Do you want to get back your thicker, fuller locks? You’re probably convinced that the shedding and thinning of your hair is never going to stop. You’re probably thinking you’ll end up balder than a baby. It’s so scary right?.
But the problem may not be as alarming as you think. Wilma Fowler Bergfeld, M.D., senior dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio says that “At some point after 40, hair fibers get thinner and your ponytail diameter may shrink,”. “As a result, you think you’re losing your hair, whether it’s happening or not.”
SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? GET YOUR HAIR BACK WITH THESE 10 TIPS:
1. SWITCH TO A THICKENING SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER.
Look for ingredients like panthenol (vitamin B5) and oat protein, which will fatten up your strands. And don’t skip conditioner, even if it usually makes your hair limp. Instead, apply before you shampoo (hair will be less greasy) or use a lighter formula on ends. “The cuticles on hair are like shingles on a roof,” says Thom Priano, a hairstylist at Garren New York in New York City. “When you omit the conditioner step, you get more friction, which in turn further stresses damaged hair.”
2. TRY STYLING SOLUTIONS THAT DON’T REQUIRE HEAT.
“I tell my clients with thinning hair to avoid heat, overstyling, and tight ponytails whenever possible. The constant pull weakens the hair follicle,” says Priano. Whenever possible, let hair air-dry.
3. CONSIDER A NEW CUT.
“Many times a hairdresser can do more for you than I can,” says Philadelphia dermatologist George Cotsarelis, M.D., director of the University of Pennsylvania Hair and Scalp Clinic. Hair-thickening options include a layered or shaggy cut, deep bangs that mask sparse areas around your temples, or a “messy” style with an off-center part.
4. TRY A NEW COLOR.
Hair dye may be the best medicine. “Adding color can rough up the cuticle, which makes hair drier but thicker,” says Dr. Bergfeld. To maintain elasticity, try a once-weekly mask. Avoid extremely dark or light shades (which both draw attention to the scalp). And build depth with a few carefully placed highlights or lowlights around the face — too many highlights may weaken strands.
5. STOCK UP ON SOME VITAMIN D.
Vitamin D may also be key to hair vitality, according to some research. “Increasing vitamin D stores seems to bring hair back,” says Dr. Bergfeld, who advises getting dosing advice for these supplements from your doctor.
6. LOOK INTO GROWTH BOOSTERS.
The only FDA-approved treatment for hair loss in women is still Women’s Rogaine with 2% minoxidil, which works by reactivating dormant hair follicles. After several months of regular use, your hair may appear less thin, and your scalp may be blanketed with new growth. The downside: The required twice-daily application can literally cramp your style — it’s greasy stuff.
7. DECIDE WHEN IT’S TIME FOR EXPERT INTERVENTION.
If your hair is shedding at a rate you find alarming, it’s time to see a doctor. Whereas hair thinning is primarily genetic, “hair shedding can be caused by a host of different medical issues,” says Dr. Cotsarelis. A doctor can rule out — or treat — everything from a thyroid condition to an iron deficiency. “Perimenopausal women sometimes get anemic due to erratic, heavy bleeding,” says Dr. Bergfeld. “Once iron levels are restored to the mid-range of normal, hair growth returns in four to eight months.”
8. DON’T RULE OUT HAIR TRANSPLANT SURGERY.
To fill in larger patches, hair-transplant surgery — which involves moving healthy hair follicles from where they’re plentiful to sparser areas — can be “really beautiful,” says Dr. Bergfeld, if you can afford it. (A hair transplant costs between $3,000 and $15,000, depending on who does it and how much hair is involved.) Transplanted hair should take hold in its new location within four to six months, which restarts normal growth. But consult with a dermatologist before seeing a hair-restoration specialist to make sure you’re really a good candidate for surgery.
9. THE PILL
No, not that pill, unless you want everyone to stare at your new boobs instead of your shiny scalp. Finasteride, which in larger doses is used for prostate cancer, is the most effective way to keep your hair and regrow the hair you lost.
It’s available as a generic drug, but it also goes by the name Propecia. Either way, it ain’t cheap. You’re going to have to drop bank each month to keep taking the pills, and because it’s hormonal, you have to take it at pretty much the exact same time each day or else you’ll get some bitchy side effects. Also, there’s a 2% chance that you’ll lose your sex drive, and there’s no cheap test to know if you’re in that 2%. The only thing having a full head of hair and no sex drive is good for is having a scandal-free political career. If that’s what you want, then this drug is for you.
10. GO NATURAL
As for any time you attempt the “natural” solution for something, it’s probably not going to work. But that’s not going to stop you from thinking you’re awesome for breaking the chains of drug company slavery. And hey, if your hair loss isn’t genetic, using things like cold-pressed coconut oil or avocado oil as conditioner might actually help, as long as you’re willing to walk around smelling like a Spring Break hangover and some killer guacamole.