Scalp Health: What Your Hair Is Silently Trying to Tell You


Did you know your hair and scalp can be a strong indicator of your hair health? Often, the first symptom of a deeper medical or nutritional issue can be seen from the stands of your hair. Changes to your hair's appearance, texture, and thickness are a sign that your body is not functioning at its optimum. Here we reveal what your scalp or hair could be trying to tell you about your health. 


1. White flakes


White flakes on your hair, shoulders or, eyebrows are an indication that you suffer from dandruff. Dandruff occurs when you shed tiny bits of dry skin from your scalp. It can sometimes cause itchiness. These flakes don't usually indicate a health problem and can often be treated with topical treatments that reduce yeast and inflammation. Risk factors of dandruff include oily skin, stress, obesity, cold and dry weather, eczema, or psoriasis. 


2. Yellow dandruff


One of the most common types of dandruff is a condition called seborrheic dermatitis. This type of dandruff presents itself as yellow, grease-like flakes. Your scalp may appear red and inflamed. The cause of seborrheic dermatitis is unclear. It’s associated with a yeast known as Malassezia and causes an inflammatory condition on the scalp. Seborrheic dermatitis is associated with individuals who have oily skin, a family history of psoriasis, and a lack of sleep or stressful events. 


3. Shedding of hair


It can come as a shock when you're running your hands through your hair and you see clumps of strands coming loose. You’ll be relieved to know that sometimes hair fall is perfectly natural. Experts estimate that we shed up to 100 or more hair strands a day. Ninety percent of your 100,000 hair follicles are producing hair at any given time. The other 10 percent remains in a resting phase. As your hair falls out, new hair is replaced in the growth cycle. 


4. Losing fistfuls of hair 


If you're losing large chunks of hair and noticed your hair thinning, Telogen Effluvium could be the cause. Telogen Effluvium is a temporary condition where up to 70 percent of the anagen hairs go into a telogenic or a resting phase. This can be due to environmental triggers such as postpartum hair loss, chronic illnesses, surgical operations, high fevers, or a high degree of psychological stress. In most cases, as your body begins to recover, the growth cycle starts to normalize and your normal growth pattern should pattern. 


5. Bald spots


You’ve just noticed a patchy bald spot that has appeared quite suddenly. This can indicate an onset of alopecia areata. Alopecia areata can occur when your immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles and causes your hair to fall out. This usually occurs in one or two bald patches, but sometimes occurs all over the scalp. It isn't harmful or contagious. Alopecia areata can grow back with treatments such as growth injections or topical ointments. Some individuals experience alopecia areata repeatedly. 


6. Receding hair at the temples 


You might be wondering why the strands on the top and front of your head have suddenly gone missing. With male pattern baldness, you’ll usually notice hair loss at the crown of the head. This type of thinning is known as androgenic alopecia and is one of the most common types of hair loss in men. You're not alone in this, more than 50 percent of all males over 50 yers of age will experience male pattern baldness to some extent. Male pattern baldness is hereditary, however, certain types of thyroid conditions can be responsible for male pattern baldness. 


7. Thinning hair 


If the thinning is occurring throughout your head, you may be experiencing overall age-related hair loss. Thinning that occurs closer to the crown of your head may be a sign of female pattern baldness. This can extend to the center part line, but leave the front hairline unaffected. Female pattern baldness is often hereditary. Sometimes female pattern baldness can be associated with an underlying endocrine condition or a hormone-secreting tumor. Treatment for female pattern baldness includes minoxidil and Spironolactone. 


8. Dry, brittle hair


Often hair can appear dry, brittle, and be accompanied by hair loss. This is a sign that your hair and scalp are lacking in nutrients. Your hair needs essential nutrients such as fatty acids omega-3, vitamin A, and vitamin C to flourish. Eating a well-balanced diet and applying topical treatments can nourish the scalp and maintain healthy, luscious hair. 


9. Dry, frizzy, discolored hair 


The sun doesn't just damage your skin, it can damage your beautiful tresses too. Sun damage can come in form of discoloration, dry strands that split easily, and frizzy hair. Hair that has been over-exposed to UVA or UVB rays is often unmanageable and won’t hold a curl or style. The sun's rays act as a bleach on your hair by reacting with the melanin from hair to remove color. Hot flat irons, chlorinated water, and lightening your hair can make your hair more vulnerable to sun damage. To avoid this, you can protect your hair with a hat or scarf or even use an SPF product catered to shield hair against harmful rays. 


10. Premature graying


You’re not even 40 and start to notice those strands turning gray, this may be due to premature graying. While premature graying is determined by your genes, it can sometimes be due to anemia, thyroid issues, vitamin b 12 deficiency, and vitiligo. Nourishing your scalp with a healthy diet or topically applying essential vitamins can help reverse premature graying, especially if it's due to a deficiency.