What Doctors DO want you to know!
Hair loss is one of those maladies that seems to sneak up on people; one day they have hair and the next day they are wondering where it all has gone! While there is no complete cure for hair loss (yet!), there are a lot of simple, common sense action steps that people can take to make sure they keep as much hair for as long as possible.
1) Seek Help Early
If you think you might be losing your hair, or if hair loss runs in your family (Androgenetic Alopecia) – you are at risk. Talk to your doctor about the patterns that are hereditary and watch for the signs (increased shedding, widening part, etc.) so you can develop a long-term plan for your hair. The earlier you intervene, the more hair you can save.
2) Try Medical Remedies
Propecia, Rogaine, and hair replacement surgery all work, and work well for a majority of patients. However, most patients give up on them too early or cave to peer pressure and other people’s judgments and just stop using them – even when they are working! All hair remedies will take a year of consistent use to show results, so stick with it! You will be happier in the long run when you have hair (and your friends don’t…).
3) Stop Smoking
It accelerates hair loss. End of story. (Pipes, cigars, hookahs and marijuana smoke all count, by the way…)
4) Keep a Stable Weight
Wild swings in how much you weigh – both gain AND loss – can cause shedding and acceleration of hair loss. DO lose weight if you are overweight, but do it correctly, one or two pounds a week at most, to minimize the impact on your hair. And if you are underweight (anorexia or bulimia is an extreme case, but a good example) gain a little so you stay at your ideal body size. Hair LOVES to grow when you are at a good weight.
5) Eat Protein
Hair is made of protein and thus you need it in your diet in order to grow hair. It is the author’s experience that animal proteins are particularly effective for growing hair whereas vegetarian proteins, like whey and soy, result in lackadaisical hair growth. If you subscribe to a vegetarian diet, which can be very healthful, make sure you keep up on your protein intake.
6) Remember that Good Health = Good Hair
It may seem like a simplistic platitude, but taking care of yourself is the best way to have healthy hair. Anemia and B-12 deficiency can both count hair loss among their symptoms, and are easy to correct with simple supplementation and diet changes. Chronic illnesses like diabetes and thyroid conditions are also common causes of hair loss and are very treatable. Plus, in the end, it is usually cheaper to treat these conditions than to spend a fortune on the latest shampoos and hair supplements.
7) Be Kind to Your Hair
Treat your hair gently. Overprocessing with heat or chemicals (bleaching and perming), as well as pulling, scratching, or plucking your own hairs all can lead to breakage and unnecessary hair loss. Tight braiding, dreadlocks, wigs and extensions also cause permanent hair loss when used for long periods of time. Remember: A little TLC can go a long way toward avoiding one of these preventable hair loss situations.
It does not take much extra work to keep as much hair as you can, and in the long run, those who do take the time to care for what they have – are happier! So love those locks, and do what you can to keep them!