By Alan J. Bauman, MD, ABHRS
It has been a challenging year, and many of us took on some unhealthy habits as coping strategies to get us through it. But as we slowly inch forward back to normalcy, we all want to look and feel our best as we rejoin friends and families and the outside world.
Crash Diets and Hair Loss
Many men and women don’t realize that what you eat, or don’t eat, can have a significant impact on the health of your hair. In fact, so-called ‘crash dieting’ isn’t just bad for the body, it can also lead to hair loss.
Within weeks after the start of a crash diet, a major shedding event can occur. It’s a condition known as telogen effluvium – in this case, caused by a steep drop in nutrients to the body, which forces some hair follicles to shed their hair strands and go into a prolonged resting phase during which time no new hairs are grown. Fortunately for patients, this condition is usually temporary, but it can still take six to ten months for the hair to return back to normal. The condition can be truly frightening for many people, particularly younger women, so it’s important that people understand its causes and prognosis.
Many patients falsely believe that their shedding or hair loss will stop as soon as they end their diet. The reality is, first it’s going to take a few months to see all the shedding, then a minimum of six to twelve months for the body to stabilize and the hair follicles to return to normal operation. However, for some, the loss may be long-term, especially in those people who have underlying risks like those with a tendency toward genetic hair thinning, have high levels of stress, or on certain medications for conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, anxiety or depression.
Because there is a risk for long-term or even permanent hair loss, if you’re experiencing shedding, thinning, or decreased hair volume or coverage, you may want to consult with a full-time board-certified Hair Restoration Physician who can help assess the risks for hereditary hair loss and other risks, as well as scientifically track and monitor the hair’s progress and prescribe a course of treatment in more serious cases. Similar to sudden hair loss associated with childbirth and menopause, a readily treatable tendency toward permanent hereditary hair loss may be revealed by this typically temporary situation.
The HairCheck™ device is one of the many tools being used by Bauman and his team to measure hair loss and regrowth. HairCheck is a simple, painless, non-invasive way to measure and track the amount of hair growing in a given area of the scalp (called the Hair Mass Index or “HairScore”). The highly sensitive hand-held ‘trichometer,’ measures hair caliber and hair density together and expresses them as a single number. It can also measure the percentage of hair breakage, which is a common cause of hair loss. Tracking these numbers over time can help determine the extent and rate of a patient’s hair loss and/or breakage and inform them of any changes. HairCheck can also be used to quantify the degree of hair breakage from harsh hair care regimens or hair loss from extreme diets and also to track regrowth as the acute shedding phase resolves or treatments have begun.
The data collected through HairCheck monitoring provides consumers with actionable information by combining scientific hair tracking measurements with a series of non-invasive, easy-to-follow hair improvement plans and options. The good news is that HairCheck measurements also help track regrowth and improvements before they’re noticeable to the naked eye – so you can know what’s working and what’s not when it comes to your treatment.
Nutrition Tips for Healthy Hair
While the HairCheck and other tools allow doctors a better understanding of the damage a patient’s hair has suffered, the best way to protect the hair is through preventative measures. One of the simplest preventative actions consumers can take is a healthy diet, which gives your hair follicles the vitamins and nutrients they need. There are many ways to protect your hair while you shed those extra pounds.
Caloric, iron, and protein deficiencies are among the most common nutritional triggers for unhealthy hair, while vitamins, especially B, are important to the overall health of your hair and preventing hair loss and thinning.
Some of the best food choices for healthy hair include salmon, which is loaded with omega-3 fatty acid, dark green vegetables for vitamins A and C, and Nuts, which are a terrific source of zinc, which can prevent hair shedding.
Many women take calcium supplements to improve their health – but the same should also be true for hair supplements. Scientifically developed treatments like Viviscal PRO, Nutrafol, and Biotin (also known as ‘Vitamin H’ or B7) support the growth of thicker, healthier hair.
For more information on the causes and treatments for hair shedding, telogen effluvium, or other types of hair loss, and to learn what treatment regimen is right for you, please call 561-220-3480 or schedule your consultation at www.baumanmedical.com.
But before you consider turning to an extreme diet to lose those extra pounds you put on during quarantine, you may want to reconsider…
Bauman Hair Restoration for Men an d Women