Hair loss hits below the belt. Eighty-five per cent of men can expect to lose hair by age fifty. Why? Genetics. Over 90% of men who lose hair do so because it’s in their family history.
But sometimes it isn’t.
On some occasions, hair loss occurs for reasons other than genetic. That’s good news, because it’s reversible. Genetic hair loss in men occurs when a hormone called dihydrotestosterone, DHT, initiates a process called follicle miniaturization, during which hair follicles shrink, and ultimately die.
You can tell genetic hair loss in men because it usually starts at the hair line, the crown of the head, or both. In women, hair loss is usually less severe, though roughly fifty per cent of women will lose hair by age 60.
And yet, in some cases, you can stop hair loss. When hair loss isn’t genetic, healthy habits, like good diet, stress management and avoidance of smoking, can, sometimes, reverse hair loss. And when they can’t, they might at least reduce hair loss, in men and women who lose hair for genetic reasons.
In this article we’ll review how to stop hair loss with habits to nurture the scalp and encourage healthy hair growth. They include:
Smoking – Don’t do it. Not only is it bad for your health, there’s evidence that smoking can restrict blood flow to the follicles, which can disrupt the hair’s rest and growth cycles. Smoking also lowers the body’s immune function and makes the scalp vulnerable to disease and poisons. Stop smoking and you might stop hair loss. At least, you might reduce hair loss, and that helps.
Stress – A little stress management can go a long way, for your life and your locks. While it’s natural to have some stress, prolonged stress levels cause the body to release cortisol and noradrenaline. Both of these hormones can impact the growth/loss cycle and make hair loss worse. So chill out, with stress management techniques, like counselling or meditation. You’ll have more hair for it.
Diet – Eat healthy and you’ll see it, with great skin, good health and mental acuity. You’ll also have a healthy scalp that’s less likely to shed extra hairs. Remember that diet is the most effective way to get the vitamins and nutrients essential for health and vitality. Healthy hair requires:
- vitamin A
- vitamins B6 and B12
- vitamin C
- folic acid
You’ll find these nutrients in abundance in a healthy, balanced diet, that’s high in protein and fresh fruits and vegetables, low in salt, sugar, saturated fats and the junk food that, sadly, constitutes a large segment of our diet. Avoid processed foods. You might reduce hair loss with:
- cabbage, spinach and broccoli
- berries, apples, bananas and oranges
- milk, eggs and cheese
- lean red meats
- chicken and turkey
- salmon and oily fish
- nuts and seeds
Crash diets that restrict calorie intake can deprive the scalp of the nutrients required for good hair growth, and it’s not uncommon for extreme dieters to shed excessively. So don’t crash diet. Aim for healthy weight loss, at one to two pounds a week instead.
There are other factors that contribute to hair loss, of course. Sun damage, excessive hair treatment and pollution can all cause split ends and reduce vitality of the scalp. Common sense applies here. If it’s hot, wear a hat. Increase time between perms or hair treatments that add heat to the scalp. Avoid pollution and chemicals where possible. They add up.
Keep in mind that it’s common to lose a hundred hairs a day. If you’re a man you’ll most likely experience moderate hair loss at some point. So play your cards right and live well. Stop hair loss where you can, with healthy habits, and you’ll keep more hair on your scalp that you otherwise wouldn’t.