Hair with plenty of volume, movement, and shine is what most people consider healthy. Losing a few strands as you brush or take a shower is perfectly normal, but when you begin to shed a more significant amount or you notice that they aren't growing back, that's when it becomes a problem ( according to the American Academy of Dermatologists, it’s normal to lose anywhere from 50 to 100 strands of hair per day).
While it is inevitable everyone will experience some form of hair loss at some point in their life, there are plenty of lifestyle factors and scientific reasons that play into our strands leaving the nests we've created for them. A stressful chapter of life, malnutrition or deficiencies, illnesses, traumas and so many other things can cause our hair to begin to fall out.
The latest research shows that the most common cause for hair thinning and hair loss is genetics. The genetic male or female pattern (also known as androgenic) hair loss is extremely common and can start to manifest as early as in the 20s.
Before anyone can pin hair loss to genes, it's necessary to take an extensive history and check bloodwork to rule out an internal cause. Some other causes for hair loss are vitamin deficiencies, new medications, recent surgeries, stress, weight loss, and hormonal changes ( like pregnancy and childbirth ).
Here are 7 hair loss treatments you can talk to your doctor about:
Platelet-rich plasma ( PRP ) treatments harvest the power of your own body to help hair grow and support hair health. During the procedure, blood is drawn and the PRP from the blood is injected into the area of the scalp with hair loss or thinning. The PRP contains growth factors that provide support for hair that's already present and for the hair follicles that are dormant and stimulates them to grow. It also contains vascular growth factors. These increase circulation to the scalp providing hair with more nutrition and oxygen needed for growth.
Pros of the treatment: uses your own blood, reducing the risk of the body rejecting or negatively reacting to the treatment and increases the safety and sanitary nature of the entire process.
Cons of the treatment: patients with acute, chronic or autoimmune diseases cannot undergo the PRP treatment
2. Low-level laser light treatment
Low-level laser light has been used to regrow bone and tissue for years and the technology is now used for the stimulation of hair follicles and promotion of hair growth. The treatment consists in laser lights that aid in regrowing hair by shuttling nutrition and oxygen to the scalp. Also, laser treatment is thought to reduce the inflammation in follicles that keeps them from regrowing.
Pros of the treatment: non-invasive, safe and pain-free
Cons of the treatment: it’s time consuming. To see results, treatment often requires
several sessions a week for a number of months.
Minoxidil is a topical solution or foam that blocks the type of testosterone that causes hair thinning and the androgenetic hair loss. Minoxidil is also classed as a vasodilator, meaning that it dilates your blood vessels so that blood flows more easily where it's applied.
Pros of the treatment: easy to get, you don’t need a prescription, you can buy it over-the-counter
Cons of the treatment: for the person first using minoxidil, there is often an initial period ( more or less 4 weeks ) of paradoxical increased hair loss. Also scalp irritation is quite common.
4. Scalp Massage and Proper Cleansing
It is important to keep your hair clean to encourage healthy growth. Cleansing the hair follicles and keeping them free of oils, hair product build-up and free radicals will help create a healthy scalp environment for the hair to grow. Scalp massage is another way to encourage hair growth as it helps increase blood flow and circulation to the follicles making them stronger and discouraging miniaturization. You could use a scalp massager or simply your fingers– do double duty by taking extra time to massage your scalp while you shampoo.
Pros of the treatment: easy to be done at home, very relaxing
Cons of the treatment: still haven’t figured out not to like about it
5. Vitamin B Complex Injections
Vitamin B complex injections are very important for hair health. Many cannot absorb vitamin B from their diet, so injections of vitamin B complex may be the best way to receive this vitamin. Some patients with normal vitamin B levels can still benefit from these injections when it comes to hair loss and hair support.
Pros of the treatment: high absorption of the Vitamin B, with the possibility to inject it directly where it’s needed
Cons of the treatment: thediscomfort of the injections makes it a not fun treatment for those of us with a lower pain tolerance
6. Vitamin Supplements
It is always important to prioritize a healthy and well-rounded diet, but did you know vitamin deficiency might be leading to your hair loss? Biotin, zinc, and copper supplementation can help to improve hair quality and growth.
Pros of the treatment: easy to-do, ideally for those of us that don’t have so much free time for dermatological treatments
Cons of the treatment: at least 3 months before we see any noticeable improvements
Diet plays a very important role in scalp health and hair growth. Foods high in proteins and healthy fats are key to a good diet. Staying away from processed foods and those high in sugar are also very important.
Try adding in these types of foods:
iron-rich foods, including lean beef, beans, green leafy vegetables, iron-fortified grains, and eggs
foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such salmon, mackerel, tuna, flax seeds, egg yolks, hemp seeds, and walnuts
high-protein foods, like eggs, lean meats, and seafood
Last but not least, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water.
It’s not unusual to lose hair strands every day. On the other hand, factors like stress, medication, and underlying medical conditions can all aggravate hair loss. Talk with your doctor about your concerns and the potential causes for your hair loss. They can recommend a treatment that’s right for you.