When your hair is more drab than fab, sometimes the solution is in a lifestyle or wellness fix. Read on to find out more about 7 common hair problems and their secret health-related causes.
We all shed hair on a natural and cyclical basis, but if you notice big changes in the amount you’re shedding, visit a GP. If you’re losing a lot more than 100-200 strands a day, it could be a sign of stress, low iron levels, lack of protein in your diet, or a thyroid hormone imbalance.
Dull and dry
This one’s familiar. Overuse of heat-styling products, such as hair straighteners and hairdryers, can dry out hair, while poorly done bleaching or colouring can also be a culprit. Lacklustre and brittle hair could also mean you’re depleted in essential fatty acids, and minerals such as silica, zinc, vitamin C or essential fatty acids, and minerals such as silica, zinc and iron. Eating more foods with these nutrients can help.
Oily and greasy
Caused by oversecretion of sebum from the sebaceous glands, this can be a hereditary trait. But it could also be due to a hormonal imbalance. Look out for triggers like inconsistent sleep, lack of exercise and a poor diet and of course, stress.
Slow to grow
If your hair growth has gone from fast to slow, it may the result of a period of illness, severe stress, or poor diet. But if your locks have always lengthened slowly, it probably just means you’re genetically predisposed to this rate.
Excessive flaking of the scalp can be easily treated with a medicated shampoo. But if you’re having a lot of trouble with this condition, get it checked out. It might be nutrient deficiencies at the root of this problem – common ones are zinc, vitamin C or essential fatty acids. Your scalp might also be battling a fungal overgrowth, or overactivity of the sebaceous glands.
Hair that has lightened and dried out due to sun exposure is a sign that you may need to rethink your sun-smart strategy. Limit your time in the sun and use a UV protectant or a hat for your hair.
Hair in weird places
If you’re growing hair where it doesn’t usually belong, this could be a sign of polycystic ovarian syndrome. How much fluff is too much? Think sudden spurts below the bellybutton, around the nipples, or sideburns. PCOS could lead to infertility, so see your doctor if you’re concerned.
Text: Nicole Elphick
Additional reporting: Kit Chua
Images: Vitaly Valua/123rf.com