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All About Biotin

August 26th, 2014

Biotin for Hair GrowthAll about Biotin

Biotin has become a well-known word in the hair community, specifically when it comes to hair growth. This is because many studies have researched and tested biotin and its effects on the body, and the data shows there are a lot of benefits humans receive from ingesting biotin—hair growth being one of them. So what is biotin, and what else does it do for the body? Read on to find out.

What is Biotin?

Simply put, Biotin is a vitamin, part of the B-complex vitamin family, usually known as B7 and Vitamin H. It is water-soluble, meaning it dissolves in water, making for easy consumption; but this also means it’s easily diminished, and the body will need to replenish it. Luckily, biotin deficiency is rare in the majority of the human population. Unless born with a genetic mutation, or on antibiotics, most people do not need to worry about lacking biotin in the body. We get most of it in daily meals.

Many foods are a good source of biotin: egg yolks, fish, bread, milk, organ meats, peanut butter, poultry, the list goes on. However, notice the egg “yolks”; egg whites do not contain biotin, so if you eat them for your cholesterol, you can choose one of the many other foods to get biotin in the body. How much biotin the average human body needs varies from person to person, but overall the quantity is small. You may be wondering why you need all this biotin in the first place, and in fact, how your body makes great use out of it.

What Does the Body Use Biotin For?

The body uses biotin for many functions in the body. You can consume it as a supplement/pill, but as discussed, this isn’t necessary for people with a pretty good diet. Biotin is known as a “fat burner” because is plays a role in the metabolism of fats, amino acids, proteins, and carbs, but it also plays a role on smaller scales. Biotin is necessary for cell growth and replication, plays a part in the metabolic reactions that transfer carbon dioxide throughout the body, maintains a steady blood sugar level, and plays a role in the citric acid cycle, a process that generates the biochemical energy that keeps us breathing naturally.

You may also notice a change in the health of your hair, skin, and nails if you’re missing biotin in your diet. Brittle hair, dry skin, muscular pain, and nausea are some of the symptoms of biotin deficiency. As noted, biotin deficiency is rare, and these symptoms can happen from disease too. However, the main use for biotin intake these days is its ability to fight progressive hair loss, treatment of alopecia, and even premature graying.

Health benefits

There are a great amount of health benefits associated with ingesting biotin, or even applying it topically. Some of these have been discussed, but we’ll go into a little more detail:

-          Skin care – Maintaining healthy skin and hair isn’t a terribly difficult task to achieve. However, if your bodily health has dropped recently, or you notice you suffer from dry skin, adding some extra biotin to your diet isn’t a bad idea.

-          Body Tissues – Interestingly enough, biotin plays a role in growing and maintaining muscle tissues. That’s why a lack of biotin can lead to muscular pain, and probably why it’s good to eat bananas after going to the gym. In addition to muscle tissue, biotin helps to ensure the functioning of nervous system tissues, and the growth of bone marrow.

-          Metabolism – As mentioned, biotin helps the body metabolize fats, amino acids, proteins, and carbs, and plays a part in many other metabolic processes. Moreover, some people use biotin to help with weight loss or to regulate their weight, and consume foods rich in biotin to help with this.

-          Blood Sugar – Biotin helps to maintain healthy levels of sugar in the blood, something diabetics battle every day. Coincidentally, biotin also helps regulate insulin in the body as well.

-          Heart Troubles – A functioning heart requires a lot of things; oxygen, biochemical energies, intact tissue, blood, and biotin. Who knew it could help prevent heart attacks and strokes?

-          Hair Loss – Biotin does wonders for growing healthy hair, whether male or female, and it’s starting to show up in many hair care products these days.

As you can see, there are a lot of benefits for consuming biotin, and not just for your hair. The body makes great use of it in nearly every which way possible. Although we don’t need a lot of biotin, it is a very necessary nutrient to have.

Main Types of Hair Loss

August 19th, 2014

Main Types of Hair LossWe talk about hair loss and the different ways it can happen in our articles, but we’ve only skimmed the big names. It’s time we tell you more about the kinds of hair loss known to date, and their causes. It’s the classic “nature vs nurture” dilemma, because hair loss can happen genetically, or due to outside sources.

Androgenic Alopecia

This is the most common form of hair loss, due to the genes you inherit. Once thought to only come from the mother’s side of the family, you can inherit hair loss from either parent. It’s also known as “Male Pattern Baldness,” presumably because most men that go through hair loss follow a similar pattern.

MPH usually begins with a receding hairline, beginning from the temples and diffusing across the scalp until a “wreath” of hair is left across the sides and the back of the skill. This can sometimes start atop the scalp with thinning hair that turns into a bald spot. There is a type of “Female Pattern Baldness” that also effects men, though more common in women. This type of Androgenic Alopecia has more thinning characteristics as the dominating feature, where the hair across the head becomes incredibly thin, but baldness and total hair loss do not occur.

The causes of MPH have mainly come down to hormones and genetics. Men and women with abnormally high volumes of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) suffer from hair loss because DHT directly effects the growth of hair. During times of puberty, DHT increases hair growth on the body, eventually slowing down. However, later in life, men specifically have higher levels of testosterone known as “free testosterone”, possibly due to the slowdown of development, and this free testosterone is converted into DHT. The scalp tends to have the highest volume of DHT secretion/conversion, and this abundance suffocates the hair follicles, causing hair loss.

