Oftentimes at the start of the new year, people resolve to shed pounds or shed their debt. Never did I imagine I would be writing about another type of shedding: the shedding of my hair!
I admit, I’ve never had long, glamorous, Kim Kardashian locks, but after baby number three, my fine hair fell out at an astronomical rate. To top it off, the same year the hair fell, I turned thirty. I lovingly refer to my ripe old age of thirty and hair loss as my Dirty Thirty!
The hair loss really affected me emotionally, and it’s been a daily stressor when I look down at the shower drain. I had no idea I was so attached to my hair. Seriously, I have had days where I count the strands, praying I don’t lose more than the normal range of fifty to a hundred strands a day.
There are so many reasons for hair loss. For me personally, all the hormonal changes due to having three babies in six years played a big role, in addition to iron deficiency and vitamin deficiency.
There were a lot of surprises (amazing rewards too) after becoming a mother that no one ever told me about. One of the biggest misconceptions was that breastfeeding is easy. Not the case for me at all, period. And second was the little (or well) known fact that hair loss is imminent after childbirth and breastfeeding due to all the hormonal changes.
I am not an MD, nor do I have my degree in nutrition, but I’ve met with my doctors, and read a lot about hair loss and nutrition online and in books (OK, I have seen a lot of Dr. Oz shows too), but in 2015, I plan to dedicate extra TLC to my hair.
Here are my top five natural ways to prevent hair loss.
- Invest in a good dry shampoo and wash hair every other day. You won’t see me in dreadlocks anytime soon because I love a freshly shampooed and combed head of hair, but just like our skin, hot water dehydrates strands of hair, leading to dry, brittle hair that’s more prone to break. According to Dr. Oz, we should rinse the conditioner out in cold water and wash our hair only when it’s dirty. I can commit to washing my hair every other day, and if it looks oily, a good dry shampoo should do the trick.
- Invest in healthy oils. I love organic solutions to common problems, and hair loss is no exception. Argan oil is derived from the nut of the argan tree in Morocco, and is often referred to as liquid gold. I use it as a moisturizer, but it can also help repair hair damage. Add a drop to your hands and apply it to hair after a shower, or leave it in overnight and wash it out in the morning. Another good treatment that has been used to stimulate the scalp is an essential oil blend that smells amazing. Blend one tablespoon of organic coconut oil or jojoba oil with twenty-five drops of lavender essential oil and twenty-five drops of rosemary. Massage this mixture into the scalp and leave overnight, then wash out in the morning.
- Drink more water, get more sleep, and manage stress. I realize these are three large categories rolled into one, but it basically boils down to the fact that my health needs to be a priority. These are tough and lofty goals with a family of five, a growing blog, and the stresses of everyday life. However, constant stress can contribute to hair shedding. Thus, in 2015 I will try to warmly welcome more ZZZs, hot water with lemon in the morning (the lemon water is hydrating, anti-inflammatory, and cleansing), downward dog, longer walks, and relaxation time.
- Eat more nutrient-rich foods and omega-3 fatty acids. Just like our organs need nutrients to function properly, our hair needs nutrients to grow. For me, I need to increase my iron intake, so a lot more spinach salads topped with strawberries and lentils are in my near future. Insider tip: Iron is more easily and better absorbed when taken with vitamin C, and it does not absorb well when taken with calcium. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids are healthy for the heart and brain, and anti-inflammatory for the body, and some studies have indicated they may help reduce hair loss. Wild salmon will make its way to our dinner table more frequently, and I plan to sprinkle more flax seeds in my smoothies and on my yogurt sundaes. A good multi-vitamin may be a good idea too, for those days when BBQ chips and ice cream seem like a good idea.
- Remain good friends with my hairstylist. My hair will never look like Jennifer Lopez’s, even on a really, really good hair day. Unless I get extensions and a hairstylist on the daily payroll, I’m dreaming to think my hair will ever be Pantene commercial ready. So, I need to embrace a look that will work for my hair, my style, and the shape of my face. I plan to create the illusion of thick full hair with a cute, shorter cut.
Hair loss is a common problem, so if you’re experiencing it like me, you’re not alone. Visit your doctor to diagnose why your hair is thinning, and come up with a plan for 2015.
A new year + new hair = a new you.
image: Getty / Wonwoo Lee
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