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Losing between 50 and 100 hair strands each day is completely normal and often goes unnoticed. Every hair falls out naturally once it has grown to its full extent, and it is then replaced by a new hair that starts forming in the same hair follicle.
However, many factors and conditions can impede this normal hair growth cycle and trigger faster hair shedding and slower hair regrowth. Thus, you start losing hair more quickly than what your body can replace.
Excessive hair fall over a period of time can lead to considerable hair thinning, receding hairline, bald patches, and even complete baldness. Understanding the root cause of your hair fall is the first step toward treating it.
The treatment will depend upon the type and cause of hair loss. Bear in mind that the same treatment may not work for every type of hair loss and every person.
While inherited or age-related hair loss cannot be reversed, it can be controlled or delayed with treatment, which aims to prevent further hair loss and promote hair regrowth in bald areas.
Most cases of mild hair loss can be addressed through simple hair care measures, lifestyle changes, and dietary changes along with some home remedies. In fact, these interventions can also help enhance the effectiveness of your medical hair loss treatment.
Home Remedies for Hair Loss
The following home remedies are widely used for reducing hair loss and improving hair regeneration, but they do not guarantee successful results for everyone. You have to try different remedies to see which one works for you best.
Keep in mind that no hair treatment or remedy can facilitate complete hair regrowth, so it’s best to manage your expectations.
1. Massage the scalp
Gently massaging the head with your fingers or a store-bought massaging device helps relax the nerves in your scalp and enhances blood circulation in the area. Increased blood flow to the scalp delivers more nutrients to the hair follicles, thus stimulating hair growth. This simple technique has shown to improve hair volume when done regularly and with a suitable hair oil. (1)
Coconut oil is considered one of the most effective in this regard. It has the right consistency to penetrate deep into the scalp and moisturize it from within, which prevents dandruff, strengthens hair roots, and encourages hair formation. (2)(3)
While a few studies support the use of massage for hair growth, more studies are needed to determine just how effective this intervention is.
- Massage a hair oil in your scalp using light pressure and gentle circular motions for a few minutes, and then let it sit for at least 1 hour before washing it off with a shampoo. Do this twice every week.
- Although coconut oil is the most preferred option, you can also use olive oil, argan oil, almond oil, and castor oil for the same.
2. Apply aloe vera
Aloe vera gel is credited with a lot of medicinal properties that are routinely utilized in skin remedies and may prove helpful in improving your hair health as well.
In fact, aloe vera hair masks have shown considerable success in reducing hair fall by strengthening hair follicles. Moreover, aloe gel helps hydrate the scalp to relieve dandruff and the itching and flakiness associated with it. (4)
- Cut open an aloe vera leaf from the side and scoop out the gel from within.
- Apply the gel to your hair and scalp, and let it sit for about 45 minutes before rinsing it out with plain water.
- Apply this mask at least 3–4 times a week for best results.
3. Apply onion juice
The juice extracted from onions contains concentrated amounts of sulfur, which when applied to the scalp helps stimulate hair follicles and promote hair regrowth. Moreover, onions are known to exhibit antibacterial properties that help fight against scalp infections.
- Grind one onion and squeeze out its juice.
- Soak a cotton ball in the onion juice and dab it all over your scalp.
- Let your scalp marinate in the juice for 20–30 minutes, and then wash it off using a mild shampoo and plain water.
- Use this hair treatment once a week.
4. Use fenugreek seeds
Fenugreek is one of the most widely used home remedies for reducing hair loss. (6) The seeds of this medicinal herb are loaded with proteins and nicotinic acid, both of which not only strengthen the hair shaft but also repair damaged hair follicles and stimulate hair regrowth. (6)
- Soak a cup of fenugreek seeds in water overnight to soften them.
- Grind the softened seeds into a fine paste.
- Apply the paste all over your hair and scalp, and then preferably cover your head with a shower cap to keep the paste from drying out.
- Leave the paste on for 30–40 minutes, and then rinse it out with just normal water. No need to use shampoo.
- Apply this hair mask twice a week for a month.
5. Use amla (Indian gooseberry)
Indian gooseberry (Emblica officinalis), when applied to the scalp, helps trigger the proliferation of dermal papilla cells in the hair follicles, ultimately leading to hair growth. (7)
- Massage your scalp with fresh amla juice or amla oil using gentle circular motions so that it is properly absorbed.
- Leave it on for 30 minutes before washing it off with a mild shampoo, followed by application of a hair conditioner.
- Do this 1–2 times a week.
6. Massage green tea
Green tea is renowned as a therapeutic beverage, but not many people are aware of its topical benefits, especially for hair care. This liquid is loaded with catechins, saponins, and antioxidants, all of which can help fight toxins and free radicals that weaken your hair daily.
Moreover, these compounds help stimulate the hair follicles on your scalp to produce new hair. This involves encouraging hair cell production while simultaneously reducing hair cell death inside the hair follicle. (8)
- Dip 2 green tea bags in 2 cups of boiling water, and allow the liquid to cool down until it’s lukewarm.
