Lifestyle changes you can make to avoid hair loss

By Mosh

24 April 2018

minute read

Lifestyle Changes You Can Make to Avoid Hair Loss

Dealing with hair loss is hard enough. The last thing you want to do is make it worse.

The average person loses 50 to 100 hair from their head each day. Hair normally grows back. However, if you’re suffering the effects of hair loss, the hair will come back finer, weaker, and with less pigment – if they grow back at all.

So, if you want to prevent hair loss, you have to do everything in your power to preserve what you have. And that starts from understanding what lifestyle factors may affect your hair loss and focusing on the ones you can control.

Let’s start with a list of things that can have an impact on your hair loss.

1. Hormones and Steroids

Garden variety male pattern baldness is hormonally driven. Lots of people, therefore, ask us if ‘testosterone boosting’ activity might accelerate hair loss. Don’t stress. Pumping weights and having sex will definitely not sufficiently boost testosterone levels to cause accelerated hair loss or balding. Those of you boasting that you’re bald because you ‘have more testosterone’ are unfortunately wrong as well. Sorry guys.

Having said all that, using anabolic steroids and certain peptides will almost certainly contribute to hair loss. Anabolic steroids (used to shred or look buff) are now the most commonly injected illicit drug in Australia.

The risks of recreational anabolic steroid use are frightening. They include early heart disease, malignancy, testicular atrophy and early death. If those aren’t enough to scare you off, they also cause gynecomastia (man boobs) and yes, you guessed it, hair loss!

2. Traumatic or Persistent Stress

Stressful events can disrupt your hair follicles’ natural growth cycle, forcing them into the shedding and dormant phases sooner than expected. If you’re already dealing with male pattern baldness, this can make your thin and receding spots look even worse.

Plus, if those follicles shocked by stress were already losing the battle to DHT, they might never come back.

Fortunately, regular everyday stress (like sitting in traffic or dealing with an office mate who chews with their mouth open) won’t trigger hair loss. For stress to affect your hair, it has to be a severely stressful event or a long period of chronic, persistent stress. In both cases, you would be aware that you’re dealing with a stress problem.

There are three types of hair loss conditions caused by stress:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

3. Poor Nutrition

Nutrition is an important part of a healthy body, including your hair. If you starve your body of the nutrients it needs, it won’t have the resources required to overcome the burden of DHT and grow healthy hair.

A simple way to diagnose poor nutrition is to monitor your skin and hair texture. If your skin is dry and brittle and your hair breaks easily, you’re likely lacking good nutrition.

To promote hair loss, it’s important to consume…

  • Iron
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Antioxidants
  • Water
  • Vitamins A, B complex, C, E, and D
  • Zinc
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium

Protein is an especially important part of hair growth and health, as well. The FDA recommends consuming about 50 grams of protein every day (on a 2000 calorie/day diet). Add meat, poultry, eggs, fish, seeds, soy products, nuts, and beans to your meals.

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 a 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. Avoid refined grains wherever you can. When they’re refined, they lose B vitamins (that are important or hair and overall health) and fiber (that help you digest food, so nutrients flow throughout the body). Stimulants like cigarettes, soda, alcohol, and caffeine also leach nutrients from the body.

Excess alcohol consumption, on the other hand, can affect hair growth and hair health. People who drink more than the recommended number of standard drinks a day can suffer macro and micronutrient deficiencies and deranged hormonal profiles. All of this can lead to baldness!

4. Trauma from Styling and Care

When you’re losing your hair, every strand counts. It’s important to protect the ones you have.

If you’re too rough with your hair, you might inadvertently break off strands. If those follicles were struggling under the weight of DHT, they might not be able to produce cosmetically decent hair again.

You can cause traction alopecia by pulling your hair too tightly. This is more common in women, but it can occur in men if you have long hair and tie it back. Consider wearing a looser style or cutting your hair short. Shorter usually looks better on guys dealing with hair loss, anyway.

Also, avoid using damaging products like chemical relaxers, alcohol-based shampoos, heat protectants, salt sprays, and fragrances. Damaging products don’t just affect the hair shaft – they can cause damage to the hair follicles that make your hair.

