How do I stop my hair from falling out?
Hair loss can be frightening and upsetting. As you brush your hair and notice more strands than usual falling out, you may begin to worry. Is this just normal shedding or something more serious? What can you do to keep your hair from thinning and improve hair growth? This guide will discuss common causes of hair loss, ways to diagnose the problem, and science-backed solutions to stop hair from falling out.
- What Causes Excessive Hair Loss and Thinning?
- How is Hair Loss Diagnosed?
- What Can I Do to Stop and Reverse Hair Loss?
- Key Takeaways to Stop Hair Falling Out
- Frequently Asked Questions About Preventing Hair Loss
- What causes hair to fall out?
- How much hair loss per day is normal?
- What nutrients help hair grow?
- How can I stop my hair from falling out?
- When should I see a doctor for hair loss?
- What medical procedures help with hair growth?
- What vitamins support hair growth after chemo?
- What can I do to prevent hair thinning as I age?
What Causes Excessive Hair Loss and Thinning?
Losing around 100 hairs per day is normal. However, losing more or noticing your hair thinning can signal a problem. There are various reasons why you may be losing more hair than usual.
The most common causes of hair loss include:
- Genetics. Hereditary hair loss or pattern baldness is the leading cause of thinning hair. The hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) causes the hair follicles to shrink, shortening the growth phase and producing thinner hairs until none grow.
- Hormonal changes. Hormone fluctuations from pregnancy, childbirth, discontinuing birth control pills, and menopause can trigger hair loss in women.
- Stress. High stress levels raise cortisol and other hormones that interrupt the hair's growth cycle causing more shedding than usual. Does stress cause hair loss for you?
- Nutrient deficiencies. Lack of protein, iron, zinc, vitamin B12, and other nutrients can hamper hair growth. An unbalanced diet lacking these hair healthy nutrients contributes to thinning.
- Medications. Blood thinners, antidepressants, cholesterol drugs, and treatments for heart disease, gout, and high blood pressure may cause hair loss. Birth control pills also contribute for some women. Have you started any new medications recently?
- Aging. As we get older, the growth phases of our hair shorten and more fall out. Age-related thinning is common in both men and women.
- Skin disorders. Dandruff, psoriasis, fungal infections, and other scalp problems can cause hair to fall out.
- Hairstyles and treatments. Tight hairstyles like braids, using too much heat for styling, bleaching, and harsh chemical straightening and permanent treatments can damage strands and lead to breakage and loss.
- Disease. Serious medical conditions like lupus, thyroid disorder, iron deficiency anemia, and other autoimmune diseases may be behind excessive hair shedding.
How is Hair Loss Diagnosed?
If you notice your hair falling out more than normal, it's important to visit your doctor or dermatologist. They can examine your scalp and hair, discuss symptoms, and may recommend blood tests to diagnose the problem.
Some ways doctors determine the cause of hair loss include:
- Physical exam - Checking for hair loss patterns, damaged follicles, scaling, inflammation, spots, and hairs broken off.
- Pull test - Gently pulling small sections to count how many hairs come out. More than 6 indicates a problem.
- Blood tests - Testing iron, vitamin D, thyroid hormone, and other levels to uncover imbalances. Does a nutrient deficiency contribute to your hair thinning?
- Scalp biopsy - Removing and examining scalp tissue to diagnose infections, alopecia, and other disorders affecting follicles.
- Genetic test - DNA analysis helps predict pattern baldness risk. This determines if you have the androgen receptor genetics that cause DHT sensitivity.
Once the doctor determines the cause, they will recommend appropriate treatment options. Being properly diagnosed gives you the best chance of stopping hair loss and stimulating regrowth.
What Can I Do to Stop and Reverse Hair Loss?
The good news is that for many types of hair loss, effective solutions exist to slow shedding and improve hair density. Lifestyle and dietary changes combined with proven treatments can stop the progression of thinning hair.
At-Home Treatments and Lifestyle Changes
Simple yet powerful at-home remedies and healthy lifestyle adjustments help create the optimal environment for strong hair growth.
- Improved diet - Eat more protein, iron, omega-3s, vitamin C, and zinc to nourish follicles. Avoid crash dieting or limiting calories.
