Hair loss affects around 35 million men and 21 million women worldwide. This may come in the form of mild thinning, a receding hairline, or full baldness.
But in any case, hair loss can be incredibly difficult to accept — even when it’s barely visible.
So what can you do to stop it?
In this post, we’ll take a close look at how to prevent hair loss, with 30 useful tips to help you keep your locks at their best.
What causes hair loss?
Hair loss may be caused by:
- Genetics: If one or both of your parents experiences hair loss, you may too. Androgenic alopecia is a condition affecting men and women, commonly known as male or female pattern baldness.
- Medications: Certain drugs may trigger or contribute to hair loss, such as those for arthritis, heart issues, high blood pressure, or cancer.
- Extreme stress: A severe emotional or physical shock can have a powerful effect on the body and cause hair to start thinning. This is usually temporary.
- Hormonal fluctuations: Hormonal changes, whether natural or caused by medication, may lead to hair loss. For example, between 40% and 50% of pregnant women lose some of their hair.
How can you help to prevent hair loss?
Here are 30 ideas on how to prevent hair loss, covering your lifestyle, hair care routine, and medications/treatments.
How to prevent hair loss with a healthy lifestyle:
1. Take vitamin A
Vitamin A helps the body produce sebum, the oily substance created by the sebaceous glands. This is essentially a natural conditioner for the hair and contributes to a healthy scalp. A lack of sebum can leave hair dry and prone to breakage, and make your scalp itch.
2. Adopt a Mediterranean diet
One study discovered that the fresh herbs and raw vegetables so important to the Mediterranean diet may be useful in combating androgenic alopecia, or at least slowing its development.
3. Get active
Exercise could be good for the health of your hair as it:
- Opens the pores on the scalp
- Encourages the release of endorphins that can reduce stress (a potential cause of hair loss)
- Drives more oxygen to the scalp to nourish hair
4. Eat more protein
Keratin, a protein, is one of the most important building blocks of the hair follicles. You need to consume a healthy amount of protein to ensure your body has the sustenance it needs to keep your hair strong. Otherwise, your hair could become weak, more likely to break and, ultimately, fall out.
You can find protein in:
- Nuts and seeds
5. Up your vitamin D
Research has found that people affected by alopecia areata (development of bald patches on the scalp) were more likely to have a vitamin D deficiency than those unaffected by the condition.
Vitamin D is believed to stimulate the hair follicles and help them grow. You can find vitamin D in:
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Egg yolks
- Almond milk
6. Try ginseng
Ginseng may help to increase hair growth and density. Ginseng supplements or topical treatments could prevent hair loss, but it’s best to speak to your doctor before trying either — ginseng may be unsuitable for you if you have certain conditions.
7. Take biotin
Biotin (also known as B7) is a B vitamin enabling the body to absorb nutrients and energy from various foods.
People with a biotin deficiency tend to have thinning and/or brittle hair, so it’s possible that increasing your intake could prevent hair loss.
8. Work on reducing stress levels
Extreme or prolonged stress can contribute to various types of hair loss, including telogen effluvium and alopecia areata. Try to reduce your stress levels by:
- Getting more exercise to release endorphins
- Trying to make more time to do the things you enjoy (reading, playing video games, seeing friends, etc.)
- Identifying potential solutions for problems causing stress
9. Increase your iron levels
Iron is vital for healthy hair growth: it helps the body create hemoglobin that transports oxygen throughout the body to specific areas, such as the hair follicles. As a result, an iron deficiency can cause hair loss.
You can get iron from supplements or various foods, including:
- Fortified cereals
- Egg yolks
- Dark chocolate
- Kidney beans
10. Try omega-3 and -6
Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids are found in a wide range of foods and supplements. Research reveals that they could help to prevent hair loss and cultivate stronger hair growth.
How to prevent hair loss with proper hair care:
11. Wash your hair regularly
Washing your hair regularly will help to:
- Keep your hair clean
- Remove dead skin cells that could build up around follicles
- Flush away dirt
- Feed your hair powerful nutrients (especially if you use a nourishing shampoo)
You may not need to wash your hair every day, though: too much shampooing can strip the hair of its natural oils.
