It’s normal to lose around 100 hairs a day because of the normal growth cycle. But if you’re losing more, talk with a doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions first before exploring your options.
A full, healthy head of hair is central to many people’s appearance and self-confidence. If it begins to thin or fall out, it can be distressing. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to prevent hair loss or encourage hair growth.
The best way to slow or stop hair loss is to address the underlying cause – whether it’s childbirth, surgery, or another major stressor. If examples like these are factors, hair loss can be temporary (telogen effluvium) in some cases.
In other cases, the cause is more complicated.
In this article, we’ll break down 22 tips to stop hair loss and explore some frequently asked questions.
In this article, we use “male and female” to refer to someone’s sex as determined by their chromosomes, and “men and women” when referring to their gender (unless quoting from sources using nonspecific language).
Sex is determined by chromosomes, and gender is a social construct that can vary between time periods and cultures. Both of these aspects are acknowledged to exist on a spectrum both historically and by modern scientific consensus.
1. Mediterranean diet
A 2018 study revealed that a diet containing raw vegetables and fresh herbs, like the Mediterranean diet, may reduce the risk of androgenic alopecia (female pattern baldness or male pattern baldness) or slow its onset.
Best results were observed when participants consumed high amounts of these foods — like parsley, basil, and salad greens — more than 3 days a week.
Hair follicles are made mostly of a protein called keratin. One
While researchers note that
- beans and peas
- low-fat dairy products
3. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is partly made up of retinoids, which
It’s unlikely you’ll receive too much vitamin A from dietary sources. So, fill your plate with foods rich in vitamin A, like sweet potatoes, sweet peppers, and spinach, to name a few.
Scientists have determined that the following vitamins and minerals are important to the hair growth and retention processes, specifically with cell turnover:
- vitamins A, B, C, and D
You can find daily multivitamins at most grocery stores or drugstores or ask your doctor to prescribe one to you.
5. Vitamin D
Biotin — vitamin H or B7— is involved in fatty acid synthesis in the body. This process is essential to the hair life cycle and you may experience hair loss if you have a deficiency.
7. Saw palmetto
Derived from the fruit of American dwarf pine trees, this herb may help men maintain levels of testosterone.
The authors concluded that saw palmetto may help people with AGA, telogen effluvium, and self-perceived hair thinning.
Ginseng contains certain phytochemicals that may promote hair growth on the scalp. Further study is needed to recommend specific dosages.
In the meantime, speak with your doctor before adding ginseng supplements to your diet.
9. Regular washing
Washing your hair daily may protect against hair loss by keeping the scalp healthy and clean. The key is to use mild shampoo. Harsher formulas may dry hair and cause it to break, leading to hair loss.
10. Coconut oil
Lauric acid found in coconut oil
11. Olive oil
Olive oil can be used to deep condition hair, protecting it from dryness and associated breakage. Olive oil is also a central ingredient in the Mediterranean diet, which may help slow genetic hair loss.
Consider applying a couple of tablespoons of olive oil directly to the hair and letting it sit for 30 minutes before washing it out.
12. Gentle styling
Skip tight braids or ponytails that may pull on hair at the root and
While you’re at it, let your hair air dry to avoid irritating your scalp. If you can, avoid heat stylers, like curling or straightening irons, which may also damage or break the hair shaft.
13. Hair processing
Chemical treatments, like perms or hair color, may also damage hair and scalp.
Ask your stylist about alternatives, like organic hair dyes and others that don’t contain ammonia, peroxide, or para-phenylenediamine (PPD).
14. Laser therapy
Low-level lasers may help improve hair density for people with genetic hair loss and loss due to chemotherapy. This option is also called red light therapy, and it may work by stimulating epidermal stem cells.
You can find home laser devices on the market. And you may need to use the device regularly to see results.
15. Platelet-rich plasma
Injecting platelet-rich plasma (PRP) into the scalp helps stimulate growth in areas already impacted by hair loss. Blood is run through a centrifuge to separate out the platelets and then injected into the scalp.
In one 2014 study, 11 participants saw 30% more growth in thinning areas after four sessions. Pricing ranges from $1,500 to $3,500 for your first three treatments, and it’s unlikely to be covered by insurance.
Otherwise known as Rogaine, this over-the-counter (OTC) drug is known to help with hair loss.
Apply the liquid or foam to your scalp each day. Side effects include scalp irritation and acne at the site of application. Rarer side effects include irregular heartbeat and blurred vision.
You may need to use the medication for as long as 12 months to see any results. It also has various side effects, including loss of libido and erectile dysfunction.