- You can transfer the tea to a spray bottle for easy application.
- Wash your hair with shampoo, and then spray the green tea onto your scalp while your hair is still moist. Gently massage the tea throughout your hair and all over your scalp.
- Wear a plastic cap to seal your hair, and allow the tea to be sufficiently absorbed for about 30 minutes.
- Wash your head with cold water.
7. Apply an egg hair mask
Eggs are one of the richest sources of protein, the main hair-building material. This explains why egg-based hair masks are so popular.
Eggs have been a consistent part of hair care regimens for generations, proving that their effectiveness has stood the test of time. Regular use of egg hair masks can help make your hair stronger, softer, shinier, and longer.
- Mix two egg whites, 1 teaspoon of honey, and 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a bowl.
- Apply this mixture all over your hair and scalp, and let it sit for about 20 minutes.
- Wash your hair with a mild shampoo and warm water.
8. Use apple cider vinegar
Dry, unruly hair is difficult to manage and more prone to falling out or breaking. A lot of people use diluted apple cider vinegar (ACV) to wash their frizzy hair to make it softer, shinier, and easier to detangle.
Moreover, a healthy scalp is a prerequisite for healthy hair, and ACV might help in that regard too. Dryness of hair and scalp is a sign of increased alkalinity, and this mild acid can help balance it out. Thus, ACV may help relieve itching and flaking of the scalp while stimulating the hair follicles for improved hair growth.
Bear in mind, however, that all these hair benefits attributed to ACV are purely anecdotal with little to no scientific support
- Dilute one part of raw ACV into three parts water.
- Preferably add honey and coconut oil to the solution, and mix all the ingredients.
- Pour the mixture into a clean spray bottle, and then spritz it all over your hair and scalp.
- Cover your head with a shower cap, and let your hair and scalp soak in the solution for 1–2 hours.
- Wash your hair with normal water and a mild shampoo thereafter.
- Use this remedy twice a week.
Note: Do not apply ACV for longer than the recommended period or in undiluted form as it can damage your hair and scalp.
9. Try essential oils
Essential oils are extracted from various medicinal plants and are used for a range of therapeutic purposes. These potent liquids contain concentrated amounts of plant nutrients, minus any chemical toxins, making them rather safe for use either topically or in aromatherapy. However, they can be quite strong at their original consistency and must be diluted with a carrier oil or water to avoid adverse reactions.
Certain essential oils such as cedarwood, lavender, (9) rosemary, (10) thyme, basil, and ginseng (11) can help improve hair health by stimulating blood circulation in the scalp and cell proliferation in the hair follicles. Both these actions contribute to faster hair growth, but more research is needed to understand the true effectiveness of essential oils in this regard.
Moreover, applying these soothing oils to your head can help relieve headaches and stress, while their antimicrobial action can help fight scalp infections.
- Undiluted essential oil can irritate, burn, or damage sensitive scalp skin. Thus, always mix only a few drops of the essential oil in a carrier oil of your choice, such as coconut or almond oil.
- Patch test the oil mix on the underside of your arm and wait for a day to rule out any adverse reaction.
- If you are in the clear, gently massage the oil mixture into your scalp using your fingertips in circular motions.
Dos and Don’ts for Preventing Hair Loss
Most people suffer from hereditary baldness, which is passed down to them through their genes, and virtually nothing can be done to prevent it. However, the following lifestyle changes and hair care tips can go a long way in controlling preventable hair loss:
- Vigorous or excessive hair washing strips the moisture from your scalp as well as damages or weakens your hair. Thus, you must apply gentle hand motions when cleaning your hair and scalp.
- The right hair care products greatly improve your hair health and help minimize hair shedding or breakage. Your dermatologist can recommend a suitable hair-strengthening shampoo that is devoid of harsh chemicals and a leave-in conditioner that has to be used after every wash to moisturize and detangle your hair. Apply the conditioner chiefly on the tips of the hair.
- Let your hair air-dry after taking a shower, or wrap them in a microfiber towel as it quickly soaks in the excess moisture.
- Avoid using a blow-dryer as it can damage the hair shaft and roots. If necessary, use it after towel drying your hair first to minimize the time for blow-drying. Use the lowest temperature setting and don’t direct the heat to one spot for too long.
- Exercise regularly, and practice stress management.
- Consume a well-balanced diet rich in vitamins, proteins, and minerals such as iron that are essential for hair growth and strengthening. Include foods like eggs, fish, and nuts in your regular diet.
- Shield your hair from sunlight and other sources of ultraviolet light by wearing a cap, hat, or headscarf when venturing outdoors during the day.
- Avoid the use of anabolic steroids or birth control pills.
- Refrain from smoking or consuming alcohol. Smoking can cause inflammation in the body and can aggravate hair loss.
- Do not use hot oil treatments, as the intense heat can further damage the already weakened hair. Use warm oil instead.
- People often experience substantial hair loss after getting hair treatments, so it’s best to avoid them if you already have thinning hair. If you must color, perm, straighten, or chemically relax your hair, don’t do it yourself. Instead, go to a credible salon where the professionals can assess the state of your hair and then use the safest hair products accordingly.