In terms of genetics, it comes down to the “diathetic-stress” model, or more simply put it’s in the genes, but needs a catalyst. It’s been commonly said to come from maternal heritage, because the X chromosome contains the androgen receptor (AR) gene, or the receptor for testosterone. However, the variant of the AR that causes baldness is recessive, and there is still much research to be conducted on the multifactorial variables that come to play in genetics and hair loss.

The largest effects people have noticed with MPH are psychological. Men, and women, tend to become more stressed about their physical attractiveness and body image. They tend to find the experience distressing because it is unwanted, and nothing that they can directly control. Thankfully, these days there are multiple kinds of hair care treatment and hair loss shampoos in these modern times to fight hair loss.

Alopecia Areata

This type of hair loss is most commonly known as “Spot Baldness.” Hair loss starts with a bald spot on the head, and then depending on the classification of spot baldness, it can have multiple appearances. There are multiple kinds of spot baldness that can diffuse across the scalp, there can be one or multiple bald spots, the baldness can spread across the entirety of the head, and it can even happen along the beard or body hair.

Typically, spot baldness starts with small bald patches in the affected area. There are no visible underlying causes of the skin or the scalp, however there are psychosomatic symptoms such as a tingling or even painful sensation where the hair is lost. The causes are strictly genetic, and it comes down to two hereditary characteristics: the genotype itself, and an autoimmune disease. Spot baldness can happen through several genetic causes, but an autoimmune disorder is the most popular concept. It is believed that the body attacks its own anagen (growing) hair follicles, and eventually suppresses or completely stops hair growth.

Mild cases of spot baldness go untreated, because unless an autoimmune disorder, the body will balance things out and the hair will spontaneously start to grow back. However, in the more severe cases, there is no end-all treatment. The main medical treatments today are topical ointments and creams containing diphenylcyclopropenone. For most, the ending solution is a hair piece or wig.

Traction Alopecia

This is an explicitly external source form of hair loss that is an effect of consistent styling. Hairstyles that apply a puling force to the hair, such as braids, cornrows, and tight ponytails, will eventually wear down the hair follicles and lead to gradual hair loss. Another cause is tight fitting headgear, whether for safety or for fashion.

Being an externally caused form of hair loss, there is no medical treatment for it. The most common treatment is surgical to restore the hair that is lost. There could be a chance of restoring hair follicles with some forms of hair care treatment aimed at reactivating dormant hair follicles, such as minoxidil spray. However, this is simply speculation, and not tested.

Telogen Effluvium

Discussed in an earlier article, this type of hair loss is characterized by an increase of shedding or thinning of the hair. Typically caused by psychological stress, among other causes, this type of hair loss alters the normal hair growth cycle. However, removing the cause can undo the effects with high volumes of shedding. The most common form of shedding is “Anagen Effluvium,” caused typically by exposure to radiation, such as chemo therapy.

There are many ways hair loss can happen, and there are many different types and/or classifications of each form of hair loss. Not all types can be directly treated, but there is always a chance of balancing things out or reversing hair loss with hair care treatments.

Shedding – A Natural Part of the Hair Growth Cycle

August 12th, 2014

Shedding Hair LossWhat is the hair cycle? In laymen’s terms, a hair cycle is “the lifespan of a hair from sprouting to shedding.” The normal hair growth cycle is broken into three stages: anagen, catagen, and telogen. Hair growth is an ongoing process, and not every hair is growing or shedding at the same time. Makes you wonder how our hair doesn’t look uneven all the time, but the majority of our individual hairs are uneven anyways. 85% of our hair is growing, 15% is resting, and these percentages can vary on what stage it is in, and how far along in the stage it is.

Anagen – This is the growth phase of hair. Although the hair itself is dead and can’t really “grow”, the follicular bulb within the scalp is growing the hair out. This can last anywhere from 2-6 years.

Catagen – This is the resting phase of hair. Seeing as our hairs are almost always growing, when the hair enters this phase, it stops growing. During this stage, the hair turns into a “club hair”, or the tip becomes club-shaped. The follicle attaches to the shaft of the hair, cutting off its blood supply and suffocating it. This is a 2-3 week period of transition, however hair the can “rest” for up to four months.

Telogen – This is the last phase of a hair’s life cycle. It is known as the shedding and the hair growth phase. Hairs shed at a normal volume, about 10% of your total hair, nothing to be worried about. Following this stage, the anagen phase starts back up again. The telogen phase lasts between 2-4 months before the hair is shed completely, pushed out by a newly forming hair.

What is shedding?

As briefly noted in the telogen phase, shedding is the ejection of hair from the scalp wherein a new hair is forming/sprouting. The normal human sheds about 100 hairs a day between grooming, showering, and other daily activities. However, shedding can sometimes shift from an acute behavior that is normal, to a chronic behavior that tends to become a disorder.

The most common disorder of shedding is known as “Telogen effluvium.” It is a temporary increase in shedding, usually causing the telogen phase to last longer than normal. It can be an ongoing disorder, but in most cases it will work itself out. There is another form of hair loss that is chronic, known as “anagen effluvium,” or more commonly “alopecia areata,” when the growing phase of hair is interrupted due to an immune system disorder that attacks hair in the anagen stage. Hairs at this stage become very thin, but this is different from thinning hair.

