Thinning hair or actual hair loss can be devastating whether you’re a man or a woman, but more and more people are becoming aware that almost as many females as men have problems with these conditions. If you’re like most women, your thinning hair bothers you and you’d prefer to try practical and natural techniques to get your hair back, which is entirely possible once you know what to do. There are many reasons women suffer with hair loss, including pregnancy, chemo treatments, hormones, and stress, to name a few. Fortunately, there are now more ways than ever to stop and even prevent hair loss, and most of them are easier and less expensive than you might think.
[Recommended Reading:HAIR LOSS IN WOMEN: 10 COMMON CAUSES]
Vitamins That Prevent Hair Loss
Believe it or not, your thinning hair and hair loss may be caused by a nutritional deficiency; in other words, you’re not getting the right vitamins and minerals. Many people today are not getting the nutrition they need thanks to poor eating habits and not taking a good multivitamin supplement every day. If you are prone to hair loss, for example, if it runs in your family, this can increase your odds of suffering with hair loss problems. Sometimes, learning how to prevent hair loss is as simple as taking certain vitamins and minerals, and below are a few of them to watch for if you suffer with this condition.
- Biotin. Also known as vitamin B7, biotin is great for skin, hair, and nails, and if you’re too low in biotin, you can suffer with skin rashes, hair loss, and brittle nails. Women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking certain antibiotics or epilepsy drugs can find themselves low in biotin. Fortunately, biotin supplements are easy to find and are generally very inexpensive.
- Iron. Since red blood cells need iron to carry oxygen, it is easy to understand why iron is so important. When your iron count gets too low, you can suffer from anemia, and one of the symptoms of anemia is hair loss. If you have heavy periods, follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, or have any type of chronic disease, you’re at risk of having an iron count that is too low.
- Vitamin C. If you want your gut to absorb iron, you need the proper amount of vitamin C to go with it. In fact, eating foods rich in vitamin C and foods rich in iron at the same time is the best way to make sure you have enough of both of these to remain healthy. Low levels of vitamin C means the body won’t absorb the iron properly, which can result in hair loss if it’s severe enough.
- Vitamin D. Your body makes vitamin D from sunlight, but many people today simply don’t get enough sun to produce this vitamin. Vitamin D is crucial for strong bones and teeth, but if your level of the vitamin gets too low, it can result in hair loss. If you take vitamin D with magnesium, it can enhance its bioavailability.
- Zinc. Taking a zinc supplement is important if you’re starting to lose hair because first of all, it is crucial in making proteins in your hair and other cells of the body; and second, because the body doesn’t make this mineral on its own. One of the symptoms of low zinc levels is hair loss, but others include wounds that take too long to heal and a weak sense of smell or taste.
Even if you’ve already started to lose hair, you can slow the hair loss down by taking these vitamins, and since most of them are easy to find and inexpensive, this can be a simple and inexpensive way to prevent hair loss.
Foods That Prevent Hair Loss
If you’d rather get your extra vitamins and minerals from the foods that you eat, it is easier than you think. In fact, for each vitamin or mineral listed above, there are lots of foods you can consume to increase your intake of that vitamin or mineral. Below are some of the absolute best foods to eat when you’re trying to prevent or slow down your hair loss.
Foods with biotin in them:
- Egg yolks
- Whole grains
Foods with iron in them:
- Bok choy
- Grass-fed red meat
- Leafy vegetables
- Lean ground beef
Foods with vitamin C in them:
- Bell peppers, especially red ones
- Citrus fruits
- Leafy vegetables
Foods with vitamin D in them:
- Fatty fish
- Fortified milk
Foods with zinc in them:
- Nuts and seeds
Foods with other ingredients to help with hair loss:
- Barley. Barley contains lots of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect your skin cells. It also repairs sun damage on the scalp, which contributes to hair loss.
- Beets. The nitrates in this veggie are thought to break down in the body and improve your circulation, which then brings oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles.
- Chicken. This type of meat contains an Omega-6 fatty acid called arachidonic acid, or AA, which stimulates hair growth and makes the hair thick and shiny.
- Greek yogurt. This type of yogurt has two trace minerals that help the thyroid gland function properly: selenium and iodine. A deficiency in either of these minerals can lead to hair loss, so both of them are important.
- Halibut. This fish has another very important mineral to stop hair loss: magnesium. Too little magnesium can mean too much calcium, and that can result in higher insulin levels, which is another cause of hair loss.