- Minimize the use of hairstyling tools such as curling irons, flat irons, and hot combs, which subject your hair to intense heat. Frequent or prolonged exposure to heat can damage or even burn your hair.
- You can style your hair in ways that conceal bald patches, or wear wigs or hairpieces to cover more extensive hair loss. Opt for haircuts that make your hair look more voluminous, or get hair weaves to fill in the areas of sparse hair growth. Avoid hairstyles that exert pressure on or pull at your hair and involve the use of rubber bands, braids, or barrettes.
- Some people compulsively twist or pull their hair, making it increasingly weak. Thus, it is important to control such tendencies.
- Your hair is at its weakest when it’s soaking wet, so it’s best to wait until it’s dry before combing or brushing it. Using a detangler helps loosen the hair knots to minimize tugging while combing. Also, hair specialists recommend using a wide-toothed wooden comb if your hair is extremely frizzy and prone to breaking.
- Always wear a swimming cap before entering a pool to protect your hair from the chlorinated water. Also, wash your hair after your swim.
- Use wigs or hairpieces if you are too concerned about your thinning hair, since the stress of it can further aggravate hair fall.
- Consult your doctor about replacing any medicines that might be causing hair loss and prescribing additional medicines that can address hereditary baldness.
- Avoid sharing brushes, combs, or hats with others to avoid contracting fungal infections of the scalp.
- People undergoing chemotherapy should wear a cooling cap to limit hair loss during treatment.
Supplements for Hair Loss
Some micronutrients play a critical role in the hair follicle cycle by facilitating hair cell turnover, constituting and dividing follicle bulbs, and producing matrix cells. Thus, a deficiency of these essential vitamins and minerals can impede hair growth or damage the hair structure.
For instance, not getting enough protein, biotin, and vitamins D, A, E, B12 can make your hair dry, damaged, and brittle, triggering greater hair loss while inhibiting new hair formation.
In such cases, you must first try to compensate for these nutritional deficiencies by consuming a wholesome diet. If you fail to derive enough nutrition from foods alone, you may consider taking supplements but only after consulting your doctor.
People often make the mistake of starting hair-growing supplements to treat or prevent alopecia, despite the presence of an underlying nutritional deficiency. This mindless action is merely a result of advertising and the availability of a wide variety of products and does not carry any scientific guarantee.
In fact, excessive intake of certain nutrients such as selenium, vitamin A, and vitamin E can prove counterproductive and can further increase hair loss. Moreover, these supplements are not regulated by the FDA. Therefore, consult a doctor about the efficacy and safety of these supplements before trying them. (12)
Most-Asked Questions About Hair Loss
How much hair loss is normal?
Hair loss is a common phenomenon occurring every day. People may lose up to 100 strands of hair each day. However, individuals with a family history of hair loss may lose more hair, often causing bald spots in men.
Around half of all people experience hair loss by the time they turn 50. While fairly common, hair loss may alter the way you look, making it a problem. Nevertheless, there are many ways to help combat hair loss.
How long does hair loss last?
The duration of a hair loss episode depends on its underlying cause. Telogen effluvium may last up to a few months, but the hair grows back in the subsequent time. Similarly, hair loss resulting from a medication is likely to resolve once the course of the drug is complete.
Additionally, hair loss due to tight hairstyles stops once you opt for natural hairdressing. However, hair loss from traction alopecia is often permanent.
Is coconut milk helpful for reducing hair fall?
Yes, it is helpful. Coconut milk is replete with many hair-nourishing nutrients that can help rejuvenate your hair follicles and strengthen your hair roots.
Hair strands that are firmly rooted into the scalp are less likely to break or fall out. Besides combating excessive hair loss, regular application of coconut milk may also help relieve dandruff, repair hair damage, and stimulate faster hair growth. However, more studies are needed to determine the exact efficacy and mechanism of coconut milk in reducing hair loss.
Will lost hair grow back?
If your hair loss is due to a genetic tendency, there is nothing you can do to stop or reverse it. On the other hand, hair fall triggered by other preventable factors can usually be controlled by addressing the root cause.
Thus, different types of hair loss call for different treatments, but the purpose remains the same: helping new hair to grow while preventing more hair from falling out. But it is nearly impossible to get all your hair back, no matter how effective the treatment.
Besides, a treatment that yielded successful results for one person may prove completely ineffective for another person, so there is no guaranteed success rate for these interventions. You may have to try a variety of treatments to find which one suits you best.
Hair loss is more of a cosmetic concern rather than a health issue, but occasionally it can be a sign of an underlying medical condition that may require prompt attention. Thus, if you experience sudden, unexplained, and abnormal hair fall, go for a checkup to rule out any serious problem.
It is always a good decision to act fast to control hair thinning before it reaches the point of irreversible baldness. While there is no permanent cure for hair thinning, multiple hair care interventions can help reduce the degree of hair shedding and can trigger new hair growth.
The aim is to get back as much hair cover as possible while losing as little hair as possible, but complete hair regrowth is rarely possible.