With those pinned down, it wasn’t hard to determine which don’t actually work. Pretty much all the “active” ingredients listed in ineffective treatments — from biotin and zinc to emu oil and saw palmetto — have never been proven, and are instead marketed based on logical-seeming correlations. It would make sense that biotin, a B vitamin readily found in hair, skin, and nails, could help hair grow more quickly. And caffeine is a stimulant that works in coffee, so rubbing some on your scalp might wake some of those sleepy follicles… right?
Finasteride inhibits an enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, the hormone that causes hair loss in men, and unlike minoxidil, this drug can actually help hair grow back, as well as prevent further loss. All you have to do is take one pill a day, and according to Dr. Evan Rieder, dermatologist in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at NYU Langone Health, two-thirds of men taking this treatment will see improvements in hair density over time.
In addition to your hairstyle, the processes you use on your hair, whether it’s to add color or texture, can have a detrimental effect. For example, harsh chemicals for bleaching and straightening, along with excess heat, can damage and even kill hair follicles, Burg points out. Additionally, excessive chemical treatments applied directly on the scalp can cause inflammation. “Inflammation can damage the follicle, which in turn to can lead to hair loss,” says Maria Halasz, CEO of évolis Professional. To prevent over-processing, she recommends limiting chemical treatments on the scalp to every four to six weeks. Check out these tips for people who use heat on their hair every day.
A good daily multivitamin containing zinc, vitamin B, folate, iron, and calcium is a reasonable choice, although there is no good evidence that vitamins have any meaningful benefit in alopecia. Newer studies suggest that vitamin D may be somewhat helpful and worth considering. Specific vitamin and mineral deficiencies like iron or vitamin B12 may be diagnosed by blood tests and treated.
2. Volumizing shampoos and treatments. Typically, these work by depositing ingredients, like wheat protein and keratin, that adhere to the hair shaft to a) thicken it and b) create spaces between hairs so you look like you have more of it. Try Kiehl’s Rice & Wheat Volumizing Shampoo ($18) with hydrolyzed wheat protein; Rogers likes Redken Cerafill Defy Shampoo and Conditioner ($20 each) with ceramides that bulk up hair.
During a hair transplant procedure, a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon removes tiny patches of skin, each containing one to several hairs, from the back or side of your scalp. Sometimes a larger strip of skin containing multiple hair groupings is taken. He or she then implants the hair follicle by follicle into the bald sections. Some doctors recommend using minoxidil after the transplant, to help minimize hair loss. And you may need more than one surgery to get the effect you want. Hereditary hair loss will eventually progress despite surgery.
Central centrifugal cicatricial (scarring) alopecia: This type of hair loss occurs most often in women of African descent. It begins in the center of the scalp. As it progresses, the hair loss radiates out from the center of the scalp. The affected scalp becomes smooth and shiny. The hair loss can be very slow or rapid. When hair loss occurs quickly, the person may have tingling, burning, pain, or itching on the scalp. Treatment may help the hair re-grow if scarring has not occurred.
Generally, hair problems, especially hair thinning and hair loss, occur around the anagen phase or the resting phase. As we age, the length of the anagen phase also decreases as the hair follicles receive less and less nourishment from the body. The result is hair that is weaker and thinner after every cycle. In some cases, the hair enters the resting phase too early (or the catagen phase is too short) and this is when excessive shedding also happens.
Research is looking into connections between hair loss and other health issues. While there has been speculation about a connection between early-onset male pattern hair loss and heart disease, a review of articles from 1954 to 1999 found no conclusive connection between baldness and coronary artery disease. The dermatologists who conducted the review suggested further study was needed.
Medical conditions and medications. A common medical condition that also causes hair loss is hypothyroidism, which can happen in both men and women. Patients suffer from an underactive thyroid gland, which is responsible for producing the hormone, thyroxin, which performs important bodily functions, such as the regulation of body temperature, proper utilization of carbohydrates and fats, and production of protein. Since protein is an important nutrient for the production of keratin, inadequate protein supply in the body due to an underactive thyroid means that hair growth in the follicles is slow. In men especially, hair loss is one of the first signs of hypothyroidism.
“Once that hair has stopped shedding, it does regrow, at a rate of about a centimeter a month,” said Dr. Senna, who suffered from the condition after each of her pregnancies. She shares photos of herself with patients, to show she can sympathize. In one, her entire frontal hairline clearly is growing back in. “If I’d used a treatment, I would have thought it was a miracle drug,” she said.
Giovanni Mele, a stylist who owns Giovanni and Pileggi in Center City, said many women with thinning hair try to wear their hair long. He thinks they're much better off with short, pixie-like styles with light layering on top. He recommends that lighter-skinned women choose colors that are a little darker than blond or gray. He is a fan of a hair-thickening product made by Nioxin.
Scientists have put a lot of effort into investigating the cause of gray hair, and they believe they've gotten to the root of the problem. Hair gets its color from a pigment called melanin, which is produced by melanocyte cells in the hair follicles. Researchers have discovered that melanocytes endure cumulative damage over the years, which eventually leaves them unable to produce melanin. Studies have cited DNA damage and a buildup of hydrogen peroxide in the follicles as possible causes of this disruption in melanin production. Without melanin, the new hair that grows in has no pigment, which makes it appear gray, white, or silver.
Once male-pattern baldness starts, it’s not going to stop until every last hair on your head has shrunk or shed, though the rate at which this happens differs from person to person and depends on genetics. And since the grind of hair loss is unending, it’s important to start treatment as soon as your hairline starts bothering you. If you’re looking for a more quantitative metric, Dr. Paul McAndrews, clinical professor of dermatology at the USC School of Medicine and member of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, assures me that “you have to lose half your hair before the human eye can tell.” (Of course, if you don’t care about losing your hair and are fine with going full Prince William and shaving your head, go for it. We’ve got some recommendations for razors and hair trimmers to help you out on that front.)
One hair loss tablet that targets hormones is Propecia. This targets a specific androgenic hormone (male sex hormone) named dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is present throughout the body, and prompts the growth of hair and spurs sexual development around puberty. However, in later years, it binds to hair follicles and causes them to shrink, occluding hair shafts and making healthy hair growth impossible.
Disruption of the hair growth cycle. Some major events can alter the hair's growth cycle temporarily. For example, delivering a baby, having surgery, going through a traumatic event, or having a serious illness or high fever can temporarily cause shedding of large amounts of hair. Because the hair we see on our heads has actually taken months to grow, a person might not notice any disruption of the hair growth cycle until months after the event that caused it. This type of hair loss corrects itself.
If proper treatments are not carried out, the dry conditions can lead to other serious common hair problems such as frizzy hair, split ends, thinning hair, hair loss, and hair breakage at an early age. Therefore, it is important for you to moisturize and hydrate the hair strands. High- quality conditioner is strongly required for those common hair problems. Some types of essential oils can be perfect choices for you by making your dry hair shiny and soft again. Remember not to comb your hair if it is still wet to avoid breakage and split ends.
Hair practices. Our hair is one of the strongest and most elastic parts of our body. One strand of a healthy hair can be twice as strong as a copper wire of similar thickness. However, not all hair types are equal. Unfortunately, hair care practices and styling can lead to scalp damage and unnecessary pressure on the hair follicles, resulting in hair breakage and loss.
The scalp contains a natural oil called sebum, which helps keep the skin lubricated. Sebum is produced by the sebaceous glands. Sometimes these glands work overtime and produce too much oil, leading to a greasy scalp. Greasy hair can look dull, limp, and lifeless, and it may be more difficult to manage. To treat greasy hair, try washing with a gentle shampoo that is specially formulated to control sebum.