Triggers

Just because someone is starting to shed though does not mean they should panic. As mentioned, shedding is a normal part of the hair life cycle. Only when it becomes a chronic condition, like in Telogen effluvium, should it cause concern. Furthermore, even in cases of Telogen effluvium, the disorder may work itself out pending on what has caused it. There are multiple triggers that can cause a temporary increase of hair loss:

-          Illnesses that come with a fever

-          Certain medications

-          Discontinued use of oral contraceptives

-          Surgery

-          Trauma

-          Childbirth

-          Stress

-          Sudden change in weight loss or diet

-          Jetlag

-          Excessive sun exposure

All of these triggers can cause a chronic shedding behavior. The best way to treat Telogen effluvium, or chronic shedding, is to take care of the hair during this time. Try intense hair care treatments designed to nourish the hair and give it the nutrients it needs. There are many hair care shampoos and conditioners out there, and you can always try more organic treatments such as herbal remedies or scalp massages with natural oils.

Hair Loss and Hair Regrowth

The biggest concern about chronic hair loss or shedding is when someone is trying to promote hair growth. Commonly, when someone has been balding, or their hair starts to thin, they turn to medications and hair care products to start growing their hair back. A common side-effect that may be experienced when using hair care treatments and/or products to regrow hair is shedding.

This side-effect should be more easily understood now that you know about the hair growth cycle. If you are balding, or your hair is thinning, and you decide to use a hair growth product, your weak/thin hairs will enter the shedding phase as new hair growth is stimulated beneath the scalp. During this transition, an increase of shedding will occur, with an initial large volume of hair loss. It may raise concern because a hair growth product is supposed to promote hair growth, but to grow hair, the weak hair needs to be ejected first so that it may be replaced by new, healthy hair.

Hair loss and shedding should be cleared up now. It’s usually not something to worry about, we lose 100 hairs a day, with 10% of our natural hair volume growing or shedding simultaneously. If your hair loss increases rapidly, evaluate the events in your life. Have you experienced stress or trauma, started a new died, or even a new hair care treatment? You need not worry unless the increase of shedding turns chronic. Then, consult a doctor.

What is Saw Palmetto?

August 5th, 2014

iStock_000011208457SmallThere are many interesting plants and herbs used for hair growth in these modern times. Many people tend to ingest the herbs or fruit of a plant for the benefits they offer. A current popular plant is Saw Palmetto, and its extracts have been added into hair loss shampoos for some time now. So, what makes this plant so special?

What is it?

Saw Palmetto is a plant, part of the Serenoa genus. It is sometimes known as “Serenoa repens,” or “Sabal serrulatum” when listed as an ingredient in medication. The plant is small, growing up to 3-6 ft, and grows in clumps. It is found mainly in the southeastern region of the United States, such as Florida. The plant has a long lifespan, and can live up to 700 years.

Saw Palmetto gets its name from its leaves. Armed with fine, sharp spines along the edges of a leaf, they act like the teeth of a saw and can cut through skin. Historically, it has been a great supply of food for wildlife and humankind, and has been known to have many proven (and some inconclusive) medicinal uses. Although the plant itself is edible, its fruit is the most common part of the plant used for treatments.

What medicinal uses does it have?

The fruit of the Saw Palmetto is a large, reddish type of peach. It is high in fatty acids and phytosterols, and its extracts are used in many types of treatments, medications, and even some hair products. One of its most known uses in medicine is for an enlarged prostate. Although intensive research has been conducted on this use, the evidence is still insufficient. It is believed to also be helpful for: increasing breast size, acting as an aphrodisiac, treating coughs, cold, sore throat, asthma, bronchitis, headaches, cancer, and hair loss. None of these are conclusive, however hair loss has had a lot of historical evidence, even if not proven via scientific methods.

Hair loss

Saw Palmetto is a popular herbal remedy for treating hair loss and androgenic alopecia (male/female pattern baldness), MPH). Although the evidence to support this is missing, what many have concluded is that Saw Palmetto extract blocks the enzyme that converts the hormone testosterone into DHT. This hormone is known as a key contributing factor that causes hair loss and MPH. We wouldn’t suggest taking some of the extract yourself though, as you’ll see below some of the problems that come with it.

Side effects

Many people take the extract as a supplement orally, and because of this, there have been many adverse side effects reported. The most common of these are all stomach related – abdominal pain, bathroom troubles, physical sickness, and bad breath. There have been other, more severe cases, such as liver inflammation, headaches, pancreatic, depression, breathing problems, heart troubles, blood clotting, and more.

The best way to use Saw Palmetto may not be orally. In fact, using topically or externally has yet to raise concern. Because of this, it is becoming a popular ingredient in hair loss shampoos and treatments. Due to the lack of evidence though, it would be good to couple this with another chemical, Ketoconazole, found in some hair loss shampoos. By combining the two, you can get rid of DHT and curb hair loss.

9 Oils that Help Promote Healthy Hair Growth

July 29th, 2014

Natural Oils for Hair Growth

You may have heard of it before—natural oils help hair growth. They’re talked about like it’s an ancient secret passed down across generations. Some believe it started with the Indians, while others think it was the Egyptians. However, what matters most is that the secret is out! We’ve done some research and found the nine most talked about oils to help you grow your hair out, while making it healthier than ever.

Avocado Oil – This is one of the most recommended oils to use on your hair, which is why it’s at the top of our list. Loaded with nutrients, vitamins, and a few other essentials, Avocado Oil does your hair a huge favor. Great for moisturizing dry or damaged hair, this oil can give your hair increased strength and shine, without making it oily. Its vitamins and nutrients also help in feeding the hair follicles in the scalp to promote hair growth, while maintaining scalp health.

