Dr. Justin Rome
Having a healthy head of hair isn’t just about getting treatment for it when it starts looking thin, a healthy hair lifestyle should be adopted by everyone, regardless of if their hair is ailing or not. Luckily, as most people might suspect, lifestyle choices that are good for hair health, are also good for the health of your body overall -- making these a win-win.
The basics of making sure that your hair follicles can produce thick and healthy strands is ensuring that all of the vitamins, minerals, proteins, and micronutrients are available to the scalp consistently. This means that a healthy, nutrient-dense, and varied diet is essential to hair follicles that can do their job efficiently. Some of the best healthy hair nutrients are zinc, iron, biotin, vitamin D, plus an adequate amount of protein daily. Most of these can be easily measured in routine blood tests through your doctor to identify deficiencies, so if you are wondering if vitamin D or iron levels may be on the low side (or contributing to hair changes), ask your doctor to check it out. Getting regular exercise is also essential for optimal hair health. While the connection between hair and exercise may not be immediately apparent, getting your blood flowing and improving circulation helps to make sure that your scalp and hair follicles are being flooded with oxygen and nutrients to ensure proper growth.
Avoidance of certain habits is also a way to help boost overall hair health. Smoking can mess with your circulation, damage hair follicle cells, and wrap the hair in a cloud of drying smoke, and should be avoided for a myriad of additional health reasons. Heat styling should also be used with restraint for the optimal health of your hair, and at the very least, you should always apply a heat protectant before reaching for a blow dryer or other heat styling tool.
My final piece of advice is to do yourself a favor and speak with a doctor or hair specialist at the first signs of hair loss or changes. There are professional hair loss treatment options out there, and starting them sooner rather than later may lead to better results overall. A doctor may help get you started on validated hair loss medications like Minoxidil or Finasteride and help save you from wasting your time and money on gimmicks or unproven remedies.
Keeping up with a healthy lifestyle including a healthy balanced diet, regular exercise, dumping bad habits, reducing heat styling, and seeing a professional at the first signs of hair changes can be a great start on the way to optimal hair health.