The older we get, the more we need to take care of our hair. There are many reasons we experience hair loss or thinning, but fortunately, we can do things to combat it. This article will go over what causes hair loss, something you can do to prevent it, and the supplements that help.
What Causes Hair Loss?
Hair loss is one of the most dreaded side-effects of aging. While we all know it’s possible as we get older, many don’t understand why we lose hair or what causes it. Most experts agree that genetics is the number one factor, but there are other causes as well. Here are some common causes of hair loss:
- Family history - As already mentioned, the most common cause of hair loss is a hereditary condition that comes with aging
- Hormonal changes - Hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and thyroid problems can all lead to hair loss
- Medications - Certain medication can cause hair loss
- Radiation therapy to the head
- Hairstyles and treatments
Can You Prevent Hair Loss?
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to reverse your genes. Other situations like hair loss after pregnancy can resolve on their own over time. For long-term hair loss, there are things we can do to combat it. Here are some things experts recommend when it comes to preventing hair loss:
- Diet - Diets that are high in protein and vitamin A can help promote hair growth and improve the overall health of your hair
- Supplements - We will go into further detail later in the article
- Haircare - Regular washing, coconut oil, olive oil, and even scalp massages can help you protect your hair
- Medical treatments - Examples include laser therapy and platelet-rich plasma
- Medications - We will go into further detail later in the article
- Essential oils - Essential oils have become an increasingly popular method when it comes to treating hair loss
The preferred method is a combination of the strategies mentioned above. Implementing these changes to your daily hair care routine can help provide long-term results.
What Medical Conditions Cause Hair Loss?
Unfortunately, it can be rather challenging to pinpoint the exact cause of hair loss. It can be something as simple as genetics or something as complex as a scalp infection. Here are some medical conditions that can lead to hair loss:
- Thyroid disease
- Alopecia areata
- Lichen planus
If you are experiencing rapid hair loss, you should consult with your doctor as soon as possible.
Rapid hair loss is often a sign of a medical condition that will require treatment.
What type of vitamin deficiencies cause hair loss?
Androgenetic alopecia - also known as male or female pattern baldness - is the most common cause of hair loss. Experts estimate that nearly 70% of men and 25% of women are affected by hair loss. If you are one of these men or women, vitamin deficiencies may be responsible for your hair loss. Here are some vitamin deficiencies that lead to hair loss:
- Vitamin D
If you believe your hair loss results from vitamin deficiency, you should speak with a doctor. Your doctor can make diet and supplement recommendations as well as other forms of treatment.
What Supplements Help With Hair Loss?
Our scalp needs a healthy balance of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins to keep our hair healthy. Unfortunately, too many Americans fail to get their recommended dose of these vitamins. Vitamin deficiencies are some of the most common causes of hair loss and thinning. If you aren’t getting enough of these vitamins daily, here are some of the supplements you should consider taking:
- Biotin - Biotin is found in egg yolks, whole grains, and meat. Low levels of biotin can lead to hair loss, skin rashes, and brittle nails
- Iron - Iron is found in red meat, leafy greens, and legumes. Low levels of iron can lead to fatigue, pale skin, and hair loss
- Vitamin C - Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, leafy greens, and bell peppers
- Vitamin D - Vitamin D is good for the bones, but low levels of the vitamin can lead to hair loss
- Zinc - Zinc is found in shellfish, meat, beans, nuts, and seeds. Low levels of zinc can lead to hair loss, poor wound healing, and a weak sense of taste or smell
If you believe your hair loss is due to vitamin deficiencies, get help as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to reverse the damage.
What Medicine is Best for Hair Regrowth?
In certain situations, your doctor may recommend medication. These medications help combat the medical conditions that can lead to hair loss. Here are some of the medicines doctors prescribe their patients combatting hair loss:
- Minoxidil - Minoxidil - also known as Rogaine - is an over-the-counter drug that is known to work for around two-thirds of women who try it
- Finasteride - Finasteride - also known as Propecia - can help slow hair loss and promote new growth
- Phenylephrine - Phenylephrine can help grow back hair lost due to styling. It achieves this by stimulating the follicle muscles to contract
Supplements Can Help
Taking care of your body with a proper diet, exercise routine, and supplement regimen can help you prevent hair loss. As we mentioned earlier, vitamin supplements can significantly improve hair quality and growth. One other supplement to look into is spermidine. Spermidine is a naturally occurring polyamine that helps your body induce a process known as autophagy. Autophagy is your body’s natural cellular renewal process, which recycles older potentially damaged cell parts with newer, healthier ones. While research on spermidine and hair growth is still early, the results have been promising. Spermidine supplementation can reduce hair loss by boosting keratin production, an essential protein necessary for hair and nail growth. Furthermore, studies have shown spermidine supplementation to prolong the anagen phase of hair growth - the stage responsible for hair growth.