Medical herbalist Nicola Parker writes about hair loss.
When we think of hair loss, we usually think of bald patches, but most hair loss that I come across actually presents as thinning hair.
This type of hair loss is stealthy and it creeps up on you.
It might be your hairdresser that notices it first or it could be that you start noticing more strands falling out when you wash it, brush it or even while you sleep.
Gradually, styling your hair becomes more difficult as your pony tail becomes thinner and up-do’s have less volume.
People often put it down to getting older or changes in hormones, but many types of thinning hair are actually caused by nutrient deficiencies.
Common advice from one’s hairdresser is to pick up some sea kelp.
Sea kelp is used to support a sluggish thyroid, which can lead to thinner and more brittle hair.
Yet most of the people I see requesting sea kelp seem to have no apparent thyroid problems, meaning that sea kelp is unlikely to have much of an effect.
The truth is, with so many remedies out there for hair loss, it’s hard to know what you should take.
The secret, is in knowing what is wrong.
Firstly, check your ferritin levels. You might get them done during a blood test, but your doctor is unlikely to do this for you if there are no other worrying symptoms present.
Luckily there are clues.
Low ferritin is more common in ladies, vegetarians and new mothers.
It is one of your two main iron stores.
The first and most important measurable iron is the one your doctor will check to determine if you are anaemic.
This iron works in your blood to make sure that your body gets enough oxygen.
Your ferritin will ensure that this level remains healthy.
I think of it like an emergency pantry. Ferritin levels are not commonly checked as low ferritin is much less of a concern than low iron.
If your ferritin store becomes depleted, you’ll notice a widespread hair loss, with hair falling frequently and evenly across the scalp making it appear generally thinner.
For this type of hair loss, it’s important to rebuild your ferritin levels.
We do this at my clinic using a remedy called Florisene, a formula designed for ferritin related hair loss.
One of our original reasons for bringing the product into our store was that our colleague was experiencing this exact problem.
She had noticed more loose hair on her pillow after waking, in the plughole after washing her hair and in her hairbrush.
Her hair dresser had started to comment on it.
Looking at her diet, she ate very little red meat, meaning that levels of nutrients that help us absorb iron and replace our ferritin were quite low.
Being a lady of menstruating age, she also lost quite a bit of blood each month, meaning that her need for iron replacing nutrients was higher.
Stores of ferritin can take a few months to replenish, but within a couple of months of using Florisene her hair had stopped falling and she began to see regrowth.
To keep a healthy store of ferritin, eat iron rich foods like red meat, leafy greens and beans.
Avoid drinking tea with meals as this reduces iron absorption.
If your hair is getting thinner but not falling out, it could be that the strands are weak and breaking.
For this, we use silica, a mineral that supports the growth of new hair and nails.
Key signs that you will benefit from silica, are hair or nails that grow slowly.
We often use silica to make hair and nails grow faster after bad hair cuts or disastrous false nail incidents.
The new hair and nails grow back quicker, thicker and stronger, preventing breakage and keeping hair looking fuller.
Hair grows slowly so give any remedy the time it needs to start showing a visible difference.
I usually recommend three to four months.
Whatever remedy you chose, make sure you know how it is working and why it is right for you.
Remember, the key to success is finding the cause.
For more information on hair loss, contact Nicola at her clinic, Health and Herbs on 01524 413733.