Hair Fitness - Hair Formula

You can tell a lot about a woman from her hair — her current mood, her morning regimen, her attention to beauty trends, and perhaps even her favorite hair color. And while much about our hair is determined by genetics, factors including the foods we eat, our age, and the weather around us all impact our tresses. Because strands also reveal quite a bit about a woman's health, so we talked to experts to find out what to fix — and what to be wary of.

Odoo text and image block

1. Your hair is falling out.

This could signal a host of things. One of the quickest causes of hair loss is not getting enough iron in your diet (anemia). Because most iron comes through meat, health coach and holistic nutritionist Kelly LeVeque recommends that vegetarians take a multivitamin. Check here iron rich food (also Vegan recipes and whole food recipes). Also Iodine, an essential mineral, may affect hair health and hair growth through its effects on thyroid function. Iodine is also sometimes prescribed as a topical treatment for certain conditions that cause hair loss on the scalp.

"[But] outside of diet, hair loss is most commonly related to hormone imbalance and fluctuations, Thyroid issues, pregnancy, and menopause," she adds. "Changing or stopping birth control can cause hair loss as well." But it can also mean conditions so if you're really losing hair, best to check with a doctor.

2. Your curls are cracking.

Dry hair can mean a lot. First, you could be in an environment with extreme temperatures (with your hair dryer or you flat-iron excessively.) Using 6-8 drops of essential oils like geranium and rosemary is one of the best ways to add moisture. Another expert tip: Avoid products that list alcohol among the ingredients and turn on a humidifier at night to saturate your strands. This is especially true for curly-haired women, whose strands are already prone. But like hair loss, dryness could also indicate hormonal changes from birth control, pregnancy, menopause, or a thyroid condition.

3. Your bangs won't grow out.

It likely means you're not getting enough protein. "Your hair is mostly made up of protein and needs it to grow," advises LeVeque. "Choose protein, vitamin, minerals like zinc, and omega 3 fatty acids that are dense in proteins to aid in the growth process. This includes egg yolks, shellfish, and wild red meat."

4. You're getting a mustache.

We're talking about more than a few strands on your upper lip or chin. Polycystic ovarian syndrome has a variety of symptoms, including hair loss and pattern baldness, but one of the biggest signs is excess facial and body hair (hirsutism). Others to look out for: adult acne, or severe adolescent acne, and irregular periods. Caused by imbalanced hormone levels. Losing weight can balance the hormone levels but also supplementation with vitamins like vitamin B6 and minerals like Iodine, magnesium and zinc. 

5. Your ends are splitting.

Split ends arise when the protective cuticle has been lost from the distal hair shaft and the exposed cortex splits. Proteins protect the hair as it is attracted to the keratin, a property known as substantivity, and the protein holds the cortex fragments together until the next shampooing occurs. The vitamin H or Biotin helps keep your skin, hair, eyes, liver, and nervous system healthy. Biotin is also a crucial nutrient during pregnancy, as it’s important for embryonic growth. Biotin is needed to metabolize the amino acids that create keratin and is generally recommended to strengthen hair and nails.

6. Your hair is falling flat or becomes thinner.

Just don't confuse having fine hair with thin. People with fine hair have more hairs per square inch — because the strands take up less space, there's room for more of them. But because each hair has its own oil gland, your scalp produces a lot more, leaving hair weighed down. The good news? There are hair products that, when used correctly, promote thicker hair and give you a boost without drying out the hair (and keep in mind, sudden thinning can be a sign of lots of health conditions). Look for natural shampoo's containing aloe vera or avocado oil. But there is a vitamin proven to thicken hair. Because it helps break down proteins, Biotin is critical the strengthening the structure of hair and nails. If you do not get enough Biotin, your hair and nails will be drier and more brittle, you may have thinning and discoloration of the hair.

7. Your texture is changing.

As our bodies change with aging, so does our hair and texture; hair changes every 7-10 years. Most women will start noticing gray hair in their early 30s and thinning in their 40s and 50s depending on how they take care of their hair. If you are experiencing these changes, use it as a reminder to check up on other areas of your health affected by aging (like get that mammogram if you're due). Your hormones will ultimately play a large part in the texture of your hair. You may find that the greatest changes in your hair occur with the greatest surges in hormones; puberty, pregnancy and menopause. This is partly because of the effect your hormones have your thyroid. A multivitamin can help you gain smoother hair after a texture change has occurred for the worst.

8. Your back strands are breaking.

Noticing breakage at the back of your head? You may be a wild sleeper — with the wrong pillow. Breakage can result from the friction between your hair and a cotton pillowcase. The fix: Switch to a hair-saving silk variety instead. Also hair treatment can help your hair stop breaking. Tips to protect your hair: Wash your hair 3 to 4 times a week, not daily. Dry your hair by dapping, do not rub and if you want to use a hair dryer, use heat protectant. Don't brush wet hair, but use a wide forked comb. Only brush your hair once dry. Use proteins as they protect the hair (zie hair splitting).

9. Your hair color is changing — and you didn't dye it.

Hair color loss can be caused by low levels of certain vitamins and minerals. By increasing your intake of certain vitamins, you may be able to prevent hair color loss and even restore some of the color to your hair. Vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid and biotin, have a role in maintaining the health and color of your hair. Pantothenic acid and biotin are types of B vitamins. They are water-soluble, which means that the body can't store them. If the body can't use all of the vitamin, the extra vitamins leave the body through the urine. These vitamins must be replaced in the body every day. Inject a variety of nuts into your diet and you'll be all set. But many women also report changes in their hair's color and texture during pregnancy, too! Find whole food recipes rich in vitamin B and biotin here. 

10. You're going gray.

Yes, it may only be that you're aging. But while most experts agree that going gray or white is usually influenced by genetics, many now believe that there's truth to the wives' tale about stress or trauma being a cause. Some researchers propose that hormones produced under stress can block the signal that tells the follicle to absorb melanin. The good news: Many people who say they've gone gray under pressure report that their strands have returned to normal once life settled back down.

11. Your scalp is itchy.

Have you heard of sebum? It's a slippery substance formed by the glands of our hair — basically, it creates a natural conditioner for the scalp. If your sebum levels are low, your scalp will often itch. This maybe caused by your shampoo; many shampoos contain alcohol cleaning to aggressively. Choosing a different shampoo and certain vegetables which are high in beta carotene (beta-carotene (carrots, pumpkins, etc.) can prevent this.

12. You have dandruff.

Surprise: It doesn't mean you have a dry scalp. Dandruff is actually caused by a yeast overgrowth on an oily scalp. "Don't over-moisturize and stop cleansing," proposes LeVeque. "Invest in the dandruff-cleansing suds and give your hair a quick post workout rinse to remove excess oils." Vitamin B6 also helps to counter dandruff. It can be found in liver and egg yolk.

13. You've got scaly patches on your hairline.

Don't confuse this one with dandruff: A thick crust that forms on the scalp usually indicates skin problems and occurs when the skin goes into overdrive, sending out faulty signals that speed up the turnover and growth of skin cells. Fatty acids, particularly omega-3s found in fatty fish, walnuts and flax, are important for well-hydrated skin and a healthy scalp. Consuming enough may help alleviate dandruff, psoriasis outbreaks and dry skin. A dry scalp may be a result of a fatty acid deficiency or of the inability of the body to process the fatty acids you do eat. Biotin, also known as B7, helps with fatty acid metabolism. Get enough of this essential nutrient by consuming liver, yeast, fortified grains and eggs.