People who are or who may become pregnant should avoid this medication.
Unfortunately, topical phenylephrine isn’t publicly available yet. Scientists have developed a specific formula called
19. Essential oils
Essential oils may help reduce hair loss.
Other essential oils to consider include lavender, lemongrass, and peppermint. Try mixing couple drops of any or all of these oils with a couple of tablespoons of carrier oil, like jojoba or grapeseed. Apply to the scalp for 10 minutes before washing.
But make sure to test any essential oils before trying the above. It’s possible to be allergic to essential oils.
20. Onion juice
People with alopecia areata may see regrowth after applying crude onion juice to their scalps twice a day.
While research on this treatment is limited, the juice did appear to promote growth in nearly
We know scalp massage feels good, but can it help grow your hair, too? Maybe.
Hair loss caused by stress may respond well to yoga. Try these stress-relieving yoga poses to prevent and slow hair loss:
The hair on your head goes through a life cycle that involves growth, resting, and shedding. It’s common for people to lose around 100 hairs a day.
If you experience more sudden loss, loss in patches, or overall thinning, you may want to see your doctor.
Some shedding is temporary and may respond well to changes in diet, certain treatments, or lifestyle changes. Other hair loss may be more permanent or not stop until an underlying condition is treated.
Other causes of hair loss include:
- Medical conditions: alopecia areata, scalp infections, or trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder)
- Hormonal changes: from pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, or thyroid issues
- Medications or supplements: those used for cancer, high blood pressure, depression, or arthritis
- Radiation treatment: for conditions like cancer
- Stress: physical or emotional
- Styling practices: wearing tight ponytails or cornrows, etc.
Some causes of hair loss are temporary and can be reversed, while others are permanent.
Permanent hair loss results from progressive damage to the hair follicle, which is the structure in the skin that houses and grows the individual strands of hair.
Conditions that may cause permanent hair loss include:
- scarring or cicatricial alopecia that develops when inflammation destroys hair follicles
- trichotillomania, an irresistible urge to pull out hair
- traction alopecia, which occurs when hairstyles like braids pull on the hair too tightly
No, hot showers do not cause hair loss. But extremely hot water can damage keratin, the protein that makes up hair strands. It may also strip away the natural oils that keep your scalp and hair healthy.
If your hair is already dry or damaged, washing it in hot water can make it more likely to break.
To avoid damage, use lukewarm water instead of hot, avoid brushing and stretching your hair while wet, and use a deep, moisturizing conditioner regularly.
There’s some research that caffeine may help hair growth and slow loss.
The caffeine also boosted hair root width and prolonged the growth phase of hair. When tested on female hair follicles, it also had a growth-promoting effect.
Because it’s a vasodilator, caffeine may also help improve blood flow to the scalp, promoting hair growth.
You can make your own coffee rinse for hair or buy caffeine shampoo.
Yes, psychological stress can contribute to hair loss in several ways. It can trigger:
- Alopecia areata: This autoimmune disease develops when the immune system attacks the hair follicles. Alopecia areata causes hair loss on the scalp. A more severe form, known as alopecia universalis, causes hair loss over the entire body.
- Telogen effluvium: This condition changes the number of hair follicles that are actively growing hair.
- Trichotillomania: This is also known as a hair-pulling disorder.
Hair transplants involve taking hair from one area of the scalp and transplanting it into an area that’s thin or bald.
Transplants may be successful for some people depending on the cause of hair loss. But you’ll need enough hair to donate to the transplant, and you’ll need to wait several months for it to grow.
You can expect 10% to 80% of transplanted hair to grow back in 3 to 4 months. Talk with a dermatologist or hair restoration specialist to see if a hair transplant is right for you.
It’s widely known that smoking causes serious health problems, but it can also contribute to hair loss.
Smoking damages the hair follicle and reduces healthy blood flow. A 2020 study found that 425 out of 500 smokers had some degree of hair loss, compared to only 200 of 500 nonsmokers.
The authors suggested that nicotine and other chemicals could accelerate hair loss, but more research is needed to confirm.
Smoking also increases free radical production. These molecules react with others and can harm cellular DNA, which is known as oxidative stress. A 2018 review found that cells in the hair follicles of scalps with hair loss are extremely sensitive to oxidative stress.
Talk with your doctor if you’re concerned about hair loss. They can help diagnose any health conditions that may be contributing and develop a treatment plan.
While sudden or extreme hair loss can be alarming, there are often simple solutions. By addressing the underlying cause and making some lifestyle changes, it’s sometimes possible to stop or prevent hair loss.