To understand how to prevent hair loss it’s important to understand why certain people experience it in the first place. Both male and female pattern baldness result from a decrease in the blood supply to the bulb of the hair follicles. Once this starts to happen, and you’re aware it is becoming an issue, you can either allow it to continue and see if things change naturally, or you can take charge to fix the problem. Pattern baldness has stumped scientists for decades and, though there are helpful treatments that reduce fall-out, a cure is yet to be found.
In the meantime, in honor of August as National Hair Loss Awareness Month, here are some tips to ease (and maybe even stop) the loss. First, it’s imperative to identify why you may be losing your hair. The more we know about the causes, the more we can do to remedy the situation.
If you have a good stylist, and you are a regular client, often he or she will notice thinning before you do. One thing you’ll want to address right away is whether or not your hair is breaking. For example, did you receive a chemical treatment recently? Relaxers, bleach and perms can cause a lot of damage and add stress to your strands.
If chemical treatments are part of your regular routine, you should start using a moisturizing conditioner that has a good balance of oils and lipids—these will help keep what hair you have strong. They assist in the hair growth process, as well. Vigorous head massages are something you can do at home to also help increase blood supply to your scalp. If, however, the thinning and loss has nothing to do with chemical damage from beauty services or your regular style routine, then you need to take a deeper look.
The next question should be whether you’ve experienced any sudden weight loss. While gaining weight sometimes causes us to develop features we’re not so partial to, it’s often when our hair is at its best. Not fair! Balance is the key, keeping in mind how detrimental a sudden reduction in nutrients (and especially eating disorders) can be to one’s hair, among many other things.
I insist on consuming certain oils for hair health. Lean meats, olive oil and avocado oil from fresh avocados all make hair better. And guess what? If you talk to any colonic therapist he or she will tell you that they leave the body as easy as they enter. When they’re digested with a balanced-diet they work wonders on your skin and hair health.
But perhaps you have lost weight recently and it wasn’t one of your goals. This can make it trickier to find solutions for hair loss, and it’s often best to work with medical professionals (along with your trusted stylist) to determine the best next steps. My favorite dermatologist in town for scalp and hair concerns is Dr. Joel Kassimir. I’ve seen him work miracles with plasma injections called PRP that use your own stem cells to promote hair growth.
Additional factors that contribute to hair loss include alterations in your hormonal balance—puberty, childbirth and menopause. For many, these changes can significantly impact one’s hair texture and expedite loss. Illness and medications for thyroid disease, long-term use of steroids, as well as one’s age can also cause and contribute to the overall speed of hair loss and hair regeneration. For example, did you know that Alopecia has many forms? The loss of hair from Contact Alopecia is caused by the pinching of the hair follicle too tightly, Alopecia Areata creates bald spots, and Alopecia Totalis is the condition where there’s no hair on the body at all.
Contact Alopecia is the easiest to cure. Many times it results from braiding the hair too tight, or from having extensions. The secret is to reduce tension on the hair and scalp. With the help of your stylist in easing this strain, your hair follicles will regenerate as normal. It is believed the other types of Alopecia occur based on your genetic bloodline and other autoimmune factors. Medical treatments for these diagnoses can include cortisone injections and light therapy, with results varying for each individual.
In learning about the causes of hair loss over the years, I’ve made some interesting discoveries and come up with some potential solutions.
Boys at the height of their testosterone levels from ages 19 to 21 can often times show signs of temple hair recession. In this case, Rogaine can be incorporated into a daily routine.
As for pregnancy, new moms might find results with continuing their prenatal vitamins after childbirth for six months, to help avoid the scary and bountiful hair loss that can often follow. More loss can occur when breastfeeding ends.
For anyone experiencing loss and for anyone going through menopause, I suggest a powerful combination of Viviscal Professional vitamins and a new product called Regenesis Micro-Targeting Spray. There are are two things I constantly keep in stock because they work by helping to keep the hair strong. Viviscal has a Biotin blend that surpasses any other for hair and nail health, and Regenesis has a Bio-Peptin technology that increases cellular repair. Like its sister company Revitalash, it helps grow thicker, stronger and more conditioned-looking hair.
In general, if anyone is experiencing lots of hair loss I also recommend using volumizing products. (My line in particular contains hops, the swelling agent found in beer, to give you the look and feel of more hair.) It is important to wash less frequently, brush only with a boar bristle soft brush and keep chemical treatment usage minimal. I design wigs, custom hairpieces and micro lines (a tie-in that goes into one’s hair when experiencing chemotherapy or radiation, to help hair grow back after treatment) all with natural human hair. These can be combined with hair extensions to help bulk up hair volume, length and fullness. Thin ends will just make your hair look more sparse.
Being honest with yourself, your stylist and your doctor is essential when it comes to aiding any hair loss. We can all work together moving forward to create a personalized routine and help you achieve the thickest, most beautiful hair you can have.
Paul Labrecque founded his salon and spa 1988 with a simple passion for beauty and fashion. What started as a two seat boutique salon on the Upper West Side has grown to three highly successful full service salons and spas in Manhattan, one location in downtown Philadelphia, an award-winning line of hair care products, a thriving retail and e-commerce business and a highly regarded education center for young stylists in training.