During Thinning Hair Awareness Week (yes, it's a real thing..) HuffPost UK Lifestyle asked hair experts to let them know if there are any ways to keep our hair looking healthy for as long as possible.
Trichologists Philip Kingsley and Glenn Lyons put their heads together and came up with these top tips...
Do you think their advice could help? Let us know in the comments below.
It is worth noting that HRT, which uses the same hormones, can have the same effect, but are only given to women who haven’t had a hysterectomy. This type of hair thinning can be partially reversed with the correct treatment, and taking the right type of contraceptive pill is very important to the prognosis.
Ensure that the scalp is healthy. Recent research indicates that dandruff or flaky scalps increases rate of hair shedding. To counteract an unhealthy scalp use a scalp mask such as Philip Kingsley Scalp Mask (£5.25 (30ml) philipkingsley.com) once a week. Also, use a shampoo for flaky/itchy scalps every day for a week to clear the scalp, then occasionally for adequate control.
Extreme stress can cause hair loss in the form of alopecia areata. It is important to identify what it is that is causing the stress, perhaps it is a difficult relationship, money worries, or a miserable job. Once the cause is identified, it makes it much easier to treat the stress, I also highly recommend yoga. It is brilliant for lowering stress levels. Any hobby that you find interesting or that takes your mind of things that make you stressed are beneficial, walking, reading, going to the cinema are all very good stress relievers.
Exercising regularly would tend to have a positive effect on hair: The fitter you are, the more hair should benefit. As far as sweating and more frequent shampooing is concerned, it is good, not bad, to shampoo hair frequently.
One of the most important factors in preventing hair loss is adequate iron storage, which is called Ferritin. This helps to maximise hair growth, low levels will cause hair shedding. It may also be necessary to buy a vitamin B12 supplement and/or iron, but iron should be taken only if necessary after a blood test. It is surprising how many young women have low iron levels.
Tight hair styles, ponytails, hard brushing, hair extensions can all lead to traction hair loss – that is hair loss due to constant pulling on the hair follicles.
Excessive weight-loss can cause hair to thin. If a slim person loses 2 kg for example, they may find that their hair begins to thin. Your hair is not a vital tissue, like bone marrow, nor is it a vital organ, like your heart, liver or kidneys. What little nutrition you are getting through a restrictive diet will go to those parts of you first. Even though your hair is very important to you psychologically, your body is much more concerned with keeping its internal organs healthy. If your body is feeling deprived and hungry on a crash diet or restrictive diet, you can only imagine how your hair follicles are feeling! This starvation of the follicles causes your hair go into the telogen (resting/falling) phase prematurely, and many hairs at the same time. You can experience mass hair loss depending on how bad your diet was and for how long the diet went on for.
It is not just stress that can have a detrimental effect on our hair, we now know The Pill can thin hair too. Several widely prescribed contraceptive pills, for example Logynon, Microgynon, Ovranette and Loestrin, all contain the highest levels of two particular male hormone derivatives, or progestins, that are linked with hair thinning – caused by the hair follicles getting smaller (and each hair growing thinner) rather than hair actually falling out. This thinning only affects women sensitive to hormonal change, but that accounts for 40% of women. The Pill is made up of both female and male hormones, ‘but look out for those containing levonorgestel and norethisterone, the two male hormone progestins that are the main culprits, they’re the most prescribed, though that’s more down to ignorance on the GP’s part. If you feel that your hair is thinning, your GP should be happy to change your prescription; ask for a Pill that has a low or no ‘androgenic’ action, like drospirenone found in Yasmin, norgestimate found in Cilest and desogestral found in Marvelon. Dianette, which works as an oral contraceptive, contains cyproterone acetate, and this can be helpful in treating thinning hair, along with acne and facial hair growth.
Supplements can help, too. Try PK4Hair, a protein supplement and also a multi vitamin and mineral supplement.
It is important not to leave it too long between meals. By eating every 3-4 hours can help prevent hair loss. The energy to form hair cells diminishes four hours after eating a meal, so snacking between meals will help boost energy levels. The best energy boosting snacks are complex carbohydrates such as fruit.
Hair is made of 85% protein and is the second most prolific growing cell in the body; therefore, its demand for energy is high. It is important to eat proteins for hair strength as part of a moderately balanced diet.