- Lean poultry. Your hair needs protein to grow, and lean poultry has plenty of that in it. The average person loses 50 to 100 strands of hair per day, and eating enough lean poultry helps replenish most or all of those hairs so there is no net loss.
- Oatmeal. The soluble fiber in oatmeal helps with insulin sensitivity, and insulin resistance is one of the many reasons for hair loss in both women and men.
What About Hair Loss in Teen Girls?
While many women – and men – suffer with hair loss, the truth is that teenage girls can also experience it. Much like adult women, hair loss in teenagers can be devastating. The good news is that just like adults, teenagers can do things to reduce or even prevent hair loss, and below are some of those things.
- Don’t wear your hair too tight when you wear a ponytail or a bun, because it can strain the roots and cause hair to fall out.
- Eat a balanced, healthy diet of foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein.
- Manage your stress levels, since stress can cause hair loss.
- Massage your scalp with nourishing oils such as coconut oil to strengthen the hair strands and make the scalp healthier.
- Never treat your hair roughly when combing, brushing, or styling it.
- Try not to use products such as flat irons, curling irons, and blow dryers too often.
- Try to let your hair dry naturally, or use the low heat settings on your blow dryer.
- Use hair care products that are gentle, including shampoo, conditioner, and styling products.
Learning how to prevent hair loss in teenage girls is much like learning how to prevent it in adults. Stress, certain medications, nutritional deficiencies, and certain habits can all contribute to hair loss or thinning hair, but it’s easier than you think to reverse the situation. In fact, for women of all ages, below are 10 things you can do to prevent hair loss and even reverse existing hair loss starting today.
1.Don’t Wear Your Hair Too Tight
When you wear cornrows, braids, or even ponytails and buns, it can stretch the hair to the point where it is damaged, sometimes permanently, which can cause hair loss. The thing is, hair can only stretch so much until it either breaks or just doesn’t work like it should. When the hair is worn in a style that is too tight, the hair can actually pull away from the scalp. If it gets too severe, this can result in the bond between your hair and your scalp loosening up after a while. With that loosening comes more hair loss, simply because the hair strands become weaker and the hair is pulled out of the scalp a lot easier.
The hairs at the hairline are most affected when your hairstyle is too tight, simply because they are more delicate than the hair on the rest of your head. Hair loss at the hairline is common and can include both thinning of the hair and actual hair loss. If you love wearing a ponytail, there are products you can use to ease up on the hair and enable it to be a little less tight. Using an elastic ponytail holder that doesn’t have metal in it is a good idea, and many hair care companies even make special “ouch-less” products that make tearing at the hair a lot less likely.
Another advantage of using this type of product is that, when you’re removing the ponytail holder at the end of the day, you’ll find a lot fewer hairs sticking to the holder itself, which is a welcome sign when you’re worried about hair loss. It is both the products you use to style your hair (for example, ponytail holders and barrettes) and the fact that you’re pulling the hair too tight that contribute to your hair loss, but utilizing different products and wearing your hair in looser hairstyles can help a lot.
2.Use Chemical Treatments as Little as Possible
Chemical treatments are popular because let’s face it, they help us get our hair looking the way we want it to look. Unfortunately, these treatments are harsh on both the hair and scalp and can easily cause hair loss or thinning hair over time. By chemical treatments, we mean:
- Hair dyes and colors
- Hair straighteners or relaxers
- Perms or other curling treatments
- Products that bleach the hair
- Products that lighten the hair
In fact, anything that changes the way your hair looks and uses chemicals to get that result can be considered a chemical treatment, and these are always bad for your hair. The treatments cause damage to the hair shaft and over time, the hair becomes much weaker and therefore falls out much more easily. What makes this worse is the fact that a lot of women visit their hair salon every six weeks or so to get one of these treatments done, and the hair becomes weaker and weaker with each treatment.
The good news is that you can slow down or even stop hair loss due to chemical treatments by simply having the treatments done a lot less frequently. Even if you are already experiencing thinning hair or hair loss, you can choose to get these treatments a lot less often to make sure it doesn’t get worse. Or, better yet, stop using the treatments altogether until your hair starts to come back in and gets a little healthier. If you absolutely must use one of these treatments, use them less often and use a deep-conditioning treatment on your hair once or twice a week to repair the damages that the chemicals have done to your hair.
One more thing – even products that claim to have “natural” ingredients can damage the hair. It is very unlikely that every single ingredient in the product is indeed natural, which means it is almost guaranteed to have at least one harsh ingredient in it. If it changes the way your hair looks, it is likely to have at least some chemicals in it, so you should use these treatments only periodically and make sure your hair is getting deep-conditioned a minimum of once per week.
