If your skin and nails can say something about your health, your hair certainly can, too. The look of your locks is the product of your diet and lifestyle, after all. The healthier your diet and lifestyle are, the thicker and shinier your hair is likely to appear.
But sometimes, we can take good care of ourselves and still have dry, brittle, or thin hair. In those cases, your hair could be showing signs of an underlying health problem. Don’t fear, though, because the health issues linked to unhealthy hair aren’t usually serious. They may even be nothing a good shampoo and conditioner can’t fix!
That said, here are the possible signs of a health issue showing from your hair:
1. No Health Issue: White Flakes or Dandruff
If your scalp is often itchy, dry, and flaky, your main problem is dandruff, which results from excessive oil production, dehydration, or lack of moisture. Living in a place with a cold and dry climate can strip off your skin’s natural oils, and your scalp may bear that effect, too. But a very oily scalp isn’t a good sign either because it retains moisture on your head, which may cause fungus to develop and result in dandruff. That’s just a theory, though, but oily scalp sure does cause dandruff.
Other factors such as obesity or having eczema or psoriasis may also increase your risk for dandruff. But dandruff in itself isn’t harmful, so it’s nothing to worry about.
2.Cushing’s Syndrome: Brittle Hair
Cushing’s syndrome is a rare condition caused by abnormally high levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. ButCushing’s syndrome has more obvious symptoms, including high blood pressure, fatigue, and back pain, so don’t panic about your brittle hair.
Brittle hair or hair breakage is more often a sign of a poor hair-care regimen. Over-shampooing or over-styling, your hair causes the strands to weaken. Over-brushing does the same; basically, anything that applies friction to your tresses causes breakage, so don’t be rough when you towel-dry your hair as well. Mind the tightness of your ponytails, too, and don’t let years pass without going for a trim. Tight ponytails stretch or break the hair from the roots while delaying trims leads to split ends.
3. Iron Deficiency or Iron Deficiency Anemia: Hair Shedding
If your hairbrush, pillows, and shower drains have been collecting more hair than usual, that could be a sign that you’re low on iron if you don’t already have anemia. Heavy menstrual bleeding and/or a vegetarian diet are other risk factors for anemia, so if both apply to you in addition to shedding hair, consider getting a blood test.
It’s also possible to have low iron but not anemia. In that case, you can restore your iron without taking medications. Include iron-rich foods in your diet and take iron supplements daily, and you should see an improvement.
4. Thyroid Problems or Protein Deficiency: Thinning Hair
Hypothyroidism causes your thyroid glands to produce insufficient thyroid hormones, leading to the disruption of your hair regrowth. If you also often feel tired, intolerant to the cold, have painful joints, muscle pain, and a puffy face accompanied by a mysterious weight gain, chances are you have hypothyroidism, so go and get checked.
If you don’t experience those symptoms but still feel your hair thinning, you probably need an extra dose of protein. Cut down on junk food and replace them withhealthy protein, such as non-fat Greek yogurt, fish, chickpeas, and chicken breast.
5.Alopecia: Hair Loss
Tight ponytails and thyroid problems can also cause an autoimmune disorder called Alopecia Areata. With this condition, your own immune system attacks your hair follicles, leading to bald patches.
Despite having no cure, alopecia isn’t serious, and you can recover from it without treatment. But to regrow your hair faster, taking immune system suppressants (with your doctor’s approval, of course) may help. You can also use a moringa shampoo for hair loss to speed up hair regrowth.
6. Stress: Gray Hair
Having gray hair while you’re still young doesn’t necessarily mean you’re aging fast. But that might be the case if you don’t reduce your stress. Studies show that chronic stress may damage your DNA and reduce the supply of pigment-producing cells in your hair follicles.
Gray hair could also run in your family, so if your parents had their first silver strands in their teens, you have a high chance of experiencing the same thing. You can always dye your hair anyway if the gray strands are hurting your self-confidence.
Your hair is your crowning glory, so take care of it by living a healthy lifestyle. The health issues they show may not be serious, but it doesn’t mean you should abuse your thick tresses. Also, prevention is always better than cure.
Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.