-related hair thinning, are also temporary. In this case, once the external stressor that is taxing your body, scalp, and strands disappears, the hair thinning will also likely resolve itself over time.
The key is catching hair loss early. When you don’t address it head-on, you risk scarring of the hair-scalp-follicles, making regrowth next to impossible.
Myth 3: You Can’t Stop Hereditary Hair Loss, Especially those Inherited by Your Father
Fact: You can’t fight genetics — or can you? It’s a fair assessment that family history may make you more predisposed to thinning hair, including your Mother’s genes - they are just as important! But, a new science called epigenetics or nutrigenomics finds ways to alter the pattern, and re-express metabolic genes or at least slow down the production of DHT. Fortunately, your environment and lifestyle which you can control, can positively affect how genes operate or “express” as the study of epigenetics has discovered - exciting new knowledge!
Myth 4: Young Women Don’t Have to Worry
Fact: Hair loss can be a harrowing experience, and it's typically thought to be something that happens as we grow older. While it is true; women over 40 have a higher rate of hair thinning, younger women have to watch out.
Factors such as stress or over-styling, can lead to increased hair shedding, thinning, and other hair complications. As mentioned above, hormones play a huge role in hair issues, including life events such as pre- and post-partum, pregnancy, early onset menopause, and menopause.
Female hair thinning can occur at any point during the reproductive years, and some types of hair loss, such as androgenic alopecia, have occurred as early as the teenage years. Women can also experience increased DHT if the body produces more testosterone. This can be related to specific endocrine (hormonal) health conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Myth 5: Wearing a Ponytail Causes Hair Loss
Fact: You may have heard of traction alopecia, a type of hair loss that occurs as a result of the persistent pulling of the hair follicles, such as tight hairstyles or hair extensions, which can lead to inflammation within the hair follicles.
While consistently wearing a super-high, tight ponytail that’s painful could result in traction alopecia, simply wearing your hair in a ponytail that’s not tight enough to pull on your hair follicles won’t.
Although traction alopecia does occur, most research suggests that hair loss triggers are primarily connected with what’s going on internally within our body, such as hormones, stress, and inflammation along with diet and overall health.
Myth 6: Biotin is the #1 Hair Growth Supplement
Fact: Biotin deficiency can lead to dry, brittle hair. It does not play a role in hair growth.
Biotin is an important nutrient that helps your body’s metabolism turn carbohydrates, fats, and protein into energy. Research shows that biotin helps your skin cells produce more keratin, a protein that your body needs to help support healthy skin, nails, and hair. People with a biotin deficiency can experience dry brittle hair, scaly rashes, and brittle nails, so including a biotin supplement to increase keratin and boost hair health sounds like a no-brainer, but getting too much biotin can be problematic too. Be sure to work with a practitioner that can recommend the right amount of biotin to fit your individual needs.
Boost your daily intake of essential nutrients by adding a good hair health supplement: here which nourishes your scalp from the inside with biotin and vitamins A, D, E, C, along with minerals selenium, zinc, manganese and more which all work together to support healthy hair!
Myth 7: If I Have a Problem With My Thyroid, I’ll Have a Problem with Hair Thinning
Fact: When you balance your thyroid, you can regrow your hair! This involves proper testing such as an ENTIRE thyroid panel which tests all thyroid markers and antibodies, not just the TSH. This is important because multiple thyroid imbalances are difficult to detect without proper testing including hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, Hashimotos, Graves disease and more, which can play a key role in hair loss. The good news is all thyroid hormones originate in the gut and we can fix it so your hair thinning stops in its tracks!
Myth 8: Acupuncture and Massage Do Not Improve Hair Loss
Fact: They do... There are studies that show massaging your scalp can help with hair loss. This is the scalp massager tool I recommend. And it feels great!
When it comes to acupuncture and professional massage, try to focus on 3 specific levers:
- Acute inflammation generation (to activate wound-healing pathways, encourage new blood vessel formation, and help remodel balding scalp tissues)
- Skin stretching (to turn on genes associated with the hair cycle’s growth phase)
- Perimeter muscle relaxation (to take our scalp perimeter muscles out of chronic contraction — so we can improve blood flow to our scalps and reduce scalp tension)
Myth 9: You Don’t Need to Eat Animal Protein to Grow Your Hair
Fact: You need to eat quality animal protein because it includes the branch chain amino acids and the type of iron that your hair needs and thrives on for growth, shine and overall health!
Too much or too little iron negatively impacts the normal cycle of hair growth. It can cause excessive shedding of hair if it’s not within a specific range. I recommend testing your iron levels and saturation to ensure there’s not too much or too little in your system.
Myth 10: Vitamin D and Vitamin A have Nothing to do with Hair Growth
Fact: Vitamin D plays a role in stimulating new and old hair follicles. If you lack enough Vitamin D, new hair growth can be stunted. Be sure to test your Vitamin D levels and make sure they are within functional ranges, which are narrower and more optional for health and hair than conventional ranges.
Vitamin A helps make sebum that conditions your scalp, which is essential for healthy hair growth. It can also stimulate the growth of hair follicle stem cells. True Vitamin A is hard to get on a regular basis since it’s most prevalent in organ meats and egg yolks. Pluck seasonings are a great source of Vitamin A and D.
Myth 11: Essential Fatty Acids Are Not Necessary for Hair Health and Growth
Fact: Essential fatty acids are linked to hair growth due to the proliferation of hair follicle cells. In addition fatty acids play an important role in the integrity of the membranes in our cells. When we have deficiencies of fatty acids it can cause hair loss and lightening of hair color. A great source is organic extra virgin olive oil from my friends at Kasandrinos.
Myth 12: A Dermatologist Can Help Most with Hair Loss
Fact: It is best to see a Functional Nutritionist, first because they can help you discover the root causes of your unique hair loss situation. Dermatologists are trained to treat hair loss topically with serums or painful and pricey procedures, or medications which I know firsthand do not work. A lasting approach starts from the inside with root cause resolutions.
Did you know there are different types of hair loss? They all require different approaches. The first step is to determine your functional type and cause of hair loss. Take the Hair Loss Quiz for more answers!
The Moral of the Story? Take a Holistic Approach to Thinning Hair
Remember, your best practice on the path to minimizing hair loss and improving hair health is to take a holistic approach to your overall wellness. When you treat your mind and body with consistent and targeted self-care your skin, scalp, and hair will thank you!
We take hair loss very seriously. Different hair problems have different root causes and require different steps to conquer them.
To get started, download our Stopping Hair Loss eGuide at no cost to you!