A Complete Guide to Stopping Hair Loss
Hair loss is scary, embarrassing, and hard to fix. As a 20-year-old who has already suffered through severe hair loss, I know the anxiety and shame it can bring. Over the last year, I have tried many different things to stop my hair from thinning, and finally after months of searching, researching, and visiting doctors (Chinese and Western), I have found solutions and, encouragingly, I have seen new growth.
So What Causes It?
Hair is one of those inessential parts of the body, meaning that if your body is under stress or pressure, your body will focus on keeping you alive and healthy rather than having a full head of hair! There are many contributing factors:
- Vitamin D deficiency: Because most people spend their time indoors, behind a desk, or on the couch, a surprisingly high percentage of the population has insufficient levels of vitamin D (which is synthesized in the skin through exposure to UV rays). Studies have shown that low vitamin D levels cause hair loss.
- Too much vitamin D: High levels of vitamin D can also cause hair loss, which is why it is important to have the right balance.
- Iron deficiency: Iron is important for your hair, nails, and skin. Too little can cause hair to fall out or make the hair follicles smaller so your hair strands end up being thinner.
- Calcium deficiency: Calcium is also important for your hair, and if you are not getting enough vitamin D (which is needed for absorbing calcium), your hair may fall out.
- Stress: Stress causes hair loss. This is widely known, and seeing your hair fall out can just add to that stress! It takes from 1 - 4 months after a stressful incident for the hair to start falling out.
- Lack of sleep: If you are not sleeping well, this can also have a negative effect on your hair.
- The type of shampoo you use: Shampoo may also be making your hair fall out. Natural shampoos are much better for your hair and scalp than chemically-based ones.
- Food allergies: Various food allergies, especially to dairy, can cause your hair to fall out.
- Coeliac (or Celiac, as it is known in the US) disease: It is not widely known that hair loss is a symptom of Coeliac, which is when the small intestine cannot break down gluten, and ingredient found in bread, pasta, wheat products, etc.
How I Cured My Hair Loss
Being so young and losing your hair is scary, especially if you try to sort the problem out yourself. There are so many websites explaining hair loss, and they all seem to say different things. This is the step-by-step guide to how I cured my hair loss:
- About one year ago, I found that I was leaving many strands of hair on my pillow each morning, and every time I dried my hair with a towel, the towel would be covered in hair. Even running my hand through my hair meant losing at least a few strands, so I went to see my doctor.
- My doctor asked if I had any family history of hair loss, and I told him that my father was bald (although everyone else in my family has a full head of hair!). He prescribed two medicines: One was a topical (Rogaine) and the other was a pill (Propecia).
- I took the medicine for a couple of months and applied the lotion, but when I didn't see any benefit, I stopped taking the medicine. I went back to the doctor and he said the hair loss could be hormonal or due to stress and that I should wait a while to see if it went away by itself. It didn't.
- I started to research online. I found out that vitamin deficiencies are a leading cause of premature hair loss, so I started to take a multivitamin. To my surprise, it worked slightly, as the amount of hair that I lost decreased, but I still had hair loss.
- I started to research vitamin deficiencies and found out that there are a few main causes, including leaky gut and Coeliac, both of which cause the small intestine to basically attack itself, resulting in the mal-absorption of vitamins and minerals.
- I started a strict diet, which involved no wheat or gluten, (there are alternatives for these, including tasty cakes and breads, which you can find in your supermarket).
- I also found out that a dairy intolerance can also lead to balding. Since my dad has always suffered from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), I tried quitting dairy, too. After these dietary changes my overall health improved and my hairloss slowed considerably.
- After more research, I found that sufferers of Coeliac (which I now know I have) are usually deficient in calcium, vitamin D, and iron, so I started to take daily supplements of these. After only a few weeks, my hair loss stopped completely.
What I Learned From My Research
Hair loss is a sign that there is something wrong with your body. Rather than try to fix it with shampoos and medications, try fixing things such as your sleep patterns, alcohol intake, and even diet. It's not what you put on your scalp but what you put in your body that really makes a difference.
Another important thing is to learn how to control stress. Seeing your hair fall out is really stressful, especially if you are young, but it is important to learn how to relax, as this will also help in reducing your hair loss.
On Head and Shoulders Shampoo
There have been rumors flying around the Internet about the effect of Head and Shoulders on hair loss. I used Head and Shoulders Hair Retain for Men for a couple of months. After I started taking the vitamins and changed my diet, I could still feel that my scalp was itchy, and a few hairs were still falling out from the top of my head.
I decided to stop using Head and Shoulders and switch to a more natural shampoo (I now use Loccitane, which can be purchased from department stores) and my hair loss stopped completely. I can't say definitely whether or not it was because my body was still recovering, or whether it was in fact because I stopped using that brand of shampoo, but I can tell you that after switching shampoos, my scalp and hair is a lot healthier!
This may not help everyone, but it worked for me, and I hope that by writing this I will be able to help at least one other person beat their hair loss!