Have you been worried that you're shedding more hair than usual? Do more and more strands seem to be coming loose, or does your hair seem to be thinning at your part? It's absolutely normal to lose hair regularly. In fact, Gary Goldenberg of Goldenberg Dermatology in New York City says that losing as many as 100 strands a day is standard. But when you start noticing significant hair loss in the shower, on your pillow, or on your brush after brushing, it's time to visit a dermatologist for evaluation.
To address, assuage, and provide solutions for any hair loss concerns, we reached out to Goldenberg and certified trichologist Gretchen Friese, to give us the 101 on hair loss treatments. "The most common cause for hair thinning and hair loss is genetics," says Goldenberg. "The genetic male or female pattern (also known as androgenic) hair loss is extremely common and can start to manifest as early as in the 20s." Read on to learn more about the best hair-loss treatments according to our experts.
Determine the Cause
Before anyone can pin hair loss to genes, Goldenberg notes that it's necessary to take an extensive history and check bloodwork to rule out an internal cause. "Some other causes for hair loss that we don't often think about are vitamin deficiencies, new medications, recent surgeries, stress, weight loss, and hormonal changes," he explains. "Telogen effluvium is the second most common type of hair loss we see in our practice. It's usually related to a stressful event, pregnancy, or illness." Luckily, this type of hair loss is usually temporary, he says, but it can uncover a more chronic hair loss issue.
Goldenberg explains that PRP (platelet-rich plasma) treatments "harvest the power of your own body to help hair grow and support hair health." During the procedure, blood is drawn and the PRP from the blood is injected into the area of the scalp with hair loss or thinning. Goldenberg notes that PRP does several things to improve hair loss. For one, it "contains growth factors that provide support for hair that's already present and for the hair follicles that are dormant and stimulates them to grow," says Goldenberg. "It also contains vascular growth factors. These increase circulation to the scalp providing hair with more nutrition and oxygen needed for growth."
"Because PRP contains a range of growth factors and proteins that speed up tissue repair, doctors will often use this therapy when hair loss is a result of androgenetic alopecia (pattern baldness), which causes hair follicles to shrink," adds Friese.
"Thermadome is a light device that one wears at least twice weekly for at least 20 minutes," says Goldenberg, who notes that some even wear it daily because you can't overdo it. "It stimulates hair to grow by shuttling nutrition and oxygen to the scalp."
"Low-level laser light has been used to regrow bone and tissue for years and the technology is now used for the stimulation of hair follicles and promotion of hair growth," Friese continues, "Thermadome is a kind of helmet or cap containing laser lights that aid in regrowing hair. The laser light targets the stem cells at the base of hair follicles, allowing the formation of a new photonic pathway that can restore hair to a healthy state."
"Rogaine is a topical solution or foam that blocks the type of testosterone that causes hair miniaturization—the process that causes androgenetic hair loss," says Goldenberg, who recommends it for women just one time daily.
In addition to Rogaine, Friese also recommends BosleyMD. "BosleyMD is the leader in effective solutions for men and women. With over 45 years of experience, Bosley is the world’s most recognized and trusted name in hair restoration. They offer comprehensive thinning hair treatments clinically proven to regrow hair. They have everything from shampoos and conditioners to intensive scalp treatments and gender-specific supplements for anyone looking to combat thinning hair or hair loss."
Scalp Massage and Proper Cleansing
It is important to keep your hair clean to encourage healthy growth. "Shampooing often is very important," says Friese, "Cleansing the hair follicles and keeping them free of oils, hair product build-up and free radicals will help create a healthy scalp environment for the hair to grow. Scalp massage is another way to encourage hair growth as it helps increase blood flow and circulation to the follicles making them stronger and discouraging miniaturization." You could use a scalp massager or simply your fingers– do double duty by taking extra time to massage your scalp while you shampoo.
Vitamin B Complex Injections
Goldenberg explains that vitamin B complex injections are very important for hair health. "Many cannot absorb vitamin B from their diet, so injections of vitamin B complex may be the best way to receive this vitamin," he notes. "Some patients with normal vitamin B levels can still benefit from these injections when it comes to hair loss and hair support."
It is always important to prioritize a healthy and well-rounded diet, but did you know vitamin deficiency might be leading to your hair loss? "Vitamins and nutrition are very important," says Goldenberg. "Biotin, zinc, and copper supplementation can help to improve hair quality and growth."
"Diet plays a very important role in scalp health and hair growth," says Friese. "We are discovering more about the importance of a healthy gut and how it affects hair growth. Foods high in proteins and healthy fats are key to a good diet. Staying away from processed foods and those high in sugar are also very important."
"I often recommend adding eggs (high in biotin that encourages hair growth), avocados, and nuts, which are easy and convenient options for attaining healthy fats," says Friese.
Goldenberg continues, "Hair, like the skin, requires care. Avoiding harsh treatments with chemicals and heat will do a lot of good. Remember to maintain a well-balanced diet with good nutritional value to maintain hair growth."
It's also important to take into account one's lifestyle when experiencing hair loss. Hydration levels have a major impact on overall wellness and health. Drink water frequently, and maybe even consider a supplement such as the Red Carpet Skin and Hair Health Supplement by Hum Nutrition.
Keep in mind, stress can also be a leading factor in hair loss. Working to create a low-stress lifestyle can be a powerful tool in combating hair loss. Practice yoga, meditate, or take a bath.