Scalp Calcification – Does it Cause Hair Loss?
Widely known for supporting healthy bones and teeth, Calcium is also essential for a myriad of metabolic processes throughout the body.
Like with all good things, too much calcium can be harmful.
Scalp calcification is a common issue in which excess calcium builds up in the tissues of the scalp.
In this article we'll drive deeper into what scalp calcification is, what causes it, how it contributes to hair loss, and possible treatments for reversing this issue.
What is Scalp Calcification?
Calcium deposits can form pretty much anywhere in the body.
A little accumulation of the mineral is harmless, but as the deposits harden and increase in size, they can become disruptive to the area they develop in.
When these deposits occur in the scalp, they can block the flow of blood to hair follicles, and can be a contributing factor in hair loss.
The Two Causes of Scalp Calcification
#1 - Hard Water at Home
Perhaps you’re familiar with soap scum or limescale, that white, chalky-like substance that builds up in your shower, bathtub, or sink.
Soap scum is not water soluble and builds up over time if not properly cleaned.
This is due to the presence of calcium in water, and just as it builds up in a shower head, it can accumulate in your scalp and hair.
Water “hardness” (the measure of calcium and minerals present in water) varies quite a bit across regions and countries. Below you can find an example map showing water hardness in the United States:
#2 - Internal Calcium Deposits
Too much calcium in the blood, known as hypercalcemia, can sometimes lead to unwanted calcium deposits in different areas of the body (such as the scalp). The risk of this occurring is heightened when inflammation is also present.
When any part of the body is injured or irritated, inflammation is a natural response, as it ensures the problem area gets the resources it needs to heal and resume normal function.
However, chronic inflammation can lead to the collection of calcium deposits in the inflamed tissue.
This leads to hardening of the tissue, which leads to further inflammation, which leads to additional calcium buildup, which leads to more hardening, and so on.
This cycle can perpetuate until blood flow is cut off from the scalp, resulting in thinning hair.
Scalp Calcification & Hair Loss
Imagine hair follicles as mini factories that produce hair. Just like a regular factory, follicles require incoming supplies and materials to produce the desired output.
They need amino acids, glucose, vitamins, minerals, and many other micronutrients.
Blood is the courier that ensures the factory receives its essential supplies. Without adequate blood, the hair-producing factories will stop doing their job, and possibly go out of business permanently.
By reducing blood flow, scalp calcification decreases the growth rate, density, and size of hair strands. As hair follicles grow weaker over time, hair falls out. In severe instances, the hair follicles can die.
How to Combat Scalp Calcification
Calcification caused by hard water
Soften the water in your home. You can do this at the source using a water softening filtration system. However, this solution might not be practical or affordable for everyone. An alternative is to install a shower head filter that removes minerals as water runs. Besides helping with calcification, these filters can also save water.
Lemon rinse. A regular lemon-infused water rinse can help in removing calcium deposits from the scalp.
Apple cider vinegar. Another effective remedy is a blend of apple cider vinegar and honey. Mix one part of each, then use a cotton swab to apply it directly to the scalp. Rinse thoroughly following application.
Wash hair less often. If hard water is your problem, then it is advised to wash your hair less often. Frequent washing dries the scalp faster, requiring it to produce more oils. The result is a greasy scalp that is ripe for calcification.
Calcification caused by calcium deposits
Magnesium is one of the most effective minerals for slowing the build up of calcium. By regulating the build up of calcium, you can prevent the mineral from depositing in tissues of the scalp.
So, how do you get more magnesium? The first and best option is eating more foods rich in this mineral. There are many choices, but here's a short to get you started: spinach, kelp, avocados, almonds, dark chocolate, hazelnuts, and whole grains.
Alternatively, you can add magnesium supplements to your diet if you find it difficult to get adequate magnesium from food. You can use a free service like Cronometer to check if your diet provides you with sufficient magnesium.
Finally, you can also apply the magnesium topically as an oil to the scalp if you think calcification is a definite issue. Pour at least a fluid ounce of the oil into your palm then massage it into the scalp for 10 minutes.
Scalp Massages to Improve Blood Flow
As scalp calcification can result in restricted blood flow to your hair follicles, we also suggest adding daily scalp massages to your hair care routine (in addition to the solutions proposed above).
Scalp massages have been clinically proven to help relax the muscles in the perimeter of the scalp and boost blood flow throughout the area, resulting healthier, thicker hair.
Massages can be done entirely with your own fingers, or with the assistance of the heyhair scalp massager (seen below).
Carefully designed to help reduce scalp tension and massage the scalp, perfect for people with hair loss who want to support improved hair health.
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