Breaking the Silence on Women's Hair Loss to find some answers and to start a dialogue about what the American Academy of Dermatology once called "the last taboo." If you are dealing with hair loss or just noticing more shedding than usual, here are the top 5 things you must do to save your hair.
1. Eat a well balanced diet rich in B vitamins, iron and essential fatty acids. If you are on a weight loss program, do not crash diet, but follow a sound plan such as Weight Watchers that emphasizes nutrition. Exercise.
2. Be kind to your hair. If you use a blow dryer (as I do!) or a flat iron, be sure to use some protective products that stand between the heat and your hair -- volumizers or leave in conditioners will help. Don't use harsh chemical dyes. There are plenty of natural, non-ammonia hair dyes on the market.
3. Take a good multivitamin with a good selection of B vitamins including folic acid, biotin, B6, inositol, pantothenic acid and niacin as well as magnesium and sulfur. Be sure there are essential fatty acids in the mix as well. I take extra omega-3, which I started taking for my migraines, but have noticed an improvement in my hair. Do not waste money on "hair vitamins." I will discuss vitamins, herbs and other supplements in a future column.
4. Learn to cope with stress. We cannot control many of things in our life that cause stress -- new job, loss of job, demanding job, family, friends, death, etc. -- but we can control how we react to these stressors. Whether meditation, yoga, playing Angry Birds, or just a walk outside, learn to manage your stress. Stress can and will affect not only your hair but can undermine your health.
5. See your doctor. This is probably the most important thing you can do if you think you are losing your hair. Increased shedding can be a sign of other health problems. Sometimes, if the health problem is fixed, your hair will return! Don't be afraid to discuss your hair loss with your physician. So often, we think it's a vain obsession, but it's not and your doctor should take it seriously. If he or she does not, find a physician who will or ask for a referral to a dermatologist or an endocrinologist.