- Stress relief - Try meditation, yoga, breathwork, and journaling to lower cortisol levels. Make time for relaxing self-care. Does managing stress help your hair?
- Gentle hair care - Use wide-tooth combs and limit brushing to when hair is conditioned. Allow hair to air dry. Avoid tight hairstyles that pull on the scalp.
- Scalp massage - Increase blood flow by massaging the scalp for 4-5 minutes daily. This stimulates hair follicles.
- Natural oils - Applying almond, castor, coconut, rosemary, and peppermint oils may improve thickness. Do natural oils seem to help your thinning hair?
- Laser devices - Using laser combs and caps at home has been shown to improve hair density for some people.
- Quit smoking - Smoking negatively impacts hair growth. Stopping smoking promotes healthier follicles.
Medical Hair Loss Treatments
For moderate to severe hair loss, the following medical treatments often produce the best results. Doctors may prescribe oral medications, topical products, in-office procedures, or hair transplants.
- Minoxidil - Applied directly to the scalp twice daily, this topical medication slows hair loss for many users. Minoxidil helps regrow hair.
- Finasteride - This oral medication blocks DHT production. It stops hair loss progression and helps regrow hair for about 90% of men, but has risks.
- Low-level laser therapy - Using laser light helmets and devices during in-office treatments stimulates follicles to grow thicker hair.
- Microneedling - Rolling tiny needles over the scalp triggers wound healing that revives dormant follicles. This is used with minoxidil. Does microneedling work for your hair loss?
- PRP injections - Injecting platelet-rich plasma from your own blood into the scalp can reawaken dormant follicles. Multiple treatments are needed.
- Spironolactone - This oral anti-androgen can minimize hair loss in women by blocking androgens.
- Hair transplants - Surgeons transplant DHT-resistant follicles from the back of the head to bald areas. Transplants effectively restore hair.
Discuss any hair loss treatments thoroughly with your doctor to determine if they are right for you. Consistency is key for seeing results. Using a combination treatment approach often yields the best outcome.
5 Key Takeaways to Stop Hair Falling Out
In summary, here are 5 top tips for reducing hair loss and achieving a fuller-looking head of hair:
- Identify the underlying cause - See a doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
- Address hormone and nutrient deficiencies - Test for low iron, vitamin D, thyroid, etc.
- Use gentle, natural hair care practices - Avoid excessive heat styling and tight hairstyles.
- Reduce stress and nourish follicles - Practice self-care, eat a balanced diet.
- Choose proven treatments - Minoxidil, microneedling, PRP, and laser devices offer hope.
Be patient and consistent with natural remedies and medical treatments. With the right solutions for your type of hair loss, you can stop the progression of thinning hair and maintain your gorgeous locks.
Frequently Asked Questions About Preventing Hair Loss
Hair loss can be upsetting and cause distress. Many people experience excessive shedding at some point and want to know how to keep their hair healthy and fuller. This FAQ answers common questions about maintaining hair growth and dealing with thinning locks.
What causes hair to fall out?
The most common factors leading to hair loss include:
- Genetic predisposition - Hereditary hair loss or pattern baldness is the top reason for thinning hair. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) shrinks follicles.
- Hormonal changes - Shifts in estrogen, progesterone, thyroid hormones and androgens from menopause, childbirth, trauma, stress or other issues alter the hair growth cycle.
- Poor nutrition - Not getting enough protein, iron, zinc, vitamins B & D, and other nutrients stresses follicles.
- Medications - Drug treatments for health conditions like high blood pressure, arthritis, depression, and heart disease can trigger loss.
- Illness - Thyroid disorders, anemia, autoimmune disease, and other conditions cause shedding.
- Aging - As we get older, hair follicles shrink and cycling slows down.
- Damaged scalp - Dandruff, psoriasis, fungal infections, and inflammation can impair follicles.
- Harsh hair care - Heat styling, tight hairstyles, coloring, bleaching, and chemicals compromise hair health.
How much hair loss per day is normal?
Losing about 100 hairs per day is considered normal shedding. Seeing a few extra hairs on your brush or in the shower drain is not necessarily cause for concern. You begin to have a problem when tufts come out through brushing or washing or hair looks visibly thinner.
What nutrients help hair grow?
The top vitamins and minerals for healthy hair include:
- Protein - Amino acids form keratin for strong locks.
