Aging and genetics can both cause hair loss. The underlying cause of hair loss affects what treatments will be most effective. Options include supplements, medicated ointments, and lifestyle changes.

Hair loss is a concern for some people. Depending on the cause of hair loss, certain practices and treatments may help strengthen or regrow hair.

This article contains several tips for preventing hair loss and ways to regrow hair.

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Modifying diet can have an effect on hair growth and hair health. Diet changes can include:

A 2017 study found that several participants experiencing hair loss had low protein and amino acid intakes. Researchers need to carry out additional studies to examine whether nutritional deficiencies do relate to hair loss.

A 2017 study in Archives of Dermatological Research found an association between the herbs and vegetables in the Mediterranean diet and a decreased risk of androgenetic alopecia, or pattern baldness, in males.

Very low calorie diets can deprive the body of essential nutrients, including those necessary for healthy hair, such as protein, fatty acids, and zinc. Crash diets do not usually result in permanent weight loss.

According to a 2019 review of literature, hair loss can occur in people who lose body cell mass as the result of weight loss from a low calorie diet. This can result in temporary hair loss.

Some supplements and treatments may help prevent or reduce hair loss.

Studies dating back several years suggest vitamins help prevent hair loss.

A 2019 review in Dermatology and Therapy examined the role of various vitamins and minerals in preventing hair loss. The role of vitamins and minerals in hair loss remains unclear.

However, vitamin deficiencies may be a risk factor for hair loss. Some vitamins and minerals that may help include:

Anyone considering taking a multivitamin supplement should talk to a doctor first. The best products contain all or most of the recommended daily amounts of each vitamin and mineral in a single dose.

However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate dietary supplements in the same way as they do medications. Third-party companies, such as NSF, USP, ConsumerLab, or Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG), can analyze supplements for quality and provide a Certificate of Analysis (COA). However, supplements do not require third-party vetting to be sold to the public. A person may want to choose dietary supplements that have been vetted by a third-party company.

Several medications for preventing hair loss are available.

According to a 2019 review of studies, minoxidil, applied topically, is the go-to treatment for androgenetic alopecia in both men and women. Minoxidil is the active ingredient in Rogaine, which is available over the counter (OTC).

The review suggests that doctors sometimes use minoxidil for treating other causes of hair loss, such as from chemotherapy. The authors of the review state that more research into minoxidil could be beneficial.

The prescription drug finasteride (Propecia) is another medication for hair loss on the scalp. It can be taken orally or applied topically.

A 2021 clinical trial found that a topical finasteride spray solution significantly improved the hair count of 323 males with pattern baldness.

Certain practices and products may contribute to healthier hair and prevent hair loss. These can include:

A small 2016 study of nine healthy men found that a daily 4-minute scalp massage stimulated hair growth.

These findings are promising. But researchers will need to study larger samples to determine whether scalp massages are helpful for hair loss.

Low-level laser light therapy (LLLT), also known as red light therapy, is a treatment for skin issues that uses low-wavelength red light to stimulate cell growth.

According to a small 2020 controlled trial in Korea, after 16 weeks, LLLT significantly increased hair density and thickness in 48 people with androgenetic alopecia.

Researchers need to conduct additional research to determine the proper wavelengths and duration of treatment.

A study in 2018 found that coconut oil may help to prevent hair loss due to ultraviolet light damage or grooming habits. However, further research is necessary to confirm this.

Applying coconut oil to the scalp could strengthen hair and avoid loss from damage.

Applying certain essential oils to the scalp may boost hair growth.

A small 2021 study found that pumpkin seed oil, applied topically to the scalp for three months, significantly increased hair regrowth in people with female pattern baldness.

Rosemary oil applied to the scalp may be as effective as minoxidil, according to a 2015 randomized controlled trial.

In a 2020 study of people with central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA), a type of scarring hair loss experienced by women of African descent, the following were among the essential oils that showed promise for increasing hair growth:

Researchers still need to conduct larger studies into the effects of essential oils on hair growth to determine their effectiveness for other causes of hair loss.

Caffeine in topical formulations such as shampoo and conditioner may prevent hair loss as effectively as monoxidil, according to a 2020 review. Caffeine stimulates metabolism and the proliferation of cells.

