Supplements. To take or not to take, that’s the question. Or even, what to take? We’ve all thought about taking a few essentials - the much-needed vitamins and proteins that help strengthen our bodies, our digestive system, and also care for our skin. But how to cope with our hair health woes? Do we need extra nutrients over and above our diets? What kind of supplements are good for our hair and which ones can actually aid in damage?
We asked these questions to leading trichologist, Dr. Rekha Yadav, from Revital Trichology Centre, Mumbai, and we have some nutrient-rich answers for you.
Beauty Book: Has the past year and a half’s crisis affected hair health? What kind of hair-related concerns are raised most during the lockdown?
Dr. Rekha: I have been seeing patients with increased hair loss since the pandemic started due to mainly
- The lack of activity in lockdown and increased weight leading to poor nourishment and hormonal imbalances
- Post covid hair loss due to the sudden arrest of the growth phase of hair due to the illness and
- Stress-induced hair loss
Beauty Book: Skincare supplements are trending high, but do we need to add specific supplements to our diets for hair?
Dr. Rekha: Yes, taking care of overall health is essential for healthy hair. If you lack any nutrients, it may lead to hair loss. The body tries to demand attention by shedding hair. It could be a preliminary symptom of any disease. So a balanced diet with vitamin B group, iron, enough proteins are all essential for hair health.
Beauty Book: Which nutrients should we focus on while shopping for hair supplements? Are there any vitamins or proteins that our hair needs that aren’t covered in our daily diets?
Dr. Rekha: Nature provides us all we need. If we exercise, eat a balanced diet, take care of our mental and physical health we may not need additional vitamins or supplements. Most of the time people rely way too much on supplements when they are actually not needed. Any excess of nutrients can also lead to hair loss and other problems. But the few that you can think of include vitamins D and B group. Indian women are generally low on iron and most are low on Vitamin D. Make sure you have enough of it as they are essential for healthy hair growth and your hormonal health too.
Beauty Book: What kind of supplements are essential for the most common hair concerns:
Dr. Rekha: Supplements containing iron, MSM, zinc, vitamin B group, silica, boron, omega 3,6 and 9 will help in treating the following conditions -
- Hair loss/ hair fall
- Hair growth
- Dandruff and scalp healths
- Hair damage/ rough hair/ split ends
- Hair nutrition/ dry & dull hair
Beauty Book: Probiotic supplements are the newest trend when it comes to scalp and hair health. Does it really work?
Dr. Rekha: Probiotics can definitely help in hair and scalp health. They provide healthy bacterias to the intestines and help in digestion and assimilation of food we eat and aid in general well-being as well.
Beauty Book: What kind of Ayurvedic or herbal supplements would you recommend for hair health?
Dr. Rekha: Taking any supplement, be it herbal or ayurvedic, without a doctor's advice for a long period of time is not recommended. Every individual will have a different need and that should be taken care of by an expert but you may try oral supplements that can’t go wrong, like amla, green tea, wheatgrass, spirulina, etc.
Beauty Book: If we’re taking supplements regularly, what kind of diets should we stick to?
Dr. Rekha: Diet that is rich in iron like green leafy vegetables, dates, food cooked in iron vessels. You should avoid excessively processed food. Include sprouts to your breakfast, fruits, and salads in your diet, nuts like almonds, walnuts, and flaxseeds are great too. Try and avoid smoking and carb-rich foods.
Exercising is equally important so that enough nutrients can reach the scalp with good blood circulation.