If they say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, you might be wondering if it makes more sense to try to prevent hair loss, rather than to treat it with hair restoration or another method once it occurs. While preventative measures can be helpful, it’s important to remember that not all types of hair loss can be avoided. What you can do to keep your hair from thinning depends on the type of hair loss or shedding you are dealing with.
Get a Clean Bill of Health
In some cases, thinning hair is connected to your health. Some conditions can lead to hair loss, such as a thyroid problem, untreated Lyme disease, and Lupus. Getting a diagnosis or ruling out those conditions can help you get to the root of your hair loss. In many instances, hair lost due to a medical condition grows back on its own several months after the condition is successfully treated. The sooner the condition is diagnosed, the better the odds of minimizing or preventing hair loss.
Rethink Your Styling Habits
Some types of hair loss are directly related to the way a person styles his or her hair. Traction alopecia occurs when a person wears the hair in a tight style or uses styling products or tools that place a lot of strain on the hair follicles. If you’re beginning to notice some thinning or if you regularly wear your hair in braids, a bun or a ponytail, and also feel a bit of pain or a headache from the style, one of the best things you can do to keep yourself from losing your hair is to change up your style.
Try wearing your hair loose more often or avoiding braids or ponytails altogether. In some cases, hair loss due to styling isn’t caused by the style itself, but by the tools used to create the style. If you use heat tools such as curling irons or straightening irons or hair products that contain strong, damaging chemicals, they might make you more likely to deal with hair loss. Try to limit your styling tools or choose more gentle options, such as foam rollers or a low heat setting, instead.
Limit the Bad Habits
It’s not only bad hair habits that can lead to hair loss. Bad lifestyle habits can also make you more likely to lose some hair. In case you needed another reason to quit smoking, here’s one: it’s can make hair loss more likely to occur. A study on identical twins presented at the 2011 American Society of Plastic Surgeons annual meeting found that heavy smoking contributed to hair loss in the temple area in women. Men were also likely to have higher rates of hair loss if they were smokers.
A few other habits that can be bad news for your hair include drinking alcohol and having a lot of sun exposure. The study found that heavy drinking increased the risk for hair loss on the top of the head. Men who spent a lot of time in the sun were likely to have increased rates of hair loss.
Improve Your Diet
You can prevent several types of hair loss by making changes to your diet for the better. In some cases, a sudden change in your diet, such as going on a crash diet or some type of juice cleanse, can lead to dip in your nutrient levels, triggering telogen effluvium, or excessive hair shedding. The good news about telogen effluvium is that it is usually temporary. The bad news about it is that it can cause you to lose a significant amount of hair all at once. The hair will grow back in many cases, but it can be upsetting in the meantime.
Other diet-related causes of hair loss include iron deficiency anemia. You might be more likely to develop iron deficiency anemia if you have heavy period or if you follow a vegetarian diet and aren’t getting enough iron through food. Since iron is one of the primary nutrients need for health hair growth, not having enough of it can make your hair fall out.
If you think you might have low levels of iron, it’s a good idea to have your doctor perform a blood test and measure the levels of ferritin and hemocrit in your blood. Increasing the amount of iron in your diet, by eating more iron foods such as meat, beans or leafy greens, as well as foods that contain a lot of vitamin C, which increases iron absorption, can help you avoid more hair loss.
While you might be able to prevent hair loss if you act quickly enough, there are cases when the hair loss won’t grow back on its own, even if the cause of it is reversible. In those instances, a hair restoration procedure might be your best option. To learn more about hair loss and what you can do to treat or prevent it, contact Dr. Jeffrey Epstein, a board certified hair restoration specialist, with practices in New York and Miami. For an appointment in Miami, call (305) 666-1774. To schedule a consultation in New York City, call (212) 759-3484.