Finally, try not to dry your head too vigorously when you get out of the shower. That can cause unnecessary breakage you just don’t need. Give your head a few pats, then let your hair dry in the air. When it’s time to brush, use slow, gentle strokes.

5. Certain Medications

Some medications can exacerbate or kick-off your hair loss, even if they were prescribed by a doctor for a valid reason. Some medications damage the hair follicle or disrupt the hair growth cycle.

  • Anticoagulants (blood thinners to help you avoid blood clots) are the most common baldness-causing medicine. They force the hair into the telogen effluvium stage – the resting phase.
  • Large doses of vitamins shock hair into falling out, especially Vitamin A.
  • Blood pressure drugs are also known to cause hair loss.
  • PrEP: Lots of guys are now using PrEP (or Truvada) which is an effective, but not foolproof, way of reducing the risk of getting HIV-1 infection. Prep is extremely effective when used together with other safe sex practices, and we’re big fans. Some guys notice some hair loss and thinning after starting PrEP, which often poses a dilemma. Many have even considered stopping taking it for this reason. We certainly wouldn’t advise that. Safe and anxiety free sex is way more important than even a full head of hair. We think PrEP is great and we would never let a bit of hair loss turn you off taking it. If you do experience hair loss after taking it, it’s worthwhile seeking other solutions to help ensure your head of hair stays put.

If you’re taking a medication that can cause hair loss as a side effect, speak to your doctor about an alternative or a treatment to counteract the side effect. Your health is more important than your hair, but there may be a way to have both.

6. Playing with Your Hair

Repeatedly touching your hair throughout the day may seem innocent, but each touch is an opportunity to pull out or break off the hair that might struggle to come back. Avoid scratching or rubbing your head aggressively. Don’t pull or twist your strands. If you touch or adjust your hair absently, find another habit to occupy your fingers. Pulling out your hair doesn’t just ruin that one hair shaft. It puts a strain on your follicles, too, eventually causing permanent hair loss in that spot. Necessarily, it’s best to avoid touching your hair unless you have to.

If you really can’t stop pulling your hair, you may be dealing with trichotillomania, a mental disorder that causes people to pull their hair out of their scalp compulsively. In severe versions of the condition, people pull out their body hair, eyebrows, and even eyelashes. If you think you’re suffering from trichotillomania, speak with your doctor right away.

7. Crash Dieting / Rapid Weight Loss

When guys start losing their hair, they often start to take interest in their overall appearance, including their weight. But if you try to lose weight too quickly, you can actually cause more damage to your hair.

When we starve ourselves, our bodies direct energy to our most important functions, like keeping our brain and heart working. Hair growth isn’t an essential function, so it’s one of the first processes a starving body abandons.

Interestingly, when doctors diagnose anorexics, one of the first things they look for is hair loss. It’s a clear symptom that something unhealthy is happening within the body.

To protect your hair, you have to eat in a healthy way several times a day. Avoid crash diets that promise you’ll lose “10 pounds in a week.” One to two pounds per week is considered fast weight loss.

8. Smoking

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.

Protecting (and possibly regrowing) your hair isn’t an easy task. You have to use every tool in your toolbox to make it last as long as you can. Overcome these everyday obstacles if you want to keep your hair.

So will making lifestyle improvements help avoid hair loss?

If you’ve started to lose your hair, or your genetic history makes you worried you would 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.

1. 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).

2. 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.

3. 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

Androgenic alopecia (or male pattern baldness) is the type of hair loss that makes you lose hair on the top, front, and crown of your head. According to the American Hair Loss Association, it affects two-thirds of men by age 35 and 85% of men by age 50.

If you’re suffering from androgenic alopecia, your biggest enemy is time.

And this means the best solution is beginning a hair loss treatment regimen as soon as possible. Every day you delay means more hair your treatment plan will have to recover. Treatments take time – sometimes years – so it’s important to start as soon as you can to avoid suffering.

Also, 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.

The bottom line is, going bald is normal. While there is still no cure for baldness, there are a variety of successful hair loss treatment options. You can speak with your local doctor or if you would prefer a discreet and convenient online doctor service, complete a 2-minute guided online medical questionnaire here.

P.S. Mosh doesn't just provide the best hair loss treatment programs; we also specialise in online impotence treatment medication programs, click to book your free ED consultation with a doctor, get started today.

Tags: hair