Seven tips to combat hair loss

Hair loss is a common concern that affects millions of people worldwide, regardless of age or gender. While it’s normal to shed some hair daily, excessive hair loss can be distressing and impact your self-esteem. And it could be a result of genetics, hormonal changes, medical treatments, or lifestyle factors.

Fortunately, there are some strategies and lifestyle changes you can implement to try to combat hair loss and promote healthy hair growth.

Understanding hair loss: the root of the problem

Each strand of hair on your head has a lifespan, and it’s normal to shed between 50 and 100 hairs a day as part of the natural hair growth cycle. 

However, if you’re noticing more significant hair loss, it’s wise to consult a doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions. When shedding surpasses growth, hair loss becomes noticeable. 

The best way to slow or stop hair loss is to identify and address the underlying cause. Genetics play a significant role, especially in male and female-pattern baldness. Other common causes include telogen effluvium, where hair enters the rest phase and falls out more than usual, often due to stress, illness, or hormonal changes.

For those undergoing chemotherapy, hair loss is a side-effect of the treatment’s attack on rapidly dividing cancer cells, which also affects hair follicles. Post-pregnancy, women may experience increased shedding due to hormonal fluctuations and the physical stress of childbirth.

In other cases, it’s a little more complicated to pinpoint the exact cause.

Tips for preventing and managing hair loss

Try a Mediterranean diet

In 2018, a study uncovered that eating a diet rich in raw vegetables and fresh herbs, similar to the Mediterranean diet, could potentially lower the risk of androgenic alopecia (both female and male pattern baldness) or delay its onset.

The study noted optimal outcomes when individuals consumed generous portions of raw vegetables and fresh herbs, such as parsley, basil, and salad greens, more than three days a week.

Prioritise protein 

Hair follicles primarily consist of keratin, a protein compound. A 2017 study involving 100 individuals experiencing hair loss identified various nutritional deficiencies among the participants, including insufficient amino acids essential for protein synthesis.

Although further research is warranted, adopting a protein-rich diet may help prevent hair loss.

Consider supplements

In some cases, nutritional supplements can help address hair loss. Consult a healthcare professional to determine if supplements such as biotin, vitamins, or minerals are appropriate for you. Remember that supplements should complement a healthy diet, not replace it.

Some vitamins and minerals that may help include:

  • selenium
  • vitamins A, B, C and D
  • zinc
  • iron.

Try low-level light therapy

Controlled clinical trials demonstrated that low-level light therapy (LLLT) stimulated hair growth in both men and women.

This non-invasive treatment involves exposing the scalp to low levels of specific wavelengths of light, which can stimulate hair follicles, promote hair growth, and potentially halt further loss. 

Unlike invasive procedures or medications that may come with unwanted side effects, LLLT is generally safe and painless. 

However, low-level laser light therapy devices, which include wands and helmets, can be time-consuming and expensive, with options costing between $200 and $1000.

Consider medical treatments

For genetic hair loss, treatments such as minoxidil and finasteride may help. Hair transplants are another option, though they can be expensive.

Shampoo and style wisely

Choose a mild shampoo suited to your hair type. Harsher formulas may dry hair out and cause it to break, leading to hair loss. Over washing can strip hair of natural oils, so consider reducing the frequency of washes. However, it’s essential to keep your scalp clean and healthy so don’t leave it too long between washes. 

Avoid tight hairstyles that pull on the hair, which can lead to traction alopecia. Try looser styles that minimise stress on your follicles.

Maintain good hair and scalp care

High-heat styling tools and chemical treatments can damage hair. Limit their use and consider natural styling methods to keep hair healthy.

Use a soft brush with natural fibres to gently detangle and distribute oils from the scalp through the hair, which can help maintain hair health.

When to seek professional help

If you’re experiencing significant hair loss that leads to bald spots, patchiness, or large clumps of hair coming out, it’s time to consult a healthcare professional. By working with a dermatologist, you can begin identifying what might be causing your hair loss. Your doctor will ask about your health, your medications and your family history and recommend appropriate treatments or lifestyle changes.

Remember, while some hair loss is preventable or treatable, genetics often play a determining role. It’s important to set realistic expectations and focus on maintaining the health of the hair you have.

Have you tried any of these methods? Do you have any secrets for maintaining healthy hair? Share your experiences and tips in the comments section below.

Also read: Surprising causes of hair loss

Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.

Ellie Baxter
Ellie Baxter
Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.
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