What Is Hair Loss?
Hair loss can either mean thinning hair or baldness. It can happen to anyone, but men are more likely to go through it than women. Many factors can lead to hair loss, including the following:
Androgen, a male sex hormone, is a top culprit behind male and female pattern baldness. Too much of it can weaken women's hair follicles and increase shedding. In men, having excess dihydrotestosterone can slow down hair growth and shorten the hair's life span.
Thyroid problems are another common contributor to hair loss. Thyroid hormones help control various bodily functions, including hair growth. That explains why an underactive or overactive thyroid can lead to hair loss. Autoimmune diseases affecting the thyroid can also play a role in thinning hair or baldness.
Women experience a hormonal rollercoaster when they're pregnant. Their estrogen levels are higher than ever, and they tend to have luscious hair during this period. But when their estrogen returns to normal levels after pregnancy, they might notice increased hair loss. Postpartum hair loss can last up to 18 months.
Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disease where the immune system destroys the hair follicles. It hampers hair growth, resulting in thinning hair, hair loss patches, or baldness. The condition can either be temporary or permanent. Lupus and Hashimoto's thyroiditis are other autoimmune diseases that affect hair growth.
Certain medications can lead to drug-induced hair loss. Oral contraceptives, depression medication, blood thinners, and anti-inflammatories are some examples. Chemotherapy drugs are also known to cause hair loss. The good news is hair grows back after the medication period.
Extreme stress can trigger something called acute telogen effluvium. As much as 70% of the hair follicles can switch to resting mode. Stress-induced hair loss is temporary. Your hair should start regrowing once stress levels are under control.
Some vitamins and minerals help the hair growth cycle, encouraging cellular turnover. These include zinc, protein, iron, and biotin. A deficiency in these can lead to thinning or patchy hair. Poor nutrition and crash diets are common culprits behind these deficiencies.
Ways to Prevent Hair Loss and Manage Symptoms
Hair loss can be overwhelming. It's especially frustrating when you don't know what's causing it. But there are many proactive ways to manage and prevent the condition. Here are some tips for you:
Tip #1: Visit a Dermatologist
The first thing to do is visit a board-certified dermatologist. They'll help you understand what's causing it. Dermatologists have vast knowledge of hair loss and can provide the correct diagnosis. To determine the cause, they'll ask you questions, examine your scalp, and test your hair health.
They might also ask you to do a scalp biopsy or blood test. That will help rule out any diseases and hormonal imbalances. Once they've gathered enough information, they can create a treatment plan for you.
Tip #2: Undergo Laser Cap Treatments
If you want your luscious locks back, you can get impressive results with low-level laser therapy (LLLT). Bewellfinder's Hair Growth Laser Cap uses this technology. It's an FDA-approved device you wear on your head to stimulate hair growth.
It rejuvenates the hair follicles and prolongs the hair growth cycle. It also blocks dihydrotestosterone so hair follicles can get more energy. The result is thicker, healthier hair. You don't even have to leave your home to enjoy this treatment.
Tip #3: Wash and Condition Your Hair Regularly
Thinning hair requires more care. Wash your hair daily to keep the scalp healthy and clean. Use a mild shampoo because harsh formulas can dry out the hair and cause more hair loss.
After shampooing, go in with a moisturizing conditioner. It will coat your strands and protect them from damage. The final step is to use a leave-in conditioner, which helps detangle the hair and reduce breakage.
Tip #4: Avoid Heating Tools
Avoid flat irons, curling irons, and hot combs as much as possible. These hair tools can make your strands weak and worsen your hair loss. Reserve them for special occasions when you need a more polished look.
If you can't live without your hair dryer, use its lowest possible setting. But it's better to dry your hair naturally. A microfiber towel can help it dry faster.
Tip #5: Avoid Tight Hairstyles
Sleek ponytails may look stylish, but it's not the best for people with thinning hair. Neither are other tight hairstyles like buns, braids, and cornrows. Anything that pulls on your hair can cause traction alopecia and leave you with permanent hair loss.
For that same reason, avoid tugging on your hair while brushing it. In addition, be mindful of habits like twisting your hair between your fingers and pulling on it.
Tip #6: Avoid Chemical Hair Treatments
Limit hair coloring, perming, and straightening treatments as much as possible. If you must have them, find a trustworthy salon with trained professionals. They can examine your scalp and recommend products suitable for your condition.
