When getting to know my patients, I always ask about hair loss or thinning. Hair health is super important! It’s basically your body’s way of printing out data of your nutrition, disease state, aging rate and even your mental/emotional status.
Now for my story…
I always loved my hair and it became part of my identity, as it does for most people. Luscious hair is the ultimate sign of health, youth and beauty! Needless to say, when I experienced hair loss… it wasn’t fun.
I’ve been meaning to write this story for many years now. Let’s face it.. nobody wants to feel vulnerable. After a bit of encouragement from my amazing patients, I decided to write this post in order to help others understand there is hope in looking and feeling better.
In 2015, I got off the birth control pill after many years on it. The first two months off I didn’t notice much. By the third month, my hair was noticeably thinning especially around my temples! Losing my hair was really scary and depressing to watch. I panicked and googled everything I could do to stop hair loss. I was so nervous about washing or brushing my hair in case it would shed more. My adrenals were already shot from studying and the stress of naturopathic med school. I bought clip-in hair extensions that ended up damaging my hair even more. I spent hundreds of dollars on hair-growth shampoos that did not help at all. The stress of thinning hair was actually making it even thinner. Brutal.
Here is a picture from when the hair loss reached it’s peak after about 3-4 months of discontinuing the pill.
I booked in with my naturopath. She ran a few blood tests and assessed my hormones. She made me aware of other symptoms (like the onset of cystic acne and terrible PMS) that were occurring since coming off the pill. I was so consumed with my hair to even notice these signs. It made sense! My body was living off of fake hormones from the birth control pill for so long and now it was out of balance. Turns out I had nutrient deficiencies (depleted from stress and the brith control pill), low progesterone, high cortisol and high androgens (let me introduce you to “PCOS”). We worked on hormone-balancing and adrenal support through IV therapy, strict supplement and diet protocols.
I can say from experience, treating the root cause of hair loss one-hundred percent is the best and maybe only long-term cure. However, treating hair loss is slightly time-sensitive. You have to address the issue before the follicle dies.
Here is a picture of what my hair looked like at the end of my IV therapy sessions…
Here is what I looked like a few weeks later…
Main point: Premature hair loss is one hundred percent a sign of an imbalance from within. Treat the root cause and your hair will flourish naturally. If you’ve been on the birth control pill for a long time and considering getting off… talk to me ASAP!
Here are the things I did to save my hair. Remember: nothing happens overnight.
Basically, if your diet is high in chips, diet coke and other low-nutrient foods, the quality of your hair will be low as well. Some foods that my hair loves are salmon, shellfish, avocado, cooked spinach, sweet potato, pumpkin seeds & almonds. It’s not like I completely changed my diet when my health problems began, I just became aware to cut out some bad snack habits and replaced with whole food options.
Acupuncture is all about moving around blood flow and Qi (life energy) to and from certain areas. By bringing these two vital forces to the scalp in acupuncture treatments, the follicles are nourished and able to produce better strands of hair. In my practice, I offer personalized acupuncture that can help with fertility, digestion, anxiety, depression, etc. During my health journey, I received whole body and scalp acupuncture.
Here is a picture from one of my sessions in 2015. I feel so relaxed after acupuncture and definitely recommend.
If you experience alopecia areata (defined spots of hair loss), my “surround the dragon” needle technique works well at boosting blood flow in the bald spot (combined with other therapies).
- IV THERAPY
This was one of the most effective treatments for me during the time of my hair loss. I had lots of minerals, B vitamins, adrenal and liver support in my IV bags. IMPORTANT: Don’t just go to any “IV drip” place for this (you will pay the same, have low-quality care and get much less benefit). A naturopathic doctor will customize your IV bag to EXACTLY what their expertise thinks you need and based on your lab work.
- NATURAL HAIR/SCALP MASK
Please don’t go to the store and spend 50$+ on a hair mask the salespeople promise hair miracles for. Nature has been generous by giving us natural oils that are proven to help smooth the hair shafts and stimulate the hair root. My patients who experience thinning hair get a hair and scalp mask recipe and instructions. This was something I created and tried based on my own hair problems. I can’t give up ALL my secrets for free!
You can buy supplements branded for hair growth but that will offer maybe 5% noticeable difference. Opt for a personalized medical approach. For example, if you are losing hair due to PCOS, your naturopath will prescribe supplements for this. If your hair loss is due to something else like an auto-immune condition, the supplement protocol will be much different.
- RED LIGHT THERAPY
New research shows that direct stimulation of red light therapy boosts blood flow and circulation to the hair follicle and scalp. This directly increases hair growth. There are new RLT machines shaped like helmets that are being used in Miami that I saw when I was there for a conference… they look hilarious but they do work! If I notice hair loss on a patient who is seeing me for facial acupuncture, I clip their hair back in a way that exposes the area during the red light exposure.
It was at the time of my hair loss when I started meditating. I’ve continued this practice and find it super beneficial. Stress and anxiety the worst things for your body… especially hair & hormones! Stress-management is a crucial pillar in looking and feeling great. Other ways to decrease stress include taking a 1-hour iPhone break, working out, yoga, reading a book outside, etc. Relaxation should not involve electronics, junk food or alcohol!
- SEE A NATUROPATH
Let’s chat about the ROOT cause of hair loss. Talking to a naturopathic doctor might help you link up some other symptoms for hints like hormonal disturbances, digestive problems, weight problems, mental health disturbances like stress, grief or anxiety. CLICK HERE for my booking link to assess your health status & join my PCOS Program.
Book the “Initial Naturopathic Consultation”.