When men realize they may be experiencing hair loss, it is an unsettling moment. Most guys, even though they have the genetics for hair loss in their family, believe that balding will skip them somehow. Even worse, the relentless progression of hair loss is tough to wrap one’s mind around, so even if you can see evidence of hair loss, most people believe that it will reach a certain point and stop. Unfortunately, this is simply not true. However, there are many actions a man can take to reduce or slow the progress of balding. Here are four remedies that do not necessarily need a doctor’s visit or prescription to start growing hair optimally;
1) Quit Smoking: This is one of those medical issues that can be just as emotional and slowly progressive as balding. It can take as long to cause an obvious problem, too, which is one of the reasons why it takes time for people to do something about it. However, there is clear evidence that smoking can accelerate balding a lot faster than it will cause cancer. Within a few years, particularly for younger patients (like those in their 20s), miniaturization of each hair follicle and even complete loss of follicular growth reaches a stage where it can no longer be reversed. However, quitting smoking completely can result in visible improvement in hair growth within a year, not to mention the other benefits, so do whatever you have to do to kick the habit, before you have to get into the habit of wearing a hat…
2) Care for your scalp: You don’t have to wash your hair every day, or even three times per day, but a clean healthy scalp is better able to grow hair than an unclean one. For the most part, this problem has to be extreme before it causes hair loss, but any build-up significant enough to cause crusting or scale will almost certainly retard hair growth as well. The simple solution is to wash or comb out hair products like gels, pomades, etc., or even camouflaging hair fibers like Toppik (which are normally completely benign) before they build up. Make no mistake, pattern hair loss, aka androgenetic alopecia, is caused by a combination of genetics and hormones (DHT, specifically). But not caring for your scalp can result in conditions that will accelerate any underlying balding condition.
3) Avoid over-processing or tight hairstyles: Perms have not been overly popular since the 80s, but frequent hair coloring, chemical treatments (like for straightening hair), or repeated heat applied to the hair can result in breakage, brittle hair, and poor growth overall. Likewise, tight hairstyles like dreadlocks and any recurrent or constant pulling at an area of hair can cause permanent loss. Patients who opt for hair systems (either partial or full wigs) that clip, glue, or tape onto the head often find that this creates balding of the hair that they have left, leading to a vicious cycle where they become dependent on the hairpiece to look normal.
4) Eat a varied diet: Hair is over 90% protein, and thus your body requires protein to make it grow. Thus, strict vegetarianism can lead to protein deficiency that can in turn lead to poor hair growth. Hair also seems to grow best when the body is replete with certain vitamins, B-12 and iron among them. If you are not getting enough of these in your diet, consider adding them – some small changes may make a big difference for your hair in the end.
A few small changes can help your hair to look its best without a doctor’s prescription. Balding happens over time, so diligence with whatever treatment regimen you choose will be key to preserving your hair, with or without getting professional help for hair loss. In the end, none of us will keep the hair we had as a teenager, but keeping ahead of the game will make you look better than you would have otherwise!