So you’re a few hairs short of your former glory?! It happens to the best of us...a whopping 85%, according to the AHLA... and like countless other guys in your position, you may have resorted to becoming your own hair detective, tracking every single hair on your head. It’s a stressful pastime - and a useless one at that (sorry, not sorry).
Whether it’s the guys who refuse to hop on the stress wagon to begin with or the ones who choose to jump off after years of worry, men are flocking natural hair loss treatments at a staggering rate.
Why, you ask? Let me drop some knowledge on ya.
If you’ve heard about old-school remedies like Minoxidil (the active ingredient in a topical “solution” whose name rhymes with “Flogain”), the hype might make it seem like a no-brainer....”Slathering this junk on my bald spots twice a day = more hair, less problems”.
Right? WRONG. Here’s a big ‘ole problem: drugs like this are absolutely brimming with chemicals that are far more likely to cause a truckload of side effects than they are to cause brand new baby hairs to sprout up out of your scalp.
Drugs like Minoxidil not only make your follicles chemical-dependent - which messes up your natural growth cycle - they can also cause hormonal imbalances, chest pain, headaches, increased blood pressure - I’ll spare you its entirety, but I assure you, the list goes on.
Natural hair loss solutions. They’re catching traction, and they’re worth their weight in gold. While you may not be able to do a darn thing about genetic balding, there’s a lot you can to curb and recover from situational hair loss, and make the most of what you’ve got left. Read and learn, fellas!
Cut Stress Off At The Knees
We all know stress is bad. Bad for your heart...bad for your mental health...bad for your mood...and, you guessed it, bad for your hair! Kicking stress to the curb is an important part of halting situational (stress-related) hair loss and jump-starting regrowth.
Reducing stress might seem impossible....obviously, the answer to a stressful job is likely not telling off your boss and storming out the door. (I mean, it can be, but food and shelter are profoundly higher on my list of priorities than run-your-fingers-through-it locks...but to each his own.) While eliminating stressors is best when possible, finding ways to cope are a close second when moving back into your mama’s basement just isn’t an option.
Here are some quick, easy ways to fit “Blowing off some steam” into your daily routine:
- Physical Activity: Whether you’re gonna dust off your wife’s old Richard Simmons VHS tapes and sweat to the oldies or take up UFC-style cagefighting, finding a way to work through your frustrations is a tried and true way to reduce stress.
- Daily Downtime: Reading a book, meditating, listening to music, or praying are just a few great ways to slow down cortisol (“stress” hormone) production and speed up serotonin (“happy” hormone) production. Go forth, and enjoy a good true crime thriller or the latest track from your favorite death metal band with pride. Your hair will thank you!
- Find the Silver Lining: You’re not doing yourself any favors by dwelling on the bad...look for the good in every situation and find a way to be thankful for what goes right rather than getting all hot-headed over what goes wrong. Make a plan to fix what you can, and let the rest go, man.
- Don’t Bury Your Head In The Sand: Football coaches review game tapes with players to get a handle on what they’re doing well, and identify what they could do better, right? Same theory applies to life, guys...communication is key! Contrary to popular belief, being vulnerable with your significant other or a trusted confidante isn’t “weak”...it takes brawn and brains, and your life, relationships - and HAIR - will be better for it!
Massage the Dome, Dude - SERIOUSLY
Many of you are probably afraid to admit it - but massages are pretty friggin amazing. Sure, a good scalp massage feels pretty great...but it also works wonders for hair growth!
Let me break it down for you. Massage dilates blood vessels beneath the skin. Wider vessels means enhanced blood flow. Increased blood flow means improved follicle health. Improved follicle health means faster hair growth, less hair loss, and better strand retention.
Simple in theory, right? Simple in practice, too! Pay a little extra attention to your scalp each time you wash your hair. Ask your partner for a dome rub-down a couple of times a week. Pick up one of those funny-looking-but-highly-satisfying scalp massaging gadgets that you’d normally disregard on your next excursion to Bed, Bath and Beyond. Seriously. Your scalp will thank you.
