Hair loss is no joke. Not only does it take a physical toll on us but even more so, it takes an emotional toll.
A couple of years ago, I was dealing with hair loss as a result of my RA. Every time I brushed my hair I had handfuls of hair come out. Every time I took a shower I had to collect all the hair and put it in the garbage because there was so much coming out it would clog the drain. The line in my part seemed to get wider… and I was even starting to have bald spots on my head.
With feeling like rheumatoid arthritis was already taking so much away from me, losing my hair felt like “salt on the wound” of this painful disease.
I became bound and determined to save my hair (and my dignity) so I did research and tried everything possible to reduce the hair loss. I’m happy to report it worked and my hair is doing so much better now (it’s thick again like it used to be)!
Today I’m sharing 7 tips that helped me (and a few others that I found in my journey that might be helpful to you too).
Finding the root cause of hair loss
First off, it’s important to note that hair loss can be caused by a variety of reasons. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause hair loss, and the medication used to treat rheumatoid arthritis can cause it (causing a double whammy!) as well as a variety of nutrient deficiencies and other health conditions.
In my case, I knew it wasn’t medication (I wasn’t taking any) so I knew it was the RA and possible nutrient deficiencies. It’s always a good idea to discuss with a health care professional your concerns, and see what tests they suggest to help get to the root of the problem.
I had some blood work done and found that I was low in iron (even though it wasn’t low enough to be “flagged” by the doctor, I was on the very low end of the normal range). I also suffered from heavy periods which would result in blood loss and further iron issues.
With that knowledge in hand, I began my quest to save my hair.
These are the steps I took:
1) I took an iron supplement
Taking iron can be tricky. It often causes constipation in many people. With already having gut issues I didn’t want to add constipation to the mix, so I searched for iron supplements that were easy to absorb. It took a while but after a few months of taking it, I noticed a considerable improvement. I took iron supplements for about a year and then went off of them as my other issues resolved.
2) I cut my hair shorter
My hair is naturally very thick and heavy. I felt the longer my hair was, the more weight it was hanging on the root and thus easier to fall out. I made a huge change and cut about 10 inches off my hair to lighten the load and this did seem to help reduce some of the loss.
3) I stopped coloring my hair
Hair dyes have harsh chemicals that can be hard on the hair and can weaken it. I needed to give my hair all the support I could, so I learned to embrace my natural hair colour (including all the silver highlights) and went “au natural.”
4) I took Biosil
Biosil is another product which I noticed a huge improvement with. Biosil contains silicon which promotes collagen production in the body (which is different than taking a collagen supplement). It took 3-4 months of consistent use before I really noticed the difference (my hair naturally grows slow so it takes a while to see the effects) of my hair thickening, but after just a couple of months of using it I did notice when I washed my hair it no longer came out in clumps. I took this product for over a year and then weaned off as I no longer was experiencing hair loss and haven’t had to return to it.
5) I changed my shampoo and conditioner
I wanted to give my hair all the support it could get, so I purchased shampoo and conditioner specifically for hair growth/combatting hair loss. I cannot say with certainty that this helped reduce my hair loss, as it’s hard to quantify the changes directly as a result, but I figured if anything it would be working along with my goals instead of against them. My friends who had been through chemo for cancer treatment swore by the Monat shampoo and said it helped so much with their hair regrowth. I was using brands I found on Amazon, but I would have switched over to Monat had the other things I was doing not worked.
6) I upped my vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiencies are very common among those with autoimmune issues. Low Vitamin D can also cause hair loss. So, after discussing it with my naturopath we upped my daily D3 intake (and I regularly get blood work done to test that I’m in the safe range despite high dosages).
7) I started taking Zinc
Zinc is another vitamin that if you are lacking it can cause weak and thinning hair. I started taking it daily at the recommended daily rate.
Biotin is a B vitamin often recommended for hair health. I know many fellow spoonies who swear by it for helping their hair grow.
9) Red Light therapy
I’ve actually been using red light therapy for reducing my inflammation. (I will be giving more details about that soon). As a side bonus, I noticed that I was experiencing new hair growth around my hairline when I use the red light therapy on my face. Turns out there is a lot of research to support red light therapy and hair growth. You can do a targeted treatment on your scalp with red light therapy to promote hair growth (though it will take a few months to see results). After doing a lot of research I ended up purchasing the Kala Red Light Therapy Lamp. They have kindly offered a discount of 10% to my readers when using the code RALIFEHACKS10. High-quality red light lamps are not cheap so the savings can really make a difference!
10) Essential oils- Rosemary, Black Pepper, and Cedarwood
I’ve learned from a naturopath that the essential oils of rosemary, black pepper, and cedar wood can be great for promoting hair growth. Simply rubbing a couple of drops on your hands, with a carrier oil, and massaging into your scalp once a day can help promote hair growth and hair health.
There you have it! The tips that worked to help restore my hair. Have you found something helpful fo your hair? Please fee free to share below!
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