Wednesday, October 7, 2009


While bald can be beautiful, hair makes us beautiful.

There are few conditions that evoke anxiety in my patients (men and
women) more than hair loss. Hair is an important part of our
appearance. We are biologically programmed to view it as a marker for a
person’s suitability as a mate; this is probably because it’s an
obvious indicator of a person’s youth and health.

Good hair suggests you are well nourished and healthy. As we age
hair thins naturally, so a full head of hair also indicates the owner
is young (and likely fertile).

It is no wonder that billions of dollars are spent every year to darken it, lighten it, grow more of it, and style it.

Like other physical characteristics such as body shape and skin
complexion, the hair you have is the hair you are genetically
programmed to grow. For some it is dense and thick. For others it is
thin and sparse.

Patients often ask me what they can do to grow thick, luxurious hair. Here are five tips to have hair that says: “Yes, I’m dreamy.”

1. Eat well. Your hair reflects your overall health.
If you eat healthfully, your hair will be healthy. Consume a diet based
on whole foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean
protein, nuts, and low-fat dairy.

2. Take your biotin. There are countless vitamins
touted to make your hair grow faster, stronger, and longer, including
prenatal vitamins. Don’t believe it. If you eat a good diet (as above),
then you don’t need vitamins. The only one I recommend supplementing is
biotin at 1,500 mcg each day. Otherwise, leave the prenatal vitamins
for pregnant women.

3. Moisturize. Shampoos are often potent soaps and
can strip your hair’s natural oils, leaving it dry, dull, and brittle.
Use the shampoo at the scalp only, not at the ends which can be months
to years old and have endured countless washes. Use a conditioner
everyday (or at least 3-4 times a week if your hairstyle can’t tolerate
daily conditioning) to help lock in moisture. This will help your hair
be thicker, shinier, and healthier.

4. Try carnitine. A recent study showed that at least in the laboratory, L-carnitine (found
in red meat) stimulated hair growth. Maybe that’s where the expression,
“Eat this. It’ll put hair on your chest” comes from….

5. Cut it. Because your hair can be years old, it
reflects all your body has been through in that time. For instance, if
you were sick a few months ago, then the hair that grew during that
period can be thin and brittle and will remain that way until it is
sheared. If your hair is damaged or frayed, then there is little you
can do to repair it. Sometimes the best thing to do is to cut off all
the damaged areas and focus on taking better care of the hair that is
still healthy.

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