Many women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) experience hair loss. And who doesn’t want beautiful and luxuriously thick hair? It is possible to improve the appearance of your hair when you do have PCOS, but it does require that you follow a few diet and lifestyle guidelines.
Why Does PCOS Cause Hair Loss in Some Women?
PCOS causes an increase in androgen levels (male hormones). Therefore, symptoms are often things that men deal with more often, such as hair loss and even excess hair growth (hirsuitism). The main focus when trying to reduce PCOS hair loss should be to reduce androgen levels, and this entails reducing insulin and cortisol levels (the main stress hormone).
What Diet Tips Should You Follow for PCOS Hair Loss?
Beautiful hair is not only determined by topical treatments, but also by what you put inside your body.
Reduce Insulin Levels
Lower your intake of sugar and carbohydrates. They spike glucose levels, which then increases insulin, the main culprit behind most PCOS symptoms. Read more about insulin and PCOS here: How to Lower Insulin Levels with PCOS.
Supplement with Methylated Folate
A folate deficiency is strongly linked to PCOS, as well as hair loss. Folate is necessary for healthy follicles, including hair follicles. You can find folate in foods, such as leafy green vegetables and liver, or supplement with methylated folate. A lot of doctors recommend taking folic acid, the synthetic form of folate, but a lot of women, who have the MTHFR gene mutation, struggle to absorb it and convert it into a usable form.
Eat More Protein
Hair and nails are made out of keratin, a type of protein that gives nails, hair, and skin strength and flexibility. Your body needs protein in order to produce enough keratin. Without enough, hair can become brittle, and can even start falling out noticeably.
Foods, such as yoghurt, eggs, nuts, meat, and cheese offer protein for healthy keratin production. Opt for complete proteins, such as eggs or meat at least once a day to ensure maximum amino-acid consumption. If you are a vegan, pair different plant sources of protein to get a more varied amino acid profile.
Increase Your Iron Intake
Foods that contain a lot of iron, such as spinach and red meat help to promote healthy hair. An iron deficiency can lead to hair loss and overall poor hair condition.
Consume Enough Antioxidants
Free radical damage increases stress hormones, as well as inflammation, which can impact your hair and damage it. Therefore, it is important to consume antioxidant-rich foods, such as blueberries, dark chocolate, and brightly coloured vegetables.
Nuts are high in magnesium, which helps combat stress, and seeing as stress is an important factor in hair loss, it is understandable why magnesium is so important. Stress also causes a lot of people to lose their hair, so eat those nuts! If you are allergic, healthy magnesium-rich alternatives include dark chocolate, leafy green vegetables, and Epsom salts.
Eat More Zinc for Healthy Hair
Foods that are rich in zinc are vital for healthy nails and hair. Not only because zinc helps your body repair cells and keep cells healthy, but it also helps the body make proteins that are necessary for strong hair. These foods include fortified cereals, nuts, oysters, celery, and cocoa.
Say Hi to Selenium
Selenium helps boost hair growth and prevent dandruff. Once again, nuts are a good source. Only one Brazil nut contains your entire selenium requirement for the day.
Soak up Some Sun
A vitamin D deficiency can lead to hair loss, so getting sunlight is important for the prevention of it. Make sure to get at least 15 minutes of sun exposure per day.
Biotin for Beautiful Hair
People with a biotin deficiency usually have both weak hair and nails. Biotin helps the body make certain proteins, which affect the hair. Foods like eggs, avocados, peanuts, and salmon all contain biotin.
Always Add Omega 3
Omega 3 is one of the most important nutrients for healthy hair, as it helps to moisturise hair from within. Include fatty fish like salmon and walnuts in your diet, or get an omega 3 supplement.
Diet is very important when it comes to having healthy and beautiful hair with PCOS. Include these foods in your diet, and over a few months, you should see a difference. Avoid foods that damage your hair and nails like sugar and alcohol.
Natural Oils for Healthy Hair with PCOS
Having great hair, for many, means a sense of security, a boost of confidence, a happy glow, and an extra bounce in their step. Do not believe me? Ever notice how having a great hair day can serve as a pick-me-up on fat days, bad work days, Mondays, and on days when you are being stalked by a dark cloud?
Doing hair treatments regularly can greatly help improve the condition of your hair. Oils are some of the best and easiest hair treatment options. Using natural oils as a treatment can help improve hair growth, moisture, and general hair health.
Here is a list of oils that are perfect to use as hair treatments. These oils work best when used at least (if not more than) once a week. Simply apply oil to both the scalp and the strands, and leave on for an hour or longer before washing your hair.
- Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is one of the best natural oils to use on your hair. The oil penetrates the hair strands, making your hair softer, more hydrated, and healthier. Using coconut oil also helps to prevent split ends.
- Olive Oil: Olive oil is a cost-effective oil to use. This wonderful oil is rich in vitamin A and healthy fats that moisturise hair deeply.
- Avocado Oil: Avocado oil is an amazing oil to use as a hair treatment. It is high in vitamin A, B, D, and E, and it is also rich in protein and healthy fats. It feeds and nourishes hair, making it a lot healthier.
- Pure Vitamin E Oil: Vitamin E oil speaks for itself. It is extremely nourishing for both skin (scalp) and hair, and helps with scalp and hair repair, healing, and moisturizing.
- Jojoba Oil: Jojoba oil (although technically not an oil) is rich in nutrients that help to feed your hair, whilst serving as a deep conditioner.
- Grapeseed Oil: Grapeseed oil is a great oil to use for hair, seeing as it serves as a natural sunscreen for your hair. Grapeseed oil can also help treat dandruff, and is also good for treating damaged and brittle hair.
A Few More Lifestyle Tips for Healthy Hair with PCOS
Here are a few tips that will help reduce hair loss with PCOS:
- Don’t brush your hair when it is wet, as it can damage your hair. Choose a wide-toothed comb to reduce breakage.
- Try to reduce stress as much as possible, as stress can cause hair to fall out. Check out this blog post about reducing stress: How Can Mindfulness Help Reduce Anxiety?
- Braid your hair before you go to bed to reduce hair fallout caused by your hair rubbing against the pillow while you toss and turn,
- Speaking of taking care of your hair while sleeping, sleep on a silk pillowcase. It doesn’t damage hair as much as other fabrics.
Dealing with PCOS hair loss is difficult, but with these tips, the condition of your hair can improve. It takes time, but if you are consistent for a few months, you should see a difference. Stay positive, and know that even if you are dealing with hair loss thanks to your PCOS, you are beautiful.