Hair loss is totally normal. Until you realise that you’re shedding enough hair to clog the shower drain after just one wash. While it’s true that we drop an average of 50 to 100 hairs a day, there is real cause for worry when you find that your hair is not growing back, and the increasing visibility of your scalp can no longer be ignored.
Thinning hair is tricky to treat because there are so many potential triggers (not to mention hair loss myths to contend with). Excessive hair shedding could even be a result of something that happened three months ago – such as medical treatment for illnesses or dramatic weight loss – making it even harder to pinpoint the cause. A reduction of hair volume could also arise from hereditary factors, in which case it cannot be cured. That said, by making sensible changes to your diet and lifestyle and by implementing a rigorous hair care regime, it’s possible to prevent or delay hair loss, even when it’s thinning caused by genetic predisposition.
Recognise And Tackle The Problem – As Early As Possible
Female pattern hair loss, or androgenetic alopecia, usually runs in the family, and the gene for balding can be inherited from either parent. It typically develops when a woman hits her 30s and beyond, although it has been known to start as early as the late teens. Unlike male pattern hair loss, most women don’t get a bald spot on the crown. Instead, there is overall thinning and the first noticeable signs are a widening of the parting and a smaller ponytail.
While it may not always possible to stop genetic hair loss, there are steps you can take to keep the scalp and hair as healthy as possible, so as to prevent breakage, damage and premature thinning.
Consider these tips to stop hair loss in its tracks.
1. Start Taking Care Of Your Scalp Properly
Most people spend a lot of time on skincare, doing as many as 10 steps to keep the skin healthy. In comparison, the scalp is much neglected. Yet, a healthy scalp is integral to optimal hair growth cycles and is the foundation for beautiful hair. Because of the large number of sebaceous glands, sweat glands and hair follicles as compared to the skin on the rest of the body, the scalp is naturally more susceptible to inflammation and irritation – which can affect natural hair growth.
Thus, it is essential to keep the scalp clean by regularly eliminating the gunk that accumulates – dead skin cells, sweat, grime, sebum, product residue and harmful bacteria. This helps to prevent infections and scalp disorders that may result in damage that impairs healthy hair growth.
What you can do: Invest in a good shampoo with no harmful additives. Consider incorporating double cleansing into your daily regime. That means shampooing twice, first with an all-round deep cleanser like the ADV Nutrition Shampoo, followed immediately by a correcting shampoo that targets concerns like hair loss, thinning or oiliness. The best shampoo to prevent hair loss in women is the FEM Fortify Shampoo, which works to clean the scalp of unhealthy buildup and reduce hair fall. Finally, exfoliate weekly with a gentle but effective product like ADV Elixir. Just like how exfoliating helps to keep the complexion glowing, the scalp benefits from being free of blockages.
2. Eat A Balanced Diet With Plenty Of Nutrients
Avoid trendy diets. Keep every meal rich in essential vitamins and minerals, which means lots of fresh fruit and vegetables covering a rainbow spectrum – eating fresh produce in a wide variety of colour is the easiest way to ensure that you’re getting what your body needs. Specifically, healthy hair thrives on protein, iron, vitamins B12 and B7 (biotin), vitamin C, vitamin A and zinc. Foods that can help to prevent hair loss include: Spinach, beans, quinoa, lentils, eggs, tofu, walnuts, oysters and fish.
What you can do: Because hair is non-essential tissue (it is not vital to survival even though hair has great impact on our psyche), it has low priority in the body’s distribution of nutrients. So it may be beneficial to boost levels of vitamins and minerals with supplements. For instance, an iron deficiency is sometimes a cause of hair loss and taking iron supplements may help to stop balding. That said, if your iron levels are normal, excessive iron intake can result in side effects like tummy upsets and constipation.
Supplements are most helpful if you are already on a healthy diet, and should only be taken on the advice of doctors in most cases to prevent unwanted effects.
3. Protect Your Hair
Shield the hair and scalp against UV rays and environmental stresses to prevent free radical damage that can cause signs of ageing, such as premature greying or thinning hair. Wearing the same hairstyle every day, especially if it is something that places unnecessary stress on your hair, such as braids or a tight ponytail, can cause traction alopecia. This process usually takes years and occurs when the hair is repeatedly pulled at, until there is root damage, scarring and eventually hair loss. Excessive heat styling can also result in damage and breakage, which also leads to a loss of hair volume.
What you can do: Wear a hat and a UV protectant for hair if you are going to be in the sun for hours. Prevent heat styling damage with a protectant like the ADV Thermal Protection Spray, and use the lowest heat setting possible. Change up your hairstyle and parting often to minimise repeated stress on the hair roots.
4. Take Action Early And Seek Professional Help
Hair loss is a slow-occurring process. Because of the nature of the hair growth cycle, up to 3 months can lapse between a triggering cause and hair actually falling out. Many types of hair loss and trigger conditions can be stopped at an early stage, so it is important to act on the problem once you notice excessive daily shedding or increasingly visible scalp. See a medical specialist or established hair professional immediately to rectify any internal imbalances, such as hormonal disorders, and to remedy the situation.