Things You Can Do To Stop Hair Loss
Hair Loss and How to Stop It
In this article, we look at the things you may be able to do to help stop or slow the thinning of your hair. We will look at;
- Diet. The impact, if any, of diet on hair loss, and what foods you can eat to maximise your hair growth
- Hair Care. The role of looking after your hair with good washing routines.
- Medication. How medication can help slow or stop your hair loss and, in some cases, help regrow the hair you’ve lost.
- Surgery / Medical Procedures. How more drastic solutions such as hair implants, can provide a long term fix for men who have gone, or are going, bald.
What is Hair Loss?
While there are several types of hair loss, we will be looking specifically at male pattern baldness. Male pattern baldness, (as the name suggests!), occurs in men and often begins on your crown or around your temples. While male pattern baldness can start from as early as 17 years old, it more commonly begins in your thirties and forties.
What Causes Male Pattern Baldness?
Male pattern baldness is a genetic condition. There is currently no evidence to show that other factors may accelerate the process of going bald. Stress-related hair loss often results in hair falling out in clumps and is reversible. Male pattern baldness is generally irreversible without medical intervention.
What Other Factors May Result In Hair Loss?
If your hair loss does not appear to be male pattern baldness, there are other factors which may cause your hair loss. Medication or people undergoing chemotherapy, weight loss, iron deficiency, changing hormonal levels and stress, may all be factors in hair loss. You should discuss your hair loss with your GP if you’re unsure what may be causing it. It is important to establish there are no underlying medical conditions for your alopecia.
Diet and Hair Loss
Hair loss as a result of a dietary deficiency is called telogen effluvium. Nutritional deficiencies can be responsible for thinning or even loss of hair. There are a number of vitamins and minerals which play a key role in the hair growth cycle which are recommended if you are trying to optimise your diet for healthy hair. Iron is critical as it helps transport oxygen to the hair follicles. If you are iron deficient, your body may redirect iron from less vital functions to core bodily requirements. It is important to establish if you are iron deficient so you can choose the right iron supplement to help hair regrowth.
Other dietary recommendations for happy, healthy hair are Zinc and Magnesium and Omega 3’s. Vitamin D increases blood flow around the body which can also help in maintaining a healthy scalp. You can read this article for specific recommendations on foods you can eat to make sure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals required for a healthy hair growth cycle.
Looking After Your Head and Hair
Apart from diet, there are other ways you can care for your hair to prevent hair loss!
- Look to use mild shampoos which don’t overdry your hair or scalp.
- Scalp massage has had a limited amount of research conducted but has been shown to increase hair thickness although decrease hair count.
- Deep condition your hair to help infuse it with moisture and keep your scalp healthy
- Avoid stressing your hair by heating, stretching or over-styling
Medications for Hair Loss
Medications are the mainstay of treatment for reversing hair loss. There are really only two available hair loss treatments, one topical and one oral. These are finasteride and minoxidil.
Minoxidil is the topical treatment and can be found in the well-known brand, Regaine. Regaine and other maximum strength minoxidil treatments contain 5% of the active ingredient. Minoxidil is thought to work by lengthening the growth phase of your hair.
Finasteride, also available as the branded medication, Propecia, is the oral treatment available in the UK. While not available on the NHS for hair growth, Finasteride can be prescribed by your doctor and, in some cases,your pharmacist.
Finasteride works to stop hair loss by blocking the enzyme in the body which changes testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is the compound culprit in the body responsible for the mechanism of you losing your hair. When concentrations are higher than normal, it shrinks the hair follicles which can then result in your hair loss.
As with any medication, side effects are possible. In the case of Finasteride, erectile dysfunction is a cause for concern for many men. However, this affects only around 1 in 100 users of the medication. To read more on how Finasteride works or to see if you can be prescribed this medication, go here.
Implants and Other Medical Procedures for Hair Loss
Hair Transplants have become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly after several well-known sports personalities have talked about their experiences with implants. This is a costly procedure however, often setting you back several thousand pounds. For a more in-depth article exploring considerations of hair implantation, you can read this article.
Laser Therapy has also found a place in the treatment of thinning hair. While not as successful as transplantation, it is more affordable and less invasive. A more comprehensive summary of the advantages and disadvantages of laser hair treatment can be found here.
Male pattern baldness is a common issue with a number of possible treatments (or no treatment at all!). While some men may revel in their newfound time saving from styling their hair on bad hair days, others can be deeply affected, or just prefer to have their hair back.
Whether you lose 100 hairs or 1000, how to stop hair thinning is a question many men will ask at some stage. We hope this article has helped lay out your options and provided helpful links for further reading and advice.