They say that “bald is beautiful,” but just ask people who are experiencing thinning hair and they’ll likely disagree. While hair naturally loses some of its volume and strength as we age, thinning hair and hair loss can undermine self-esteem and leave many people looking for ways to replenish their once full locks. Fortunately, there are some very effective natural solutions to prevent or slow the progression of thinning hair from the inside out.
The Causes of Thinning Hair
Thinning hair is an equal opportunity problem that can affect anyone. Just ask Jada Pinkett Smith, Khloé Kardashian, Leonardo di Caprio, Matthew McConaughey, or Representative Ayanna Pressley. But, whether you’re famous or not, the reasons for thinning hair and hair loss can be as varied as the people it affects. Aside from aging, hair loss can be triggered by an autoimmune disease called alopecia areata, hormonal changes, hypothyroidism, or stress. It can also be caused by heredity.
One common cause of thinning hair and hair loss involves nutritional deficiencies—especially protein, the B vitamins, and zinc. The body needs these nutrients to maintain healthy hair follicles—the small, tunnel-like structures in your scalp where healthy hair is “born.” But if your follicles are malnourished, the growth cycle that produces new strands of hair slows down and eventually stops altogether.
Increasingly, Covid survivors are reporting another type of hair loss, called telogen effluvium, in which handfuls of hair fall out in clumps. Often triggered by a high fever, a viral infection, or extreme stress, this unsettling type of accelerated hair shedding can last for six to nine months. While telogen effluvium typically stops on its own, you can provide your hair with the nutrients it needs to help ensure healthy regrowth when that does happen.
Nutrients for Healthy Hair
If your hair is starving for the nutrition it needs, here are four nutrients that can help restore your crowning glory:
Biotin. This water-soluble B vitamin has a reputation for promoting healthy hair, especially in those with a deficiency. But restoring biotin can improve hair quality and quantity. In one study of women with thinning hair, those who took a supplement containing biotin for six months reported a visible increase in hair volume, scalp coverage, and thickness compared to those taking a placebo.
Millet Seed Oil. Millet’s magic can be found in a compound called miliacin. This triterpenoid has been shown to reduce scalp dryness and enhance hair brightness. And because millet is a good source of protein, it supports the production of keratin—a protein that is the main building block of healthy hair. During one study that appeared in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, researchers found that women who supplemented with millet for 12 weeks experienced an improvement in the growth and condition of their hair. This led the researchers to conclude that millet could prevent or limit hair loss in women.
The B Vitamins. Beyond biotin, the other B vitamins help create red blood cells that carry oxygen and nutrients to your scalp and hair follicles. These processes are essential for healthy hair growth.
Zinc. Zinc plays an important role in hair growth and repair by supporting the oil glands that surround your hair follicles. If you’re deficient in this important mineral, you could experience hair loss. But simply supplementing with a daily dose of zinc has been found to normalize levels and support hair growth.