Using shampoo or scalp treatments that contain antioxidants may decrease hair loss and improve the health of the scalp.

Women who used either a shampoo or leave-in scalp treatment containing the antioxidant piroctone olamine for an 8-week period had increased hair growth and more improved scalp conditions than women who used placebo products, according to a 2021 clinical trial.

A silk or satin pillowcase can help prevent hair breakage caused by friction, tangling, and tugging.

Going to sleep with wet hair may weaken the strands and may cause breakage. When hair is wet, it is in a vulnerable state.

Taking proper care of the hair and scalp can help prevent hair loss. It may also improve hair growth. Keeping the scalp and hair clean may also prevent hair damage and loss.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) recommends gently massaging the shampoo into the scalp but not into the hair. The Association also recommends using conditioner after every shampoo.

The AAD states that wearing tight hairstyles such as ponytails, buns, or cornrows can damage hair and recommends loose hairstyles that do not pull on the hair.

According to a 2015 review, certain medicated shampoos and conditioners could prevent hair loss. Avoiding harsh treatments, such as heat, curling, and dyes, may also help.

Hair grows and eventually falls out as part of its normal cycle. It can build up on hair brushes, pillows, or shower drains.

Most people will not notice the natural hair loss that occurs daily. Hair thickness and the hairline usually remain the same.

People are more likely to notice excessive hair loss, which may be due to an underlying condition. Symptoms of excessive hair loss can include:

  • sudden loss of hair
  • losing patches of hair
  • noticeable thinning

Several possible factors may cause excessive hair loss.

One of the most common causes involves genetics. According to a 2019 review, pattern baldness affects up to 50% of men and women.

Commercial products could help to slow and treat this type of balding. This includes products like minoxidil (Rogaine).

Pattern baldness occurs slowly with aging. Some more immediate causes of hair loss can include:

Whether hair growth can return depends on the cause of the hair loss. A dermatologist can determine whether a person’s hair may regrow on its own.

Hair loss may be temporary and reversed for the following conditions:

  • If medications are causing hair loss, hair may start growing back once the person stops taking the medication. It can take up to 18 months for complete regrowth.
  • During pregnancy, hair loss may occur due to decreased estrogen levels. Many people also experience temporary hair loss about 3 months after childbirth.
  • In mild cases of the autoimmune disease alopecia areata, hair loss may be reversed after treatment.
  • Cancer treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy can cause hair loss that may be reversed when the treatment is completed.
  • People may experience significant hair loss due to stress for weeks to months after a major surgery or after having a major illness.
  • People may experience hair loss if they lose over 20 pounds.

To help hair grow again, a dermatologist may perform a procedure such as the following:

  • Corticosteroid injections into bald or thinning areas every 4 to 8 weeks. The AAD says this is the most effective treatment for alopecia areata.
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy involves a doctor drawing a small amount of blood and injecting the plasma into bald areas. The 10-minute procedure is necessary once monthly for 3 months, then once each 3 to 6 months.

A dermatologist may also prescribe finasteride (Propecia) to slow hair loss and boost hair growth.

Here are some frequently asked questions about hair loss.

What is the best treatment for hair falling out?

As hair can fall out for a number of reasons, there is no individual best treatment. Depending on the cause, a doctor may recommend medication, dietary changes, applying certain products to the scalp or hair, and protecting the hair.

Can hair grow back after thinning?

A person’s hair may grow back after thinning or hair loss, depending on the cause. For example, if medication is causing hair loss, then stopping taking medication can help encourage regrowth.

How can I stop hair loss naturally?

For some people, dietary changes can help reduce or prevent hair loss. This might include consuming more protein, following the Mediterranean diet, and avoiding crash diets.

What does a dermatologist do for hair loss?

A dermatologist can assess a person’s hair and advise on whether a person’s hair can regrow. They may then recommend and perform treatments such as corticosteroid injections and PRP therapy.

People looking for a treatment to help prevent or regrow hair have several potential options. The effectiveness of each option will vary from person to person and may depend on the cause of the hair loss.

People should talk with a doctor before starting a new hair loss treatment or taking supplements.