Hair Loss Prevention: Everything You Can Start Doing Today
Dr. Gerardo Sison
No one wants to lose their hair, no matter their gender or age. There may be several causes of hair loss, and some of them can be prevented or minimized by taking proactive steps to care for your hair and scalps wellness.
If you’re already experiencing hair loss, there may be ways to help prevent it from getting worse without a hair transplant. If you’re looking for tips on hair loss prevention, here’s everything you can start doing today.
Why do people experience hair loss?
Our hair grows and sheds naturally during its life cycle and experiences phases of growth, rest, and shedding. On average, most people lose about 100 hairs per day with no noticeable change in their overall hair thickness or density. However, when more hair is shed than is grown, patchy hair loss starts to occur.
Hair loss can appear in a variety of different ways, including a receding hairline, thinning hair on the crown of the head, balding spots throughout the hair, the loss of scalp hair or overall hair loss and breakage.
There are lots of different reasons why people experience hair loss, but one of the most common reasons is hereditary conditions. Most people are familiar with male pattern baldness, which affects about 85 percent of all men by the age of 50 and nearly two thirds of men by the age of 35. Also known as androgenic alopecia, male pattern baldness is responsible for about 95 percent of hair loss in men.
However, men are not the only ones who can experience hair loss as a result of genetics. More than half of women will also experience genetic hair loss, known as female pattern baldness, which creates female pattern hair loss by the age of 70.
Other causes of hair loss include:
- Medical conditions such as alopecia areata, trichotillomania, or scalp infections
- Medications or supplements, particularly those that are used to treat arthritis, depression, cancer, or high blood pressure
- Physical or emotional stress
- Hormonal changes due to thyroid changes, pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, or aging
- Radiation treatment
- Certain hairstyles that pull the hair tightly cutting off blood flow
- Poor nutrition
What are some tips for hair loss prevention?
While many causes of hair loss may seem inevitable, it is possible to prevent some hair fall or minimize the experience.
Switch up your diet.
Poor nutrition can contribute to hair loss, so changing up your diet may be able to help prevent hair loss.
The Mediterranean diet, which consists primarily of raw vegetables, fresh herbs, and healthy fats, has been found to reduce the risk of male pattern baldness. In particular, parsley, basil, and salad greens were found to minimize hair loss caused by androgenic alopecia or slow its onset in both women and men who consumed these goods in large quantities more than three days per week.
Protein deficiency has also been found to contribute to hair loss, so increasing your protein intake may also help to slow or minimize hair loss.
A 2017 study found that people with hair loss are more likely to have nutritional deficiencies in certain amino acids, which are obtained from proteins. Protein is found in high quantities in animal products like chicken, turkey, fish, low-fat dairy products, and eggs, and can also be obtained from plant-based sources like nuts, beans, and peas.
Choose products carefully.
The products that you use for hair care can also impact your likelihood of losing your hair.
The first step is to choose products that are designed for your hair type rather than simply using whatever products your spouse or roommate has in the shower. If you’re concerned about hair loss, it is also possible to choose shampoos and conditioners that are specially designed to prevent hair loss and strengthen hair.
When choosing products to minimize hair loss, look for mild shampoos that contain saw palmetto.
Saw palmetto is a natural substance that has been found to help target and decrease levels of a substance called DHT in the scalp. When DHT levels rise, particularly as men age, they are likely to begin experiencing signs of male pattern baldness.
Giving yourself a scalp massage with a shampoo that contains saw palmetto can help bring DHT levels down while also removing buildup from the hair follicles, which may help stimulate new growth. Thickening shampoos and conditioners can help improve the appearance and volume of your existing hair, helping to give your hair more fullness while you try to regrow hair.
Add a dietary supplement.
Adding a dietary supplement to your daily routine can address nutritional deficiencies that contribute to hair loss.
Studies show that the B-complex vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, iron, selenium, and zinc may play a role in hair growth, so taking a multivitamin supplement that is designed to help you meet your daily vitamin requirements may be a powerful tool for hair loss prevention.
Among the vitamins and minerals that have been found to promote hair growth and minimize hair loss is biotin, also known as vitamin B7.
Biotin is known to contribute to the health of the hair, skin, and nails because it makes up much of the infrastructure of keratin, which is the main type of protein that forms the cells of our hair, skin, and nails. When people do not take in enough biotin, their hair, skin, and nails can become dull, weak, or brittle, and hair loss may be more likely.
Vitamin D deficiency, which affects up to 40 percent of people in the United States, is another common contributor to hair loss, as it is associated with a type of hair loss called nonscarring alopecia. Addressing a vitamin D deficiency by using a dietary supplement that contains this fat-soluble vitamin may be able to help prevent this type of hair loss.
Keep your hair natural.
Hair processing, including treatments with blow or hair dryers, curlers, straighteners, or other tools, is a common cause of damage to hair and can contribute to hair loss, as can chemical treatments such as perms, hair dye, and chemical relaxants.
In order to prevent hair loss, try to minimize your use of hair processing tools and treatments and leave your hair natural as much as possible. If you need to use blow dryers or other straightening tools, choose protective products that will minimize the damage.
It’s also important to minimize the use of hairstyles and styling techniques that are tight or pull too much on the hair. Tight ponytails or tight braids, such as corn rows, can contribute to hair loss over time. Wearing your hair up at night can also cause hair pulling, which may lead to hair loss. Try to utilize wide-toothed combs as well to prevent tugging on your hair shafts.
Try minimally-invasive treatments.
Topical minoxidil is an over the counter hair loss treatment that can help minimize hair loss and encourage hair regrowth.
Numerous studies have been conducted regarding the effectiveness of topical minoxidil in treating hair loss -- 40 percent of men experienced moderate to dense hair growth on the crown of the head while using minoxidil. If you decide to try this treatment option, look for a topical solution that contains five percent minoxidil, as this concentration has been shown to significantly reduce hair loss according to clinical studies.
If your hair loss continues to progress, you can experiment with minimally-invasive treatments to help promote hair regrowth and minimize additional hair loss.
Red light therapy is a type of low-level laser treatment that may help people with certain types of hair loss regrow hair and improve hair density. This type of treatment stimulates the epidermal stem cells in people with genetic hair loss or hair loss caused by chemotherapy, and the treatment can be administered at home.
Another option for hair loss prevention is injections with platelet-rich plasma, or PRP.
In this treatment, which has been found to increase growth in thinning areas by up to 30 percent, patients give blood and then have their platelets separated out and then injected into the scalp. The treatment is expensive and may not work for everyone, but it may be a good alternative option for patients who do not want to take a prescription medication.
If any side effects occur from treatments, seek medical advice from your healthcare provider.
Finasteride is a medication that can either be taken orally or applied topically and helps to reduce the levels of DHT in the body and scalp, which can stop hair loss and promote hair growth.
Finasteride is a prescription medication, so you’ll need to speak to a doctor or dermatologist, or use a telehealth service to obtain a prescription.
USA Rx offers a pharmacy discount card that can help lower the price of all of your prescriptions, including finasteride.