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It is very normal to lose hair, as we can lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day, often without noticing. The NHS says that hair loss is not usually anything to be worried about, but occasionally it can be a sign of a medical condition. It adds that a GP should be able to tell you what’s causing your hair loss by looking at your hair. For older women, hormonal changes that are linked with menopause also contribute to hair loss.
BBC Good Food has suggested a number of foods for healthy hair. It says that you should eat foods rich in vitamin E to provide protection for your hair.
“Nuts are nutritional powerhouses, providing zinc and selenium as well as vitamin E so try to include them as part of a balanced diet,” it says.
It adds that iron is “an especially important mineral for hair” and you can eat broccoli, kale for good iron intake.
You may also wish to include salmon, herring, sardines, trout and mackerel and plant sources like avocado, pumpkin seeds and walnuts, as these are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important.
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If daily hair loss is any greater than 100 hairs per day, gradual thinning may occur. This often becomes increasingly noticeable in later years, when hair growth slows down.
Finasteride and minoxidil are the main treatments for male pattern baldness.
Minoxidil can also be used to treat female pattern baldness. Women should not use finasteride.
Some wigs are available on the NHS, but you may have to pay unless you qualify for financial help.
The NHS says that some types of hair loss are permanent, such as male and female pattern baldness. It’s estimated, for instance, that around 40 percent of women aged 70 years or over experience female-pattern baldness.
Androgen alopecia is a common form of hair loss in men and women of different ages.
If your hair loss is causing you distress, your GP may be able to help you get some counselling.
Hair loss can be caused by illness, stress, weight loss, some cancer treatment, and iron deficiency.
Occasionally it can be a sign of a medical condition, so if you experience sudden hair loss or you begin to develop bald patches, the NHS recommends that you consult your doctor.
The Mayo Clinic states: “You might want to try various hair care methods to find one that makes you feel better about how your hair looks.
“For example, use styling products that add volume, colour your hair, choose a hairstyle that makes a widening part less noticeable, or use wigs or extensions. Always handle your hair gently.”
As we grow older, there is a tendency for our hair fibres to become finer and shorter and we may experience hair loss or greying.
Repeatedly losing and regaining weight can also have an impact on your hair, causing it to become brittle.
Even though hair comes in different forms and may vary between people, it is all largely made of the same materials.
Hair is primarily made of a protein called keratin that also makes nails and forms the outer protective layer of skin.
The NHS says: “There are things you can try if your hair loss is causing you distress. But most treatments are not available on the NHS, so you’ll have to pay for them.”
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