Losing your hair is not usually anything to be worried about, but it can be distressing for some people. Abbas Kanani, pharmacist at Chemist Click, says that there are a number of vitamins which can help with hair loss. If your hair loss is causing you distress, your GP may be able to help you get some counselling.
The first the pharmacist suggests is Biotin , which by helping to produce keratin.
Biotin, also called vitamin B, is one of the B vitamins. It is involved in a wide range of metabolic processes, and can be bought as a supplement.
Kanani says: “Studies have shown that Biotin promotes hair growth, as well as reduces the rate at which hair is lost. Biotin can be found naturally in foods such as eggs, nuts and meat.”
Kanani also says several other vitamins can help reduce hair loss.
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He adds: “Vitamin A helps hair growth and reduces hair loss by helping glands in the scalp produce an oily substance known as sebum. Sebum helps to keep the scalp moist, which in turn, promotes hair growth and stops hair loss.”
Nonetheless, the pharmacist warns that too much vitamin A can cause hair loss.
“Excess vitamin A can cause over stimulation of hair follicles, causing hair to reach the end of the growth phase quicker than usual, resulting in hair loss. The key is having a balanced diet containing vitamin A from sweet potatoes, spinach, eggs and oily fish,” says the expert.
Vitamin D can also help to reduce hair loss by stimulating the development of hair follicles, improving hair growth.
Kanani says: “Hair follicles are important, as they are the small holes on the skin that hair grows from. New hair follicles can help to sustain thickness and stop existing hair loss. A lack of vitamin D can cause hair to thin and shed.”
Some research suggests that vitamin D deficiency can cause alopecia, a condition which causes patchy hair loss.
The best source of vitamin D is from sunlight. During months where sunlight is limited, you should look to other sources such as oily fish, eggs and red meat. If you are unable to gain an adequate amount of vitamin D from your diet, you can take a supplement.
It is recommended you take around 15 micrograms (mcg) or 600 international units of vitamin D, says the pharmacist.
Lastly, Kanani says that vitamin E can help to increase blood flow to the scalp, “stimulating hair follicles to produce healthy hair”.
He says it also works to create a barrier of protection on the surface of the scalp, locking in moisture to prevent a dry scalp.
Indeed, studies have shown that people experiencing hair loss saw a 34.5 percent increase in hair growth after taking vitamin E for 32 weeks. The group that did not take vitamin E saw a 0.1 percent increase.
Vitamin E is found in vegetable oils, nuts and green leafy vegetables.
If daily hair loss is any greater than 100 hairs per day, gradual thinning may occur. This often becomes increasingly noticeable in later years, when hair growth slows down.
Finasteride and minoxidil are the main treatments for male pattern baldness.
Minoxidil can also be used to treat female pattern baldness. Women should not use finasteride.
Some wigs are available on the NHS, but you may have to pay unless you qualify for financial help.