Castor Oil – Found in some shampoos, Castor Oil is another great oil for promoting hair growth and moisturizing the hair strands. If you’re looking for thicker hair, especially if your hair is thinning, you may want to put a dab of Castor Oil in your hands and rub it all around your scalp. Plus, if you have hair that’s hard to tame, this oil will take care of the job. Moreover, like some shampoos, you can help prevent scalp infections with Castor Oil as well.

Coconut Oil – People all over the web are raving about the benefits of Coconut Oil. This is one of those top secrets believed to originate within the Native American tribes. However, the secret has slipped a while ago, and thankfully, the news has spread. Antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral, Coconut Oil is a powerhouse for promoting hair growth, a healthy scalp, and beautiful hair. Natural oils always get the job done without introducing your hair to harmful chemicals, and if your hair is brittle or prone to breakage, a little bit of Coconut Oil treatment will clear that up.

Olive Oil – Yes, you read that right: Olive Oil. It sounds a bit odd, since this is an oil we humans tend to consume. It’s found in every grocery store, and yet it might just be better for your hair than your body. Great for moisturizing, rubbing some olive oil into your scalp will promote a healthy scalp, and also helps to fight dandruff. Rich in fatty acids and vitamin E, Olive Oil can help fight hair loss while growing stronger, healthier hair.

Rosemary – This oil has been used in many cultures worldwide to help stimulate hair follicles in the scalp and promote hair growth, as well as prevent early hair loss and greying. Surprisingly, Rosemary Oil is actually a good catalyst for blood circulation on the scalp, so if you’re a fan of scalp massages (which also promote hair growth), next time use some Rosemary Oil and rub it in well, before you hit the shower.

Peppermint Oil – I know what you’re thinking: “Peppermint Oil? Peppermints go in your mouth, not on your head.” However, you might be surprised to find a type of mint oil is found in a few shampoos and other hair products that are au naturel. Peppermint Oil is great for stimulating the scalp, another oil good for your next scalp massage. However, if we know anything, people eat mints to kill germs in the mouth. So, it is suggested to first dilute the oil in water, or it could prove to be too harsh.

Jojoba Oil ­– Now this is a big one, and if you haven’t heard of it, prepare to be amazed. Jojoba Oil isn’t very new to the hair growth scene, but it isn’t found in many places around the world. Used to moisturize and grow hair, Jojoba Oil is perfect for promoting healthy hair. Found in shampoos that aim to help hair growth, Jojoba Oil is actually pretty similar to the natural oils that the scalp produces. By applying some of this directly to your scalp, you’re basically tricking your body into promoting healthy hair growth.

Emu Oil – Another little secret, Emu Oil is found in a number of shampoos that help promote hair growth. This one is a little different, because not only has it been found to help grow hair, but it helps to revive hair follicles that have gone dormant. Emu Oil basically gives your scalp a kick start to get your hair growing thicker and healthier. Additionally, Emu Oil has proven to help men suffering from male pattern baldness (MPB), and is a great ingredient for alleviating a dry scalp.

Tea Tree – Last but not least, we’ve got Tea Tree Oil. Another natural oil for helping to soothe a dry, itchy scalp, for fighting bacteria and fungi, for keeping your scalp and hair healthy and clean—Tea Tree Oil does the job. There are many benefits of Tea Tree Oil, aside from keeping a clean scalp, it also helps to unclog hair follicles that could be curbing hair growth. Plus, when rubbed on the scalp, tea Tree Oil helps to stimulate blood flow, and we’ve discussed how helpful that can be when looking to promote hair growth.

There you have it! Nine natural oils that are great for promoting hair growth, as well as growing healthy, shiny hair. Moreover, if you have a dry or messy scalp, these oils will be sure to clear it up. Just don’t ingest any of these that aren’t already edible—a few can be pretty toxic, so be ware and be safe when promoting healthy hair.

Hair across the Ages

July 25th, 2014

Greek Hair WomanPeople have had hair since the dawn of time, since the era of cavemen, once we evolved and learned to walk. Human hair has been through a lot over the years, and it hasn’t been the same since. Take a look at everything we go through just to fix a bad hair day in these modern times; all the styling, the waxes and machinery, and of course we hit the salon now and then to spruce it up a bit. What did they do back in the day, once humans survived the first couple hundred (or thousand) years? Let’s take a look.

Egypt

Back in the days of Egypt, the most common hair color was a very dark brown or black, and the hair itself was usually curly. Any type of old art, or even modern images of Egyptians will make that clear. Their hairstyles back then mainly depended on age, not gender. Children, from birth until they hit puberty, were clean shaven and generally kept bald. Once they hit puberty, they were given a choice to let it grow to shoulder-length or to the nape of the neck.

In the later years, when age starts to weigh down on the body, one tends to lose their hair. To keep up appearances, henna was used to dye greying hair. If one was losing their hair, they made wigs out of real hair and/or black sheep wool. They also designed false braids and hair extensions to increase their own beauty/appearance, a common practice still found today. When Egyptians came into contact with the Greek, their hairstyles started to mix a bit, lending themselves to short and wavy hair, and the addition of wearing bands in one’s hair—possibly the first type of hair scrunchy made.

They say the Egyptians were ahead of their time, and when it came to hair treatment, they were definitely ahead of the pack. Here are a few of the things we may have picked up from them:

–Washing and cleaning hair and/or wigs – A mix of water and citric juices; the citric acid would dissolve fatty oils, leaving hair smooth and shiny. They also used almond oil as a hair conditioner.

