Years ago, it was believed that hair was only altered if there was a disease or a very severe vitamin deficiency.Nevertheless,the more we know about its complex functioning, the more factors appear as possible alterations of hair growth.Controlling them simultaneously, with a holistic approach, will be the key to preventing hair loss and for hair to grow healthy and beautiful.
Factors that affect hair growth
Hair is a very complex protein structure that is formed every day by the cells of the hair follicle, located about 4 mm under the skin.Its cells are among the most active in the body, working at all hours to ensure that hair grows.The body will control its operation to ensure that they are not damaged since the number of hair follicles with which we are born is definitive and new ones are not created throughout life.
The factors that affect growth could be divided into two groups.Extrinsic factors, which come from outside and are known as exposome.And the intrinsic ones, which are scientifically known as the follicular microenvironment and refer to the internal factors that surround the cells of the hair follicle and influence their growth.Both in the external and internal we will findfactors that are going to be beneficial and will stimulate that growth and others that will be negative and will slow it down.
For healthy hair to grow, it is important to ensure that the balance is always tipped in favor of stimulating factors and to remove inhibitory factors from routine.
Extrinsic factors, the exposome
The exposome conceptappears in 2005 to collect in a wordall factors outside the body that can affect its functioning.Some of them are:
- Pollution:increases the presence of "toxic" products both in the blood and in the scalp itself.
- The nutrition:Every time you have to take more care of your diet because the exposure to excessively processed foods is increasing.
- The microbiota:it is all microorganisms that live in the body.Finally, if your hair loss is chronic, irregular, or associated with redness or itchiness, we recommend that you seek medical attention from a dermatologist, trichologist, or hair specialist.
- Ultraviolet radiation:damages the cells of the scalp and releases free radicals that alter the growth of the hair follicle.
Intrinsic factors, the follicular microenvironment
The follicular microenvironment originatesfrom the genetics of each person and their interaction with the exposome, that is, with external factors.The result of this follicular microenvironment will influence your hair growth capacity.Intrinsic factors include:
- The effects of hormones:a microenvironment with an unfavorable hormonal situation is more likely to develop premature graying of hair or excessive hair loss.There are hormonal alterations that can lead to an excessively unfavorable microenvironment in which alopecia such as androgenetic alopecia appear.
- The ability to fight free radicals:When the body is not able to fight free radicals, the cells of the hair follicle can become damaged and suffer premature aging of the hair.
- The tendency to inflammation:in this case, the cells of the hair follicle can also be damaged and produce alopecia type areata.
It is of great importance to ensure that the environment in which the hair grows is correct, otherwise, it will grow altered or increase its loss.
Although the microenvironment in which hair grows can be easily altered by the number of influencing factors, do not panic asThese do not cause direct damage, unless their exposure is prolonged in time.When this microenvironment is altered, pictures of greater decline and worse growth occur.This is one of the bases and the reasons for hair aging, a concept that is given less importance than it is.
EFFECT / FACTORS
Beneficial / Stimulating
Correct environmental exposure, healthy nutrition, adequate vitamin intake, antioxidants, correct amino acid intake ...
Growth factors, correct metabolization of nutrients and vitamins and minerals ...
Negative / Inhibitors
Pollution, inflammatory diet, stress, ultraviolet radiation, alteration of the microbiota ...
Aging, hormonal imbalance, inflammation, free radicals ...
How to improve hair growth
It must be borne in mind that capillary alterations such as excessive hair loss or lack of growth are not produced by a single cause, but by the union of several factors.Thus,to see results we must maintain a holistic approach treating as many factors as possible simultaneously.
Treating the hair from the inside is the key, as well as taking care of the one that has already grown from the roots to prevent it from weakening.As you may have deduced, improving the follicular microenvironment will avoid long-term damage and also improve the response of alopecia to medical treatment.
The lack of a comprehensive approach that takes into account the multiple causes of the same problem is what means that many treatments or nutricosmetics do not achieve the desired effects. If there are 6 influencing factors but we only deal with one, obviously the growth will not be optimal.So let's see what we can do to ensure that it works.
Healthy life and correct nutrition, the foundations of growth
We all want shiny, resistant hair that does not fall; for which we need the hair follicle to function in the best possible conditions.Genetics have an influence, but the most important thing is going to be our lifestyle and what we do to achieve that correct functioning.
It is true that genetics cannot be modified, but what can be done is to modify the way it affects our body, in this case our hair.For example, if we have a hormonal tendency to alopecia, a diet low in simple carbohydrates can reduce its aggressiveness.On the other hand, we may have a genetics that favors an inflammatory condition such as alopecia areata.Although we do not make it disappear, we can help control it by reducing the inflammatory environment of the body with a healthy diet, exercise and antioxidants.
In short, leading a healthy life has an important influence on the health and appearance of our hair.
"Leading a healthy life has an important influence on the health and appearance of our hair"
"We cannot modify genetics, but we can modify the way in which it affects our body and our hair"
The keys to a healthy life and strong hair
When we talk about healthy life, many factors are included, but to change hair health I want to focus on some concrete actions:
- Meet the hours of sleep:Hair grows according to circadian rhythms and its greatest moment of growth is when we sleep.
- Exercise:sport controls stress, hormones and free radicals.Specifically, muscle training has a great influence on hormonal regulation, especially DHT.
- Meditate or take mindful breathsThey allow to improve the oxygenation of the cells of the hair follicle.In addition, by reducing stress, it reduces the presence of free radicals and cortisol.
- Take a complete and varied nutrition:the hair follicle is in continuous and intense growth so it will need a large amount of nutrients and, in addition, varied.It is important:
- Ensure protein intake. Hair is made up of keratin, which is a protein and if these are lacking in the body, they will not be able to form healthy hair.
- Ensure antioxidant supplements:the exposome causes an increase in free radicals that oxidize and damage our cells and hair is no exception.Antioxidants will help offset this oxidative effect.
- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet:There is increasing evidence of the damage caused by microinflammation to the hair follicle.
- It is important to reduce the consumption of refined carbohydrates (white bread, white sugar, pasta ...) and processed foods (industrial pastries, soft drinks, cookies ...) as well as alcohol and tobacco.
- The goal is to eat a diet based on fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, legumes, nuts, fish rich in omega 3, etc.
Complicated?With today's lifestyle, complying with all of this is very difficult.In addition, if we take into account factors such as pollution, chemicals or stress, it is almost impossible to be isolated from all of them for our body to function perfectly.
It is because of thattaking nutritional supplements rich in antioxidants can be a great ally to maintain healthier hairhelping to prevent those external or internal toxins such as stress from influencing us.In addition, this type of nutritional supplements can provide our body with what it needs when the diet is not 100% varied.There are alsoanti-inflammatories to counteract hypersensitivity alterations to products or variations in the microbiota.In addition, these help us to control the hormonal alterations that trigger premature aging of the hair fiber.
Developing healthy lifestyle habits and relying on nutritional supplements will allow you to maintain healthy hair. In this way, the hair will not only look healthier but it will also be less aged.Taking care of your hair is taking care of your health.