Is your hair thinner than it used to be?
You are not alone: hair loss (especially androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness) is incredibly common among men. Typically, baldness affects about 50% men over 50 years of age and can cause varying degrees of hair loss, ranging from some hair loss to a bald spot on your scalp.
Various other conditions can also cause hair loss, including prolonged stress, extreme weight loss or illness. Fortunately, there are various solutions available: over-the-counter treatments, surgery, nutritious foods, dietary supplements and others.
We've compiled a list of 10 tips for thicker hair to help you find the right solution for you.
Be careful when styling your hair
If your hair is thinner than usual, style it with extra care: a gentle approach can prevent hair loss. For best results, take note of the following tips:
- Avoid pulling your hair when combing or applying products, especially if your hair is wet.
- Use a wide-toothed comb (especially on wet hair), as a fine-toothed comb can pull hair out.
- Try a new hairstyle that suits your thin hair to make it easier to get the hair you want. Your hairdresser or stylist should be able to recommend a flattering look.
- Reduce the time you spend blow-drying your hair and use a low heat setting to prevent your hair from getting too dry.
- Reduce the amount of time you spend wearing your hair in tight styles, such as ponytails or braids, as these can put unnecessary strain on your hair and follicles.
Changing your hair style and grooming habits may take some time, but in the long term it can have an impact on the health and appearance of your hair.
Quit smoking for thicker hair (and a healthier lifestyle)
Everyone knows that smoking is extremely unhealthy. But if you want to learn how to thicken your hair, kicking the habit can have positive results.
Why? Because researchers have found a link between smoking and hair loss. Cigarettes have also been shown to increase the risk of grey hair before the age of 30, so not smoking can help keep your hair looking its natural colour for longer.
Smoking cessation can also increase lung capacity by up to 10% over 9 months, improve the immune system and reduce stress levels (according to NHS).
Wash your hair less often
Your hair may look, feel and smell fantastic after washing, but you probably don't need to wash it every day. Two or three times a week should be enough to effectively clean your hair and scalp.
Use a gentle shampoo designed to moisturise and nourish your hair to avoid drying it out. Condition your hair even after shampooing to reinforce it with a protective coating. This can reduce the risk of split ends and breakage.
Washing your hair will not cause hair loss alone, but you can help make them stronger and healthier by taking a gentler approach.
Be cautious with home treatments
Do you like to bleach or colour your hair at home? You could be making your hair loss. Colouring and heating treatments can make hair weaker and cause more shedding than usual.
However, you may not want to give up colouring your hair or heated styling tools if the results improve your self-confidence. In this case, consult your stylist. They can recommend alternative treatments that achieve the desired look using less harmful chemicals and heat-treated tools.
See your doctor for professional advice
When discussing how to make your hair thicker, a visit to the doctor could be the first step towards a solution. They can refer you to trichologistwhich treats skin and hair conditions.
After an in-depth examination, the trichologist can determine hair loss causes such as scalp infections or hereditary diseases. They can also give advice on how to get thicker hair and help you find suitable products or medicines.
Consider medication (if necessary)
You can try different medications for for the treatment of hair loss, including for the treatment of male pattern baldness (e.g, minoxidil or coneflower) can be bought without a prescription.
Minoxidil can stop hair thinning and promote hair regrowth over several months. Various products contain minoxidil, including topical foams and liquids, as well as shampoos. You will need to apply these to your scalp twice a day, as consistency is very important to achieve and maintain results. It can take at least six months for the hair to start growing again.
Alternatively, your doctor may prescribe finasteride, an oral medication available as Propecia. Like minoxidil, finasteride can prevent further thinning of the hair and promote new growth. However, they must continue to use it to maintain the results.
Before trying them, consult your doctor or dermatologist carefully about the treatment. Understand the possible side effects and risks to your peace of mind.
Get more essential nutrients
Poor nutrition can play a key role in your in hair loss. If your diet is lacking in essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and protein, your body will not have everything it needs to maintain healthy hair growth.
Iron and zinc are two important minerals responsible for hair growth, but if you're vegetarian or vegan, or if you've drastically reduced your calorie intake, you're not consuming enough of them. According to the NHS, the recommended daily amount of iron for men over 18 is 8.7 mg.
Fortunately, many foods are rich in iron. Some examples:
- Leafy greens
- red meat
- Dried fruit (e.g. apricots)
And for zinc, try to get the recommended 9.5 mg per day with the following foods:
- Dairy products
- Red meat
You may have to change your diet significantly to consume more of these foods, but if your hair growth improves, you should feel rewarded. If you are planning to overhaul your diet, you may want to consult your doctor.
Consult your doctor about dietary supplements
Supplements can help you get the vitamins and minerals you need to maintain healthy hair, but you should consult your doctor to understand the possible side effects. For example, excess zinc or iron can contribute to toxicity and other problems.
In addition, biotin (part of the B vitamin family) is associated in some cases with hair rejuvenation. However, people often have healthy levels of biotin and do not need to change their diet.
Also avoid taking more vitamin A, E and selenium than necessary - excessive supplementation can contribute to hair loss.
Reduce your stress levels
According to the Stress Management Society, stress will make 74% UK adults feel 'overwhelmed or unable to cope' by 2020.
Too much stress can lead to a number of health problems, including telogen effluvium, a condition that causes more hair loss than normal. Fortunately, this is usually temporary and should resolve if you can reduce your stress levels.
If you find it difficult to manage stress, ask your doctor for advice. They should be able to advise you on how to get thicker hair and may be able to recommend medication.
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