–Hair removal or shaving – Sharpened blades made of copper or bronze

–Coloring or dying hair – As mentioned, they made use of henna to dye hair. The henna was usually a hue of orange or red, but the Egyptians would mix it with cow’s blood and crushed tadpoles for different variations of color.

–Early hair gel – Following some grooming and manually setting up their hair for the style they wanted, they would put beeswax in their hair and then sit out in the sun until it hardened.

–How to strengthen hair – Egyptians used different types of oils (almond, rosemary, or castor oil) in their hair to stimulate hair growth and to make it stronger.

Ancient Hebrews

Like the Egyptians, early Hebrews also had mainly dark or black hair that was usually very curly. They wore it long, mainly because they were forbidden to shave their heads or face in honor of the Gods; the only exceptions were in a time of mourning, or if they had their head shaved as a punishment for sinning. This is because baldness was believed to be a curse back then, so the longer someone’s hair was, the more it was esteemed or cherished. Not much has changed since then, wouldn’t you say (cue rock star head banging)?

To give their hair some shine, early Hebrews would powder their hair with golden dust. They also used oils for a variety of uses—possibly the oddest one was spilling perfumed oils onto visitors as a sign of welcome. That doesn’t sound like the best idea in the hot sun; thankfully the Hawaiians figured out a good ol’ fashioned lay was a bit more welcoming. Later, Hebrews got mixed in with Central Europe, North Africa, and Spain. This led to Hebrews with different hair colors, such as brown, blonde, and red.

Greece

Greeks were known worldwide for their hairstyles. The Greeks actually revolutionized a lot of things, sex being one of them. Their hairstyles resembled the ever-changing world, so it was mostly styled with waves or loose curls to symbolize impermanence. Greek hairstyles were mostly based on gender and social status. Slaves had their heads shaved, whilst those of higher class had elaborated hairstyles, and put dressings in their hair. Men tended to have naturally wavy hair on their heads and in their beards, whilst women had long, shoulder-length hair, or past the back. Interestingly enough, women wore their hair in long braids to signify they were married.

It wasn’t until later that the Greeks started to tamper with their hair, artificially curling or straightening it. They had a variety of hairstyles to choose from once they started experimenting:

–Worn with braids, and/or bangs
–“Melon hairstyle” where the hair is pulled back and set with a pin, tied into a bun at the back of the head. Sometimes, women tied their hair with tiaras or other jeweled crowns.
–“The Bartlett Head” – Hair tied in two knots atop the head
–Men’s hair was still wavy, but they were no longer unkempt. Some men started to curl their hair at this time.

Back in the day, being a barber was an important profession in Ancient Greece. Taking care of other people’s hair was a big deal. Then, these barbershops eventually turned into the first ever “Man-Caves”, where men would gather around and commune. The Greeks also invented some fascinating uses for oils and plants for hair treatment:

–Perfumes – Made of flowers, spices, and olive oil blends. These were applied to the body as well as the hair.
–Softening hair – They mainly made use of brushes and scalp massages to make their hair soft
–Hair dye – Gold was at one point very desirable (as was the usual illustration for the hair of the Gods), and could be achieved by mixing saffron flowers and potassium water to make the dye.

Rome

Rome had some similarities with Greece, as the pattern goes. Their hairstyles varied more depending on the time of the age and society. Throughout the different empires and rulers of Rome, Romans constantly went from keeping their heads and face shaved to letting it grow out. At first, men had long hair and beards until Greek influence brought the clean shaven look, along with a type of bowl cut. As noted, this only lasted as long as the empire did. Baldness wasn’t seen as a curse, but viewed as less physically appealing/attractive.

Later, it was common to see men with long hair and beards in braids and ponytails. Those of high social status in Rome had complex and sophisticated styles, usually tended to by servants. Those of low status had simple styles, typically kept short. Many curled their hair with a heated, hollow, iron tube—sound familiar? Wigs were also worn to augment the look and size of one’s hair, much like hair extensions. Wigs in Rome were also made with human hair, and oddly enough, blonde hair came from German slaves and black hair came from India.

Romans also discovered hair dying, done with henna. To achieve different colors, they mixed herbs/flowers together; herbs for red, saffron flowers for gold. Black hair was made with rotten leeches mixed with red wine for a little over a month, and then dousing the head/hair with the solution. Bleached hair could be achieved by washing it with potassium water and hydrogen peroxide.

Barbershops were also a popular place in Rome, specifically for men to commune. Although the hairstyles changed throughout the time, primarily for men, women had a little more variety. They had three main hairstyles to choose from:

–Tutulus – This was a maternal hairstyle, or a style worn by the mother in a family. The hair was sectioned and shaped into a bun. They tied it with fillets of wool, and the end result would be hair that was conical in shape.
–Nodus – The hair was parted into three sections; the hair at the sides was tied to the back in a bun, whereas the middle section was tied in a knot at the top of the head.
–Sine Crine – Six locks of hair, independently braided, usually worn by brides and virgins

Hairstyles and hair treatment have evolved a lot since then. We’ve also improved upon a lot of what humans did back in the day. Other things, such as attitudes towards hair or a lack thereof, have changed as well, and change is usually a good thing.

Stimulating Hair Growth

July 22nd, 2014

Stimulating Hair Growth

When people start to lose their hair, many of them react in different ways. Some of us just ignore it, and let Mother Nature get to work. Others tend to panic and look for ways to stop hair loss before it gets worse. These days, many of us would prefer to keep our hair for as long as possible, and there are a few things we can do to accomplish this task. What it all boils down to is how you treat your hair, and what you put in your body.

