Hair, oh lovely hair. It’s our crowning glory. Superficial as it sounds, if you’re having a bad hair day, it’s hard to have a great day. That’s what hairbands and hats are for. But what if hair loss is actually a health problem. How would you know? How many times are you cleaning out your hair brush? How often is the shower clogged with hair? For most of us, hair loss is a natural process that goes unnoticed. Egos aside, hair loss can signal a dysfunction of our overall health and wellness. If you don’t understand the underlying causes of hair loss, you can’t change or reduce it. That’s where Michael Suba of Continental Hair, a premier wig and hair salon in Canada, comes in. He sat down with Italy-based Tricological Expert Cristiano Renna about what causes hair loss, and what you can do about it. His answers may surprise you.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LOSING YOUR HAIR
What Causes Hair Loss?
For men and women, hair loss can be devastating. Besides being part of our identity, hair can help signal our overall health. In fact, hair is made up of dead cells which provide a history of the last few months and years of our lives. It can tell us how we were feeling, eating, resting and managing our daily lives. But, why do some of us lose our hair?
1. It’s in the genes The reality is that hair loss is often genetic, due to male/female pattern baldness. A good chunk of the population — 28.9% — will lose their hair over time due to genetics, and surprisingly, women lose their hair at the same rate as men; they just have different hair loss patterns.
2. It’s in the hormones Hormones can play a huge role in hair loss. Shifting and surging hormones due to pregnancy and times of stress can cause hormonal imbalances which can also lead to hair loss.
3. It’s in the food Your diet can also dictate your hormonal output. Understanding that what you eat affects the maintenance and balance of your endocrine system, which in turn impacts the production of hair, nails and skin, is very important.
4. It’s in the stress Disease, which at its root speaks to dis-ease of the body, is often exasperated by stress. A holistic approach to hair loss is truly the best way to manage and possibly delay it.
What Can You Do About Hair Loss?
1. Take a breath Don’t freak out. Just pause. Take a few deep breaths every half hour or so to help reduce stress and help refocus and recalibrate your day.
2. Say Ohm Mediation has been shown to improve overall health and mental wellness, which in turn reduces feelings of stress and anxiety. Make this one a priority. You can always find 15-20 minutes in your day if you really want to.
3. Eat hair food You really are what you eat. Highly processed and greasy foods change the quality of your sebum, the oily secretion produced by your exocrine glands that lubricates and waterproofs skin and hair. If the composition of your sebum is not good, your hair will not be good. You’ve heard of brain food; how about hair food? Start incorporating more of these foods into your diet to improve your hair and your overall health:
- Nuts: They contain biotin and lots of protein, both of which are great for hair.
- Proteins: Your hair is made of mostly of protein, so you need to consume it daily in a variety of forms including legumes, chia seeds, quinoa, and red meats.
- Vegetables: This includes those that are high in flavonoids, like carrots and tomatoes
4. Treat it well Always use good hair products. Cristiano recommends that you want to focus on products that are derived from nature, such as Serenoa Repens, a natural extract that works by inhibiting the molecular mechanism that causes hair loss. It works like Propecia, a very common medicine for hair loss, but Serenoa Repens does not have the side effects some medicines produce.
5. Add anti-oxidants Antioxidants are very good molecules that fight free radicals formation. Free radicals are enemies of our hair, so it’s very important to improve hair metabolism in order to inhibit radicals formation. The antioxidant agents reduce free radicals’ presence.
6. Work hard News Flash: There are no magic bullets. Hair that’s dead is dead and all you can do is nourish and stimulate your scalp and moisturize often dry and over-processed hair. Think about it: How can a product (like a shampoo) that you rinse in and out of your hair for 20 seconds really increase thickness and reduce hair loss? Just as with your skin, it takes quality, care and time to improve your ‘look’. When it comes to investing in hair products, you get what you pay for.
7. Wash daily The myth of daily washings over-drying your hair or worse, causing hair loss, is now forever dispelled! The skin on your scalp is no different than the skin on your face, which you wash and moisturize every day. Yes some products are harsh and drying on your hair, stripping it of natural protective oils. To keep the balance, use products that are formulated for gentle daily washing while providing moisturizing protection.
8. Trichological treatments Think of your scalp like the soil you plant your seeds in. If the soil is arid, depleted of nutrients or in poor condition, your plant will not thrive. Trichological treatments will help to make sure your scalp is in optimal condition for hair grown and follicle strength—and it feels great too! Getting trichological treatments is no different than getting a facial and helps to maintain, nourish and strengthen your hair follicles.
Michael Suba never planned to run the family business, Continental Hair. But after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease and enduring a year of treatment that included chemotherapy and radiation, Michael decided to become involved with hair replacement. Today, he is the owner of two Continental Hair locations, including one in Toronto Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Centre. After spending most of his life growing up at the knee of two of Toronto’s most celebrated and respected hair replacement experts, he now practices the family trade, and travels the globe to find the most innovative solutions using the highest quality hair. He is also the founder of the original Wigs For Kids Program and has been featured on GlobalTV’s Making A Difference, The Marilyn Denis Show, BT-Toronto, CityTV News, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, CityLine, People Magazine, ET Canada, Elevate Magazine, CH Morning Live and more.