The Truth About Hair Loss and Scalp Health, Straight From an Expert
“Our scalp and hair health can be affected by our diet,” says Fowles. “There is a lot of things that can affect our skin, hair and scalp, some we can’t control, but diet is something that we can.” Much how some people experience skin issues when eating certain foods, the same thing can happen to our scalp—it’s just another extension of your skin. Again, this will vary between person to person. For me, I often experience eczema so Fowles ran through my diet. “Dairy, lots of sugar, white wine or champagne can sometimes be triggers,” says Fowles. We also discussed how much I eat tomatoes and mushrooms, as these can also be triggers for people when eaten regularly. During the consultation, I realised I was probably eating too much sugar. If you suspect something you eat might be causing your scalp issues, then Fowles recommends reducing or briefly eliminating said food to see if you notice an improvement.
As for hair loss, diet plays an equally important role. “Your hair is the second fastest dividing cell in the body,” continues Fowles. However, our body doesn’t consider our hair as an essential tissue, so it won’t be prioritised if we’re not getting enough of the right things or energy in our diet. And it’s not just about what we’re eating, but when. “Eating breakfast is really important, as well as having snacks in between meals to top up your energy,” she says. Our hair demands a lot of energy to grow, so eating regularly is key. As for what is good to eat, Fowles suggests eating a form of protein with every meal (but particularly in the mornings and at lunchtime); eating fish and complex carbs which will release energy slowly throughout the day are recommended.
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, or avoid anything in particular in your diet, you’ll also want to ensure you’re getting enough protein and omegas into your diet, possibly supplementing in vitamins or minerals you might be lacking in. However, Fowles notes that even if your diet is perfectly balanced, some people’s blood tests will show deficiencies and, sometimes, those with less than perfect diets will have very healthy blood results. “It’s about what we absorb from our food too, and this can vary” she notes. This could be down to stress, medication and various factors. Consulting with a trichologist will help you understand where you might be lacking and the best way to boost your levels. During my appointment, it was recommended I undergo a blood test to review my ferritin (the storage of iron in the body) as Fowles suspected that this could be a cause of the hair thinning around my temples, so I’m awaiting further investigation. As part of my consultation, I also received a helpful dietary guide with meal and snack suggestions to give my hair the best nutrition possible.