We are born with all the hair that we will ever have – about 5 million follicles all over the body and 100,000 on the scalp. Because we can’t regenerate hair follicles during the course of our lives, it’s crucial to keep these follicles in good health to avoid hair thinning or hair loss. While we often associate cosmetic hair care with salons, any hair thinning or hair loss problem should be addressed by a skin care specialist.
How the Hair Grows
Hair is a simple enough structure on the surface. What we don’t know is that we see coming out of the skin is already a string of dead keratin cells that have been pushed out of the hair follicle. (This is why it doesn’t hurt to cut the hair).
The living part of the hair, or hair bulb, nourished by the papilla (a bunch of capillaries that supply blood and nutrients to the hair) is located deep below the skin surface. If you are taking hair supplements, it’s important that they target hair growth at this level.
Each hair strand is at different stages of growth: the anagen or growing phase, the catagen or traditional phase, the telogen or the resting phase, and the exogen or the shedding phase. The majority of hair strands is at the anagen phase at any given time. While the anagen phase for leg hair and hair on other parts of the body only lasts for several months, the anagen phase for scalp hair lasts much longer at 2-8 years.
What Nutrients are Important to Hair Growth?
To maintain a full head of hair, therefore, nourishing hair should start at the roots. While shampoos (which you should use sparingly) and conditioners (which you should use regularly) help make hair shiny and healthy-looking, it’s what you feed the root of the hair that will prevent hair loss. (It is for the same reason that popular laser hair clinic in Singapore targets the root of the hair when a patient wants permanent hair removal.)
Foremost, because hair is made of keratin which is a type of protein, it’s crucial to have sufficient protein in your diet. This is why strict vegans sometimes experience hair loss, with lack of animal protein often the main cause. Protein is what will keep your hair strong at the roots and shiny at the tips.
The kind of protein that you consume also matters if you want to grow luxuriant hair. Marine proteins, such as those found in Viviscal hair supplement, have been shown to have strong effect on hair growth.
This is because marine proteins also contain essential fatty acids that boost keratin. Tuna, mackerel and salmon are excellent animal sources of these fats, while flaxseed oil, almonds and walnuts are vegetarian alternatives. Deficiency in vitamins B6 and B12, while not directly affecting hair health, may lead to hair loss.
What to Do to Reverse Hair Loss?
Some types of hair loss are inevitable because they are predetermined by genetics. Pattern baldness, for example, can only be prevented whereas alopecia areata, round patches of total hair loss, can be reversed.
To prevent hair loss or thinning of hair, you have to understand the underlying causes. If they are due to choice of hair fashion (such as tight braids), frequent use of heat, smoking and excessive brushing, you need to ditch those habits and supplement with Viviscal Professional to let your hair recover.