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Receding Hairlines, Baldness, and More: How to Prevent Hair Loss

January 05, 2022
4 mins

Hair loss — from male pattern baldness to receding hairlines to general thinning, and more — is a common concern that can have a major impact on confidence and self-esteem. This guide provides in-depth information on various strategies and treatments that can help prevent hair loss from happening.

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What are Some Causes of Hair Loss?

Hair loss can be the result of many factors, including genetic predisposition (male pattern baldness), hormonal changes (such as fluctuations in testosterone and dihydrotestosterone levels), medical conditions (thyroid disorders, alopecia areata), and medications (chemotherapy drugs, blood thinners).

Lifestyle Changes for Hair Loss Prevention

Get your nutrients

Taking care of your body is so important, and if you’re missing out on certain nutrients, it may show in your hair.

Proper nutrition is essential for healthy hair. The hair follicles require a variety of nutrients to grow strong and healthy. Be sure to incorporate these essential nutrients into your diet:

  • Biotin: Also known as vitamin H, biotin is essential for hair growth. It can be found in foods like eggs, nuts, and sweet potatoes. You can even try a biotin shampoo if you want to apply this vitamin directly to your scalp.

  • Zinc: Zinc helps maintain hair tissue and may assist with hair growth. You can find zinc in foods like oysters, lean beef, and spinach.

  • Iron: Iron is vital for delivering oxygen to your hair follicles. Include iron-rich foods like lean meats, beans, and spinach in your diet.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: These healthy fats, found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts, can promote hair health.

Try supplementation for an extra boost

If you’re not getting the nutrient you need through your diet, supplementation is a safe and effective method to up your vitamin count. You can try a multivitamin, or individual doses of the following supplements:

  • Ginseng – popular herbal supplement known for its ability to stimulate hair follicles and promote hair growth

  • Saw palmetto – commonly used to inhibit the production of a hormone linked to hair loss, potentially preventing further hair thinning

  • Vitamin D – known for it anti-inflammatory properties that can help limit inflammation in the scalp that would otherwise disrupt the hair growth cycle

  • Keratin – natural protein that provides the building blocks for stronger and healthier hair strands

Explore new ways to manage your stress

Stress can contribute to hair loss by disrupting the normal hair growth cycle. High stress levels can lead to conditions like telogen effluvium, where hair prematurely enters the shedding phase. To manage stress, consider incorporating these techniques into your daily routine:

  • Yoga: Yoga combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation to help reduce stress and promote relaxation. It’s also a low-impact way to get your body moving.

  • Meditation: This practice involves focusing your mind and eliminating the stream of thoughts that may be crowding your head. It's an excellent stress-reduction technique that’ll surely keep you grounded and bring you some peace .

  • Deep breathing exercises: Practicing deep breathing exercises can help lower stress levels. These exercises can be done anywhere, and they provide immediate relaxation.

  • Relaxing hobbies: Engaging in hobbies you enjoy – whether it's reading, gardening, or painting – can reduce stress and promote a sense of well-being. Making time to do the things you love and forget about your stressors for even an hour can change your mood and bring you to a more relaxed state.

Quit smoking

Smoking is linked to an array of health problems, and it's no surprise that it can also have adverse effects on your hair.

One of the key ways smoking impacts your hair is by restricting blood flow to the hair follicles. Adequate blood circulation is essential for the delivery of essential nutrients and oxygen to the hair roots. When blood flow is reduced due to smoking, it can result in the premature thinning of hair and even hair loss.

Quitting smoking is a positive step toward revitalizing your hair and encouraging healthier hair growth. Once you kick the habit, your body begins to repair and restore its systems, including blood circulation. With improved blood flow, your hair follicles can better receive the vital nutrients and oxygen they need, potentially promoting hair regrowth.

Moreover, giving up smoking offers a plethora of other health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease, lung cancer, and respiratory issues. It also leads to improved skin health, including clearer complexion and reduced signs of premature aging. Bonus: kicking the habit may also reduce your risk of ED.

Overall, snuffing out that cigarette for good is a choice that can significantly enhance your well-being — from the inside out — and help you maintain a fuller, healthier head of hair.

Hair Care Tips for Hair Growth

Practice gentle hair care

Your hair care routine plays a significant role in preventing hair loss. To protect your hair and scalp:

  • Use mild shampoos and conditioners: Opt for sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners to avoid unnecessary scalp irritation.

  • Choose wide-toothed combs: When detangling your hair, use wide-toothed combs to minimize breakage and prevent hair loss.

  • Avoid excessive brushing: Excessive brushing or combing can damage hair strands and follicles. Be gentle and avoid aggressive brushing, especially when your hair is wet.

Incorporate new hair care products

Incorporating new hair growth products into your hair care routine can significantly promote hair growth. It may seem intimidating (and expensive) but there are easy and cost-effective ways to take care of your hair so that you get the results you want.

  • Oils like coconut oil, olive oil, and essential oils provide nourishment and hydration to the hair follicles, stimulating growth. One of the most popular essential oils for hair growth is rosemary oil. This oil has been shown to increase blood circulation in the scalp, stimulating hair follicles and promoting hair growth. Tea tree oil is known for its antimicrobial and cleansing properties, which can help keep the scalp healthy and free from infections that can inhibit hair growth.

  • Onion juice has been recognized for its high sulfur content, which helps improve blood flow to the hair follicles and promotes hair growth.