External

Physical activity is a great way to keep your body healthy, and surprisingly enough, it can also benefit your hair. There are a few things you can do to help keep your hair healthy, and to promote hair growth, that don’t require a lot of physical labor. Plus, there are a few things you may want to avoid when looking for hair loss treatments.

Physical Exercise – This activity is almost a given. Everyone benefits from a little physical exercise, be it going for a jog or pumping iron. A little known secret about keeping your hair growing and healthy is blood circulation in the scalp, and what does exercise do? It gets your blood pumping all over the body! If your main focus is blood circulation of the scalp, read on.

Manually stimulate your scalp – Aside from blood circulation being increased via exercise, stimulating your scalp doesn’t require you to break a sweat. Basically, give yourself a nice little deep-tissue head massage. Be sure to focus on the areas around the hair line and the crown, as those are usually the first places to go. If you really want to jazz it up, some people suggest using a few drops of olive oil with your scalp massage, and then really working it in there. Just don’t be too aggressive, or you could up root your hair follicles. If you use olive oil, you may want to stay indoors for a while—things could get a little messy.

Avoid styling your hair too often – Yes, we all love to get dolled up. Who hasn’t straightened their hair “just to see how it looks”? Put your hand down, we all have. However, doing this a lot will cause some major hair damage with all that heat application. Not to mention using gooey gels and smelly sprays to obtain that cool hairdo. The myth about your hair needing to breathe has been debunked, but you’re still introducing a lot of foreign chemicals to your hair and scalp.

Shampoo – Keeping your hair clean is of course necessary for having healthy hair. However, not all shampoos are free of harmful chemicals. Many of them contain ingredients like sulfates and paraben that damage hair. If you want to promote hair growth, and keep your scalp healthy, look into shampoos made with saw palmetto extract and natural oils such as emu and jojoba.

Internal

It may not surprise you that what you put in your body has an effect on it. After all, the body absorbs whatever it can in terms of nutrients from everything you eat. Once metabolized and stored, these nutrients will directly affect everything from your immune system to your hair. So, if you are thinking of trying out a new diet, or wondering what to eat to stimulate hair growth, we have a few suggestions for you to try.

Vitamins – Many of us don’t get enough vitamins, and although not overly detrimental to one’s health, not enough vitamins will give us a lack of nutrients, and a lack of nutrients can cause a lack of hair.

Vitamin C – Found in citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, vitamin C is necessary for healthy hair. Increasing your intake of vitamin C will help your body absorb iron, a nutrient essential for increasing hair growth and reducing hair loss. In addition, vitamin c helps to build up collagen, a major structural protein that surrounds hair follicles, keeping them strong and healthy.

Vitamin B – The B vitamin group does a lot more than play a role in cell metabolism. Blood circulation is a large part of hair loss; we need something to keep the cells in the scalp active. Vitamin B3 is widely known for its promotion of blood circulation in the scalp to prevent hair loss. Moreover, a vitamin like B6 can help stop the conversion of testosterone to DHT, a hormone that causes major hair loss.

Hormones – Oh boy, do these cause some problems, and more than just feeling all “icky” in our teen years. An imbalance of hormones can be a huge factor of hair loss for men and women. Hormones influence hair growth, and their production slows down as we age. However, there are a few things we can do to take care of that.

Increase your intake – It’s a common act for men and women to ingest hormone supplements for a variety of reasons. One of these is hair loss. For women, many of them take prenatal vitamins when expecting, and some increase their estrogen during menopause to balance things out. However, if you’re a lady, and not a fan of vitamins, you can eat some wild yam or have a soy protein shake.

Reduce DHT – Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a major culprit of hair loss in men and women. Over time, the body converts testosterone into DHT, and this abundance tends to build up around hair follicles, ultimately suffocating them. Your best bet is to either take some DHT blockers, or use some shampoo that inhibits DHT absorption in the skin.

Liquids – We all need to drink liquids to keep our body lubricated and functioning. Water makes up about 60% of water in the body, so it’s clearly a big factor in keeping healthy. The suggested amount of water is 4-8 cups a day to keep regularly hydrated, more if you like salty snacks. If you like to have an occasional alcoholic beverage, you definitely want to increase your water intake to avoid a hangover. Additionally, alcohol increases body fat and hair loss in tiny ways that are unnoticeable until it becomes a problem.

These are just a few of the ways you can stimulate hair growth and avoid major hair loss. We will always reap what we sow, whether we do something to our hair or put something in it. The best thing you can do is keep your scalp stimulated and clean, and keep an eye on what you eat and drink. Just remember that hair loss isn’t the end of the world, but you can promote hair growth by treating your hair right.

Myths about Hair Loss

July 18th, 2014

Myths about Hair LossWe’ve all heard the many myths about hair loss. “If you keep wearing a hat, you’re going to go bald,” “If you’re going bald, you have too much testosterone,” or a family favorite, “Blame your mother.” However, none of these factors have to do with hair loss (not 100% anyways). Surprised? You’re about to learn the truth about these myths about what causes hair loss.

You get it from your Mom

This is not completely true. Yes, you will get some hair loss gene’s from your mother if her father is bald, no question about it. Surprisingly, your mother’s genes for hair loss are more dominant than your father’s. However, it’s also possible to inherit hair loss from your father’s side.

