For many people, voluminous, healthy hair is central to their appearance and confidence. It can be painful if it starts to thin or peel off. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to prevent hair loss or promote hair growth.
The best way to slow or stop hair loss is to address the underlying cause. Sometimes hair loss is temporary (telogen effluvium). It can be triggered by childbirth, surgery, or other major stressors.
Hair usually grows back after the event. In other cases, the reasons are more complex.
Due to the normal growth cycle, it is normal to lose about 100 hairs per day. However, if you lose more weight, consult your doctor to rule out underlying medical conditions and discuss your options.
Why your hair falls out
You may experience more hair loss than normal due to:
- Hormonal changes, such as pregnancy or menopause.
- certain hairstyles.
- Damaged hair treatments such as perms or bleaches.
- Drugs such as chemotherapy.
- Conditions such as fungal infection or thyroid disease.
By working with a dermatologist, you can begin to identify what may be causing your hair loss. Your doctor will ask about your health, medications, and family history.
“I tell patients to look out for events that are unusual for them, such as menorrhagia,” says Dr. mountain field. “So if we go back and look for the trigger, we have an idea of what it might be.”
Your doctor will also examine other areas of your body, such as your eyebrows, eyelashes, armpits, genitals, legs, and arms, for hair loss.
Hair loss is usually a sign that something more serious is going on.
“Hair loss, especially hair loss, is just a sign that something is wrong with the body,” says Dr. mountain field. “The hair follicle is one of the three fastest-rotating cell lines in the body. Anything that affects your body and throws it out of balance affects these systems. So hair loss is an indicator that something is wrong.”
“Eat a balanced diet rich in vegetables, lean meats, and seafood—all of which provide essential nutrients for hair,” says Burg.Look for foods rich in vitamins and healthy fats, such as eggs or avocados.
Here are some of our other favorites:
- Spinach is rich in iron, which helps transport red blood cells to the scalp, promoting new hair growth.
- Foods rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, tomatoes, and peppers, help produce collagen, which keeps hair follicles healthy.
- Seeds like flax or chia are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help keep hair healthy and strong while encouraging new growth.
Avoid tight hairstyles
Unfortunately, a tight ponytail doesn’t help when you’re losing your hair. “Avoid tight hairstyles and harsh chemical treatments or heat near the scalp,” advises Burg. “These can put stress on the hair follicles, leading to increased hair loss.”
You can help prevent early hair loss by looking for signs that your hair is pulled back too tightly, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Do you have breaks near your hairline or where you tie your hair back? Try wearing loose fits. Loosen your braids, don’t tie your hair up too tightly, and change up your hairstyle as much as possible. Alternating styles not only refreshes your look, but also gives your hair time to recover.
“Sleep at least seven to eight hours, because that’s when your body and mind need to regenerate,” advises Blaisure. The hormone melatonin, which helps regulate sleep cycles, has been shown to promote hair growth (whether applied topically or getting enough melatonin naturally from sleep).
Not only is getting enough rest important to help hair grow, but it can also help prevent hair from becoming super greasy. When you don’t get enough sleep, your stress levels increase, which not only leads to decreased hair growth, but also increases oil production.
Didn’t you hear? Multivitamins are super cool right now. Blaisure recommends taking a multivitamin, like BosleyMD’s Healthy Hair Growth Supplement ($35), to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you may be lacking. This supplement contains copper and riboflavin, both of which are important for promoting new hair growth and healthy follicles. We’re also fans of Ouai’s Hair Supplement for Thinning Hair ($28).
Get Your Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Blaisure also recommends getting plenty of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, as they promote hair growth. You can get these ingredients in natural foods like salmon and chia seeds, or try a fish oil supplement from a quality brand like Hum Nutrition. Fish oil helps reduce inflammation, which means it allows more room for your hair follicles to open up, allowing more hair to grow.