Hair loss is traumatic for a lot of guys. You agonize over every strand you find in your brush or the shower. Even though two-thirds of men experience hair loss by their mid-30s, it’s an experience every man would like to avoid.
If you’ve started to lose your hair, or your genetic history makes you worried you will someday, it’s smart to take steps today to avoid hair loss. Your first step is to get a hair loss treatment plan that’s right for your specific circumstance. Then make these lifestyle changes to prevent hair loss.
If you’re losing hair, or your genetics make you worried you will, it’s smart to take steps today to avoid hair loss.
Smoking affects your lungs, heart, immune system, blood, and sexual organs. Smoking also wreaks havoc on your hair.
Researchers have found a clear link between hair loss and smoking. When you smoke cigarettes, the smoke enters your bloodstream through your lungs and spreads by way of your circulatory system. This soaks your entire body in more than 4,000 chemicals and gases, including your hair follicles.
Smoke affects the microvasculature of your dermal hair papilla. Essentially, it restricts blood flow to your follicles, starving them of necessary nutrients. Smoke genotoxicants can also cause damage to the DNA of your follicles.Plus, smoking increases the amount of DHT (the hormone responsible for male pattern baldness) in your body.
You can produce hair under these conditions, but your follicles will age prematurely, causing gray hairs and miniaturization. Hair becomes thin, brittle, and susceptible to breakage.
Lifestyle change: Stop smoking for the sake of your hair and your overall health.
Avoid Harsh Shampoos
Researchers have found a link between over-shampooing and impaired hair growth. Most shampoos contain harsh chemicals like sulfates, antimicrobial agents, and preservatives. These artificial ingredients damage your hair and strip away sebum, an oil that’s necessary for healthy hair.
Truthfully, there’s no need to wash your hair every day. You should only wash your hair when it starts to get oily. This also keeps your hair moisturized and shiny.
Lifestyle change: Avoid washing your hair until it’s oily. If you have to wash your hair every day, use a non-sulfate shampoo (often made with natural ingredients).
Protect Your Head in the Sun
The sun’s dangerous UV rays can damage many things, including your hair. The sun breaks down proteins so your hairs weaken over time and struggle to grow. If you’re already beset by pattern baldness, overexposure to the sun’s rays can hasten your loss.
Lifestyle change: Wear a hat whenever you spend time in the sunlight. If you already have thin hair or a bald spot on your head, apply sunscreen to prevent sunburn. If you spend a lot of time outside (for work or pleasure), this advice is even more important.
Eat More Protein
90% of the hair on your head is in the growth phase at any given time, while the remainder is resting or dormant. This means it needs lot of protein to grow. If your body doesn’t have enough protein, hair growth will slow or stop until you meet your body’s protein intake needs.
The FDA recommends eating 50 grams protein every day on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your value might be slightly higher or lower depending on your dietary needs.
Lifestyle change: Add more protein to your diet. You can find it in dairy products, meat, poultry, eggs, nuts, fish, grains, seeds, soy products, and beans. A 1 ounce serving of most of those foods provides about seven or eight grams of protein.
Reduce Your Stress
The link between stress and hair loss is well known. When you experience stress, your body releases cortisol, noradrenaline, and adrenaline into your bloodstream. High levels of these chemicals can affect your follicles.
There are three types of hair loss conditions caused by stress:
- Telogen Effluvium – This is caused by a specific stressful or traumatic event, or as a result of prolonged stress over a long period of time. It occurs when an unusually high number of follicles enter the testing phase at once. Hair loss isn’t noticed until months after the stressful event when new hairs fail to replace shed ones.
- Alopecia Areata –This type of hair loss is mysterious, but it’s believed to be caused by sudden and long term stress. Basically, it’s a dysfunction of the autoimmune system, causing the body to attack healthy follicles. In some cases hair regrows; in other cases it does not.
- Trichotillomania – This is a psychological condition where sufferers have an unhealthy obsession with pulling out their own hair. Treatment requires psychological therapy to identify and solve the underlying mental condition.
While there’s no direct relationship between stress and genetic hair loss, these stress-related hair loss conditions can exacerbate or initiate male pattern baldness if you’re already predisposed to it. “External causes play less of a role in causing hair loss but may accelerate its development,” says Dr. Terrence Keaney, board certified dermatologist.
Plus, if you’re already suffering male pattern baldness, you don’t need more factors working against healthy hair!
Lifestyle change: Reduce as much stress in your life as possible by getting more sleep and exercise, spending more time on leisure and restful activities, and letting go of things you can’t control.
Take Vitamin Supplements
Vitamin deficiencies are a serious factor in hair loss, slow hair growth, and poor hair quality.
Vitamin A promotes healthy cell and tissue growth, including your hair follicles. You find it in red, yellow and orange fruits, carrots, dark green leafy vegetables, liver, fish oil, eggs, and fortified milk.
Biotin (also known as Vitamin B7 or Vitamin H) is a form of vitamin B that’s known to improve the appearance of hair, skin, and nails. It even has some properties that block DHT (the hormone that’s responsible for genetic male pattern baldness) and improve hair growth.
You need Vitamin C to produce collagen, a tissue that holds other tissues together. We can’t store vitamin C for long periods of time, so we need to consume lots of it in our diet. You can find it in oranges, melons, peppers, berries, tomatoes and dark green leafy vegetables.
Vitamin B6, vitamin B12, Niacin, and folic acid are used to form hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body, including your hair. Healthy hair requires a constant flow of blood to survive. If the flow is weak or cut off, the follicle will suffer and its hair will miniaturize. In a 2013 study, researchers found zinc to help with all forms of hair loss. You can find these vitamins in meat, chicken, eggs, fish, pork, soybeans, dark leafy vegetables, avocados, broccoli, wheat, and cereals.
Zinc is a mineral that promotes cell reproduction, repair, and overall tissue growth. It also helps maintain the oil-secreting glands attached to your hair follicles. You can find zinc in animal foods like seafood (mussels, oysters, shrimp, and fish), poultry, eggs, milk, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Zinc can be toxic at high levels, so it’s best to get your zinc through foods rather than supplements (unless a doctor has told you otherwise).
Your body uses omega-3 fatty acids (commonly called fish oil) to nourish and support hair thickening and reduce inflammation. A 2015 dermatological study discovered that fatty acids reduced hair loss and increased hair growth. These are one of the most important vitamins you can take for hair growth. (It also has a number of other health benefits.) You can get your fatty acids from fish (salmon, tuna, and mackerel), walnuts, egg yolks, and hemp seeds.
Finally, Iron is another important supplement to add to your regimen. There’s a direct link between iron deficiency and hair loss. You can get iron from spinach, collard greens, egg yolks, beef, and beans.
Lifestyle change: Take vitamin supplements. A men’s everyday vitamin should do the trick.
You can also ask your doctor (or speak with the Mosh Doctor) to check your vitamin levels to make sure you’re getting what your body needs.
Make Your Changes Today
The sooner you make these lifestyle changes, the more likely they’ll have a positive effect on your hair. It’s easier to prevent hair loss than recover from it, so commit to living a healthier life now for the sake of your hair.
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