Many people do not realise that sometimes severe hair loss can actually be a result of stress, anxiety and also Eating Disorders. Losing your hair is scary, especially for women. In addition to this if you’re not entirely sure why, and therefore are unable to prevent it, it can be extremely distressing.
If you google ‘hair loss’ or ‘help with hair loss’, you’ll find an inordinate amount of bulloney, adverts for miracle hair-growth products promising several inches in a matter of days, thicker ,fuller, stronger hair almost instantly.
I’ll be brutally honest here – as this honesty helped me immensely when I was going through losing my hair. There is no quick fix. At least, not for the root of the problem, if you excuse the pun. Of course, some products will make your hair feel a little thicker, perhaps make it shinier, give it a bit of volume. But the real solution for hair loss starts with the scalp.
There are a few general tips below which I have used over the years to prevent and alleviate hair loss, as well as strengthen it after a significant loss after Anorexia.
1. Massage your scalp a little every week. Yes, it’s time consuming – but this will increase blood flow to the hair follicles which stimulates new hair growth. It’s really relaxing and is especially good for your hair and scalp if you combine it with nourishing oils (see below!)
2. Use a special shampoo. Don’t get taken in by the expensive brands – not all of them work. Anything with caffeine or peppermint in is great for scalp stimulation – avoid anything heavy or containing lots of chemicals. Organic and natural shampoos are great – and an old favourite, baby shampoo, is perfect. Ultra-gentle, try to find organic, natural baby shampoo. It will cleanse without harming your hair, and nurture any new hair growth coming through. If that doesn’t take your fancy, then all-natural shampoo bars are also a great way to go. (You can read my reviews of hair loss shampoos and natural methods for more information!)
3. Supplements. Do be careful with these, especially if you are on any other medication. Please consult your doctor before starting anything new, and make sure you source them from somewhere reputable. I have found Biotin to be incredibly effective in boosting the strength and health of my hair, skin and nails, as well as 100% B Vitamins. Sea Kelp can be very good at preventing hair loss also.
4. A good serum or ointment to compliment your hair regime can be a welcome addition to your routine. I used Wella Energy Serum the first time I lost my hair.
5. All the favourite health advice applies. Get Plenty of Sleep, don’t smoke or drink too much.
6. Possibly most importantly of all, eat well. I realise this is really difficult when you are overcoming an Eating Disorder. Foods rich in protein, Omega 3 and B-Vitamins are perfect – nuts and seeds, avocado, dark green leafy vegetables, steaks and oily fish, eggs. Whilst calcium is key to the recovery of your body in general, also drink milk and eat cheese to boost calcium and Vitamin D levels. All easier said than done, I know 🙁 If you’re in recovery, there’s a post dedicated to foods for hair here.)
7. Sun. Sunshine and heat is amazing for your hair. Yes, it’s not always the easiest thing to simply jet off on holiday, but if the weather is nice make sure you make the most of it and let a little get to your head. Again, the heat stimulates the scalp for new growth.
8. Invest in a good conditioner. My favourite oil for hair is castor oil – you can read why here. Argan Oil, pure and organic, is really very good for the ends of your hair or as a hair mask, and I also like coconut oil as a natural conditioner for hair. Adding essential oils can help the efficacy of the oils – my favourite hair growth recipe contains a combination of castor oil ,coconut oil and rosemary essential oil.
9. Relax. This is ironic I know, as it’s probably likely that your hairloss has been caused by trauma in the first place! Although it’s hard, try to remember that if you fret over your hair you will onlybecome embroiled in a vicious circle in which the hair loss is perpetuated by your anxiety about it. My only tip for this is distraction – try to focus on something else and rest easy in the knowledge that you are doing everything you can to help your hair.
10. Check your water. Sounds crazy – yet in some places hair water can make your hair dry and unmanageable. Cheap stores sell mineral water for around 20p for 1.5 litres – if you are feeling that your water is to blame, perhaps try washing your hair with mineral water and see if it makes a difference. I notice that when I am abroad, a higher mineral content of the tap water (usually diverted from a spring) makes my hair thick, soft and shiny.
Finally – don’t take all the advice you hear. Using millions of products on your hair will kill it. Keep it simple – choose a regime and stick to it; you will see results in time.