Thinning hair is a natural part of aging, but when it happens too soon, too fast, or in alarming patches, you may want to seek treatment. Hair loss can be caused by many different things and some can’t truly be stopped, but they could be slowed down. Other causes, like stress, can often be resolved in a way that reverses the problem.
Whatever may be causing your hair loss, there are a lot of treatment options out there.
There are a ton of medicines and supplements on the market that advertise themselves as a remedy for male pattern baldness, but only two have been approved by the FDA for that purpose.
Minoxidil, otherwise known as Rogaine, is available over the counter. It comes as a liquid or a foam, and is applied directly to the scalp twice per day. It is approved to both prevent hair loss and grow new hair.
Finasteride, trade named Propecia or Proscar, comes in the form of a once-per-day pill. You will need a doctor’s prescription for this.
Though both of these medications have been proven effective, it can take up to a year to see real results. And, you’ll have to keep taking them as long as you want to maintain those results.
If you’re ready to get more aggressive with your hair loss prevention, you might consider a hair transplant. The procedure has come a long way since the 1970s. Today there are two methods commonly used.
Follicular unit transplantation (FUT) is slightly more old-school. Doctors will remove strip of skin from a discreet area of the scalp that is still growing healthy hair. The active follicles are then removed from that strip of skin and surgically implanted into bald or severely thinned areas of the scalp.
Follicular unit extraction (FUE), on the other hand, removes those hair follicles directly from the transplant site and moves them, rather than taking a whole strip of skin. This means that the donor follicles can be more spread out, and that you won’t have one distinct scar.
The surgery can be costly, and comes with no guarantee. Many people choose to have multiple hair transplants before they’re happy with the results. You will also likely be encouraged to continue taking medicine in order to support the results of the surgery.
In the mood for something a little more experimental? Laser treatments have been gaining in popularity for hair loss because they reduce inflammation. When used on stressed hair follicles, that could allow those follicles to start producing healthy hair again.
More studies are needed, but the procedure was deemed safe and effective as a treatment for hair loss in 2016. Doctors and veterinarians often use laser treatments to help patients recover after surgery or injury, so there is certainly no harm in trying it for hair loss, too.
Unexplained hair loss is often connected to lifestyle factors like poor diet, lack of sleep, stress, and smoking.
Vitamins and minerals that are associated with strong, healthy hair include iron, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. Try to work more of them into your diet by eating things like eggs, lean meat, seafood, and green leafy vegetables.
Often lack of sleep and stress go hand-in-hand, so work on ways to reduce the pressures you face on a daily basis. Start saying no when you get overwhelmed and carve out some time each day to exercise, listen to music, do yoga, or meditate.
You may also find that your hair loss stops or slows if you make it a habit to go to bed at the same time each night. And for goodness’ sake, quit smoking now.
Here’s one that should be a pleasure to implement. Scalp massage has been found to stimulate hair follicles, potentially leading to new growth.
It doesn’t take much. In a Japanese study, just four minutes of scalp massage every day for 24 weeks resulted in thicker hair for the participants.
You can do this for yourself while watching tv or reading, but a willing friend or professional masseuse can also massage your scalp for you. It’s certainly worth a try!
Get a checkup
Genetics definitely play a part in hair loss, but plenty of other conditions could be to blame as well. Just a few of them are diabetes, lupus, psoriasis, alopecia, thyroid disorders, iron deficiency anemia, Celiac disease, and syphilis.
Before you embark on any hair loss prevention regimen, we recommend a trip to your doctor. It’s possible that treating the underlying condition could reverse your hair loss. In any case, knowing the cause of it allows you to treat your hair loss most effectively.
Hair loss can be stressful and frustrating, but there are things that can be done to slow or reverse it. In fact, many of the treatments we’ve discussed can work together to achieve your personal best results.
We recommend a trip to your doctor for advice on designing the most effective regimen for you, because whatever you do, it will take some time to see real results. A solid understanding of your case can help you keep the faith during the early months of effort.