If you find yourself in a situation where your hair strand looks thinner, or your scalp is gradually peaking through your hair, or you’re see a frightening amount of hair on the floor, you might probably have been frantically googling about ways to reduce hair loss.
However, with so many ways and treatments online and in the market, and different products claiming different solutions, it can get rather confusing and difficult to tell what’s truly essential from what’s really supplementary in reducing hair loss. You may even be focusing on the wrong treatment, which only leads to ineffectiveness.
To help you navigate through the sea of ways and treatments floating around the web, we sought the opinion of a hair care expert to debunk some of the myths and misconceptions regarding hair loss. She also guided us through effective ways that can best match one’s hair loss journey. We’ve narrowed it down to the 5 most effective ways and solutions to treat hair loss:
1. Having A Balanced Diet Is Key
What’s Happening Beneath The Scalp?
Imagine a strand of hair being slotted, through the scalp, into the gap of a letter ‘U’. That letter ‘U’ becomes a pocket to house your hair strand underneath the scalp. This ‘U’, is essentially a hair follicle. But hair strands do not get slotted into pocket-like follicles. Instead they grow from the base of the follicles, before pushing out through the skin.
The base of the hair follicle, aka the root, is where your hair is actually being made. Nutrients and oxygen gets transported via blood vessels to the root, which then uses the nourishment to make hair.
Your Hair Is A Reflection Of Your Diet
If nourishment supplied by the blood vessels is lacking in nutrients and oxygen, the hair root has to make do with this and produce hair out of this deficiency. Naturally, the hair that’s forming and showing on the scalp is weak and unhealthy.
It is often thin, tends to break easily, and sometimes falls off altogether. If you notice this happening to your hair strand, your body might be lacking in some nutrients. Your body is telling you to pay close attention to your diet and adjust your nutritional intake accordingly.
But before you start making changes to your diet, it’s good to keep in mind that getting all the different nutrients from just one food group may not be the best idea. It is a common fact that eating something in excess can be detrimental to one’s health. A balanced diet is indeed key.
Here are a few essential vitamins and nutrients needed for healthy hair growth:
Protein – The Material Of Our Hair
Found in foods such as meat (beef, pork, chicken), fish, eggs, and nuts.
Vitamin A – A Natural Moisturiser For Our Hair
If you’ve always hated vegetables and grown up avoiding the greens, you might want to reconsider. Vegetables like carrots, pumpkin, spinach, kale, are rich in Vitamin A.
Vitamin C – Strengthen The Capillaries For Better Blood Flow
Commonly found in citrus fruits, and others such as blueberries, and guava.
2. Washing Your Hair The Proper Way
Washing your hair is not quite as simple as just wet, lather, and rinse.
It requires the thorough washing away of sebum (oil), sweat, dirt, and residue that have accumulated on your scalp from your daily activities, your styling products like wax, clay, and hair spray, and even your conditioner. If all that accumulation isn’t removed during your washing process, they can clog your hair follicles and cause hair loss.
The hair care expert stressed that washing your hair thoroughly plays a huge and crucial role in preventing and combatting hair loss. The quicker you correct your washing techniques, the more hair you can save. Here are important tips to take note of:
Gentle Washing And A Scalp Massage
Are you guilty of scrubbing your hair or scalp with shampoo? Hair when wet can easily break so it’s important to be gentle when washing. Always gently massage the shampoo into your scalp and lather at the scalp to stimulate blood flow.
Daily Washing May Be The Best Option For You
Singapore’s unbearably hot and humid weather often leaves us with an oily scalp which leads to hair fall. If you’re one of those who sweat a lot in your day-to-day activities, daily washing of hair is recommended to prevent buildup and reduce the oiliness of the scalp.
Apply Conditioner Correctly To Avoid Buildup
If you’re someone who skips out on conditioner just because your hair’s short, don’t. Like skincare, moisturizing is a necessary step after cleansing. To rebalance the moisture of your hair now that its been stripped away by all that washing, we need to moisturize it. So start conditioning!
3. Hair Replacement
Tried to optimise your diet with little to no improvements? Gone through bottles after bottles of anti-hair fall products? Fret not! You’ve not reached a dead-end in your battle with hair loss. There’s a non-surgical method called hair replacement that is the best fit for cases like yours. It is painless, affordable upfront cost, and guarantees instantaneous results.
What Is Hair Replacement?
Hair replacement is a cosmetic solution that works like a wig, but better. It only requires the bare minimum of some natural hair on the sides and back of your head so it is suitable for men experiencing early to late-stage hair loss. The “wig” aka headpiece covers the rest of your head, specifically, the top (crown area) and front (forehead area) part of your head. Most of the hair replacement clinics in Singapore use 100% natural hair for headpieces but some may also offer synthetic hair.
