Did you know that August is National Hair Loss Awareness Month? The people at Hair Essentials do and are eager to share with Beauty Insider some tips to combatting hair loss. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, up to 40 percent of women experience hair loss by the time they are 40, and this number grows with each decade—making hair loss an increasingly common concern. Here, advice from Paulina Nelega, Registered Clinical Herbalist for Hair Essentials.

1. You are what you digest. It’s indeed important to eat well, but ensuring those nutrients are absorbed and delivered to all of your body’s cells, including the hair follicles, requires healthy digestion. So, along with a balanced diet that focuses upon fresh, whole foods, consider bitters to strengthen digestion. Bitters are traditionally taken prior to meals to stimulate digestive secretions and include herbs such as black radish, artichoke, burdock, and dandelion—all notably bitter! A daily probiotic supplement will also help keep your intestinal flora in balance, an important component of digestive, hormonal, and immune system health.

2. Nourish from within. The hair follicles contain some of the most actively dividing cells in the body. As such, they require a steady supply of key, hair-healthy nutrients that help maintain a healthy scalp environment and promote strong hair growth, including antioxidants, essential fatty acids, high-quality protein (for amino acids that make up the hair), vitamins such as A, C, biotin, and B12, and minerals including silica, zinc, sulfur, and iron. Taking a natural dietary supplement designed specifically for hair, such as Hair Essentials, alongside a balanced diet, will help ensure your hair receives the key nutrients it needs for combating hair loss, repairing and revitalizing damaged follicles, and nourishing healthy hair growth.

3. Natural DHT-blockers.

The most common cause of hair loss in both men and women, especially as we age, is due to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT causes the hair follicles to dramatically shrink, reducing the flow of blood and nutrients to the cells that are building the hair shaft. This results in progressively finer and thinner hair until the hair is simply too fine to survive. Saw Palmetto berry, as well as nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids, GLA (a type of omega-6 fatty acid found in Borage seed oil), and an extract of black pepper called piperine, have all been shown to inhibit the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone to DHT.

4. Increase those antioxidants.
Processed, packaged, or fast foods contain high amounts of unhealthy trans fats and saturated fat, as well as excess refined sugar—all of which create free-radicals that cause oxidative damage. This results in inflammation and contributes to chronic degenerative conditions such as arthritis, as well as premature aging and hair loss. Oxidative damage of the follicles can also result externally from chemicals in hair products, hair-processing or styling techniques, and exposure of the scalp to intense sun. Keep your scalp healthy from within with protective antioxidants: include a wide variety of colorful fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, rich in protective flavonoids and carotenoids; enjoy culinary antioxidant herbs and spices such as turmeric, black pepper, rosemary and oregano; and sip green tea throughout the day.

5. Keep hydrated.

During the heat of summer when we naturally perspire more, keeping our body hydrated (including the hair follicles) is especially important. Carry a refillable water bottle with you and enjoy iced herbal teas, cold green tea, or fresh-pressed juices throughout the day. Indoor heating during the winter also dries out the skin, including on the scalp, so staying hydrated is equally important all year-round.

Paulina Nelega is a registered clinical herbalist for Hair Essentials and has been assisting individuals facing hair loss for nearly two decades. Hair Essentials is a breakthrough proprietary blend of more than 20 herbs, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, amino acids and other nutrients. Hair Essentials can be purchased online at www.HairEssentials.com or by calling 800-536-9353.