What is Trichology and How to Deal With Dry Hair

I started looking into reasons that my hair was so dry and stumbled on an article about Trichology from last spring's Porter Magazine.  Trichology is the science of the structure, function and diseases of the human hair.  I found this article so interesting and this is my summary, along with a few interesting tidbits thrown in!

As you may know, hot flashes and night sweats are very common during menopause, but what you may not know is that falling estrogen levels can also affect your skin and hair.  Collagen loss begins early but is more significant during the first few years of menopause and that can lead to dry skin and hair. 

Estrogen keeps skin plump and youthful looking, but when estrogen levels drop during menopause, the skin can look more wrinkled and dry and can be itchy (sound familiar).  This happens because the oil glands in the skin shrink.

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You can read more about the causes of dry hair and skin during menopause in this article and about Trichology in this article.

I have been battling dry hair for about a year now and have found a few products that are helpful.  I do color my hair...I get highlights and lighten my roots as well because my natural color is (probably haha) a dark brown.  The bleach is damaging I'm sure, but I think what is more damaging is the pulling (my hair is naturally curly) when I dry my hair and the heat of the curling iron and flat iron.  I only wash my hair every 3 or 4 days, so that helps, and in the summer, I let it dry naturally for the most part.  It's so hot and humid that it gets frizzy if I try to straighten it anyway!  I am fortunate that I don't have thinning hair, but it is a problem for some women.

Spring 2018

The mistake that most women make when it comes to their hair is waiting until they notice a change for the worse- maybe it feels thinner, looks dull or simply won't fall right.  It's so much easier to maintain great hair and prevent problems than waiting to fix them later.  Diet, stress and hormones all play a roll in the health of your hair!  Here are the things to watch.

Watch Your Diet

Diet and the focus today on staying slim can have a big impact on the condition of women's hair.  Eating a high protein diet with complex carbohydrates is important.  This includes whole wheat bread or pasta, oatmeal and quinoa, as these provide hair follicles with the energy to grow.    Because 85 percent of hair's structure consists of the protein keratin, a protein-rich diet is crucial to healthy hair.  Iron is also vital - an iron deficiency will be evident in lackluster, brittle or thinning hair.  A standard blood test will not measure iron levels in relation to hair health, which is why testing for this and other key vitamins such as B12, C and D, is usually the first step of treatment at a trichology clinic.

Watch Your Stress Levels

Women carry so much stress and it's compounded during midlife with demands of aging parents, children and sometimes major life changes.  "One of the more dramatic responses to chronic stress is a noticeable increase in the number of hairs (typically 10 percent) in their resting phase, resulting in sparse patches where hair doesn't grow for up to four months.  It's a vicious cycle as alongside higher levels of stress hormones, you will often experience worse sleep and a change in appetite, both of which affect the quantity and quality of hair."

Watch Your Hormones

According to the article, there has been a huge increase in the number of women, even in their twenties, with hair loss where hair thins on top.  This hair loss was previously thought to have been caused by high levels of testosterone, but it's actually caused by an increased sensitivity of the testosterone instead of an increase in the hormone itself.  For those who are genetically predisposed, certain hormones in oral contraceptives can worsen the situation.

Watch Your Hair Care

Wash your hair at least three times a week, particularly if you live in a city.  It's the only to get rid of the build up of dead skin cells and daily grime.  The trend for training hair to self wash, going for up to six weeks with shampoo, is certainly not one the professionals recommend.  I will admit that I've never heard of this trend, but I sometimes go as long as 3 or 4 days without washing my hair.  Think of the dirt you wash from your face every day and know that the hair and scalp attract a similar amount.  It's not that your hair is clean from "self washing"; it's that your hair has the right amount of oils. "When you wash your hair with shampoo, it's a detergent and it will strip the oils off your hair. Hair is supposed to be a bit oily so your hair follicles produce additional oil to make up for the oil that's been washed away and you end up getting greasy hair. If you don't wash it away, there seems to be some kind of feedback mechanism that means that the follicles will produce the right amount of oil, and you won't end up with greasy hair".  This is not something many women would recommend I don't believe!

The choice of hair brush you use also makes a big difference in hair health.  The densely bristled brushes used in some hair salons may speed up your blowout, but they can also damage your hair, so for everyday use, choose a brush with widely set soft prongs.  Try the Denman Classic Styling Brush.

I'm linking some of my favorite products to help with dry hair below!  Some are products that work from the inside out, such as the Welleco Protein Powder and the Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides and other's are products that I apply directly to my hair.  Read this post for more information on intermittent fasting for healthy skin and hair and to get some great healthy recipes!  You'll also love this recipe for the Healthiest Chicken Noodle Soup (it's so delicious)!  Click on the pictures below to shop my favorite products!

Some of the best foods to choose for healthy hair and skin include:  fatty fish, red bell peppers (so high in Vitamin C), spinach, coconut, avocado oil, eggs, garlic, walnuts, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, collard greens, hemp, pineapple, oysters, and oats!  You might want to try this great recipe for my Oatmeal Breakfast Bowl that's healthy and easy!

I hope this post has been helpful if you're dealing with dry hair and hormonal changes!

Just a totally unrelated side note...aren't you loving the new changes to Pinterest!  I would love for you to follow my Pinterest boards to keep up with my current obsessions in food, fashion, and interiors and more!

I'm leaving for Nashville tomorrow to meet my two of my daughters and I can't wait to see them!  I'll have more recommendations for restaurants, shopping and more so be sure to check back!  Thanks so much for reading and have a great day!