If you’re a gentleman who’s been noticing a receding hairline or is worried about balding, the first step is to schedule a visit with a doctor or dermatologist and make sure your hair loss isn’t a sign of a more serious health issue. “Not all hair loss is male-pattern hair loss,” explains Dr. Marc Glashofer, a board-certified dermatologist specializing in hair loss and practicing in northern New Jersey. A thyroid disorder, an autoimmune disease, or even a scalp issue could be making you look like Bruce Willis in Die Hard 2. But most hair loss is androgenetic alopecia, also known as male-pattern baldness, and fortunately (or not, depending on your perspective), it’s just a symptom of getting older.
Castor oil is the unsung hero of the hair world—you might even be tempted to ditch your coconut oil for it after reading this. First of all, castor oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties to help combat scalp infections that prevent your hair from growing. Second, it’s filled with omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin E, proteins, and other nutrients that can penetrate your parched strands and seal your hair shaft to retain moisture. Thirdly, it makes an amazing hot oil treatment—massaging the oil into your roots will help your scalp drink up all of the nutrients and help promote hair growth.
Thinning hair in women is worth investigating for more than its impact on physical appearance. While many conditions that lead to temporary hair loss will go away without treatment or with simple lifestyle measures, others may be signs of potentially irreversible loss or health conditions. Others yet may respond well to treatments to promote regrowth, so starting sooner rather than later is key.
Not surprisingly, treatments with 5 percent minoxidil work better than treatments with 2 percent minoxidil. A randomized clinical trial published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology in 2002 found that, in men with androgenetic alopecia, “5 percent topical minoxidil was clearly superior to 2 percent topical minoxidil and placebo in increasing hair growth.” The difference was actually pretty astounding — after 48 weeks, the men who used 5 percent minoxidil experienced 45 percent more hair growth than the men who used the 2 percent treatment.
Sure, you can easily pop a hair growth supplement, but honestly, the word's still out on whether or not they're an effective way to help your hair grow faster. Plus, they can contain unnecessary large amounts of minerals and vitamins (ahem, biotin) which can actually wreak havoc in other ways (ahem, breakouts). Thus, eating your way to longer hair is actually a smarter, nutritionist-approved way to make your hair grow faster. Vitamins and minerals occurring naturally in foods are easier for your body to utilize, and they'll naturally deliver a healthier ratio of nutrients—just the way Mother Nature intended.
Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine that has been practiced for thousands of years. Its applications are many, and some researchers believe that it may help with hair loss from alopecia areata. How? The needles inserted into the scalp may help stimulate hair follicles and promote regrowth. More research needs to be done in this area, but consider asking your doctor for a referral to a licensed acupuncturist if this treatment sounds appealing to you. (Learn more about acupuncture for hair loss.)