Hair Clinic : Why crash dieting will thin your hair

Hair is basically a barometer of what’s going on in the body, essentially because blood feeds the hair - so in many cases the better your blood, the better your hair.

Trichologist Trisha Buller shares the science: “You have a fine network of capillaries and nerve endings attached to the hair bulb at the base of the follicle, which lies deep within the dermis. Blood carries mineral, vitamins, nutrition and oxygen to our hair bulbs to assist in the removal of toxins and waste. The nerve endings regulate our nervous system via the adrenal glands which produce cortisol which plays an important role in the function of the thyroid glands, which are responsible for releasing the hormone thyroxin – key for hair growth.”

She adds that “our bodies are very complex, and in time of change within our lifestyle, medical or nutritional regime, the blood will always prioritise organs over hair follicles, as they keep us alive and give homeostasis (balance) within our bodies. Plus, when we diet, we starve our blood of important vitamins, minerals and nutrition which are important for healthy hair growth. Due to the hair cycle resting phase, which lasts three months, any diet we embark on will show an adverse effect on the hair around three months later and present itself as a diffuse loss of hair affecting the entire scalp rather than by resulting in patchy loss. The density of hair becomes less and you notice the ponytail becomes a lot thinner. Sometimes in severe hair loss you can see the scalp.”

Rather than crash diet- and potentially cause a nutritional deficiency exacerbating hair loss - Buller offers these tips for healthy eating.

Plan your new nutritional intake.Ensure you eat all the important minerals vitamins and nutrition our bodies need to function. Yo-yo dieting can cause long term illnesses so research first.

Eat healthily.Stay away from processed foods which are high in refined salt.

Eat fresh produce.Eat lots of fish, eggs, lean meat, green leafy vegetables, pulses and nuts and use olive oil instead of high saturated fats.

Do not cut out meals.Instead reduce portion size, use smaller plates so you eat less, and cut out carbs in the evening, eating them for lunch instead.

Grill your meals.Grilling meats and steaming vegetables will keep all the nutrition in the food.

Consult a nutritionist. They will guide you on the right path to a healthy lifestyle.

Avoid purchasing sweets and cakes.If they’re not in the house you’ll be less tempted to eat them.

Take supplementsto help maintain healthy hair growth. If you do decide to cut out important foods, which will effect your hair growth cycle, I recommend Viviscal Professional as this contains an important amino acid for healthy hair growth and Amino Mar C key for healthy hair, skin and nails.

Up your B12 intake.B12 is a very important vitamin for healthy hair growth found primarily in red meat such as beef, liver and offal. Green leafy vegetables, nuts and pulses are also a good source. This can be supplemented in natural forms such as Spirulina, which is high in B12, and absorbed into the blood instantly. Plus, if your iron store is low your body will not absorb vitamin C effectively which ultimately can affect your hair growth cycle.

Get a blood test.This is important if you do notice any excess hair loss, but note that it is normal to shed around 100 hairs every day and if you wash your hair less often then you will notice more hair shedding when you do shampoo your hair.

Use the right products for you. Shampooing and using treatments regularly can help to improve your hair condition and keep a healthy scalp.


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Trichologist Trisha Buller
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