Is your hair healthy? LetsGetChecked has compiled a list of seven things your hair is telling you about your health. Health truly starts from the tip of your head. The look, feel and texture of your hair speaks louder than words in determining if your lifestyle is conducive to optimal health.

1. Your hair is turning grey prematurely.

Stress and the subsequent overproduction of cortisol can cause your hair to turn grey prematurely. Nature and nurture come into play when it comes to changing pigments of your natural locks, but studies have shown that oxidative stress can begin to notably change your hair’s pigmentation. Whether you’re feeling stressed or feeling grey, looking out for a premature colour change might indicate that you are in need of some much needed TLC.

2. Your hair is dry and brittle

Hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid can cause the hair to become dry and brittle with a noticeable difference in the texture and feel of your hair. An underactive thyroid can cause the hair to start shedding, along with symptoms of weight gain and fatigue, an intolerance to the cold and depression. When essential hormones are not being produced by the thyroid gland in sufficient volumes, the skin can also become dry to the touch.

3. Your hair has a high number of split ends

Cushing’s syndrome is connected to the overproduction of cortisol and can occur when you have been experiencing chronic stress. Tumors on the pituitary gland can cause pituitary adenoma, causing a spike in cortisol levels. Prolonged exposure to cortisol may cause high blood pressure, rapid abdominal weight gain, acne, sweating, weak bones, fatigue, irregular periods and the faster growth of dried out brittle hair.

4. Your hair is thinning

Anemia or an iron deficiency is more common in women than men due to the menstrual cycle, it may also be caused by following a vegetarian or vegan diet. Other symptoms of an iron deficiency include shortness of breath, brittle nails, craving non-edible foods such as chalk, ice or dirt, fatigue and frequent infections. Temporary hair loss caused by an iron deficiency is known as telogen effluvium in which growing hair prematurely ceases to grow and falls out.

5. Your hair is heavy with white flakes

Psoriasis is a skin disease in which the unregulated growth of skin cells causes a flaky, scaly buildup on the skin. Psoriasis is a chronic condition that can wreak havoc on your hair and scalp. If you feel you have dandruff and your hair is drying or thinning due to the constant itching, it may be psoriasis. While there is no cure, using hair products with few ingredients, managing stress and avoiding smoking or consuming products with a high yeast content may help. Psoriasis has a high comorbidity with other conditions so it is recommended that you monitor other aspects of your health during diagnosis and treatment. Numerous studies have shown a connection between psoriasis and diabetes.

6. Your hair is thinning to bald patches

Protein deficiency may cause a slow down in the ability for your hair to grow due to a lack of keratin. Protein is said to be the building blocks of all bodily growth including your hair, which might explain the large market of protein supplements. Hair thinning to bald patches may also explain conditions that are associated with infertility, including PCOS syndrome, which suppresses ovulation and menopause. If your hair is thinning or balding, it may be because of hormonal disorders or infertility.

7. Your hair is growing really slowly

High cholesterol may be causing a slow down in the growth of your hair. If you follow a diet that is high in fats, sugars and carbohydrates, you may begin to notice the consequences through oily and/or spotty skin, fatigue, weight gain and a slow down in the growth of hair and nails that require sufficient proteins, vitamins and minerals for growth. Is your hair growing at a glacial pace? It may be time to monitor your lifestyle choices and heart health

Written by Hannah Kingston | Medically Approved by Medical Director, Dr. Dominic Rowley