If you were born a blonde baby and somehow transitioned over the years to brunette, you know your hair can change drastically But what can your hair tell you about your overall health? Surprisingly, a lot! A change in your hair's texture, shine, and even color might just be a sign of getting older — or it can be a warning that your general wellness could be a little off, according to Health.
A close friend of mine grew up with wildly curly hair that she could hardly figure out how to manage, so it looked "more crazy than curly," as she liked to say. One day, she decided to lob it off and get a short bob. After a few months, she got tired of the look and let it grow back to her usual mid-back length — except this time, her curls grew back in near-perfect ringlets. Although she was overjoyed to have the hair she always wanted, she was still confused. How was this possible? Her hairdresser attributed it to getting rid of years of damaged ends, and potentially my friend's new diet (she was about six months into a vegan diet). Her gorgeous locks were proof enough to me that simple changes like a quick cut or a vitamin-rich diet can completely change your hair.
Check out what your hair might be saying about your health — and take the necessary steps to your hair and body happy and healthy.
1. Your Hair Is Falling Out In Clumps
Don't panic. On average you lose 50 to 100 hairs a day, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. If you do feel the amount you're losing is getting out of hand, there are a number of potential causes that aren't cause for worry! According to Francesca Fusco, MD, a New York City dermatologist who specializes in hair loss, as told to ABC News: Stress, excessive styling, and particularly genetics are known to stimulate hair loss. She cites more serious hair loss causes such as anemia, thyroid disorders, and autoimmune diseases — so check in with your doctor if you're worried and have been experiencing extreme hair loss for a prolonged period of time.
2. You're Going Gray A Little Early
Unfortunately genetics is mostly to blame for those pesky grays, so there isn't much you can do other than find a good colorist — or embrace your inner Silver Fox/Babe. Going gray generally isn't indicative of any health problems, but a study published in the Acta Dermato-Venereologica Medical Journal suggests that you might be low on Vitamin B12 and folic acid if you are going gray prematurely. Researchers found that taking supplements and getting a decent amount of sun exposure can help restore your color.
3. It Feels Dry And Breaks Easily
Of course if you straighten your hair as routinely as you brush your teeth, your locks are probably just a bit damaged and in need of some TLC in the form of a deep conditioner. However, extremely weak and dry hair might be a sign of serious dehydration. “Most people don’t drink enough water so ensure you drink at least two or three litres of fluid a day and avoid alcohol, tannins, sugar and caffeine,” Sara Allison from the Hair Today, More Tomorrow clinic told the Mirror. So drink up and bring your mane back to life!
4. You Have A Flaky Scalp
Dandruff, although hardly life-threatening, can be seriously annoying — and sometimes a little embarrassing. But luckily, if you've got a dry, flaky scalp, that probably just means you're either using too many products or you're a bit stressed, according to Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips, a trichologist at the Philip Kingsley Clinic in NYC, who talked to Redbook about hair health. Aside from giving yourself some time to relax, you might also want to try an exfoliating scalp mask to get rid of that dead skin. My favorite is Philip Kingsley's Exfoliating Scalp Mask.
Phillip Kingsley Exfoliating Scalp Mask, $30, net-a-porter.com
5. Your Locks Aren't Shiny Like They Used To Be
If you've noticed your hair has been looking dull lately, and no amount of shine-boosting serum will help, something bigger might be the culprit. "When it comes to healthy hair, your overall diet is critically important," Wendy Bazilian, RD, author of The SuperFoods Rx Diet told Prevention. "If you're eating a highly processed diet, any nutrients you do get are shuttled to your body's crucial operations, like your heart and other organs," meaning your hair is hardly getting what it needs. In order to get back the luster you used to have, you might want to focus on a well-balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables.
So while your gray hair is probably not enough to worry about, your hair in general can be an easy and important signal of your overall health and definitely should not be ignored.