If you’re one of the millions of men or women who are experiencing hair loss, you’re probably frustrated. You might even feel embarrassed. And while it’s certainly not ideal, there are plenty of ways to fight back.
What Causes Hair Loss?
Hair loss, which is also known by its scientific name of alopecia, can affect your entire body – through its alopecia of the scalp that most people are concerned about. Hair loss can be temporary or permanent. And the toughest part is that it can be caused by any number of factors.
“It can be the result of heredity, hormonal changes, medical conditions, or a normal part of aging,” Mayo Clinic explains. “Anyone can lose hair on their head, but it’s more common in men.”
Hair loss is different for everyone, but it often plays out in recognizable patterns. The two most common are:
- Gradual thinning at the top of the head. This is probably the most common type of hair loss. This is where hair gradually begins thinning and/or your hairline slowly recedes to the top of your head.
- Circular bald spot at the crown of the head. This form of hair loss is most commonly seen in men. This is where hair loss occurs primarily at the crown of the head and creates a circular bald spot that gradually gets larger.
While less common, it’s also possible to suddenly lose patches of hair on random parts of the scalp. This is usually caused by some sort of medical condition (like ringworm) and/or sudden and extreme stress.
4 Ways to Halt Hair Loss
It’s helpful if you can determine the cause of your hair loss. However, in most cases, it’s not possible to isolate the underlying factor with 100 percent certainty. This may require a more comprehensive approach. Here are a few options:
1. Diet and Nutrition
Let’s begin with the one thing that most people overlook: diet and nutrition. While it’s tempting to want to jump ahead to more proactive treatment options, the truth is that you’ll never get the results you want if you aren’t supplying your scalp with the proper blend of growth-friendly vitamins and nutrients.
If you’re looking for a specific diet to fight hair loss, then consider the Mediterranean diet. It’s high in fresh herbs and raw vegetables – many of which contain the nutrients required for hair growth.
But whether you go with the Mediterranean diet or something else entirely, you should emphasize protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, and biotin.
2. Hair Loss Medications
There are two FDA-approved medications on the market for hair loss. One is an over-the-counter drug and another is a prescription pill.
The OTC drug is minoxidil (also known as Rogaine). It comes in a liquid or foam application and is applied directly to the affected site. It tends to be very effective (though results stop when usage stops).
The prescription option is finasteride (also known as Propecia). It offers the dual benefit of slowing hair loss and encouraging new growth.
In some instances, doctors may recommend using both products together at the same time for a limited period. This can increase the effectiveness of the products (though it may also increase the risk of negative side effects).
3. Laser Therapy
If you’re looking for a highly safe and effective option that offers the potential for long-term results, laser therapy is an option.
Laser therapy, also known as low level laser therapy or LLT, is typically conducted using an in-home laser cap. It works by increasing blood flow, improving cell absorption and protein synthesis, and regenerating dormant hair follicles so that they can reenter the growth cycle.
4. Surgical Procedures
While certainly not the ideal choice, surgical procedures are an option. Procedures like follicular unit extraction (FUE) and follicular unit transplant (FUT) are known to be effective. However, they also carry significant risks and plenty of unwanted side effects (including pain and discomfort at the extraction site).
Fight Back Against Hair Loss
If you sit back and let hair loss take full effect, you will lose your hair. It might take several months or years, but it’ll eventually happen. Thankfully, there’s another option. You can choose to be proactive and fight back. And though there are no guarantees that you’ll ever have the same thick hair you had at 15 years old, you can definitely slow (and possibly reverse) some of the hair loss that’s occurring. The choice is yours!