By the time most men reach their 40s, 50s, and 60s, they’ve already experienced a significant amount of hair loss. If you fall into this category, you’re probably wondering if there are ways to overcome and reverse your condition before it’s too late.
Exploring 5 Potential Solutions
According to data
gathered by The Hair Society, roughly 35 million men and 21 million women suffer from hair loss. Starting at the age of 35, men have a 40 percent loss rate (growing to 70 percent for men 80 years and older). By age 60, 80 percent of women will have lost a notable amount of hair.
In other words, hair loss isn’t something that affects a small fraction of the population. It’s a widespread problem that needs effective solutions. Here are a few possible remedies that have been tested and used with varying levels of success over the years:
1. Dietary Changes
What you eat has a direct impact on the health and vitality of your hair. A poor diet will accelerate hair loss, while a good diet will give your body the best chance of regenerating hair efficiently.
“While nutritious eating isn’t going to bring your hair back by any means, eating plenty of protein-rich foods and healthy fats can make the hair that you still have look thicker and shinier,” says Denise Kernan
, member of the International Society for Hair Restoration Surgery.
Some of the best foods
for preventing hair loss include: spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, eggs, oats, walnuts, lentils, chicken, strawberries, and yogurt.
2. Hair Loss Products
There’s no shortage of hair loss products on the market. Between TV commercials, internet ads, and billboard advertisements, it’s hard to escape them. And while many are gimmicky, some – such as minoxidil – have been shown to help.
“It's still not entirely clear how minoxidil works. And there's disagreement about how well it works,” Daniel J. DeNoon writes
for WebMD. “Used properly – twice a day, massaged deep into the scalp – it slows new hair loss. It also promotes new hair growth, although experts disagree about how much.”
The other FDA-approved hair loss drug is finasteride, but it only works for men. And because it has the side effect of loss of libido, it generally isn’t the first product offered.
3. Surgical Procedures and Transplants
For those who have already lost hair and want to regain a full scalp, there are a number of procedures available. These include surgical and non-surgical treatments like follicular unit transplants (FUT), follicular unit extraction (FUE), hair plugs, hair implants, and scalp micropigmentation. Interested individuals should speak with a doctor to see if these are viable options.
4. Stem Cell Therapy
While the aforementioned surgical procedures and transplants have been used for years, there’s an evolving niche that’s examining the potential for stem cell therapy in hair regeneration.
Dr. David Mayer, Medical Director of National Stem Cell Centers, explains
, “Stem cell hair therapy for hair loss can involve the use of one's own stem cells derived from adipose (fat) tissue or the injection of cord blood cells acquired from a registered lab or FDA-regulated bio pharma company. This treatment could be performed independently or combined with a hair transplant and/or PRP. Initial evidence in this area is very promising.”
Stem cell hair transplant therapy is similar to traditional hair transplant processes, but with a twist. Instead of removing hair from other areas and transplanting it to the balding area, small skin samples are removed and hair follicles are harvested for lab replication.
The problem is that this procedure currently only exists in theory
. It’s being developed, and the hope is that it can be used in real life scenarios within a couple of years.
5. Proper Hair Care
Finally, there’s no substitute for proper hair care. In order to prevent hair loss and maintain a healthy scalp, it’s imperative for people to practice good washing, hygiene, brushing, and conditioning. WebMD has some good suggestions in this guide
Adding it All Up
The tricky part about hair loss is that it’s a natural part of aging. While there are certainly some viable options available to people dealing with premature hair loss, there’s currently no way to guarantee results for every single person. Huge challenges remain, and it’ll take years before there’s any chance of finding a permanent solution that’s widespread in its efficacy.