- Iron - Ferritin stores iron which carries oxygen to follicles.
- Zinc - This mineral speeds up hair tissue growth.
- Vitamin D - It activates stem cells and growth cycles.
- Vitamin B12, folate, biotin - B complex vitamins spur production.
- Vitamin C - It improves iron absorption for growth.
Eat nutrient-dense whole foods or consider a supplement if deficient.
How can I stop my hair from falling out?
To reduce shedding and stimulate growth, you can:
- Identify and treat underlying causes - Have bloodwork done to check for imbalances.
- Massage your scalp daily - This increases blood flow to follicles.
- Avoid tight hairstyles - They pull on hair roots and damage follicles.
- Use gentle, volumizing shampoos - Look for fortifying ingredients like biotin, collagen, keratin.
- Take hair vitamins - Nutrient supplements support growth.
- Practice stress relief - High cortisol disrupts the hair cycle.
- Try rosemary oil - It may help increase thickness.
- Obtain prescription treatments - Minoxidil, finasteride, spironolactone can treat loss.
When should I see a doctor for hair loss?
Consult a doctor or dermatologist if you notice:
- Sudden shedding in clumps
- Rapid thinning or bald patches
- Scalp inflammation, itching, scabbing
- Hair falling out after combing, washing or gentle tugs
- Hair not growing back after major shedding phase
See a professional for an exam, diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Timely treatment can help stop progression.
What medical procedures help with hair growth?
Doctors may prescribe:
- Minoxidil - Topical solution helps regrow hair for many people.
- Finasteride - Oral medication inhibits DHT to treat male pattern baldness.
- Spironolactone - Anti-androgen drug blocks androgens that cause loss in women.
- Low-level laser therapy - In-office laser device stimulates follicles.
- Microneedling - Collagen induction therapy with microneedling boosts growth factors.
- PRP - Injecting platelet-rich plasma from your blood into the scalp rejuvenates follicles.
- Hair transplants - Hair from the back of the head is redistributed to thinning areas.
Talk to your doctor to find the right treatment protocol for your needs.
What vitamins support hair growth after chemo?
Chemotherapy agents damage hair follicles leading to excessive shedding about 2-4 weeks after infusion. To help regrow hair, focus on proteins, iron, zinc and antioxidants:
- Protein at every meal - Hair is mostly protein so getting adequate daily protein accelerates growth.
- Iron - Spinach, lentils, pumpkin seeds, and meat replenish iron stores.
- Zinc supplements - Zinc speeds up tissue repair.
- Vitamin C - It improves iron absorption. Citrus fruits, peppers, kiwi and broccoli are good sources.
- Vitamin E - It has antioxidant power to heal damage. Get it from seeds, nuts and oils.
- Multivitamin - Look for a formula with biotin, vitamin B complex, selenium, zinc and iron.
- Consider a hair-specific vitamin with the above nutrients plus amino acids.
Be patient, as regrowth takes time. Follow your oncologist's recommendation about when to start supplements.
What can I do to prevent hair thinning as I age?
To help maintain your hair as you get older:
- Eat protein at every meal - Aim for 20-30 grams of protein from eggs, fish, dairy, beans, meat.
- Take targeted supplements - Look for hair vitamins with zinc, biotin, collagen, vitamin D, iron.
- Massage your scalp - This boosts blood flow so nutrients reach follicles.
- Use volumizing shampoos and conditioners - Look for thickening ingredients like biotin, menthol, amino acids.
- Ask about prescription meds - Minoxidil, finasteride, and spironolactone treat age-related loss.
- Try red light therapy - Red light penetrates skin to energize follicles.
- Reduce DHT naturally - Take saw palmetto, pumpkin seed extract, stinging nettle.
- Use hair thickening fibers - These temporarily boost appearance of density.
With a consistent hair care routine and targeted treatments, you can slow down age-related thinning and help make the most of the hair you have.
Hair loss can sometimes feel scary and overwhelming. However, solutions exist to diagnose the cause of excessive shedding and stimulate regrowth. Work with your doctor to identify any underlying issues or imbalances. Consistently practice nurturing hair care, lower stress, and obtain prescription treatments if recommended. With a multi-pronged approach, you can stop the progression of hair loss.