3.Watch Out for Products That Use Heat
There’s no doubt about it – tools that use heat wreak havoc on your hair. This includes blow dryers, curling irons, straightening or flat irons, and to a lesser extent, heated rollers. If you use these tools every now and then, your hair will be alright, but using them regularly greatly increases the chances of losing your hair eventually. Why? Because the bonds within each strand of hair will fracture, causing the hair to get weak, break, and fall out. If you must use these tools because you want your hair to look a certain way, here are some tips that will make it better for your hair:
- When using a hair straightener or curling iron, try not to leave it on each section of hair more than 10 seconds or so. In other words, move it around frequently.
- Try to use a heat setting that isn’t too high – don’t use the highest setting if possible.
- If you hear any type of sizzling noise or your fingers feel like they’re burning, it means the heat setting is way too high.
- Never, ever use any type of heat-producing tool without first applying a product (usually in the form of a spray or serum) that protects the hair from the heat and lessens the damage it will do.
- Instead of using a blow dryer, try letting your hair dry naturally whenever possible, and let it dry completely before using another heated tool (unless the tool is made specifically for both wet and dry hair).
The heat-protecting products on the market today put a light film of protectant over the hair strands, allowing you to use heated tools without nearly as much damage. Other than only using heated tools sparingly, this is one of the smartest things you can do to protect your hair from the damage these tools place on it.
[Recommended Reading 1:Essential Hairdressing Tools: Hair Dryer Knowledge Guide]
[Recommended Reading 2:Essential Hairdressing Tools: Curling Iron Knowledge Guide]
4.Be Careful How You Take Care of Your Hair
Believe it or not, how you treat your hair on a daily basis has an effect on the amount of hair loss you might suffer. If you treat your hair roughly when washing, brushing, combing, or styling your hair, it causes the hair strands to weaken and over time, and it can cause hair loss. Constantly tugging and pulling at the hair strands make them weaker and much easier to break, which means it is much more likely that they’ll fall out completely at some point. Being too rough with your hair is easy to do when you’re in a hurry, but if hair loss is genetic and in your family genes, you might want to concentrate on being gentle with your hair every time you take care of it.
The brush you use also makes a difference. Brushes with plastic teeth are the worst because they tend to pull hair strands out even if the hair is healthy. Try using a natural-bristle brush instead. Natural-bristle brushes take some time to get used to simply because the bristles are much softer than other types of brushes. If your hair is thick, it can feel like the brush isn’t even doing its job, but that is not the case. Once you get used to a natural-bristle brush, it will feel perfectly normal to you, and you’ll notice a lot fewer hairs in the brush after you’re done.
In addition, you’ll want to brush your hair correctly, which means starting at the crown of your head and moving the brush downward until it reaches the ends of the hair strands. Starting at any other point on your head is much more likely to tear at the hair and cause it to fall out. Brush in one direction only so that your hair cuticles get conditioned on a molecular level. Again, once you get used to brushing your hair this way, it will feel natural to you and won’t be difficult to do. Yet another tip is this: never brush your hair when it’s wet. Only use a comb to do that.
5.Don’t Forget to Care for Your Scalp
Roughly one-third of all women will experience some hair loss during their lifetime, but if you think it’s just the hair strands themselves you need to take care of, think again. A lot of people suffering with hair loss find out from their doctors that the hair follicles on the scalp are clogged and interrupted, which means the hair doesn’t have a place to go when it’s growing. If the hair strands can’t break through the scalp, your hair can look like it’s thinning and not be as full as you’d like it to be, but there is an easy solution to the problem.
For one thing, regular massages of the scalp can take care of this problem, so every time you put either your shampoo or your conditioner in your hair, give your scalp a good massage before rinsing it out of your hair. Scalp massages greatly improve circulation in the scalp area, which in turn stimulates hair growth. You don’t have to rub hard. Just use a little bit of pressure and rub the scalp using a series of circular motions, and make sure you get the entire head and scalp area, not just the top of your head.
In addition to what they do for hair growth, scalp massages offer many other benefits, including:
- They reduce muscle tension and help your entire body to relax.
- They reduce the number and severity of migraines and headaches that you get.
- They balance the nervous system, providing results that are similar to acupuncture.
- They are convenient and can be done by anyone – this isn’t exactly rocket science!