It’s Not “Just” Shampoo, Guys
While chemical options took an early foothold, naturally-derived growth and thickening shampoos are quickly becoming the golden standard of the 21st century. Promoting regrowth and aiding retention by repairing and nourishing the scalp and oh-so-important follicles, these saviors are surprisingly effective at solving the condition issues most commonly associated with non-genetic hair loss.
Beyond fighting excessive shedding and supporting scalp health and maximum hair growth long-term, thickening shampoos also have the immediate benefit of fattening up each individual strand with each wash - making sure that you’re making the most of the hair you’ve got, which in turn helps to minimize the appearance of “problem areas”.
Once you’ve found the right Thickening Shampoo is a great choice if you’re not up to falling down the proverbial rabbit hole of options), it’s important to use it consistently at least twice a week, massaging into the scalp with each wash to ensure maximum benefit. It’s also important to consider how often you’re washing your hair - for many men, shampooing a couple of times a week does the trick. When in doubt, ask your barber (or stylist - we’re not here to judge!) for their input.
Style With Caution
In a world of “I want it NOW”, it’s all too easy to focus on the instant gratification of results TODAY - without considering what it may cost us tomorrow. Looking F-I-N-E fine for a date, or just the right amount of business and casual for that meeting can be all-encompassing...but all too often, the tools and tactics we employ along the way only make it harder later on.
If you’re anything like a lot of men, you’ve been using the same pomade since you were old enough to know what pomade is, and have discovered as you age that utilizing a blow-dryer can help create coverage where coverage is suddenly lacking. I’m not saying throw your whole routine out the window...I’m simply suggesting that there are some super simple steps you can take to look and feel your best and avoid making hair loss even worse.
Like selecting a shampoo, you should aim to find products that are as natural as possible and not only serve a styling purpose, but also help to nourish the scalp and hydrate hair. A high quality hair serum is always a good idea if you’ll be using a hairdryer (I won’t tell anyone, scout’s honor) as they generally offer thermal protection to guard against heat-induced damage.
If you brush your hair, make sure to choose a high-quality brush with natural bristles, like boar bristles, to protect the scalp and minimize strand damage. Finally, avoid heavy finishing creams and pomades...no matter how shiny they make your hair look, they often impede airflow to the scalp - which is never ideal. Opt for a texturizing or thickening spray instead, for light hold and enhanced texture and manageability.
Drink Water. Eat Well. Period.
It’s basic science: Proper hydration and nourishment is important for overall wellness, and especially vital for scalp health - which is, of course, at the root of hair health (epic dad-pun intended).
While the old “8-8oz glasses of water a day” adage held true for many years, more recent research shows that optimal hydration is weight-dependent (duh), and closer to about half of your body weight in ounces of water per day.
(For example: If you weigh 220 pounds, you should be drinking 110oz of water daily.) Proper hydration supports a number of essential health benefits and the absorption of practically every vital nutrient; in regards to scalp health specifically, it can help to hydrate, repair, and properly nourish follicles - all necessary benefits to maximizing hair growth.
A well-balanced diet is also crucial in terms of hair health...the same foods you’d eat to promote a healthier, stronger body are the same foods that you should focus on for stronger, healthier hair. (Think lots of protein, veggies and fruits, gentlemen!)
Supplements: They’re Not Just for Bodybuilders Anymore!
Despite our best efforts, nobody eats all the healthy things all the time. We all have days (or weeks...or years…) where we fall short of getting what our bodies need with food alone.
While a reasonably balanced and intentional diet is ideal, supplements are a phenomenal way to fill in any gaps. (Hey, pork rinds aren’t baked chicken and steamed broccoli...but they’ll do in a pinch!)
Meeting the Recommended Daily Intake (RDA) for essential nutrients like Vitamins A, B and E are an easy way to support a healthier, fuller head of hair, while Biotin supplementation can further enhance hair quality and texture. (Get greedy, gents...quality and quantity!)
Word to the wise: READ. THE. LABEL. All supplements are definitely not created equal...make sure your supplements aren’t spiked with nasty chemical binders and fillers, additives, or preservatives!
When all is said and done, thinning hair doesn’t have to kill your game, guys...do what you can to make the most of what you’ve got, and don’t stress the rest!