Most children benefit from all of these signs, but due to factors such as stress hormones, oxidative stress, and an often unhealthy diet, hair and nails can become dry and brittle, and skin rough and dull.
If you've ever browsed the supplement aisle, you've probably come across - and perhaps even tried - vitamins and minerals that claim to improve the appearance of your hair, skin, and nails. You may have also noticed that there are dozens of products that are difficult to sort through. How do you know which ones are worthwhile and which are a waste of money?
What difference can a substance in a capsule make? Is it possible for a product that is good for your hair to also be good for your skin, and vice versa? The fact that the US Food and Drug Administration lacks the authority to regulate dietary supplements before they are marketed complicates matters even further.
While dermatologists generally do not recommend dietary supplements for healthy people, this does not rule out the possibility that they could be beneficial. Here are some examples of how they can be useful: Aside from making lifestyle changes, knowing how to make the right nutritional and food supplement choices can make all the difference.
Factors that may have an impact on the health of your hair, nails, and skin
Hair, skin, and nails require three major structural proteins to be healthy: solubilized keratin, collagen peptides, and elastin.
Among the integrative interventions available are Polypodium leucotomos extract, a plant-based dietary supplement for sensitive skin, nicotinamide (or niacinamide), which protects against skin cancer, and phytoceramides (lipids of plant origin). There are two types of problematic factors:
- Intrinsic factors such as aging and hormonal fluctuations influence collagen levels, whereas inflammation and high blood sugar levels impair collagen integrity and production.
- Extrinsic factors, such as the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays, can cause free radical damage and increase the activity of enzymes that break down collagen and elastin; air pollution and smoking are examples of "external forces" that harm the skin.
Is it possible to treat 'rebellious', dull hair and hair loss?
While the medical industry touts finasteride as "the" gold standard for hair loss, particularly male pattern baldness, clinical studies show that it is also prescribed to treat hair loss. prostate hypertrophy, and that its side effects are enough to make the hair stand on end: one of the most well-known is the risk of altering sexual function.
On the Harvard Health website, we can find the following information:
"The FDA issued a warning about finasteride in April 2012. It suggested that the sexual side effects could last even after the treatment was stopped. Low libido and ejaculation issues are among the side effects. The warning was based on approximately 100 reports received by the FDA over a period of nearly 20 years.
Men should consider the risk of sexual symptoms, as well as other more serious potential side effects, before taking finasteride. Some research has found that men who take finasteride for an extended period of time and develop prostate cancer have a more aggressive, faster growing disease."
While its supporters argue that finasteride isn't always to blame and that side effects are "probably rare," these problems have occurred in 4-6% of men who have taken the drug, and the effects are "usually" reversible.
It is safe to say that none of these men who experienced these side effects thought they were worthwhile.
Vitamin and/or mineral deficiencies, such as low vitamin D and iron levels, as well as hypothyroidism, can also cause hair problems such as alopecia.
Androgenic alopecia is a type of hair loss that begins with thinning hair on the forehead in men and spreads throughout the hair in women. Alopecia areata is distinguished by the appearance of "bald" patches or hair loss that covers the entire skull.
Traction alopecia is often reversible and is caused by hairstyles such as ponytails or African braids. According to a 2017 study, "effective therapies may be developed in the near future."
Food supplements for hair loss
According to Dr. Michelle Henry, clinical instructor at Weill Cornell Medical College, for those who want to avoid pharmaceuticals, a combination of specific dietary supplements, such as the following, may be beneficial:
•Biotin — According to Dr. Henry, biotin (vitamin B7) studies were once primarily focused on nail growth, but because hair and nails are similar systems, biotin supplementation is beneficial for both.
She advises taking 2,500 to 5,000 micrograms per day because it is a type of B vitamin that is "essential for nail growth and potentially for hair growth as well."
Plant sources of biotin include sunflower seeds, walnuts, pecans, and avocados, while protein-like sources include organic egg yolks, prepared milk, butter, and cheese. made with grass-fed animals and organic milk from grass-fed animal offal, such as liver and kidney, and wild Alaskan salmon.
• Collagen — Found in many beauty supplements, collagen can benefit hair and skin, according to Dr. Henry, who adds that marine collagen supplements can be beneficial for vegetarians or vegans suffering from hair loss because "it provides them with an additional source of protein, which is essential for hair growth."
Because your body does not produce the essential amino acids that aid in collagen formation, you must obtain them through diet or supplementation. After 12 weeks, women who took 50 milliliters of a collagen product daily for 60 days had fewer wrinkles and less dry skin, according to an industry-funded study.
• Vitamin D deficiency is another common cause of hair loss that can lead to alopecia in some cases. Vitamin D promotes the growth of hair follicles. It can affect your hair if you don't have enough of it.
The ideal vitamin D level is between 60 and 80 ng/mL (150 to 200 nmol/L), though health experts sometimes recommend much lower levels. That being said, it is critical to have your vitamin D levels checked on a regular basis, and the ideal way to obtain it is through moderate sun exposure.
• Saw palmetto — There is a substantial body of research supporting the use of this supplement to treat hair loss in both men and women. It is derived from a palm tree and has been used for centuries by American Indians to inhibit the enzyme 5-alpha reductase.
This enzyme converts testosterone into DHT, an extremely potent androgen. Saw palmetto is appropriate for people who have androgenic alopecia, which is "basically due to sensitivity to their own testosterone," according to Dr. Henry.
"Alopecia areata can also affect your fingernails and toenails," according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Nails may have tiny marks on them. They may also have white lines or spots, be rough, lose their luster, thin, and split."
'Minimally invasive' remedies or a change in diet and lifestyle to save your skin?
To achieve three of the most desired results, some doctors recommend "minimally invasive" cosmetic procedures such as laser skin resurfacing, dermabrasion, chemical peeling, radiofrequency treatment, botox injections, vitamin A derivatives, topical estrogen, or other treatments.
They also sometimes advise applying sunscreen before going out, but this comes with its own set of problems. The FDA admits that 14 of the 16 sunscreen ingredients used in the United States are unsafe, and 12 of them have not been thoroughly researched.
Oxybenzone, which is found in many sunscreens, is an endocrine disruptor that has been shown to reduce male fertility, among other issues.
While changing your diet and lifestyle may appear to be a chore to some, they are inexpensive steps that can improve a variety of aspects of your health beyond your hair, skin, and nails.
One of the most effective strategies is to eat a diet that is low in processed foods and sugar and high in healthy fats. Another important factor is adequate sleep time, which should be at least seven hours and up to nine hours per night, according to the US National Sleep Foundation.
According to one study, inadequate sleep even hastens intrinsic aging and reduces the skin's ability to defend itself against external stressors such as excessive UV exposure.
Other natural substances are beneficial to the skin and hair. For example, ashwagandha increases DHEA levels, which stimulate collagen production. Because of the production of natural oils, your skin retains its radiance and youthfulness. It also combats free radicals, which cause wrinkles, blackheads, and pimples.
A small study in Italy discovered that a synthetic derivative of sandalwood oil can help regrow hair and treat baldness by promoting hormone production growth and keratin, which is known to promote hair growth and skin regeneration.