Your Gut Health Has a Huge Impact on Your Hair Follicles - Here's What That Means - Women's Health

Your Gut Health Has a Huge Impact on Your Hair Follicles – Here’s What That Means

Everything you need to know.

by | Sep 28, 2021

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Having a healthy – and happy – gut isn’t just key to your general wellbeing, it also plays a crucial role in supporting other bodily functions, like your hair.

So to find out more, we spoke to leading Trichologists (an expert in human hair) Lisa Caddy about scalp health, and how it hugely links to internal nutrition.

What is the connection between hair health and your gut?

Gut health may affect our hair either due to dietary related issues or our immune system. Hair requires a balanced amount of macro and micronutrients from the diet to maintain healthy growth and to sustain a normal hair cycle. These macro/micronutrients need to be broken down to enable absorption which occurs in the gut. If the digestive system is out of balance, then nutrients cannot be absorbed.

It is thought our immune systems are significantly affected by our gut. There are several auto immune hair loss conditions, hair loss which is triggered when something changes in our immune system. 

How does this specifically apply to the follicles? 

Hair growth and quality is hugely influenced by our diet. There is substantial evidence that proves nutritional deficiencies such as iron, B12 and zinc to name a few, cause hair loss. It is thought biotin deficiency has an inflammatory effect and has been linked to the overgrowth of other bacteria’s which has a knock-on effect on the hair.

What are the symptoms?

If poor gut health is inhibiting nutrient absorption, then nutritional deficiencies can occur. This can result in seeing an excessive amount of daily hair shedding or feeling that your hair doesn’t grow to a ‘normal’ length.

Digestive issues can lead to inflammation in the body which can trigger inflammatory skin/scalp conditions such as eczema. This is an incredibly itchy scalp condition which causes flaking and discomfort. Inflamed scalps need addressing as this can also lead to hair loss (Philip Kingsley award winning Flaky Itchy scalp range is formulated for all scalp flaking/itching conditions).

Basic blood tests can be undertaken to check for nutritional deficiencies although these are mostly a result of inadequate diet rather than absorption issues. If you eat a very balanced diet and include all the foods groups but discover you have nutritional deficiencies, then it may be an absorption issue connected with gut health. Dairy produce can cause inflammation in some individuals which triggers a scalp flare up so monitor your dairy intake if you are prone to skin/scalp issues. 

What are some ways you can improve your gut and follicle health?

Eating a varied diet and a broad array of foods helps to ensure you have sufficient micro and macronutrients available to the hair follicle. Watch out for inflammatory inducing foods such as dairy, tomatoes, sugar, and mushrooms to name a few. 

To treat flaking and itching scalps including conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, go to the Philip Kingsley Flaky Itchy scalp range. A weekly scalp mask plus daily shampooing with Flaky Itchy Scalp shampoo and application of Flaky Itchy Scalp Toner will alleviate itching and remove flaking, leaving the scalp comfortable and healthy. 

Frequent shampooing (even daily) keeps the scalp environment clean and healthy which promotes optimal hair growth.

By Nikolina Ilic

Nikolina is the new web-obsessed Digital Editor at Men's and Women's Health, responsible for all things social media and .com. A lover of boxing, she has a mean punch inside and out of the ring. She was previously a Digital Editor at GQ and Vogue magazine.

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