Is Hair Loss Reversible?

by Ama Amo-Agyei

Is hair loss reversible? This is a question that most people with thinning hair have asked themselves. Unfortunately, the answer to this important question is not black and white. There is no yes or no that covers every situation. However, there are some things that you can do to encourage new hair growth. These apply to everyone. In this blog post, we will answer all of your questions about "is hair loss reversible?".

 

What is hair loss?

Hair loss is the term for when your hair starts to thin or fall out. Hair can be lost in significant amounts very quickly at times (usually due to extreme stress). This is typically known as alopecia areata or spot baldness. Despite all the research, it is still not understood completely. Repetition within families points to a genetic component, but stress or anxiety often seems to be a trigger. It usually manifests with small areas (the size of a coin) of baldness on the scalp or body. The latest research points to it being a systemic autoimmune disorder of some kind, but so far, nothing has been definitive. This means treatments can often be a case of trial and error. Unfortunately, because anxiety is both a trigger and a result, the condition can escalate quickly and cause ongoing anxiety, making the success of any treatment harder.

In contrast, most people experience a slower rate of hair loss that doesn't result in any noticeable difference in their appearance overnight. This is called Androgenic alopecia, or pattern baldness. It typically presents itself as either a receding front hairline or loss of hair on the crown of the scalp. Sometimes it can be a combination of both, and Female-pattern hair loss more often presents as a thinning of the hair across the entire scalp. The cause of this is much more definitive, and so research has enabled scientists to isolate the specific compounds involved, and treatments have been more successful.

 

Causes of hair loss

A person can experience hair loss due to several different factors.

These include:

Genetics

Genetics is probably the most significant factor in hair loss. Even if you don't have any family history of balding, the genes that can lead to male or female patterned baldness are still passed on from your parents and grandparents. Unfortunately, having baldness in your family makes it much more likely that you will suffer the same fate.

Hormonal changes

Hormonal changes can cause your hair to thin out or stop growing. Often this is an overproduction of androgens. These hormones present in both men and women control keratin production, and it is the breakdown of this regulatory system that causes certain kinds of baldness.

These changes are typically temporary and should go back to normal once the hormonal imbalance has been fixed through treatment.

The most common causes for hormone-related hair loss include:

Thyroid dysfunction – which affects how much thyroid hormone you produce naturally.

Stress/Anxiety

Pregnancy - where hormones fluctuate rapidly before the birth of a child.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) - an endocrine disorder that may result in male-pattern baldness if left untreated.

 

Illnesses

There are many different illnesses that can cause the hair to fall or thin out.

For example:

  • Iron deficiency
  • Diabetes
  • Lupus
  • Anaemia

It's important to know what type of illness you are dealing with, so you can get treatment as soon as possible. Don't wait until it starts affecting other parts of your body or your mental health. If diagnosed quickly, it is much easier to make a treatment plan successful.

If any sudden changes happen like excessive shedding, breakage, or change in texture, see a doctor immediately to get a proper diagnosis and start treatment as soon as possible. 

Stress/Anxiety

Stress and anxiety can trigger Alopecia areata but can also cause an escalation of the condition. This escalation can make the problem worse very quickly, elevating stress hormones and increasing anxiety, which in turn increases the problem. Psychological intervention and talking therapies are most often the right places to start in these cases.

Diet

Not getting enough nutrients is bad news for your scalp and your hair.

The vitamins and minerals in your diet provide all the building blocks for hair growth. It's important to eat foods with high antioxidant content and a high protein diet with plenty of iron-rich foods (like spinach and kale). Omega fatty acids from nuts, seeds and fish like salmon or sardines can also benefit your hair health.

A healthy diet is crucial for your overall well being. If you are not eating well - it will harm more than just your tresses. Be conscious of what you eat and make sure that a substantial part of every meal consists of vegetables!

Cosmetic procedures

Bleaching your hair or using chemical treatments too often can make the hair brittle and break more easily. It is also very easy to damage the hair and scalp with heat. This means using hot air dryers, straighteners, curling tongs or any other tool that involves the use of heat can also result in premature hair loss.

  

Natural treatment of hair loss

If you are struggling with hair loss, several different procedures can help. Medication can be used in some instances and can have excellent results. Hair transplants have also become both more common and more affordable. However, here at Planted, we prefer to use a more natural approach.

If you’ve lost hair or have thin, dry, damaged hair that just doesn't look as good as it could, here are some natural tips to help make your hair regrow healthily:

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is a simple green plant that grows in warm climates. It has been used for centuries to heal burns, skin conditions and as a digestive aid.