Not only does this method work to help stimulate the growth of new hair, but it is also an amazing relaxation technique, and since stress alone can affect hair loss, this is a great way to keep more of your hair on your head where it belongs. You can also use essential oils along with the massage, and some of the best essential oils for hair growth include lavender, cypress, and rosemary, to name a few. Don’t forget to dilute the oil with some type of carrier oil, such as sweet almond oil or even olive oil. Or, you can simply place two to three drops of essential oil without dilution right to the scalp along with your shampoo or conditioner. Using the essential oils as you massage kills two birds with one stone, so to speak, and can greatly spark hair growth like nothing else does.
[Recommended Reading 1:How to Choose a Hair Conditioner: Is it Really Useful for Your Hair?]
[Recommended Reading 2:How to Choose the Right Shampoo for You]
6.Use Products That Are Less Harsh
Naturally, the hair care products you use are important, and choosing products specifically made for hair loss problems is a smart thing to do. Preventing hair loss is easier than taking care of the problem after hair loss has already begun, but many of these products will reverse hair loss and give you back some of the hair that’s already gone. Fortunately, most hair loss products are not that expensive, especially now that most of them are no longer available by prescription only.
If you’re new to this type of hair care product, just know that there are things to look for, as well as things to avoid, when searching for the best shampoo and conditioner for your hair loss problems. Most of these products use essential oils, various minerals, and protein to strengthen the hair and enable you to keep more of it in your hair. These products also destroy the bacteria that can cause hair loss and breaking hair, as well as increase blood circulation to the scalp. You’ll also want to read the list of ingredients and make sure there are no sulfates, parabens, or any other harsh ingredients that can actually damage the hair more than it helps it. The more ingredients you can pronounce, the better the shampoo will be for your hair.
7.Consider a Variety of Medical Treatments
There are effective, scientifically proven medical treatments that are known to help with hair loss problems. We’ll discuss two of them here.
Laser therapy. While this may sound odd, low-light laser therapy has been shown to help increase and stimulate hair growth. Also called red-light therapy, it can be done in the privacy of your own home, and it is painless and simple to do. Most of the devices look like baseball caps and are simply placed on your head, and you wear it for a certain length of time every day. While the experts aren’t positive exactly how it works, the device is thought to stimulate epidermal stem cells and is especially good for people suffering with genetic hair loss or hair loss problems due to chemotherapy.
Low-level lasers improve the density or thickness of the hair strands, and they usually cost anywhere from $200 to $600. You may have to have several treatments to see a noticeable difference, but it is a noninvasive solution to hair loss and is something you can do even as you go about your business and do other things.
Plasma-rich platelets (PRP). The way this works is simple. They take some of your blood and run it through a centrifuge, then they remove only the platelets and inject those into your scalp. The good thing about this method is that it can help regrow hair even in sections that have no hair whatsoever. In recent studies, most people noticed a 30% increase in hair growth after a certain number of treatments. The only downside is that the treatments have to be done in a doctor’s office and are rather expensive – from $500 to $1,000 per session – and they are not covered by insurance. Nevertheless, PRP is showing a lot of promise in every study and is becoming more and more popular all the time simply because they are so effective.
8.Consider Using Various Medications
As you can imagine, there are medications that have been shown to help with hair loss problems, and there are more being developed every single day. For right now, these medications can be broken down into three main types:
- Minoxidil. Known as Rogaine on the market, minoxidil is an over-the-counter (OTC) medication that works for roughly two-thirds of all women. It comes in either foam or liquid form, and all you do is put it on your scalp and it starts to work. As long as you’re using minoxidil, you’ll experience hair growth and thicker hair, which means you’ll have to use it for the rest of your life to enjoy a head full of thick hair. Minoxidil was originally prescribed to help lower blood pressure in people with hypertension, but it is now used for people with thinning hair and even those who are completely bald.
- Finasteride. Officially known as Propecia, this medication comes in pill form and has to be taken daily. It was made for men but works for women as well, as long as you’re not pregnant or planning to get pregnant soon. It works because it blocks DHT in the hair follicles, and therefore it opens up the follicles and allows for hair growth. One of its main side effects is a lower sex drive, so always talk to your doctor about this medication before deciding to take it yourself.
- Phenylephrine. This is another topical treatment that is thought to stimulate the muscles in the hair follicles to contract, which in turn makes it more difficult for the strands of hair to fall or be pulled out of your hair (like when brushing your hair). Unfortunately, while it shows good promise, the treatment – known as AB-102 – is not yet on the market officially, although most people expect it will be available soon.