Organic hair dyes and products without peroxide and ammonia are best for people with hair loss. You can also ask your hairdresser to use a moisturizing conditioner on your hair after the treatment.
Tip #7: Apply Coconut and Olive Oil
It might surprise you that some of the best hair care ingredients are in the kitchen. Massaging coconut oil into your scalp can help prevent hair damage from UV light exposure and grooming. It also contains lauric acid, protecting hair from breakage.
As for olive oil, it's a great hair conditioner. It protects the hair from dryness and prevents breakage. You can apply a tablespoon to your scalp and let it sit for 30 minutes.
Tip #8: Quit Smoking
Smoking has countless adverse effects. The body produces more free radicals, which can damage the DNA of your cells. That includes your hair follicles' cells. It will hamper hair growth and lead to thinning hair or baldness. It also releases cytokines in the body, increasing inflammation and scarring the hair follicles.
Tip #9: Eat a Nutritious Diet
Your diet impacts the health of your hair. When you eat antioxidant-rich foods, you help your body fight oxidative stress. Your hair follicles will be healthier and your hair fuller. Go for colorful vegetables and fruits like legumes, beans, spinach, kale, strawberries, and blueberries. Avoid digging into bags of chips and other processed foods.
Tip #10: Enjoy Scalp Massages
Scalp massages aren't just relaxing. They can also help you grow luscious, healthy hair. It stretches out the hair follicles and improves blood circulation. The result is thicker hair strands.
Tip #11: Lower Your Stress Levels
It's impossible to live a worry-free life. But try to bring down your stress levels. It can do wonders for your hair. Getting enough sleep, exercising, meditating, and doing yoga are ways to calm and center yourself. You'll have healthy, luscious hair again when you get your stress levels under control.
Tip #12: Take Dietary Supplements
Vitamin D supplements can help stop hair loss. It's particularly effective against stress-induced and genetic hair loss. It aids in creating new hair follicles and supports healthy hair growth.
Iron deficiencies can also lead to hair loss. It helps to supplement your diet with iron and vitamin C. For pregnant women, you can continue taking your prenatal vitamins after giving birth to control hair loss.
Tip #13: Try Minoxidil
Minoxidil is an over-the-counter drug for male pattern baldness. It can also help women with thinning hair. However, this solution requires continuous usage for four to six months before it produces results. Visit your doctor if there are no improvements or if you observe side effects.
Tip #14: Apply Phenylephrine
Do you notice a bunch of hair strands stuck to your brush after you groom or style yourself? Phenylephrine can help with this. This topical drug encourages the contraction of follicle muscles, making it harder to pull hairs out. However, we must all wait for this solution to hit the shelves because scientists have yet to release it for public use.
Tip #15: Take Finasteride
Finasteride is a prescription drug that can stop hair loss for those with male pattern baldness. It decreases the dihydrotestosterone in the body, encouraging healthy hair to grow. This pill can deliver natural-looking results, saving you from costly hair transplants. Ask your doctor if they think it's suitable for you.
Tip #16: Try Essential Oils
People have been using essential oils for centuries for cosmetic and medicinal purposes. It's no surprise that some of them are beneficial to the hair. For example, cedarwood oil revitalizes the scalp and encourages hair growth. Lavender oil is another useful one for those with hair loss. It keeps the hair moisturized and prevents breakage.
Tip #17: Try Onion Juice
Onion juice in your hair may not sound appealing, but the results might be worth it. It brings extra sulfur to the scalp, helping to stop hair loss and encourage new hair growth. The sulfur also boosts collagen production, which produces healthy cells on the scalp. Onion juice is worth considering if you have alopecia areata.
Tip #18: Get Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections
Platelet-rich plasma injections can rejuvenate areas on your scalp with hair loss. The blood will go through a centrifuge to obtain the plasma. Your doctor will inject the platelet-rich plasma into your scalp to stimulate hair growth.
Tip #19: Try the Mediterranean Diet
A Mediterranean diet can effectively delay the onset of male and female pattern baldness. This diet is about eating raw herbs and vegetables like basil, parsley, and salad greens. Do this at least three days a week for the best results.
Tip #20: Have a Hair Transplant
If the hair loss prevention tips don't work for you, you can consider a hair transplant. This surgery involves taking skin with hair from an area on your scalp and grafting it to a bald spot.
However, hair transplants don't prevent future bald spots from developing. You might need medical treatments to complement the surgery in order to delay the balding process.