Some kinds of alopecia, or hair loss, are caused by things you can’t avoid like the genes you’re born with or an unexpected stressful event.
In other cases, hair loss is triggered by lifestyle choices that you can control—which means you may be able to make changes that help you protect your hair.
1. Your Diet
Good nutrition plays an important role in hair health. Howard Sobel, MD, founder of Sobel Skin and an attending dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, tells WebMD Connect to Care that hair is made of a protein called keratin. “If you do not get enough protein in your diet, it could trigger hair loss,“ Sobel says. “The best advice is to eat a healthy and balanced diet, rich in protein and [with] many vegetables.”
Sobel also says that fresh herbs such as parsley and basil can lower the risk or slow the onset of male pattern baldness, otherwise known as androgenic alopecia.
There are many vitamins and minerals that are important for preventing hair loss. Your doctor can do a blood test to let you know if you’re getting enough of these hair-healthy nutrients from food, the American Academy of Dermatology says. If you’re not, they may recommend supplements.
Sobel says the vitamins that contribute to hair health include: vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, and vitamin D.
Some important minerals for hair health include:
Don’t try a new supplement without talking to your doctor first. If you get too much of certain nutrients—like vitamins A and E, and selenium—it may do more harm than good to your hair, the American Academy of Dermatology says.
3. Hair Care
Barring any hereditary or underlying health conditions that could play a role in hair loss, Sobel says that taking care of your scalp and hair can help prevent alopecia. Washing your hair regularly with mild shampoo and treating your hair with organic products such as coconut oil and olive oil can help reduce breakage and keep your hair healthy.
“Avoid chemical treatments like straightening treatments or hair dyes, and opt for organic alternatives that don’t contain harmful ingredients like ammonia or peroxide if necessary,” Sobel says.
Your hairstyle matters, too. If you regularly wear your hair tightly pulled back, over time it can bring on a type of hair loss called traction alopecia. This can do damage that makes you lose hair permanently, the American Academy of Dermatology says.
Tight styles that can cause it include:
- A bun
You can prevent traction alopecia by choosing a looser hairstyle that doesn’t tug. That said, it’s safe to wear your hair tightly pulled back once in a blue moon, just not every day, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Don’t Wait. Get Help Today.
The sooner you address the symptoms of hair loss, the more likely you are to prevent irreversible damage. Speak to a medical professional today to begin your journey to a fuller head of hair.