September 15, 2021
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Hair loss is a concern for some people. Aging and genetics can both cause hair loss. The underlying cause of hair loss affects what treatments will be most effective.
This article contains several tips for preventing hair loss and ways to regrow hair.
WHY HAIR FALLS OUT
Hair grows and eventually falls out as part of its normal cycle. It’s common for people to lose around 100 hairs a day. It can build up on hair brushes, pillows, or shower drains.
Most people will not notice the natural hair loss that occurs daily. Hair thickness and the hairline usually remain the same.
People are more likely to notice excessive hair loss. This is a good time to take action as it may be due to an specific reason. Some shedding is temporary and may respond well to changes in diet, certain treatments, or lifestyle changes. Other loss may be more permanent or not stop until an underlying condition is treated.
Symptoms of excessive hair loss include:
There are several possible reasons for excessive hair loss.
One of the most common causes is due to genetics. According to a 2019 review, pattern baldness affects up to 50% of men and women. Pattern baldness occurs slowly with aging. By age 40, about half of all men will experience hair loss due to hereditary conditions like androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness). Likewise, more than half of women will experience genetic hair loss (female pattern baldness) before the age of 70.
Some more immediate causes of hair loss include:
HOW TO TREAT HAIR LOSS
Eating extra protein
Hair follicles are made mostly of protein called keratin.
A 2017 study of 100 people found that several participants experiencing hair loss had low protein and amino acid intakes.
While researchers note that more studies are needed, eating a diet rich in protein may help prevent hair loss. Healthy choices include foods like eggs, nuts, beans and peas, fish, low-fat dairy products, chicken, and turkey.
Taking multivitamin and mineral supplements
Studies dating back several years suggest vitamins help prevent hair loss.
A review in Dermatology and Therapy examined the role of various vitamins and minerals in preventing hair loss. The role of vitamins and minerals in hair loss remains unclear.
However, vitamin deficiencies may be a risk factor for hair loss. Some vitamins and minerals that may help include:
Anyone considering taking a multivitamin supplement should talk to a doctor first. The best products contain all or most of the recommended daily amounts of each vitamin and mineral in a single dose.
Following a Mediterranean diet
A 2017 study in Archives of Dermatological Research found an association between the herbs and vegetables in the Mediterranean diet and a decreased risk of androgenetic alopecia, or pattern baldness, in males.
Best results were observed when participants consumed high amounts of these foods – such as parsley, basil, salad greens – more than three days a week.
Trying a scalp massage
A small study in 9 healthy men found that a daily 4-minute scalp massage stimulated hair growth.
These findings are promising. But researchers will need to study larger samples to determine whether scalp massages are helpful for hair loss.
Using coconut oil for damaged hair
Applying coconut oil to the scalp could strengthen hair and avoid loss from damage.
A study in 2018 found that coconut oil may help to prevent hair loss due to ultraviolet light damage or grooming habits. However, further research is necessary to confirm this.
Using onion juice on the scalp
People with alopecia areata may see regrowth after applying crude onion juice to their scalps twice a day.
While research on this treatment is limited, the juice did appear to promote growth in nearly 87 percent of participants after 6 weeks in a small 2014 study. How does it work? Scientists believe the magic lies in the onion’s sulphur content.
Maintaining good hair and scalp care
Taking proper care of the hair and scalp can help prevent hair loss. It may also improve hair growth. Keeping the scalp and hair clean may also prevent hair damage and loss.
According to a 2015 review, certain medicated shampoos and conditioners could prevent hair loss.
Avoiding harsh treatments, such as heat, curling, and dyes, may also help.
Taking hair loss medication
Several topical medications for preventing hair loss are available over the counter (OTC). According to a 2019 review of studies, minoxidil is the go-to treatment for androgenetic alopecia in both men and women.
The review suggests that doctors sometimes use minoxidil for treating other causes of hair loss, such as from chemotherapy. The authors of the review state that more research into minoxidil could be beneficial.
Finasteride – a prescription pill – is another medication for hair loss on the scalp, helping slow hair loss and even promote new growth. A study in the Indian Journal of Dermatology found that finasteride was effective for regrowing scalp hair.
Topical phenylephrine may help with hair loss due to styling by stimulating the follicle muscles to contract. This makes it harder to pull out hairs during brushing, for example.
According to a 2014 study, low-level laser light therapy (LLLT) can increase hair density for people with genetic hair loss and loss due to chemotherapy. This option is also called red light therapy, and it may work by stimulating epidermal stem cells.
Injecting platelet-rich plasma (PRP) into the scalp helps stimulate growth in areas already impacted by hair loss. Blood is run through a centrifuge to separate out the platelets and then injected into the scalp.
In one 2017 study, 11 participants saw 30 percent more growth in thinning areas after four sessions.
Consider making an appointment to see your doctor if you are experiencing sudden or extreme hair loss. Some conditions, like thyroid issues, may not respond to home remedies and require treatment of the underlying causes.
Also keep in mind that any treatment you use may take anywhere from six months to a year to show improvement on areas where hair loss has already occurred.
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