What your hair can tell you What your hair can tell you

What your hair can tell you

For her 1 September, 2018 Maria Clara Restrepo E.

It is important to pay attention to how your hair looks, not just as a matter of aesthetics, but because hair loss or a lack of shine can be some of the first symptoms of a health problem.

The first thing to keep in mind is that examining your own hair is complicated and just because you may be losing hair, does not mean you have a symptom of a serious disease. According to the Healthy Skin Foundation from Spain, hair loss can occur more frequently during times of stress or during menopause. Sometimes, however, hair loss can be an early symptom of certain health problems.

What can your hair tell you?

  • Anemia. Significant hair loss, especially when washing or brushing it, is one of the main symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia, along with fatigue. This can be caused by a diet that is low in iron and by significant blood loss during menstruation.
  • Diabetes. When blood sugar levels are not under control, the skin tends to be dry and the chances of having an ulcer or infection increases. Itchiness throughout the body can also occur, including the scalp. In severe cases, significant hair loss can occur, known as diffuse alopecia.
  • The thyroid. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism affect the dermis and the hair. Those who have an overactive thyroid tend to notice their hair is thinner, weak and it falls out more than normal. Hypothyroidism, on the other hand, can be detected through hair that is dry and breaks, and that falls out especially in the area around the forehead. (Related article, in Spanish): The thyroid).
  • Lupus. This autoimmune disorder is caused by poor functioning of the immune system and causes problems in the liver, kidney and skin. Often, hair becomes weak and it falls out. Skin also becomes read and flaky.
  • Intoxication. The presence of metals in the body such as mercury can be detected by hair loss. This can also occur with pharmaceutical drugs such as blood thinners, as well as with medications for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.

Keep in mind: If you notice your hair is weak, experience changes in your scalp or suffer from some other type of discomfort, it is best to see your dermatologist.