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Lovely, thick hair doesn’t just look good, it signifies a healthy body, too. It is normal to lose up to 100 hairs a day (you won’t notice most of them), but it can be disconcerting when we start to find large amounts of hair left behind in our hairbrush or on our pillow. If you experience a sudden onset of hair loss, you should consult your doctor, as it could be due to an underlying medical issue. Hair loss and hair weakness can also be linked to hormonal changes (particularly during menopause), thyroid issues and vitamin deficiencies.

There are plenty of expensive products available to treat brittle and thinning hair, but there is also debate as to whether they are effective or not. However, there are a number of factors relating to vitamin deficiencies and lifestyle choices that can be easily treated at home using these 7 simple tips:

1) Review your diet. There are a number of key dietary factors for healthy hair growth. Protein is important for strengthening hair and promoting growth – lean meat, dairy and beans are good sources. Omega-3 fatty acids are also important because they decrease inflammation and support a healthy scalp – great sources include nuts and seeds, eggs and fish. Greek yogurt has both protein and vitamin B5 (known as pantothenic acid – the same ingredient as in many of your hair care products). Check out these top 10 foods that help promote hair growth.

2) Consider a supplement. It’s always advisable to chat with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any supplements, but there are some that are useful for treating hair loss when taken appropriately. If your hair loss is caused by anemia, then iron will help to combat this. Be sure to know these 17 iron-rich foods. Likewise, people with metabolic disorders can have thin and brittle hair, and both zinc and biotin are useful supplements in this case.

3) Reduce your chemical exposure. Most of us bombard our hair and scalp with chemicals in the form of shampoo, conditioner, and hair products. Some scalps react badly to the sulfates, and we need a healthy scalp to promote good hair growth. Try opting for organic or natural hair products.

4) Massage your scalp. A gentle massage with your fingertips promotes blood circulation in your scalp, stimulates hair follicles, reduces stress and improves mental clarity. Try massaging with coconut oil or almond oil, both of which have a number of beneficial health properties to promote a healthy scalp.

5) Apply aloe vera. Aloe vera contains enzymes that promote healthy hair growth, and its alkalizing properties can balance the pH level of your scalp. It also combats scalp inflammation and irritation, which can all be factors in thinning hair. Try applying aloe gel or juice directly to the scalp and leaving it on for a few hours, then rinsing with warm water.

6) Reduce the heat. If you regularly use hairdryers, straightening irons or curlers, you’re doing damage to your hair. There are products that claim to protect your hair from the heat damage, but the safest way to do this is to reduce the temperature on your styling tools and reduce the frequency with which you use them.

Related: How to choose the optimal flat iron temperature and plates for your hair type

Then try this treatment to nourish dry hair: mix an egg yolk with a tablespoon of olive oil, and apply the mask to damp hair. Leave in for up to thirty minutes and then wash out with cool water. The protein, fat, and oil help to rebuild damaged hair so that it appears thicker and healthier.

7) Stress less. Emotional stress takes its toll on your physical health, and your hair is no exception. If you are stressed to the point that it affects your sleeping patterns and your appetite, you may be releasing extra stress hormones, which are thought to contribute to premature aging, including hair loss.

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