What Your Hair Says About Your Overall Health
From a messy bun or a dye job gone wrong to that one stray untamable hair, bad hair days are a universal annoyance. But did you know that these little annoyances can actually be helpful in the grand scheme of things? It’s true! The condition of your hair can hold critical information regarding your overall state of health. All you need to do is observe and listen to your locks.
Have you noticed some new “highlights” in the mirror when you wake up? Eventually, we all will. As we age, our follicles’ color production begins to slow, leaving us to go gray over time, and while going gray is only natural, it’s your genes that decide when that natural process begins.
However, if you notice flicks of gray popping up much sooner than your parents, it could signify something more. Premature graying is a common indicator that your body is experiencing extreme amounts of stress. This stress, known as “oxidative stress,” causes cell-damaging free radicals to halt follicle repair processes and affect your hair coloring.
Increased Hair Loss
The food we eat affects more than our fitness. It contains essential vitamins and nutrients that are major contributing factors to skin and hair health. If you’ve noticed more and more hair collecting on your brush or around the shower drain, it may be a sign you’re experiencing Anemia, or an iron deficiency.
Iron deficiencies can be identified in anyone through a simple blood test and are common in those with vegetarian dietary choices that often lack iron-rich foods like chicken and red meats. Anemia is also often found in those experiencing significant hormonal changes, such as those who recently gave birth. Iron deficiencies can be easily corrected through supplements and dietary changes.
Thinning Hair and Alopecia
A thick head of hair is often a sign of a healthy scalp. So, when your locks become noticeably sparse, it could be a tell-tale sign of hypothyroidism. This glandular condition affects nearly five out of 100 Americans ages 12 and older and can be treated with thyroid medications. Hypothyroidism can also sometimes lead to the development of Alopecia, an auto-immune condition that causes large sections of sudden hair loss.
Drying Out/Brittle Hair
Has your hair seemingly lost its healthy luster? This lack of shine could be a sign that your hair is in need of moisture and possibly be due to a more serious, underlying factor such as:
- Anorexia: an eating disorder
- Menkes Syndrome: a rare genetic disease resulting in copper deficiency
- Hypoparathyroidism: a parathyroid condition causing a calcium deficiency
Your board-certified dermatologist will be able to examine your scalp to determine if this dryness is cause for more intensive treatment or simply just a change in hair care products.
If you are a Lowcountry resident experiencing noticeable changes to the state of your hair or scalp, our team at Charleston Dermatology is here to help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled, board-certified dermatologists, or visit our website to learn more about our skincare services.