No Pain, Just Gain
The steps involved are simple. Choose a hairstyle that’s to your liking and leave the rest to the experts. They’ll customise a headpiece that matches your hair to a tee. The headpiece will be taped with a waterproof adhesive to your scalp. You’ll get a haircut as a finishing touch and voilà! You can now walk out of the clinic with a head full of hair styled just the way you wanted in less than 2 hours or so.
It also looks incredulously natural since it’s customized to blend seamlessly with your natural hair. In fact, calling this a wig is quite an understatement. This headpiece is everything a wig could never be: you can shower, work, exercise, and do sports as per usual
The only thing required of you is to make the monthly maintenance trip to your hair replacement salon. You can also opt to change your look with a different hairstyle every time you change a new headpiece. So really, you get to experiment with different looks, look good, regain your confidence, and lose out on nothing since results are guaranteed. When desired, it’s also entirely reversible, which makes it perfect for those who need instantaneous transformation for one-off events or important photoshoots. You can check out a review of a hair replacement here.
4. Scalp Treatment
Hair loss, hair thinning or hair breakage can often point to an unhealthy scalp, clogged hair follicles, and sometimes damaged hair follicles. Scalp is after all skin and similar to skincare, it needs some form of scalp care to maintain its health and ensure that the hair follicles can grow strong and resilient hair. Once your follicles are damaged and beyond repair, it’s hard for hair to grow, and this is when there’s really not much scalp treatment can do.
So if you’re lucky enough to catch the early signs of hair loss, such as hair thinning or an alarming amount of hair fall, you are in a favourable position to really maximize the effectiveness of scalp treatment. Although treatment may vary from person to person, scalp treatment can effectively help to revive the health of your follicle, strengthen your hair.
Here are the three main benefits of scalp treatment:
- Unclog Hair Follicles
There are times when cleansing your scalp with shampoo is not enough. Your hair follicles may still be clogged. Scalp treatment can help to give your scalp a deep-cleanse to unclog your hair follicles. This can promote healthy hair growth. After all, our skin needs to “breathe” and so do our scalp and hair follicles.
- Promote Hair Growth
Nothing beats a scalp massage by a professional at a scalp treatment center. Massage improves blood circulation and blood flow to your scalp to promote hair growth. Scalp mask at treatment centers can help to provide nourishment for you scalp for healthy hair to grow.
- Treat Unhealthy Scalp
Professionals at scalp treatment centers can effectively help to resolve your scalp issues such as dry or flaky or oily scalps. All of which may be the cause of your hair loss.
5. Prescribed And Over-The-Counter Medication
Besides products and external treatments, you can consider medication options if you’re willing to wait several months to see results. For men who experience hair loss due to hormones in their body, taking medication can be a better fit. Here is two of the most used medication to treat hair loss in men:
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone called androgen, is made from testosterone. It is responsible for biological male characteristics such as facial hair, voice, and muscles. Unfortunately, it’s also responsible for hair loss. DHT causes your hair follicles to shrink in size and makes it hard for hair to grow out. The smaller the follicle size, the fewer the number of hair strands per follicle.
Finasteride is an oral medication that has years of clinical studies as a DHT blocker. Since conversion of testosterone to DHT needs an enzyme, what Finasteride does is that it reduces this specific enzyme, which lowers the levels of DHT in the body. It may take 3 to 6 months of consistent consumption to produce noticeable results.
You’ll need a doctor’s prescription to purchase it in local pharmacies. And as always, it’s good to discuss with your doctor about the side effects. Alternatively, you can try natural DHT blockers, such as palmetto, or pumpkin seed oil.
Minoxidil started out as a treatment for high blood pressures by widening or relaxing blood vessels to allow blood to flow more easily. But it had side effects of excessive, unwanted hair growth. Naturally, drug companies tapped on that and started developing it as medicine for hair loss. Minoxidil can help to enlarge your hair follicle (which means thicker hair) and lengthen the growth period.
You can easily get minoxidil at your local pharmacies. No prescription is needed. They sell different brands with varying concentrations of minoxidil. Keep in mind that the higher the concentration, the stronger the side effects, and sometimes, more isn’t better. Like Finasteride, it can take months before results start to show.
At the end of the day, there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for hair loss. Our body is quite complex and oftentimes, our root cause(s) may be less straightforward. It requires quite a number of trial and error through different combinations of treatments. And if those don’t work, perhaps it’s time to visit a dermatologist to help you identify the root cause of your hair loss or visit a hair replacement salon to get an instant hair transformation.