It is important to realize that not only do internal factors contribute to poor hair health,but also external factors are major contributors to hair loss and overall poor hair health. The term ‘oxidative stress’ and its effect on hair health has been the subject of many articles.  This blog will try to explain what internal oxidative stress is, how it impacts hair health, and also external factors that contribute to poor hair health.

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) molecules are a special type of ‘free radicals’ that is sometimes produced when the body metabolizes oxygen.  During this process, perhaps 1% or 2% of cells will get damaged during the process and produce these free radicals.  There have been a number of studies referring to this damage occurring at the cellular level as free radical damage.

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Under normal circumstances, the body produces defense mechanisms that protect structures such as the hair follicle, form free radicals by reducing and neutralizing them, leading to better hair health.  However, as we age, free radical production increases while the built-in defense mechanisms decrease.  This resulting imbalance leads to increasing damage of cells which appears as graying hair, a decrease in hair production manifested as androgenetic alopecia (hereditary hair loss), and overall poor hair health.

As people and their hair ages, oxidative stress increases, and internal factors such as genetic make-up, hormones, poor nutrition plus extrinsic environmental factors contribute to greying of hair, hair loss, and poor hair health.  These external factors are ultraviolet radiation (UVR), smoking and poor nutrition and they are also contributors to poor hair health.

Recent studies have shown that there is a relationship between tobacco smoking and premature greying, hair loss in men and poor hair health.  (There have not been enough studies to show that this relationship also exists for women.)  The reasons that smoking contributes to hair loss and poor hair health is probably related to the systemic effects that the chemicals have in tobacco smoke, on the dermal or outer sheath of the hair follicle.  When men have a predisposition to androgenetic alopecia it is thought that their hair follicles are more sensitive to this form of external oxidative stress which affects overall hair health.

Hair functions as a photo-protectant which helps lessen the exposure of the scalp to the harmful effects of UVR.  As we age, and hair thins and hair health declines, the scalp is exposed to higher levels of UVR.  This exposure degrades hair proteins and hair pigment.  Photochemical impairment of the hair includes degradation and loss of hair proteins as well as diminution of hair pigment.  Absorption of radiation in photosensitive amino acids of the hair and their photochemical break-down produces free radicals and resulting oxidative stress.

Since antioxidant defense mechanisms decrease with age, it is always a good idea to take supplements that contain antioxidants.  Current research suggests that taking supplements with combinations of different antioxidants may produce a synergy and better efficacy in treating poor hair health.  The HairMax® Healthy Hair Vitamins contain specific antioxidants that work together to help combat oxidative stress.

In conclusion, genetic influences, bodily processes, poor nutrition plus external factors such as exposure to UV and smoking, lead to poor hair health and hair loss.  Therefore, when suffering from hair loss and poor hair health, it is a good idea to avoid sun exposure to your scalp, increase vital nutrients by taking supplements that help combat the internal and external factors that cause hair loss.

Adding the HairMax LaserComb to your overall hair health regimen is also a great idea. The HairMax LaserComb has been proven to combat hair loss and poor hair health, by acting directly on the hair follicles.  This action stimulates regrowth of hair and provides for an overall healthier follicular environment, for better hair health.