Wearing hats make you bald

People think wearing a hat makes you go bald because your head isn’t getting enough air, which doesn’t make sense because your scalp doesn’t breathe. If anything, wearing a hat protects your head and your hair from the sun.

Getting too much Sun

No, sun exposure won’t lead to baldness. Yes, too much sun exposure can cause your hair to get dry, frizzy, and dull, as discussed in this article about hair and sun damage. However, it will not cause baldness—just horrible sun burns.

Hair Styling

Hair care products and hardware are for styling, not for going bald. Using hair gels, pomade, or other similar items aren’t going to cause hair loss. However, be wary of some of the chemicals in gels and other products that can weaken or even damage hair. Moreover, over styling your hair with mechanical work i.e. flat irons. It’s hair, not an automobile.

Too much testosterone

This is the silliest one ever. The manlier you are, the less hair you have? Talk about reversing the cultural norm. Actually, most men link a lack of hair to sex appeal, but the two don’t go hand-in-hand. The real hormonal cause is an abundance of (Dihydrotestosterone) DHT, which is converted from testosterone. So, if you do have a lot of testosterone, you’re prone to having too much DHT, but too much testosterone does not equate to hair loss. A shampoo with ketoconazole will fix that though.

It’s a guy problem

Actually, it’s not just men who go bald. Have you seen those hair transplant commercials with women? Men make up about 60-70% of the hair loss population. The other 40-30% is coming from the female gender.

If you’re bald, then you’re old

Not necessarily true. Do the elderly have less hair than the youth? Yes, absolutely…most of the time. However, people can start going bald in their late teens, and 18 years old isn’t old. Wait until you’re 40 to start saying that.

Too much shampoo

This can be true depending on the shampoo you use. If it has harsh chemicals that can damage your hair, like sulfate, it’s likely that you may experience hair problems. But keeping your hair and scalp overly clean will not cause you to lose your hair. If anything, it will help get rid of the fungi and other buildup, which can cause dandruff and other problems. The only thing clean hair makes you prone to is lice.

Decreased blood flow to the scalp

Yes, the scalp needs good blood circulation to promote hair growth and thicker, fuller hair. But once you lose hair, stimulating your scalp isn’t going to magically cause hair to grow back. Decreased blood flow happens when you go bald because those areas of the scalp no longer need blood to keep the hair healthy. That’s why you may notice a lack of blood circulation in the scalp.

Trauma turns your hair grey

Physical and emotional stress can cause hair to turn grey and result in hair loss. However, if you’re not already at an age where you’re losing your hair, it will grow back once the things calm down.

Eat Your Way Towards Healthier Hair

July 11th, 2014

Healthy Eating for Your HairIt’s pretty well known that your diet can have a direct effect on your skin. Poor diet can change the way your skin produces oil or even effect break outs. But did you know that your hair is effected by your diet as well? Although your hair may not react as quickly to your diet changes, your scalp, hair follicles & hair depend on the nutrients in your diet.

There are many other factors other than what you eat that make up how your hair reacts. Stress, sleep, medical conditions and many other sources play into the health of your hair. Why not use your diet to help your hair & keep it as healthy as you can? Below are some ‘super foods’ that will help you eat your way towards healthier hair.

Cantaloupe & Mangos

These flavorsome fruits are ripe with antioxidant beta carotene. Once consumed our bodies convert it into vitamin A, which helps products the oils that keep your scalp healthy. Being low on this vitamin can dry out your scalp & even cause dandruff.

Kale

The newly popular foodie green, kale, isn’t just good for spicing up a menu, it’s also packed with iron, beta carotene, and vitamin C. These elements help keep hair follicles healthy and oils on the scalp balanced. Don’t like kale? Try spinach!

Eggs

Get your protein here! Eggs are filled with minerals that help your hair & scalp. Iron & zinc are two of the stars in this super food. Iron helps deliver oxygen to the follicles. If you’re low on iron, it can be a cause for hair loss.

Lentils

Craving soup? Try making one with lentils. These legumes are potent with iron, zinc & even biotin. This trio of vitamins helps protect the scalp & disrupt DHT in skin.

Walnuts

These nuts are not only delicious, but rich in biotin & vitamin E. Biotin helps to repair & strengthen hair proteins. A deficiency in biotin can cause shedding issues & hair loss.

Salmon

Get fat! Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for your hair’s health. Since we as humans can’t product it, we need to take it in through our diet. Our hair is partially made of fatty acids & it is important to take them in.

Kiwis

Kiwis are chock full of vitamin C, which is an essential vitamin in your hair’s health. Vitamin C is helpful in circulation & supports blood vessels that nourish the follicles.

Cottage Cheese or Greek Yogurt

Both of these dairy products are rich in vitamin B5, which improves hair shine. Some studies have even suggested that vitamin B5 may have additional anti-inflammatory properties.

What Causes Hair Loss?

July 1st, 2014

Hair Loss BrushBoth men and women tend to lose their hair as their age increases. However, some people tend to be more sensitive to hair loss depending on several environmental, health, and dietary factors. In order to fully understand what causes hair loss, there are several components to take into account.

