Your mane (hair) is smarter than you think. Has your brush suddenly become clogged with what seems like hundreds of new strands of precious hair? Or perhaps you’re noticing your once black hair are peppered with graying wisps?
Here’s what your hair can reveal about everything from what you eat to whether you use birth control.
1. You’re eating too much junk food: A diet packed with highly processed foods can lead to a mane that’s dull or thin. Without a balanced diet, the body transports whichever nutrients it can get to your heart and other crucial organs, leaving your hair behind. Focus on colourful whole foods (yes, fruits and veggies). If your hair is slow to grow, you could be low on protein, the main building block of hair. Squeeze in two to three servings of protein each day through foods like meat, chicken, eggs, fish, whole grains, and nuts.
2. You’re prone to dental issues: People with hair disorders due to mutations of the hair protein keratin-say, anagen hair syndrome, in which hair pulls out easily-have a high risk of cavities, according to a study. Keratin is an essential building block for both your hair and tooth enamel, and mutations of the protein also result in a softer tooth surface that is susceptible to bacteria and decay. If you have a known hair disorder, it’s best to take steps to be extra vigilant about dental health (such as flossing daily and scheduling regular dental visits).
3. You’re incredibly stressed: You naturally lose about 80 to 100 hairs per day. But if you notice shedding that’s out of the ordinary, it could be telogen effluvium-a period of hair thinning caused by psychological and physical stressors (think an illness, pregnancy, or depression). Luckily, this is completely reversible, but it can be tricky to determine what caused the shedding since the shift isn’t noticeable until three to six months after the stressor takes place.
4. You need to be vigilant about eye health: Whether or not blondes really have more fun, they need to be extra protective of their eyes in the sun. No matter what colour your hair is, it’s a good idea to always protect your eyes from sunlight exposure by wearing sunglasses.
5. You could have thyroid issues: If your thick locks are suddenly thinning, ask your doctor about your thyroid, the master gland that controls the endocrine system and affects hair growth. It could be a sign of hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce adequate hormones. These are other silent signs of a thyroid problem. Hair thinning could also be linked to a hormonal imbalance related to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which impacts how a woman’s ovaries function. This can lead to excessive hair shedding and thinning on the scalp, especially in people who have a genetic predisposition.
6. You’re adjusting to new birth control: As your body responds to hormones from birth control pills, hair can appear finer, drier, and less shiny. This may be particularly noticeable if you dye your hair regularly. Since dry hair absorbs colour faster, the exact same colour job may have different results because birth control pills can cause hair thinning.
7. You could use more SPF protection: Have dry, brittle hair that breaks easily? Consider how much time you’re spending outside. Too much sun exposure can dry and damage hair, especially in people with blonde or grey locks. Plus, if you have thin hair, your scalp is prone to sunburn. When you’re outside, wear a hat with sun-protective fabric that has a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) of 30.