Worried about hair loss and thinning scalp? Check out the top 10 tips to prevent hair loss naturally whether you’re a man or a woman.
Each strand of hair on the head has a lifespan of somewhere between two and five years. Hair follicles have a cycle of active growth, transition and rest.
There are circumstances and lifestyle factors that can put more of your hair into a resting cycle during which it falls out. This is called telogen effluvium.
Telogen effluvium can be a symptom of stress or it can happen after pregnancy, as a side effect of medication or as a result of an underlying medical condition.
If you have hair loss that results in bald spots, patches, or large clumps of hair, you should seek a diagnosis from your primary care physician or dermatologist.
Whether your hair loss is the result of a chronic or short-term medical condition, there are things you can do to protect the hair you have.
Read below the best ways to prevent hair loss in women and men, and tips on maintaining healthy and strong hair.
The best ways to prevent hair loss
You can follow some hair hygiene tips to reduce the likelihood of shedding.
1. Avoid hairstyles that pull your hair
Hair is flexible, but research shows that your hair can only be stretched to a certain extent before it becomes permanently damaged.
Hairstyles such as head braids, tight braids and ponytails can pull the hair away from the crown and over time loosen the bond between the hair and the scalp.
2. Avoid hair styling tools with high heat
Using heat to style your hair leaves your hair follicle dehydrated and vulnerable to damage.
Hair dryers, straighteners and curlers can damage hair over time.
3. Do not chemically treat or bleach your hair
Hair treatment chemicals cause sudden and irreversible damage to hair follicles.
If you are concerned about hair loss, limit the use of dyes, bleaches and peroxide treatments.
4. Use a shampoo that is mild and adapted to your hair
The purpose of shampoo is to clean the hair of dirt and excess oil, but many commercial shampoos contain harsh ingredients.
After just one use, they can strip your hair of natural oils and fatty acids that make it strong and supple.
Read the ingredients of your shampoo and buy one that is as close to completely natural as possible. Try switching products if you’ve lost excess hair.
5. Use a soft brush made of natural fibers
Using a soft brush with natural bristles will promote healthy levels of sebum (oil) in your hair.
The keratin proteins in your hair are as complex as shingles on a roof, so gently brushing them in one direction, starting from the ends and working your way up to the ends, will help smooth and condition your scalp on a molecular level.
Brushing your hair daily can also help you avoid clumps of hair in the shower drain.
6. Try low level light therapy
Low-level light therapy stimulates cell growth and repair.
It has been proven to stimulate hair growth in people with alopecia. This therapy can be prescribed by a doctor.
Home remedies against hair loss
If you are concerned about hair loss, you may want to try a home remedy to see if you can stop the hair loss.
It is important to make a diagnosis and find the root cause, so that you can treat it properly.
7. Dietary supplements
Nutritional deficiencies can cause hair loss. Supplements with iron, zinc, niacin, selenium, vitamin D, and vitamin B-12 can help your body produce strong, healthy hair.
Remember to only buy dietary supplements from trusted sources, as they are not checked by the Food and Drug Administration.
8. Essential oils
Essential oils are aqueous extracts of potent botanical ingredients. Essential oils can be mixed with other carrier oils, such as jojoba and almond oil, to create a treatment to stimulate hair growth.
Some essential oils can strengthen hair. Research on these essential oils is largely unrelated, but we are learning more about how they work.
Essential oils for hair growth include:
- Chinese hibiscus
9. Scalp massage
Scalp massage has proven to be a reliable method for promoting hair growth.
By promoting circulation in the growing area, your hair can grow faster if you gently massage your scalp every time you wash your hair.
Your diet can affect hair loss.
A diet rich in antioxidants can help you fight the signs of oxidative stress – environmental factors that damage hair follicles. Strawberries, blueberries, beans and legumes, spinach and kale are sources of antioxidants.
Sugar, processed fats, preservatives and alcohol can contribute to oxidative stress. Keep this in mind if you want to prevent hair loss.
11. Stop smoking
Smoking can prematurely age hair cells, making your hair follicles brittle and easily damaged. Talk to your doctor to develop a smoking cessation plan for you.
How to prevent hair loss in men
Hair loss in men is more common than in women. About 85 percent of men have thinning hair by the time they reach 50.
Hair loss in men is typically caused by genetic hair loss, androgenetic alopecia, aging or low testosterone.
If you are concerned about hair loss, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments:
- Rogaine (minoxidil)
- Propecia or Proscar (finasteride)
- follicular unit transplantation (hair transplantation with underlying tissue)
- extraction of the follicular unit (hair transplantation with only the follicle, without the use of connective tissue)
How to prevent hair loss in women
Hair loss in women is usually caused by genetic female pattern hair loss, androgenetic alopecia, thyroid disease, aging, or other hormonal conditions.
About one third of women will experience hair loss during their lifetime. If you are losing hair, your doctor may recommend some of the following treatments to prevent further hair loss.
- Rogaine (minoxidil)
- Aldactone (spironolactone) or other anti-androgen drugs
- oral contraceptives
- iron supplements, especially if your hair loss is related to anemia or heavy menstrual cycles
Women who have reached menopause may also consider hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as a way to treat hair loss and other symptoms.
How to prevent hair loss after pregnancy
Many women experience dehydration, fatigue, stress and a drop in estrogen levels as their bodies adjust to life after pregnancy.
This causes increased sensitivity of the hair follicles, which can lead to periods of increased hair loss.
These types of hair loss are often associated with stress and exhaustion due to the baby. This condition is temporary and should resolve within a year after the pregnancy ends.
You can try to minimize hair loss after pregnancy by continuing to take prenatal vitamins if you’re breastfeeding, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding hairstyles that pull hair away from the scalp.
Dermatologists recommend using light shampoos and conditioners to make the hair loss look less obvious until the condition stops.
How to prevent hair loss during chemotherapy
Chemotherapy works by attacking cancer cells in your body.
As a side effect, chemotherapy kills the cells that make your hair grow. Hair usually begins to fall out within two to four weeks after treatment.
Some people choose to prepare for this side effect by shaving their hair before starting treatment. Many people are more comfortable with this choice. But not everyone who undergoes chemotherapy will lose all their hair as a result. Sometimes the hair simply thins or recedes.
You can also ask your doctor about a scalp cooling cap. These caps slow the blood flow to the scalp during the treatment. Although not completely effective, scalp cooling caps can help you keep more of your hair.
When to see a doctor
If you are concerned that your hair loss is beyond normal shedding or temporary telogen effluvium, you should talk to your doctor.
Hair that comes out in clumps and leaves bald spots, and hair that grows in patches can be symptoms of an underlying health problem.
Talk to your dermatologist or primary care physician and describe your symptoms if you need further guidance.
A final message
Hair loss is a common symptom of many health conditions in women and men.
For many people who suffer from hair loss, there are treatments that will stop hair loss and even help you regrow some of your hair.
Home remedies, lifestyle and diet changes, and over-the-counter medications can improve the appearance of thinning hair.