12. Try a scalp massage
Scalp massages feel fantastic, encourage relaxation (good for combatting stress), and stimulate circulation. This brings more nutrients to the hair, which may help it to stay strong and healthy.
13. Use coconut oil
Coconut oil is believed to protect the hair against protein loss and leave it looking healthier when applied to the hair before or after washing. It’s possible that coconut oil also helps to protect hair from UV rays.
14. Apply olive oil to your hair
As Olive oil is a terrific vitamin E source, it could make the hair stronger and encourage the follicles to stay healthy. Olive oil can also moisturise the scalp and keep moisture locked in.
15. Take care when styling
Be careful when styling your hair, especially if you tend to comb/brush it while wet. Hair is easier to break while wet, so either be as gentle as you can or let it dry first.
16. Reduce or avoid chemical treatments
Harsh chemicals (such as peroxides or others found in dyes) can damage your scalp and hair. Too much of them may cause hair to become brittle and unhealthy, potentially contributing to loss.
17. Avoid excessively tight hairstyles
Wearing your hair in incredibly tight styles may trigger hair loss, as it places excessive strain on the hair and can cause traction alopecia.
18. Cut down on hot styling tools
Hot tools (such as hair dryers or straighteners) may make the hair dry, likely to break, and at higher risk of shedding. Use them sparingly.
19. Don’t wear hair extensions
Avoid hair extensions — they tend to pull hairs constantly and place great strain on them over time, possibly leading to breakage and eventual loss.
20. Wash your hair with cooler water
Hot water will dehydrate your scalp and strip the hair of natural oils, making it dry and brittle. Use lukewarm water to wet the hair and cold water to rinse it — this defends against dryness.
How to prevent hair loss with medication and treatment:
Finasteride is an oral medication available on prescription. It blocks production of DHT (dihydrotestosterone), a hormone contributing to pattern hair loss. Ongoing use would be required to maintain results.
Minoxidil is a topical treatment applied to the scalp to stimulate growth by boosting blood flow to shrinking follicles. Again, ongoing use is required to maintain results.
23. FUT hair transplantation
FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation) is a hair transplant that involves cutting a strip of skin from the back of the head and harvesting its follicles. These are implanted into the scalp to restore growth. FUT leaves a visible scar on the back of the head.
24. FUE hair transplantation
FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) is a less invasive hair transplant method: healthy hair follicles are extracted from the scalp and transplanted into thinning/balding areas. Results are natural and seamless. Hair transplants are available at highly competitive prices today.
25. Stem cell hair transplant
Stem cell hair transplants are one of the newest hair restoration techniques. Donor stem cells are taken from the patient and injected into the scalp, where they create new growth in balding areas.
26. Hair strengthening shampoos
Hair strengthening shampoos may claim to make your hair stronger and combat hair loss. Some feature keratin to make hair stronger, but they might not restore hair by themselves.
Corticosteroids may be used to treat alopecia areata by preventing the body from attacking the hair follicles. This treatment can be administered orally or intravenously.
28. Hormone therapy
Hormone therapy is designed to help restore a natural hormone balance in the body. This could prevent hair loss caused by pregnancy or certain medical conditions.
29. Laser treatments
Laser therapy is used to boost blood circulation in the scalp and stimulate new growth, but it can be expensive.
30. Caffeine shampoos
Caffeine shampoos are made to help reverse DHT’s effects and create healthier hair growth.
But little research is available to prove that they do, and Alpecin was highly competitive prices today with the claim that it could reduce hair loss by the UK Advertising Standards Authority.
People experience hair loss for a number of reasons, from genetic conditions to hormone fluctuations.
Certain treatments or procedures may stop hair loss in some cases. For example, a hair transplant can restore growth with natural results if no further shedding is expected.
Hair loss related to stress may be preventable by addressing the source or finding ways to relax, such as through exercise or yoga.