However, more importantly, aloe vera can also be used on your hair not only to help cleanse and soothe the scalp, rid your scalp of dandruff and also help promote healthy hair. Dandruff can block the hair follicles, preventing the hair from growing as quickly as it should. The secret to Aloe vera is in the sap from the leaves. This sap is a thick gel and contains a plant hormone called cytokinin. Cytokinin promotes cell division and increases new growth. This means that it has a magical ability that can help repair damaged hair follicles and produce new strands of hair! It also helps to stimulate blood flow on the scalp. This extra flow of blood takes more nutrients to your hairs roots and makes sure the new hair growth is as healthy as possible.

Check out our blog on the benefits aloe vera has on your hair, as well as how to use it for the best results.

 

Scalp massage

People often ask what they can do to improve the thickness of their hair. Massaging the scalp can be helpful because it dislodges dry skin that blocks the hair follicles and stimulates blood flow in the scalp. Clear pores enable the hair follicles to work better, laying down more layers of keratin on each strand of hair, making the hair as a whole much fuller. Natural oils can also help to improve hair growth by nourishing the scalp. The simple act of massaging helps stimulate blood flow in the scalp, which gets all the available nutrients to the place they need to be, resulting in faster, thicker hair growth.

 

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is a traditional hair conditioner that has been used for centuries. It contains fatty acids, which help penetrate the hair follicles to reduce protein loss. These proteins are the building blocks that create the moisture-retaining layer on the outside of the hair, preventing premature breakage. Coconut oil can also help reduce inflammation of the hair follicles, allowing them to work in the way they should to give you better hair naturally.



Ways to prevent hair loss

Remember, prevention is always better than a cure. Your hair is alive, and it is vital to take care of it properly. Work out a routine that suits your hair and lifestyle, just like you would with any other part of your body. Making sure your hair and scalp stay healthy will reduce the chances that hair loss will ever begin. Taking good care of your hair and scalp is the most critical factor outside of your genetic code when it comes to hair loss, and a good care routine can help slow down or prevent any hair loss issues you may have.

Here are a few of the different ways to prevent the onset of hair loss:

Avoid over washing

Over-washing your hair or using a harsh detergent can leave your hair dry and brittle. The natural oils produced by your scalp are there to protect it. Try to use gentle, natural products and only wash it when it is really necessary. No one needs to wash their hair every day, and it is simply not a good practice when it comes to keeping your hair healthy.

Diet

Some people experience hair loss due to a diet that is deficient in iron. When this happens, it can be as simple as just changing your diet. Dark green vegetables like Kale and Broccoli are very high in iron, and the iron they contain is much easier for the body to process than that which is in red meat. Ensuring you have a good variety of vegetables with every meal is the easiest way to achieve a well-balanced diet.

Another thing you should avoid is too much caffeine. This has been known to trigger the hormone imbalances that cause hair thinning over time.

Eating healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts & seeds will help nourish the hair and scalp naturally, adding volume to the hair.

You should also try to cut down on simple and processed carbohydrates. The nutrients you get from these foods are often redirected to help facilitate the digestion of the food itself. So they won't be of much benefit, and they can also indirectly cause hair loss. These foods are known to limit your body’s ability to produce natural stress-busting hormones. As we discussed at the beginning, both stress and anxiety can be a significant cause or contributor to hair loss. 

Avoid using heat

The overuse of heated styling tools such as curling irons, blow dryers, or hot rollers will cause your hair to fry and break off.

Instead, try air drying (if you have time) or lightly drying the strands with a soft cotton towel or t-shirt before brushing through your hair.

If you have to use heat on your hair, then keep it to a minimum. Some blow dryers have a cool setting and using this will cause less damage, but the drying process is still a cause of damage. Using heated styling tools on your hair once or twice a week is much better than using them every day.

Hair oils

Regular use of natural oils can improve the condition of your scalp and help your hair grow more healthily. Many have been found to help with hair growth, but the most popular are castor oil, olive oil and coconut oil.

Our hair oil Inches contains natural oils that can help promote hair growth, strengthen your hair, and help your hair shine. Click here to check out Inches.

 

Sources:

Hair loss conditions & symptoms 

Cosmopolitan - How To Use Aloe Vera For Hair Growth & Healthy Hair 

Scientific study on nutrient deficiency & hair loss 

Mind Body Green - Scalp Massage can stimulate hair growth