Hair Loss Causes in Men and Women

Male Pattern Baldness (MPB), also known as Androgenetic alopecia, is the most common cause of hair loss in men. Although other factors, such as serious diseases and extremely stressful events, can cause hair loss, most hair loss in men is due to genetic factors.  Men who suffer from MPB usually have a genetic sensitivity to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in their hair follicles. The follicles become weak and unable to produce hair within the scalp. MPB is generally categorized with the beginning stages being a receding hair line and thinning hair on the crown of the scalp. This eventually progresses, leaving fine strands of hair along the rim of the scalp. In addition to MPB, there are many different ways people are affected by hair loss. Some causes can be from external factors while others may be caused by an internal, medical reason.

External Causes:

Certain medication prescribed from your physician can also cause hair loss to occur. Pills that are classified as anti-depressants, blood thinners and anti-inflammatory drugs can slow the growth of your hair, while also possibly causing hair loss. It is necessary for your doctor to determine whether to not your medication is causing your hair loss, so it is pertinent that you do not stop taking prescribed medication without their consent.

Over-styling is a problem that women face all the time. Harsh hair treatments, such as Keratin or Brazilian straightening remedies can almost immediately cause chunks of hair to fall out if your scalp has a bad reaction to the chemicals used. You must be extremely careful when using hot oil treatments especially, because they can affect the root of your hair, making it a possibility that your hair might never grow back. The ways in which women style their hair can also cause a receding hair line and hair loss. These styles include extremely tight braids, hair weaves, and corn rows, among many others. Men can also suffer from a receding hair line if they consistently braid their hair back as well. Avoiding these specific hair styles can help a great deal, as well as using conditioner every day and letting your hair dry. If you are trying to grow your hair back after putting your hair in a harmful style, it is necessary to stop using products that emit heat, such as a curling or flat iron until your hair returns to its normal state of health.

Anabolic steroids like the ones that some athletes or bodybuilders use to gain muscle mass can really damage your hair and speed up hair loss. Using Anabolic steroids can have the same impact on the body as polycystic ovary disease (PCOS), which is only found in women. In order to gain your hair back, you must get off of the steroids to achieve maximum effect.

Medical Causes:

Another common cause of hair loss in men and women is a condition called Hypothyroidism, where your thyroid gland is underactive. The thyroid is a small gland in your neck that produces hormones that are vital to the regulation of your metabolism as well as human growth and development. When the thyroid is not producing the correct amount of hormones, your hair can begin to become thin and fall out. Taking a synthetic thyroid medication will take care of this condition, and once your thyroid levels become regulated back to normal, your hair should grow back and become thicker.

Hair loss in men and women can also be caused by autoimmune diseases such as lupus. This condition causes the body to become confused and targets the hair on your scalp to be “foreign,” targeting it accidently. This problem, once confirmed that someone has it, can help their hair loss condition through steroid injections. Other treatments, such as Minoxidil, can also assist in making hair regrow at a faster rate.

Believe it or not, but a sudden, dramatic loss in weight is considered to be a form of physical trauma. As mentioned before, when you put your body in such a shock, it tends to freak out and not know what to do at first. The weight loss itself can put a tremendous amount of stress on your body, while not eating a healthy and balanced diet can cause vitamin deficiencies, which can make your hair fall out. To correct this, incorporating a healthy and balanced diet will help regrow your hair and ensure that you are getting all of the necessary vitamins and nutrients needed for optimal health.

A more rare condition that causes hair loss is Trichotillomania. Trichotillomania is classified as an “impulse control disorder,” which causes people to compulsively pull their hair out. It is compared to having a tic, where you continue to do something although you might not enjoy it or know why. Constantly pulling at your hair can strip the scalp of hair, while damaging the follicles. Trichotillomania can start at the young age of 17 years old and is four times more common for women to have this issue than men. Some physicians recommend using an antidepressant to treat Trichotillomania, while other less vigorous solutions include behavioral modification therapy.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is caused by an excess of androgens in the female body that can lead to ovarian cysts, infertility, weight gain, changes in your menstrual period, a higher risk of diabetes, and hair loss. This imbalance of estrogen and testosterone can cause serious depression and is necessary to be treated by your physician. Treating PCOS can be done through a healthy diet and exercise, potentially going on birth control pills, and last but not least, getting specialized treatments to address infertility or diabetes issues.

Your thoughts and feelings regulate many more things in your body than just your mood. Emotional stress on the body as well as physical stress, can lead to hair loss in both men and women. For example, in the case of a death of a loved one or a parental divorce, can cause extreme anxiety, sometimes causing people to have panic attacks. This puts the body into shock, which may lead to hair loss. Taking the necessary steps in a positive direction, like going to therapy, practicing meditation, or getting more exercise can greatly help when faced with this issue.

According to a study in 2009, almost one in every ten women of ages 20-49 suffer from anemia. Anemia is caused by an iron deficiency in the blood, which can be what causes hair loss in men and women. Symptoms of Anemia include but are not limited to: hair loss, fatigue, headaches, pale skin, constantly being cold, and having dizziness. In order to determine whether or not you have Anemia, you must get a blood test by your doctor. If you do have Anemia, simply taking an iron supplement and incorporating more red meat into your diet can help you feel the best version of yourself.

A deficiency of Vitamin B in the body can be what causes hair loss. This is not necessarily a common cause of hair loss, but can definitely be an underlying factor. Like treating Anemia, taking a supplement of Vitamin B can help tremendously. If you are against taking supplements, a more natural route of correcting this issue is by eating foods that contain Vitamin B. These foods include fish, non-citrus fruits, meat, and vegetables that have a high starch content.

Although there are many possible hair loss causes, it is vital that you address any issues you may be facing with a physician before self-diagnosing, for this can cause more health issues in the future.

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