So far, in our “Heads Up! Women’s hair rejuvenation solutions for thinning hair” series, we have covered a lot of different nonsurgical treatment options and recommendations for addressing hair thinning and loss, including Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP), Low Level Laser Therapy, certain topical products and vitamin supplements. In this post, Part 5, I am going to explain how getting yourself in a better place, both physically and mentally, can have a positive effect on the status of your hair. Of course, there are certain aspects of your own health that you just can’t control but there are plenty of things you can be doing to optimize the effectiveness of treatments like PRP and laser therapy.
Healthy living is a commitment that yields benefits in many aspects of our lives, from our relationships with friends and family, to the amount of energy we have to get through the day. When I say “healthy living” to my patients, they first think, “healthy diet,’ but that’s only part of it. I’m referring to overall wellness of the mind and body, because when hair is at its healthiest, treatment will be most effective.
Feed Your Head: As I mentioned, the most immediate thought about healthy living is a healthy diet, which is simply taking in the proper nutrients that your body needs to function most efficiently. I tell patients not to think of it as a “diet” in terms of weight loss. Drastic changes in weight can trigger hair loss, so avoid fad-y crash diets! The most recent Dietary Guidelines by the US Department of Agriculture recommends eating a variety of dark green, red and orange vegetables, a variety of proteins, including eggs, lean meats and seafood that are low in solid fats, choosing whole grains over refined grains, and avoiding consumption of trans-fatty acids and added sugars. The nutrients these foods offer not only regulate your body, but they are the nutrients (e.g., iron, vitamins A and C in dark leafy greens and biotin in eggs) that build stronger hair strands.
I do want to make one point regarding supplements. As I have mentioned previously, supplements can be effective in filling in the holes in your nutrition. However, I can’t stress enough that health doesn’t come in a bottle, pill, or capsule. Vitamins can support a patient’s health, but a supplement is exactly what its name says: a supplement, which is, by definition, something that completes or enhances when added to something else. Supplements help complete your diet, but do not replace the nutrients that you should consume naturally through whole foods.
Get Fit, Head to Toe: Adults age 18 to 65 are encouraged to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, in addition to completing strength training twice a week (pushups, sit-ups, weights, etc.). That comes out to just over 20 minutes of activity per day, which can be anything from brisk walking, biking, to a dance class. More vigorous activities include playing sports, running at a fast pace, or biking on an incline Physical activity shouldn’t feel like a burden; try fitness classes and activities that you enjoy, and be sure to vary the ones you do.
Optimize Your Mane Event: A healthy lifestyle also needs a sound mind. A simple step toward mental health is getting sufficient sleep –a full eight hours every night to allow your mind and body to rest, recover, process the day before, and prepare for the day ahead. For the best possible sleep, keep a regular schedule (fall asleep and wake up around the same time every day), and don’t drink caffeine four to six hours before falling asleep. This is especially helpful for emotional health and regulating your mood and energy levels.
De-Stress Your Tresses: Try yoga, which is proven to help alleviate the the physical effects of anxiety, like gastrointestinal problems and high blood pressure. In addition to stretching and strengthening the body, yoga centers around breathing and has a calming, relaxing effect on the mind. The goal of both activities is to experience what practitioners and gurus describe as transcending one’s self to experience a wholeness, or oneness, with the environment around us.
If you want to learn more about any of our recommended non-surgical solutions to help treat thinning hair, call us to make an appointment for a consultation. If you suffer from female hair loss, Medi Tresse may be your solution; we provide hair regrowth solutions to women throughout the Boston and Wellesley area.
Posted by Mary Wendel, M.D.