Many women go to great lengths and spare no expense when it comes to getting the look, feel, color, and cut of the hair that they want. And while you may be busy spending lots of time (and money) on dyeing, curling, straightening, cutting, blow-drying, and chemically treating your hair to achieve the ideal style that you’re seeking, it’s important to look more closely at what your hair might actually be telling you.
Ladies, brittle and thinning hair could be your body’s cry for health. Here is why you need to pay attention to it.
There’s nothing in this world more disturbing than the deteriorating hair health. After all, doesn’t your heart cry out loud every time you shed strands while combing your precious mane? Don’t you cringe when you see that once-thick ponytail of yours turn into one that resembles a thin, worn-out rope? Don’t you simply feel like life has come to a standstill when you see your scalp getting scanty?
Well, if in those moments of grief, you only end up blaming your lack of hair care rituals for your condition–then you’ve got to know that you’re probably thinking on the wrong lines.
We go on to explain and list down the many underlying health issues that the condition of your hair might be indicating.
1. Hair Loss and Graying
While thinning and graying hair can be a standard part of aging for both women and men, a recent study of 2,000 men in India showed that participants who had coronary artery disease were more likely to be prematurely bald or gray. The study, conducted by the European Society of Cardiology on men under 40, discovered that the 50 percent of participants with coronary artery disease were more likely to have gone prematurely gray, versus 30 percent of a healthy control group, the BBC reports. The participants in the heart condition group were also more likely (49 percent) to have male pattern baldness, compared with those in the healthy group (27 percent).
Metabolic or hormonal stress and certain medications can cause hair loss, especially if it is sudden. This condition is called Telogen effluvium, according to Medscape. In a majority of cases, new hair starts growing within six months, but longer durations of the condition also exist.
2. White Flakes Pose No Health Risk
Dandruff isn’t contagious. So how do you get it? Doctors aren’t sure, but one theory is that it may be due to an overgrowth of a fungus. Other possible risk factors include oily skin, stress, obesity, cold, dry weather, and having eczema or psoriasis. Although it’s embarrassing — and the itching can be bothersome — dandruff isn’t harmful.
3. Split Ends
“Water makes up almost 25 percent of the weight of a single strand of hair,” Jacynda Smith, a hairstylist and the founder of beauty company Tyme, told Bustle. With that in mind, Supercuts stylist and hair health expert Caitlyn Perkins says, “Think of your hair like a plant. If you give it all the right things, it will grow beautifully!”
If you find that the ends of your hair could use a little extra hydration, start from the the inside and work on getting the recommended eight eight-ounce cups of water each day.
4. Your Hair is Shedding Like Crazy
Ever take a shower and find yourself amazed at the amount of hair in the drain? While it’s normal for healthy hair to lose a few strands post-wash (up to 100 a day), excessive shedding could indicate a more serious condition. Paradi Mirmirani, MD, dermatologist and regional director of hair disorders at Kaiser Permanente in Vallejo, California explains nutritional deficiencies could be at play, as well as other underlying medical issues, so a visit to your doc ASAP is recommended.
“In addition to being testing for thyroid disease and anemia, your physician may check for certain vitamin and/or mineral deficiencies, including a vitamin D deficiency,” she adds. Worried about hair loss? Here are seven things you need to know.
5. Hair Thinning Could Be a Sign of Thyroid Disease
People who have hypothyroidism, a condition that occurs when your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones, might notice increased hair shedding and a change in hair appearance.
About 4.6 percent of the U.S. population ages 12 and older has hypothyroidism, although most cases are mild. It can cause thinning hair and other symptoms, such as tiredness, cold intolerance, joint pain, muscle pain, a puffy face, and weight gain. A thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test will diagnose the condition, and treatment entails taking thyroid medication.
In addition to thinning hair, certain thyroid disorders put you at risk for an autoimmune hair-loss condition called alopecia areata. This type of hair loss causes round patches of sudden hair loss and is caused by the immune system attacking the hair follicles.
6. Perennially Greasy Hair
If your hair’s always oily despite you washing it regularly, an excess of fat consumption could be to blame for it. This typically means that you’ve got to start eating healthy and dump the junk.
7. Dull and limp hair
For hair to look full and luxurious, it needs sufficient nutrients. Extreme or crash diets deprive your hair of protein, iron, omega-3 fatty acids and zinc. “Very low-calorie diets are often lacking in sufficient nutrients and can stunt hair growth or leave hair dull and limp. If the nutritional deficiency is big enough — like for someone with an eating disorder — hair can fall out,” according to WebMD.