1.) Get a blood test! A simple annual general blood screen can point out any problems you might be having. Fixing those problems can help you prevent hair loss. In my case, it was a mild case of anemia. I took iron pills, which helped my body get to where it needed to be. While anemia and hair loss is mostly a problem with women, other issues, such as thyroid problems happen in men and women and cause hair loss for both. Addressing the root cause of your hair loss, as you might discover through a blood test, can prevent hair loss and hopefully return you back to your normal (full) head of hair. A $5 bottle of iron pills really helped me, so before you go spending money on harsh chemicals, be sure to find the root, (haha) of your hair loss problem.
The Cost? Iron pills: $5 – blood tests: depends on your healthcare provider. Of course, see a doctor, see a doctor, see a doctor, but realistically I know not everyone has health insurance or can afford to do blood tests. Trial and error isn’t the best method for curing hair loss, but if you know already that you have problems with anemia, it’s not going to hurt you (or your bank account!) to try some iron pills.
2.) Treat your hair right! I was constantly pulling my hair back and every time I took it out of its ponytail more hair fell out. You’re probably thinking, “yeah right, ponytails cause hair loss,” but it’s true – I could see the dozens (and dozens) of hairs being ripped right out every time I took my ponytail out. And yes, I did use the “ouchless” bands with no metallic parts. Many people who wear cornrows, weaves or hair extensions lose hair. And sometimes these styling choices permanently kill the hair root. I stopped wearing the tight ponytails and noticed less hairs falling out or breaking off when I did my normal hair brushing. Scientific or not, I was convinced by my own “scientific” experiment that wearing ponytails was causing hair loss. Same goes for guys who wear ponytails, hats or bandannas. Any kind of pulling, pressing or pushing can cause hair loss and breakage.
The Cost? FREE!
3.) Get a thinning hair cut! Sounds weird, right? You’re hair is thinning, so get a thinning haircut – what kind of advice is that? Well, for me it really helped me in two ways. First, it prevented me from pulling my hair back. Before I got my haircut, my hair was thinning in the front and thick in the back and ran down to my mid-back. It was literally heavy, always making me hot or getting in my way and I only wanted to put it in a ponytail. Which (see # 2) made my hair loss even worse. Second, the heavy length of hair was pulling down my already fragile hair (due to anemia, see # 1). So when I finally started taking iron, I vowed to stop the ponytails! But my hair was too heavy and unmanageable. In spite of the thinning front, the back and sides of my hair were still thick! The hair stylist used a razor blade to thin my hair from the crown down on the “inside” of my hair. Go to the salon and ask the stylist to cut your hair with a razor blade instead of scissors, leave the length, but thin it out. When the haircut was finished, I had about a shoebox or more full of hair, but my hair retained its length and style. I felt like 10 pounds had been lifted off my head! It also made the thin parts in the front less noticeable.
The cost? The price of a regular hair cut. However, you must find someone skilled in razor-only haircuts. Do not allow someone to do this with teeth-scissors – it will kill your hair! (For some of the haircut this is OK, but 90% should be done razor-only.) If your normal hair stylist doesn’t do this kind of hair cut (many do not) try looking for a salon that caters to Asian hair. Asian hair stylists (or those who cut Asian hair) are experienced with having to thin down hair and are trained in razor cuts.
4.) Anti-dandruff shampoo rocks! In 1998, a scientific study showed that for men suffering from hair loss (androgenic alopecia), the anti-dandruff shampoo Nizoral was just as effective as Rogaine in preventing hair loss. Though not exactly sure how or why, the study results say that this product reduces inflammation, thus preventing hair loss. To be perfectly honest, when I went in for my thinning hair cut (see #3), the hair stylist told me that I had dandruff, so I started using an anti-dandruff shampoo. I’m not endorsing it or whatever, but I do use Head and Shoulders, in a nice-smelling version. While I’d never had dandruff in my life, I did seem to be itching my head a lot while this hair thinning thing was happening, but maybe it was because of the constant ponytails or my anxiety about the thinning hair. Either way, my hair is slowly getting back to normal and I’ll probably keep using the Head and Shoulders. Maybe Nizoral is more effective, for severe cases, but for me the Head and Shoulders seems to be making my head happy! Because dandruff shampoo doesn’t have any vitamins, minerals or hair strengthing agents (aside from Zinc as far as I know), I’m not using a 2-in-one or both shampoo and conditioner for dandruff (see # 5).
The cost? A bottle of Nizoral is under $20 and Head and Shoulders is the price of “normal” shampoos.
5.) Condition your hair right! Many conditioners offer promises of preventing hair loss – at $50 a bottle. You don’t need some expensive conditioner to get the nutrients that your hair needs. My recommendation is to choose a conditioner with vitamins B, vitamin E, vitamin F, biotin and/or PP. A “normal” priced conditioner can have these elements – just check and see what it has to offer. Since you might not find everything you want in one conditioner, it’s perfectly fine (and even preferable) to have a few different ones. I have one that’s vitamin-based, one that boasts of biotin, one whose big sell is keratin and another one that has oils in it. Variety is the spice of life! I also use conditioning oil and not moisture cream (I find it too sticky), but it’s really just what you prefer. There’s even conditioning sprays, which I also have one and use it interchangeably with the hair oil. My hair conditioning oil has borage oil in it, which is an Omega-6 fatty acid. Borage oil is also good for treating skin conditions like psoriasis, which many times can happen on the scalp.