We caught up with an expert Trichologist at Philip Kingsley, for a hair nutrition Q&A – learn which supplements and nutrients mean luscious, healthy locks!
Which vitamins/minerals are important for my hair?
A balanced mix of all vitamins and minerals is important for your hair. After all, your hair is growing tissue and needs proper sustenance. That said, from the clients that I see in our trichological Clinic in Mayfair, Iron, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3, Biotin and Zinc should be top of mind when choosing foods and selecting nutritional supplements. Deficiencies in these are common causes of hair loss.
Are there any natural sources I can include in my diet, to keep my hair healthy?
Most definitely. The best way to get vitamins and minerals is through a healthy diet. If you wish to improve your iron levels, red meats, dark leafy greens and beetroot are great choices. Zinc is found most abundantly in shellfish, chickpeas and nuts. Excellent sources of Vitamin B12 are salmon and eggs. Vitamin D is slightly more complicated, mind you. You can only obtain a very small percentage of the Vitamin D you need through diet – the rest must come from sun exposure or, in winter or for those who spend a great deal of time in-doors, a nutritional supplement containing Vitamin D3.
I have pretty normal hair – will supplements do anything ‘extra’ for me, such as make my hair grow faster?
How fast your hair grows is genetically determined, but it averages at around half an inch a month. You cannot change this. However, sometimes hair does not grow to its best ability, and often diet is in part to blame. For instance, a ferritin deficiency can cause your hair to fall out before it reaches the length it is capable of. Low protein intake can affect the quality and strength of your strands. In these instances, taking a nutritional supplement can be very helpful. The hair’s nutritional requirements are truly unique. Being non-essential tissue, it is the last part of us to receive nutrients we intake. It is also the first to be withheld from. Because of this, it can be difficult to meet your hair’s nutritional requirements through diet alone; and supplements provide a helping-hand. Our supplements are particularly useful as you can mix and match them to meet your own individual needs. Personally, I take Biotin Boost, Root Complex and PK4 Soy Protein Boost every day. I take Tricho Complex every other day because, at the moment, my iron levels are rather good.
How does PK Soy Protein improve my hair?
PK Soy Protein Boost contains a concentrated mix of all essential amino acids (proteins). Proteins are the building blocks of your hair; they determine its strength and structure. This makes them very important. While there are plenty of foods that contain protein, it is good to provide your strands with an extra boost of readily available protein; as your hair is competing with essential tissue when it comes nutrients, it can really benefit from some additional support. Due to the nature of the hair growth cycle, you will usually see benefits to the quality of your hair within six – twelve weeks of taking PK Soy Protein Boost.
I know a healthy scalp is important, but how can my diet influence this – aren’t products the only solution?
If you have a problematic scalp, changes to diet may help. Certain foods are common scalp aggravators. Most often these are full-fat cheese, full-fat cream, members of the Nightshade Family (i.e. peppers, aubergines) and spicy and sugary foods. You may want to work out what your trigger treats are by a process of elimination. White wine and champagne can also cause trouble, so try red wine or spirits (or don’t drink at all). However, diet alone will not remedy a scalp problem. You also have to use targeted products.
If I begin taking supplements for my hair, how long should I wait to see results?
Due to the nature of the hair growth cycle, you will usually see benefits to your hair within six to twelve weeks of taking a supplement.
Can my diet cause thinning hair?
A bad diet, without a shadow of a doubt, can cause hair loss. Specifically, a type of hair loss called ‘telogen effluvium’ (excessive daily hair fall). In fact, as your hair is not essential tissue, it is usually the first part of you to be affected by a poor diet. While it means a great deal to us psychologically, physically it is dispensable. This means, if you are not eating regularly or correctly, your body simply stops sending nutrients to your hair follicles. It reserves them instead to keep vital systems functioning. You need to provide your hair with a steady supply of nutrients and energy in order for it to grow and keep growing. As I say to my clients, whenever you become hungry during the day, imagine what your hair is feeling: ravenous!
Can supplements help my hair regrow?
If you are losing your hair due to a nutritional deficiency, supplements can be incredibly helpful. They provide your hair follicles with an extra boost of nutrients, helping hair growth to get back-on-track. However, you cannot rectify a hair loss issue simply by taking nutritional supplements; they must be taken alongside a healthy diet to have maximum effect. Regardless of diet, I recommend taking a daily protein supplement (what hair is made of) and a Biotin supplement (helps your body to utilise proteins in the foods you eat).
I have a flaky, itchy scalp – what do you recommend in terms of products and diet?
Consistency and perseverance are key. I promise you it pays off! Follow these steps:
1. Shampoo daily with an anti-microbial shampoo to re-balance the micro-flora of your scalp. I recommend our Flaky/Itchy Scalp Shampoo, originally made for Sir Laurence Olivier.
2. After towel-drying, applying a soothing, anti-itch scalp toner. Also apply during the day whenever irritation strikes. This will help to break the itch/scratch cycle. I love our Flaky/Itchy Scalp Toner, which is based on our most popular Clinic Tonic.
3. Twice weekly, use an exfoliating scalp mask to lift away dead skin cells. I recommend our Exfoliating Scalp Mask, specifically formulated for those with dandruff.
In terms of your diet, try cutting our trigger foods, such as full-fat dairy products, white wine and champagne. I also suggest taking an anti-inflammatory Omega 3 Supplement, such as our Root Complex.
I burned my scalp in the sun (ouch!) – what can I do to heal the damage?
First things first – apply a soothing, after-sun scalp mask. I recommend our After-Sun Scalp Mask which contains soothing Aloe Vera and a cooling, slow release menthol. You must keep your scalp out of the sun until your skin has healed. Wear a comfortable hat or a soft, loose scarf to cover your head. To help clear away flakes and calm irritation when your scalp starts to flake (and it will!) gently cleanse your scalp and hair with an anti-microbial shampoo, and use a hydrating Scalp Toner.
Thank you so much to Philip Kingsley for a really informative hair nutrition read. You can shop all Philip Kingsley products and supplements online at allbeauty.