If you’re here, then you have started losing hair, and you’ve decided to do something about it. While it’s a bummer that your scalp decided the time was right to start giving up, it’s good that your brain got you to researching some answers while you’re still young. The earlier you begin treatment for hair loss, the better your chances of keeping your hair where it is for the long-term.
Here’s what to do:
First, acknowledge the problem
Many people try to hide the fact, or run away from it, hoping it’ll go away – but the sooner you face the truth head-on, the sooner you’ll be able to start looking for a solution. The first thing you need to do in order to find the help you need is to be honest with yourself and realize you’ve got a problem. Once you’ve done that, the process gets much easier, and we move onto the next step.
Get into the right mindset for approaching the problem
Easier said than done—I know. In fact, in young men under 30, hair loss has been shown to cause a massive drop in confidence and self-esteem, affecting how they perceive themselves, how many risks they take in life, and more.
But that doesn’t need to be you. There are many reasons why you might be experiencing hair loss–and unless they’re genetic, all of these reasons have solutions. (And even genetic factors have treatments to slow down the process.) You should understand that losing hair, whether a bit or a lot, isn’t the end of the world.
That said, treatment is going to take time. The real solutions out there that actually work involve long, dedicated lifestyle changes. These lifestyle changes will improve other parts of your life, so you can be happy about that. But yes, they do require some level of determination.
For more information on getting into the right mindset, be sure to check our related article: How to Have the Right Mindset for Hair Regrowth.
Assess possible contributors to your hair loss
Hair loss can happen for many reasons, and most of them are totally treatable and preventable. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ones first, before delving into the possible treatment or preventive options you can consider:
Some people are just more predisposed to losing their hair than others, and even though it’s not news you’d like to hear, it’s totally natural. This common factor is widely known as male (or female) pattern baldness, and can be easily distinguished by its “U-shape pattern” on the crown of the head.
Despite common belief, hair loss by stress, (also known as Telogen Effluvium), is actually extremely uncommon.
For your hair to fall out because of stress, you must be undergoing extreme amounts of constant physical and/or psychological stress–usually for long periods of time. This type of hair loss usually manifests as a sudden, widespread thinning around your head, but thankfully, is only temporary. You might see your hair return to normal in about six months or so, depending on how well you manage your stress levels going forward.
Improper hair treatment
This could range from the kind of shampoo you’re using, to bleaching or dyeing your hair, (which could damage your scalp or hair fibers), to pulling your hair in too tight for the sake of fashion (cornrows, man buns, etc.).
Skin and scalp conditions
Your hair loss or thinning could also be caused by an underlying skin condition, such as Seborrheic Dermatitis or Psoriasis.Psoriasis, a condition that causes an overproduction of skin cells, can damage hair follicles and cause temporary hair loss. Seborrheic Dermatitis is a bit trickier, as it could cause you to lose hair in large patches throughout the head due to inflammation. The hair lost because of this condition will come back after the inflammation has lessened, though it will usually take a while.
A bad diet
It’s been shown that diets poor in protein, iron, and zinc can lead to temporary hair loss. Hair fibers, like everything else in your body, need essential nutrients to grow healthy and strong. Unhealthy diets, (too much fried or sugary foods), or diets that minimize protein intake, (or cause you to lose too much weight too fast), could be causing some of your hair thinning or loss.
Exercise and hygiene
Exercise is important for an overall healthy body, so it stands to good reason that it also impacts the health of your hair. A balanced regime of exercise ensures that your hair follicles receive more blood, oxygen, and nutrients, On the flip side, extreme exercise regimens put great amounts of stress on your body, which may cause your hair to thin out instead. Rarely, overly-demanding workouts can use up many of the nutrients that your hair needs to grow healthy, especially when combined with low-calorie diets as part of an extreme weight-loss plan. The excess of sweat that builds up in the scalp could also damage your hair follicles if left unchecked, which is why proper hygiene after exercise is extremely important for keeping your scalp and hair healthy.
If you want to learn more about factors that hinder your hair’s health, as well as ways to combat them, check out 8 Things to Consider in a Holistic Approach at Regrowing Your Hair.
Come up with a treatment plan that addresses those contributing factors
As long as you understand the underlying cause, and act early, you’ll more than likely be able to find a treatment or solution to support your hair regrowth. Here are some common hair growth support actions to consider building into your routine:
- Wash your hair regularly, as sweat buildup can affect healthy hair growth, but not every day. Try a DHT-blocking shampoo.
- Eat a balanced, healthy diet and supplement with supportive vitamins and minerals
- Avoid using hair products containing harmful chemicals–such as dyes and bleaches. Avoid hairstyles that put pressure and stress on the hair and scalp, like tight cornrows, man buns, or ponytails.
- Find healthy ways to relieve stress, such as meditation and exercise.
- Exercise routinely, but avoid excessive dieting combined with excessive exercise.
- Check with your doctor for any underlying skin conditions that could be affecting your scalp.
- Look into laser therapy options that will help repair follicles.
Starting early is the most effective thing you can do
Hair loss is a scary topic–and experiencing it when you’re still supposed to feel young is beyond frustrating. But the most effective way to treat hair loss is to start treatment early, at the first signs of hair loss, when the follicles are still mostly healthy. This is the absolute best time to get started, so give yourself a pat on the back.