  • Regular scalp massages can improve blood circulation, delivering essential nutrients to the hair roots and promoting healthy growth. You can do this with your fingers or buy a scalp massager.

  • Scalp treatments – either at-home products or professional services – can target specific scalp conditions and stimulate hair growth.

  • Hair masks provide deep conditioning and nourishment to the hair, strengthening it and reducing breakage.

Remember to use a clarifying shampoo after these treatments to rid your scalp of excess oils and product build-up. This detox allows your scalp to breathe so that your hair follicles remain healthy and ready to grow.

Avoid tight hairstyles

Tight hairstyles like man buns, braids, or cornrows can undoubtedly make a fashion statement, but they may impact your hair health. These styles exert constant tension on the hair shafts, and this prolonged stress can lead to a condition known as traction alopecia.

Traction alopecia is a type of hair loss caused by the constant pulling or tension on the hair follicles. Over time, this stress can damage and weaken the follicles, leading to hair loss that may become permanent if not addressed promptly.

To prevent traction alopecia and maintain your hair's health, opt for looser hairstyles that don't strain your hair follicles. You can still enjoy various hairstyles that are stylish and trendy without the risk of damaging your hair. Looser ponytails, natural waves, or a simple, well-maintained haircut are excellent alternatives that can help you avoid the potential consequences of tight hairstyles.

When you feel the need to change your hairstyle, give your hair some time to recover and breathe. Allowing your hair to rest from tight styles can go a long way in preserving its strength and vitality.

Limit heat

Just as you protect your skin from the sun with SPF, protecting your hair is just as important.

Hair dryers, straighteners, and curling irons emit heat, which when applied regularly, can weaken your hair strands and make them more prone to breakage. The high temperatures can strip away the hair's natural moisture, leaving your hair dry and brittle. Over time, this can lead to damaged hair, split ends, and even hair loss.

If you find it necessary to use hot styling tools, be sure to do so sparingly. Give your hair breaks in between styling sessions to recover and replenish its natural oils. Always use a heat protectant as a barrier between the harsh heat and your hair. You can also use heat protectant when you know you’re going to be out in the sun for extended periods of time.

Additionally, when you do use these tools, opt for lower heat settings. High heat can cause more damage, so selecting lower temperatures can minimize the adverse effects on your hair.

Remember that prevention is key. By being mindful of your use of hot styling tools, you can help maintain the strength and vitality of your hair, reducing the risk of hair loss and promoting healthier, fuller locks.

Medical Treatments and Medications for Hair Growth

Consider medication

If you're experiencing significant hair loss and are considering medication to address the issue, there are a couple of options to explore:

  • Minoxidil (Topical Solution): Minoxidil is a topical solution that you apply directly to your scalp. It's available over-the-counter and also by prescription. Minoxidil is known for its potential to stimulate hair growth and slow down hair loss. It's a relatively convenient option for many individuals, as it's available without the need for a doctor's prescription. However, results may vary from person to person, and consistent use is usually required to maintain any benefits.

  • Finasteride (Oral Prescription): Finasteride is an oral medication that is available by prescription. It works by inhibiting the action of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which plays a significant role in male pattern baldness. By blocking DHT, finasteride can help slow down hair loss and promote hair regrowth. It's often considered a more powerful option for addressing hair loss, but it does require a doctor's prescription. Keep in mind that, like any medication, finasteride may have potential side effects that should be discussed with a healthcare professional. RexMD can help with hair loss treatments — including prescription finasteride — sent to your door. See if you qualify for this treatment by answering a set of questions. Your responses will be reviewed by a licensed healthcare provider.

When considering these medications, it's essential to consult with a healthcare provider, typically a dermatologist or a hair and scalp specialist. They can assess your specific situation and recommend the most suitable treatment based on your individual needs and any potential risks associated with these medications.

And remember that results may vary from person to person — so it's crucial to have realistic expectations and closely follow your healthcare provider's guidance.

Explore medical treatments

Platelet-rich plasma

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is a medical treatment that has shown promise in slowing down hair loss and promoting hair regrowth in some cases. PRP therapy involves drawing a small amount of the patient's blood, processing it to concentrate the platelets, and then injecting the PRP into the scalp. The growth factors in PRP are believed to stimulate hair follicles, improve their health, and potentially lead to new hair growth.

While PRP therapy can be an effective treatment for some individuals, its success can vary from person to person. It's often used as part of a comprehensive approach to hair loss management. It may be more effective for specific types of hair loss, such as androgenic alopecia (male or female pattern baldness), rather than conditions like alopecia areata.

Consulting with a dermatologist or hair specialist is recommended if you're considering PRP therapy for hair loss. They can assess your specific situation, recommend appropriate treatments, and determine if PRP therapy is a suitable option for you.

Laser therapy

Low-level lasers, also known as red light therapy, have shown potential in improving hair density for individuals with genetic hair loss and hair loss caused by chemotherapy.

These lasers stimulate epidermal stem cells, aiding in hair growth. Home laser devices are accessible and should be used regularly for effective results. Some laser devices have been cleared by the FDA, ensuring their safety for use. It is important to note that FDA clearance is not as stringent as FDA approval.

A Proactive Approach

Preventing hair loss requires a combination of lifestyle changes, proper hair care, stress management, and, in some cases, professional guidance and treatments. By taking proactive steps, you can maintain healthy and lustrous hair for years to come. If you're concerned about your hair loss, consult with a healthcare professional or a dermatologist who can provide personalized advice and recommendations for your unique situation.

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