Nutrition: Dry hair and hair loss



Good nutrition is important to prevent dry hair and hair lossNutrition is important when it comes to caring for your hair. But despite popular naturopathic belief that most hair loss comes from inside, I have found in my experience that what we do on the outside affects hair loss even more.

If you are colouring your hair, straightening it, perming it or using a hair dryer, you increase your chances of hair loss. Air conditioning and the chemicals in shampoos and hair products, hair dyes, gels, sprays etc all take their toll. Yes, food and illnesses do affect hair loss, but don’t blame it all on your ill health if you are using the above toxic substances.

Hair becomes dry and brittle for many reasons, as does the scalp. If you experiencing a lot of hair loss, then you need to assess your stress levels and find ways to calm and nourish your nervous system. Also it would be a good idea to have a blood test and check your thyroid, as these can affect how much hair you are losing. Remember though that it is natural to lose a certain amount of hair each day as new hair grows.

Regarding your nutrition, you need to take a good multivitamin daily, which contains minerals as well as herbs. Include in your nutritional program some essential fatty acids in your diet, for example from nuts, seeds, oily fish and cod liver oil supplements. Healthy hair relies on a variety of nutrients such as vitamins A, B, zinc, protein, iron and silica.

Then start looking at how you treat your hair. Do you use colours, perms or other techniques? As much as possible, that has to stop. If you must colour your hair to get rid of those few grey’s, then don’t also perm. Try not to use a hair dryer except just initially, to take the dampness out, for a minute or two. Have a style that is easy for you to manage without the fuss and give it a good trim every 4-6 weeks, even if you are trying to grow it longer.

Include a 10-minute head massage a few times a week to stimulate the circulation and balance the sebum levels in the scalp. Use some aromatherapy oils in a blend with a vitamin E base or some Moroccan oil. If your scalp is a bit oily, just use the oil on the ends of the hair so they do not split.

A good massage blend which will moisturise your scalp and provide good nutrition if it is dry is 50mL extra-virgin olive oil, 12 drops Roman chamomile and 8 drops lavender. Massage it in and leave for 20 minutes minimum before shampooing. Store the oils in a dark glass bottle and use within 2 months.

An alternative to manufactured shampoos which will provide nutritional support for your hair is to start making your own. Buy just the shampoo base, which will cost you about $5-6 for a huge container which will last months. Then, mix a carrier oil of almond, jojoba or grapeseed (about 50mL) with some Roman chamomile (12 drops), lavender (8 drops), rosemary (5 drops) and frankincense (5 drops). Make sure you only buy the natural oils. They cost a bit more but it’s worth it. You don’t want chemicals in your hair. Shake and add this to the shampoo base and then shake the whole mixture again. Use this to shampoo as you would any other shop-bought shampoos. Do not use anything else on your hair except this for about three months. You will notice a change.

Remember with essential oils to not use neroli or rosemary if you are pregnant or epileptic. Do not use ylang ylang if you have LOW blood pressure. Less is best when mixing oils. Always mix essential oils oils in a carrier oil when massaging them into hair or skin. Make sure the oils are all natural so no chemicals are released into your body. As a rule when selecting essential oils, go by what smells nice to you, and don’t mix more than a few oils together at a time.

Instead of a conditioner, use Roman chamomile (mixed in carrier oil) just on the ends after you have towel-dried your hair. Do not use rosemary if you are pregnant and do not use chamomile if you have low blood pressure. Also throw away your hair brush and only comb your hair. Buy a good natural moisturiser and rub it through your hair daily, remembering that the mid-section, if you look after it, will one day give you wonderful, unsplit ends.

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Jenetta Haim runs Stressfree Management at 36 Gipps Road, Greystanes, and specialises in assisting your health and lifestyle in all areas by developing programs on either a corporate or personal level to suit your needs. Jenetta has just published a book called Stress-Free Health Management, A Natural Solution for Your Health available from your favourite bookstore or online. For more information and to get in touch, visit her website.