While hair loss may be the absolute last thing on your mind right now, the reality of the matter is, one day many of us will experience thinning hair. Eek! Here’s what you can do to help ensure your locks look as healthy, thick and gorgeous as possible for decades to come.
1. Steer clear of tight hairstyles
Yep, that means no slicked back ponytails, super tight buns or braids. “Traction over long periods of time can lead to inflammation of the root of the hair and ultimately hair loss,” points out Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in the department of dermatology at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City.
2. Go easy on the flat iron
Seriously! Be kind to your hair, and don’t overuse your flat iron, warns board-certified dermatologist and author of Skin Rules, Debra Jaliman. “If you continue go over the same piece of hair with a straightener you're going to eventually cause bad breakage.” And as you know, breakage leads to hair loss.
3. Quit chemically processing your hair
Why is it so terrible for your tresses? Well, because chemicals to color, curl or straighten your hair into a non-natural situation do so by breaking and recreating molecular bonds, explains board certified dermatologist and founder of Art of Dermatology Dr. Jessica Krant. “This is a serious chemical reaction that can be caustic and damaging to the scalp and follicles themselves. After several years of processing, some women lose the ability to grow hair permanently.”
4. Get supplemental help
According to L.A.-based dermatologist Dr. Alex Khadavi, creator of Advanced Skin & Hair, gelatin supplements are being used more frequently now to make locks look healthier and also to complement hair loss treatments. “Studies have shown that large doses help support healthier looking, beautiful strands with no side effects.” He recommends taking around 2-3 grams per day. You can easily find gelatin supplements at your local drug store.
5. Don’t mess around with your hormones
Did you know that going on and off birth control pills disrupts your body's natural hormonal balance in both directions? “Starting some pills leads to thinner hair, while stopping others can have the same effect,” says Dr. Krant. “Consult carefully with your doctor before starting a new birth control pill if you already have thin hair and don't want to make it worse.”
6. Protect your hair from the sun
Remember to wear a hat or use a quality SPF spray on your locks. When hair is exposed to the sun over a prolonged period of time, it dries it out, making it more prone to breakage. Plus, the UV light from the sun can damage bonds and weaken strands as well, notes Jaliman.
7. Manage your stress
Believe it or not, stress is a major cause of hair loss. Women’s hair restoration specialist Lucinda Ellery advises finding something that calms you down (whether it be a new hobby or sport or something as simple as a massage) and making it a regular part of your life.
8. Minimize heat styling
“Heat doesn't only damage your hair strands, drying them out and creating bubbles (from boiling!) under the smooth cuticle that causes a loss of sheen, but it also can damage your hair follicles too, making them less able to grow healthy hair long term,” says Krant. “So no sitting under dryers, ladies! If you must use a hair dryer, only dry the middle third of the shaft, avoiding heat on your roots and tips.”
9. Eat a well-balanced diet.
For beautiful hair from the inside out, be sure to eat a well-balanced diet consisting of food rich in iron, beta carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, zinc and biotin, suggests Ellery.