Overcoming Hair Loss Hurdles
About 2% of people worldwide will experience this autoimmune condition, equating to about 160 million individuals across the globe. Marked by unpredictable hair loss, alopecia areata can affect anyone, with most cases developing before the age of 30. But what should you avoid with alopecia areata? In this article, we'll help you limit further hair loss caused by this condition, while also looking at a treatment option (LITFULO), a once-daily prescription pill for severe alopecia areata. It works inside the body to treat the disease. LITFULO binds to select proteins within immune cells and blocks their signaling process.
1. Inflammatory Foods
Thanks to the modern food industry, it’s easy to fall into the trap of an inflammatory diet, such as eating processed foods, fried foods, or foods high in sugar. Arguably, these are convenient and easy to grab on the go. However, an anti-inflammatory diet may lower the odds of worsening symptoms.
Avoiding processed foods, including gluten-containing foods and dairy, may help reduce flare-ups and hair loss. If you can, it may even help to discuss your options with a dietician or nutritionist who can help ensure you get everything your body needs through your diet while not leading to worsening alopecia symptoms.
Generally, those with this condition may notice less hair loss when excluding:
- Added sugars.
- Fast and fried foods.
- Refined grains.
- Processed snack foods.
- Processed deli meat.
- Gluten-containing foods.
- Sugary beverages.
Instead, try to stick to a whole-food diet that incorporates plenty of color and nutrients to support your body and hair growth. For example, vitamin D is thought to play an important role in hair health. This vitamin can be obtained from the sun but also from the food we eat, such as salmon and beef liver.
Zinc may also be an important mineral. Studies show how zinc deficiencies may lead to worsening alopecia areata symptoms. Lastly, healthy fats, such as those found in walnuts and fish, may also aid hair growth and thickening.
2. Harsh Chemicals
This is especially important when purchasing hair products. Some ingredients in shampoos, conditioners, and more may contribute to increased hair loss, especially for those diagnosed with alopecia areata.
Some of these chemicals include:
- Sulfates: These can strip the hair of its natural oils, leaving it dry and brittle and more prone to hair loss.
- Parabens: These have been found to cause dryness and may irritate the scalp, posing more problems for those with alopecia areata.
- Diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA): These may degrade the hair’s keratin, which may compromise the health of the hair follicles.
- Alcohols: These are often found in cheap shampoos, but they can leave the scalp dry and, thus, promote unwanted hair loss.
- Propylene glycol: A known skin irritate, this one is best to avoid when searching for hair and scalp products.
Look for shampoos and conditioners without any harsh chemicals. When in doubt, natural options may also be best.
3. Excessive Stress
While some stress is completely normal, excessive stress can lead to widespread inflammation. And yes, this may impact your hair follicles and hair health, which, for those with alopecia areata, can lead to increased symptoms.
One of the best things you can do for your overall health and happiness is to reduce any excess stress in your life. If you struggle with this, reaching out to a mental health professional can provide immense benefits, potentially for both your alopecia areata symptoms and overall quality of life.
4. Intense Sun Exposure
While sunshine can have health benefits, too much sun is never a good thing. This is especially true for those with alopecia areata, where the skin on the scalp can be over-exposed due to hair loss.
When heading out in the sun, wear a hat for protection or wear sunscreen. Damaging this area of skin may prolong hair loss and also damage hair follicles located in the skin.
5. Hairstyles That Pull On The Hair
Wearing your hair in tight styles is okay once in a while. However, frequent tight hairstyles can pull on the hair and even damage the hair follicles, leading to increased hair loss.
Instead, wear your hair loose or down. This gives your hair follicles a much-needed break and won’t lead to unnecessary damage. Other things you may want to consider include wearing scrunchies and using claw clips over elastics since these will pull on your hair less.