Hair plays a big part in boosting our confidence and self-esteem levels, and as a culture, we place a lot of significance on our hair. Whether your hair is greasy, dry, or you’re thinning on top — having issues with your hair health can be embarrassing and stressful.
With so many products and ‘miracle cures’ on the market, it can be hard to know how to best treat your hair troubles and get back to having a healthy head of hair.
In this guide, we share simple tips to help treat common hair conditions like dandruff, plus some tips on how to encourage hair growth and improve your overall hair health.
How diet affects hair health
Diet can have an impact on how we look and feel — and our hair is no exception.
Research has shown that diets rich in Omega 3 fatty acids can have a positive effect on hair quality and growth. Salmon, mackerel, sardines, and other oily fish are good examples of readily available foods high in Omega 3 oils.
Other research suggests that getting enough protein in your diet is also critical to hair growth and quality. Protein-rich foods include meat, fish, and dairy products. People on a vegan diet can up their protein intake with pea, soy, and nut proteins and supplements.
Balance is key to maintaining a healthy diet and healthy hair. Remember to include key minerals in your
Can supplements give me a healthy head of hair?
When looking to increase essential vitamins and minerals in your diet, it is always advisable to do this primarily through changing and improving your eating habits. Make sure that you eat enough vitamin and mineral-rich foods, and that you’re hitting all the essential food groups.
However, if you are not getting enough from your diet; there are some supplements that are safe to take at small dosages. Biotin, as mentioned before, is a water-soluble B vitamin which is necessary for cell growth and can be bought as a supplement to help encourage healthy hair. You should be able to get enough Biotin from a well-balanced diet, but taking 100 mg or less a day in the form of a supplement is another way to ensure you are reaching the recommended daily intake levels.
How to treat hair loss & male pattern baldness
Hair loss can affect men, women, and children, and it happens for a range of reasons. It’s a common problem which affects most men in their later years and can have a negative emotional impact — causing issues such as low self-confidence and anxiety.
Hair loss can be caused by stress, a bad diet, a reaction to medication, and of course genetics — commonly known as ‘male pattern baldness.’
So if you are losing your hair — can you do anything about it?
Yes — but don’t expect miracles on the first application. There are plenty of hair growth products out there marketed as ‘miracle products’, but most of these merely create unrealistic expectations and make promises that are unsupported by science or approved by relevant professionals. It’s best to ignore inflated promises made by advertisers and focus on medically sound treatments instead.
Common hair loss treatments & solutions
Regaine has been scientifically proven to help stop hair loss and even encourage hair re-growth. It contains Minoxidil which is available over the counter from chemists and pharmacies and has been proven to be effective in helping promote hair growth in both men and women.
Propecia is another widely used hair loss treatment to be used solely by men. Propecia (Finasteride) manipulates male hormones, so can NOT be safely used by women. Treatment has been known to show a 30% improvement after just 6 months of use.
Some people may also feel the need to invest in a physical solution like hair transplants or hairpieces. Just make sure you are weighing up all the potential pros and cons before embarking on a treatment plan.
There are more products, advice, and information about hair loss treatments in our Hair Loss section.
Treating an oily scalp and hair
Having oily hair is a common problem — it can affect your confidence and make you feel ‘dirty’ even though you wash regularly.
When dealing with an oily scalp and hair, dermatologists suggest washing your hair at least once a day, concentrating shampoo coverage on the top of the head (at the roots). Use a medicated or anti-oil shampoo if you can. You should also be careful not to overload your hair follicles with unnecessary chemicals and treatments.
Oily hair is a problem, especially for teens: your scalp produces less oil as you age, and oil production is at its highest during puberty.
Dealing with a dry and itchy scalp
A dry and itchy scalp, or what is commonly known as dandruff, is a condition that is not harmful but can be embarrassing and unpleasant as small flakes of scalp peel off and can be visible against clothing and hairlines. There are many things that exacerbate dandruff — including stress and weather conditions.
A dry and itchy scalp can be treated with shampoos found at a chemist or pharmacy. There are plenty of leading brands to help with the condition, but what you should look for are products that include the following active ingredients:
- Zinc pyrithione
- Selenium disulfide
- Betamethasone 0.1%
If your symptoms persist, it may be time to speak with your pharmacist, as they can advise you further on medicated shampoos and treatments. If dandruff prevails or you have any of the listed symptoms:
- Swollen/red scalp
- Very severe itchiness and flakiness
— make an appointment and speak to your GP, they may be able to prescribe you treatments not available over the counter.
Whether you are suffering from mild itching or worrying about your hair loss, do not hesitate to get in touch with The Independent Pharmacy for all your medical hair care needs. Our team are medically trained professionals and are happy to help wherever possible.