It always comes as a shock when a young or middle-aged man finds clumps of hair in the shower drain and in the comb and hair brush. Thinning hair is often a sign of aging and the progression of family genetic history. Most balding men begin to notice thinning hair around age 35, and it just gets worse with each passing year.
But did you know that there are non-biological reasons for thinning hair? If you live on a fast food diet, one that is rich in fat and carbohydrates, odds are your body is not getting the proper nourishment it needs. Thinning hair can be a sign of protein or vitamin deficiency. Like tree rings, how well – or poorly – we treat our bodies often shows up in the quality of the hair.
Protein-rich food is good for hair health, and diets which reflect normal protein intake yield stronger, shinier, more durable hair shafts. Vitamins A, E and B are good for normal skin oil production, blood circulation and hair color, in that order. Foods that are abundant in healthy fatty acids like Omega 3 and Omega 6 are good for the skin and by extension the hair follicles. It’s also important to stay well hydrated so that the cells in the hair follicles can function properly.
Men who smoke should know that this nasty and expensive habit not only causes lung cancer and heart disease, it narrows the arteries and restricts normal blood flow to the scalp and hair follicles. Overindulgence in alcohol also restricts normal blood flow and contributes to hair thinning.
Thinning hair also has a behavioral dimension. Brushing wet hair literally can break the hair shafts and pull the hair out from the roots. Vigorous dry toweling of the hair also causes undue strain on the shafts and roots and can have a negative impact on normal hair regrowth. Regular exercise is hair-healthy just as much as it is good for overall health. It gets the heart pumping and the blood flowing, which provides vital nourishment to the hair follicles. On the other hand, rapid weight loss can shock the hair follicles, resulting in thinning hair.
Men who think it manly to hide their emotions or who express them poorly are like pressure cookers and exploding volcanoes. It all comes down to stress or, rather, the ability to cope with stress. Too much stress, like smoking, constricts the blood vessels in the scalp and affects normal hair recycling.
If thinning hair or baldness runs in your family the odds are you are next in line. But if your hair loss can be traced to dietary, emotional, or behavioral issues, then you are in control of the process, provided you make the necessary lifestyle changes.
A qualified hair replacement surgeon is a good source for answers and solutions to the problem of thinning hair. Dr. Kyle S. Choe is a board certified facial plastic surgeon and hair restoration expert located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He can be reached at The Choe Center for Facial Plastic Surgery at (757) 389-5850 for a personal consultation.