If you do some research on your own, you’ll likely find other medications as well, but before you rush to get a prescription for any of them, make sure you ask your doctor enough questions so that you’re totally familiar with the risks and side effects. You want to end up with a medication that won’t harm you in any way, so a thorough medical checkup is the first step to take when you’re interested in hair loss medication.
9.Try Some Natural Methods for Hair Regrowth
Believe it or not, there are natural methods of regrowing your hair, and while researchers aren’t exactly sure why some of them work, it’s still good to know these methods exist. With most of these products, the worst thing that could happen is that they just won’t work for you, although some of them do have potential side effects. Researching the products is a must if this is the way you want to go, but below are a few all-natural methods that just might help you get your hair back.
- Olive oil. Many programs to regrow hair recommend a Mediterranean diet, which uses a lot of olive oil. Olive oil will deep-condition your hair and prevent it from breaking, and it has even been shown to slow down hair loss that is caused by genetics. It’s also very easy to use – just place a few tablespoons of olive oil on your scalp and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Afterward, just rinse it out and continue with your hair care regimen.
- Coconut oil. This type of oil contains lauric acid, which helps bind protein in the hair strands and makes them stronger. It helps prevent it from breaking at the root, and if your hair loss is due to UV light or from rough grooming, this is a good method to use. All you have to do is rub some into the scalp and massage it gently, which also improves blood circulation to help stimulate hair growth.
- Onion juice. While the smell is likely to be a huge turnoff, you can’t negate the great results of this method. Just rub onion juice into your scalp twice a day for the best results. In a 2014 study, nearly 90% of everyone who used this treatment saw an improvement in hair growth and less hair loss. It is especially effective in people suffering with alopecia areata, and scientists believe it works because of the high sulphur content found in onions.
- Yoga. Really? Yes, yoga. Yoga relieves stress, and if your hair loss is due to stress, yoga can be a huge help. The best stress-relieving poses have been found to be the forward bend, camel pose, downward facing dog, fish pose, kneeling pose, and the shoulder stand. Hair loss that is caused by stress has been shown to respond very well to yoga, and these poses can all be learned for free simply by looking them up on YouTube.
- Acupuncture. Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine that has been around for thousands of years. While more research needs to be done in this area, studies have found that those who are suffering with hair loss due to alopecia areata do especially well with acupuncture, and the needles inserted into the scalp are thought to stimulate hair follicles and help regrow your hair.
If you’re considering any of these methods to help with your hair loss problems, you should talk to your doctor first and do some research ahead of time. Not all of these methods work well on all patients, so it’s best to learn all you can about any of them before making your final decision.
10.Change Your Lifestyle
A lot of times, your lifestyle is what is causing or attributing to your hair loss, but the good news is that most of these things are very easy to change. We mentioned earlier about adding certain vitamins and foods to your diet, but there are numerous other ways to reduce hair loss and get your hair to grow back again, and they include the following:
- Hormone products. Even if you don’t need them for birth control, taking oral contraceptives can help with your hair loss problems, just like hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can after you’ve gone through menopause. A lot of times, thinning hair or balding is due to your hormones being out of whack, and these prescriptions can help put everything in the right proportions so that your hair loss problems can become a thing of the past.
- Reduce your stress. Everyone has stress, but if this stress is the reason you’re losing hair, you can do something about it. Take a multivitamin every day, exercise regularly, and practice meditation so that your stress is manageable. You can’t eliminate all of the stress from your life, but you can certainly reduce stress enough to help you take care of your thinning hair or baldness problem.
- Stop smoking. When you smoke, it can prematurely age your hair cells, which causes the hair follicles to become brittle and therefore easy to break and shed. Of course, smoking cessation can be extremely difficult, so you might want to talk to your doctor first about the best method to choose to help you quit.
- Use essential oils. In addition to the essential oils mentioned earlier, others that are beneficial for people losing hair include Chinese hibiscus, jatamansi, ginseng (which can also be taken in supplement form), and peppermint. Place a few drops on the scalp when you’re shampooing or conditioning your hair, but if the oil isn’t diluted, make sure you place it on the scalp after you put the shampoo or conditioner in your hair so that it isn’t directly touching your scalp, which might hurt.
The truth is, there are more ways to treat female hair loss than ever before, so whether you want to choose something traditional, natural, or even prescription medications, one of these methods is bound to work for you.
Other Recommended Reading
※Non-commercial reproduction is welcome. Please acknowledge the source and include a link to this article when reprinting.