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. Sometimes, hair loss is temporary (telogen effluvium). It can be caused by childbirth, surgery, or another major stressor.

Once the event passes, hair usually grows back. In other cases, the cause is more complicated.

It’s normal to lose around 100 hairs a day because of the normal growth cycle. But if you’re losing more, talk with your doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions and discuss your options.

In this article, we’ll break down 22 tips to stop hair loss and explore some frequently asked questions.

Language matters

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.

Learn more about the difference between sex and gender.

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.

2. Protein

Hair follicles are made mostly of a protein called keratin. One 2017 study of 100 people with hair loss noted several nutritional deficiencies in participants, including amino acids that serve as the building blocks of protein.

While researchers note that more studies are needed, eating a diet rich in protein may help prevent hair loss. Healthy choices include foods like:

  • eggs
  • nuts
  • beans and peas
  • fish
  • low-fat dairy products
  • chicken
  • turkey

3. Vitamin A

Vitamin A is partly made up of retinoids, which support healthy hair growth and influence the hair cycle. But it’s dose-dependent, meaning that too much — or too little — can damage your hair.

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.

Learn about the 14 best foods for hair growth.

4. Multivitamin

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
  • iron
  • selenium
  • zinc

You can find daily multivitamins at most grocery stores or drugstores or ask your doctor to prescribe one to you.

5. Vitamin D

One 2018 study noted that vitamin D is associated with nonscarring alopecia. Treating deficiencies may help with regrowth.

6. Biotin

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.

A 2020 review of seven studies found that saw palmetto doses of 100–320 mg could help hair quality, hair count, and hair density.

The authors concluded that saw palmetto may help people with AGA, telogen effluvium, and self-perceived hair thinning.

8. Ginseng

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

According to a 2018 review of studies, researchers believe that coconut oil may help prevent hair damage from grooming and ultraviolet (UV) light exposure.

Lauric acid found in coconut oil helps bind protein in hair, protecting it from breakage at the root and strand. Massaging coconut oil into the scalp may promote better blood flow and help with regrowth.

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 potentially lead to excessive shedding.

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.

16. Minoxidil

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.

17. Finasteride

Otherwise known as Propecia, this prescription pill may help slow hair loss and even promote new growth.

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.

18. Phenylephrine

Topical phenylephrine may help with hair loss due to styling by stimulating the follicle muscles to contract. This makes it harder to pull out hairs during brushing, for example.

Unfortunately, topical phenylephrine isn’t publicly available yet. Scientists have developed a specific formula called AB‐102, but it has not been released.

19. Essential oils

Essential oils may help reduce hair loss.

A 2020 review noted that various essential oils, including chamomile oil, thyme oil, tea tree oil, and others, could improve conditions like alopecia areata, androgenetic alopecia, and psoriatic alopecia.

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 87% of participants in a small 2014 study. Scientists believe that hair-growing properties may have to do with the onion’s sulfur content.

21. Massage

We know scalp massage feels good, but can it help grow your hair, too? Maybe.

One small 2016 study showed participants seeing results with as little as 4 minutes of massage a day over the course of 24 weeks.

22. Yoga

Hair loss caused by stress may respond well to yoga. Try these stress-relieving yoga poses to prevent and slow hair loss:

Learn more about how yoga can help hair growth.

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.

Around 50% of men and 15% of women experience hair loss due to hereditary conditions like androgenic alopecia (male and female pattern baldness). These stats are based on research that uses terms like “men” and “women” to categorize study participants, and your gender identity may not line up with the terms it uses to describe your experience.

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.

Is hair loss permanent?

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

Do hot showers cause hair loss?

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.

Does caffeine stop hair loss?

There’s some research that caffeine may help hair growth and slow loss.

An older 2007 study found that caffeine blocked the effects of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in male hair follicles. DHT is a hormone that’s linked to hair loss in all genders.

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.

Can stress cause hair loss?

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.

Do hair transplants help hair loss?

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.

Does smoking cause hair loss?

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.