Has Summer Damaged Your Hair?

July 23, 2013
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

summer hair damage natural solutionsDon’t let chlorine, salt, and sun fry your crowning glory!

Got beach—or pool—head? Discolored, dry, frizzy, straw-like hair, and even hair loss can be all too common this time of year.

Technically, hair can’t “burn” the way skin does. But after only three days of sun exposure, the scale-like cells covering each individual hair shaft start to pull off. This not only makes your tresses look dull but also allows your hair to dry out, becoming brittle and fragile.

Heat alone appears to contribute to hair loss. Dermatologists at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine linked heat-treated skin in animals with the common autoimmune disorder, alopecia areata (non-scarring hair loss that can be caused by thyroid dysfunction).

Simply pulling your hair back in tight pony tails, braids, or cornrows to keep it off the neck and shoulders in hot weather can traumatize hair follicles, according to the American Hair Loss Association.

And enjoying a daily dip can also wreak havoc—both chlorine and salt water discolor and dehydrate hair. Chemicals in swimming pools and hot tubs bind to hair, turning it a grayish or greenish tint. Minerals in salt water—when combined with sunlight—give hair a brassy look, while severely drying it out.

The good news is, summer doesn’t necessarily have to mean disaster for your hair. There’s a lot you can do both internally and externally to tame your mane—and keep it gleaming and healthy.

Research in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology shows that topically-applied botanicals are effective in treating hair loss and certainly worth a try for summer traumatized tresses. Korean scientists, for example, recently discovered that essential oils from the seeds of Zizyphus jujuba both thickened hair and helped encourage new growth in mice.

Summer Hair Repair How-To
• Wear a hat at the beach or when you’re hiking, gardening, or just in the sun. Always wet your hair with fresh water before swimming and rinse it out well afterwards.

• Keep your hair trimmed regularly to prevent split ends and avoid heat—warm water instead of hot when you wash your hair—and don’t shampoo every day. Air dry, instead of using a dryer or curling iron.

• Check out gentle shampoos at the Environmental Working Group, www.ewg.org, that won’t worsen summer hair damage. Some products that are low in toxins but nourishing for summer hair include Aubrey Organics Swimmers Normalizing Shampoo, Chagrin Valley Soap, Intelligent Nutrients PureLuxe Shampoo, Acure Organics Shampoo, Greenbody Greenplant Revitalizing Shampoo Unscented, Nurture My Body Moisturizing Shampoo Fragrance-Free, and Soap for Goodness Sake Shampoo.

• Deep condition your hair with natural products containing aloe, keratin, jojoba oil, and wheat germ oil. Add a couple of drops of essential oil to your regular shampoo and conditioner. I like cedarwood, lavender, or rosemary. For hair loss, especially, you may want to try clary sage, rosemary, and ylang-ylang.

• Work from the inside out. Make sure you also eat plenty of high-quality protein—the structural component in hair—from eggs, omega-3-rich fish, grass-fed meat, lean poultry, and high quality protein powders. Fat Flush Body Protein is both gluten and dairy free—a vegan mix of rice and pea proteins that offers one of the highest protein efficiency ratios of any protein powder on the market. It is also high in sulfur-bearing amino acids that are essential for hair growth, thickness, and gloss.

Too Much Hair in Your Brush?
Summer hair concerns aside, did you know that at least 40% of Americans suffering hair loss are women? The good news is that the water-soluble vitamin, biotin, strengthens both hair growth and aids in protein absorption. Biotin 5 mg is the formula that I have been using with my hair thinning clients for years – both women and men!

Research in International Journal of Toxicology finds that biotin is rapidly metabolized and excreted, so it’s easy to be deficient. Another study shows that half of all pregnant women in this country are low in this vitamin, and animal research links biotin deficits with cleft palate and other fetal problems.

Check your meds—many can cause hair loss anytime of year. Antibiotics and certain anti-seizure drugs deplete biotin, as does excessive alcohol consumption or eating raw egg whites. Medications to treat arthritis, cardiovascular problems, depression, gout, and high blood pressure may also cause hair to fall out—as can birth control pills.

Don’t overlook hormonal factors in hair loss. Lower levels of progesterone, particularly during perimenopause and menopause, increase the impact of androgens (male hormones) on the hair. ProgestaKey is an all-natural topical cream used to balance hormones, helping with a myriad of symptoms for women of all ages. By using this natural cream derived from wild yam on a monthly basis (and carefully following the “SUGGESTED USE” section on the label), you can help to lessen hormone havoc as well as help prevent thinning hair.

Thyroid dysfunction is another factor in thinning hair. If you’re unable to lose weight but are losing hair (particularly in the eyebrows), consider a Tissue Mineral Analysis (TMA) test, which I have found a much more reliable guide to thyroid status than conventional blood tests. Using a small sample of your hair, TMA reflects how much thyroid hormone is utilized at the cellular level over a three-month period, as opposed to blood values of thyroid (TSH, T3, T4) in the bloodstream at just one time.

Your hair is literally a blueprint, metabolically speaking. Tissue Mineral Analysis is a simple, noninvasive way to determine mineral imbalances—like too much copper—that can depress thyroid function and lead to hair loss.

Fat Flush for Life
The Living Beauty Detox Program


Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!

1 Comment

  1. annmarie finkel

    Iam enjoying your fat flush program, that my brother introduced me and mom to. we are on our 8th day, {Tony Burke) I am having a problem with my hair since visting flordia,and the hot lemon water in the morning,so I am not doing the hot lemon water in the morning anymore because of my stomach, but thank you foryour wonderful program,,Annmarie finkel


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This