Treating hair loss: Lifestyle changes

Since mankind first put chisel to tablet, humans have been fretting over the loss of their hair. Now, for the first time in history, there are several effective treatments that will help you better determine the fate of your pate.

Treating hair loss: Lifestyle changes

What you should know about hair loss

Here’s an ironic thing to consider: your hair is supposed to fall out. It is, after all, dead tissue, comprised of the same protein — called keratin — that makes up your fingernails and toenails.

  • About 90 per cent of the healthy hair on your head right now is in a four- or five-year growth period.
  • The other 10 per cent is in a resting phase that lasts a couple of months, then it falls out.
  • For most people, that means 50 to 100 hairs a day are shed. That may sound like a lot, but it’s really not when you consider that you had 100,000 hairs on your head in your youth.
  • Hair loss begins to occur when the rate of shedding exceeds the rate of regrowth. It also happens when the new hair coming in is thinner than the hair you just lost.
  • Many balding people are losing several hundred hairs a day. You'll know if that’s you by keeping an eye on what’s showing up in your hairbrush.

Making lifestyle changes usually won't grow back the hair you've already lost, but doing so can help you hang on to what you still have.

5 lifestyle changes for treating hair loss

  1. Don't smoke. Smoking has long been associated with skin disorders and may even cause early balding in some people. An Italian study in 2000 found that mice exposed to three months of cigarette smoke lost lots of hair and turned prematurely gray.
  2. Wash hair with care. Highly alkaline shampoos can make a mess of your scalp over time and potentially cause hair to thin. Try baby shampoo or a volumizing shampoo that adds protein to hair shafts, making them look thicker. Pat your hair dry afterwards.
  3. Treat hair tenderly. Minimize bleaching, curling and straightening, and stay away from tight ponytails and braids. Use a wide-tooth comb on your hair and don't over brush.
  4. Avoid chlorinated pools. Depending on the levels of chlorine, pool water can be more alkaline than the harshest shampoo.
  5. Eat a balanced diet. Choose lots of fish, poultry, fruits and vegetables. Avoid fatty foods and red meat as much as possible, because these can boost testosterone levels, causing DHT levels, which are a major factor in hair loss, to jump.
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