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6 Things Your Hair Health Can Tell About Your Health

By June 25, 2021 - 7:32am

Your hair can tell you a lot about your overall health. Hair loss and thinning could be provoked by nutritional deficiencies, thyroid issues, high stress levels, and other health problems. Changes in hair structure and texture can reveal everything from what you consume to whether you’re on birth control. Here are six things your hair can tell about your health:

1. You have extremely high levels of stress
On average, we naturally lose about 80 to 100 hairs per day. However, if you notice shedding that’s out of the ordinary, it might stem from telogen effluvium. This is a period of hair thinning provoked by psychological and physical stressors like illness, pregnancy, or depression. Fortunately, this problem is reversible, however, it can be tricky to find out what provoked the shedding because the shift isn’t noticeable until three to six months after the stressor takes place.

2. Your thyroid is in trouble
If your hair is suddenly thinning, talk to your healthcare provider about your thyroid health. The thyroid is an endocrine gland that’s involved in many processes in your body and affects hair growth. Hair thinning might indicate hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones.

Hair thinning might also be the result of a hormonal imbalance linked to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which affects how a woman’s ovaries function. This health issue can contribute to excessive hair shedding and thinning on the scalp, especially in people with a genetic predisposition.

3. You could use more SPF protection
If you’ve got dry, brittle hair that breaks easily, think about how much time you’re spending outside. Too much sun exposure can dry and damage your hair, especially if you have blonde or gray locks. Additionally, if you have thin hair, your scalp is more prone to sunburns. When you’re outside, consider wearing a hat with sun-protective fabric that has a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) of 30.

4. You’re more prone to dental problems
Those with hair problems related to mutations of the hair protein keratin (called anagen hair syndrome, in which hair pulls out easily) should more frequently visit a dental specialist due to an increased risk of dental cavities.

Keratin is a critical building block for both your hair and tooth enamel. That’s why mutations of this protein also contribute to a softer tooth surface that’s susceptible to bacteria and decay. If you suffer from a known hair disorder, it’s a good idea to take steps to be extra vigilant about your dental health.

5. You’re on new birth control pills
It’s normal when your body responds to hormones from birth control pills. You may notice your hair can become finer, drier, and less shiny. This might be especially noticeable if you dye your hair regularly.

Since dry hair absorbs color faster, the same color job might have different results from your last appointment. Since birth control pills can provoke hair thinning, consider talking to your doctor about a non-hormonal type of birth control, especially if you have a strong predisposition for genetic hair loss.

6. You’re consuming too much junk food
Following a diet full of highly processed products can contribute to dull and thin hair. If you don’t follow a balanced diet, your body transports whichever nutrients it can get to your heart and other crucial organs, leaving your hair behind.

Add more colorful whole foods to your diet. If your hair is slow to grow, you might have a lack of protein, the main building block of hair. Consider consuming more meat, chicken, eggs, fish, tofu, whole grains, and nuts.

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