How to Prevent Hair Loss and Damage

Four Methods:Adjusting Your Hair CareAdjusting Your Diet and LifestyleUsing Home RemediesUsing Medical Treatment

One of your biggest fears as you get older might be hair loss or a head of damaged hair. The medical term for hair loss, which occurs when something stops your hair from growing, is Anagen effluvium.[1] Hair loss can occur for a number of reasons, from genetics, a poor diet, stress, or a medication condition. Hair damage can be caused by drastic hair treatment and poor hair care. In most cases, both issues can be addressed and prevented with the right method.

Method 1
Adjusting Your Hair Care

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    Talk to your hair stylist about hair treatments and styling that won’t damage your hair. Hair treatments that use chemicals, like hair color, bleach, straightening, or perms, can cause hair damage that makes your hair break off or fall off temporarily.[2]
    • Another type of hair damage and hair loss that can result from hair styling is wearing your hair in a style that pulls too tightly on your hair. This is called traction alopecia. This issue can permanently damage the your hair follicles if you wear a style, like a very tight ponytail or braids, that pulls on your hair for a long period of time. Loosen up any tight hair styles and avoid wearing your hair in a tight hair style all day long. Pain is a sign of too much traction on your hair, which can lead to hair loss.[3]
    • Weaves and extensions can lead to similar hair damage.
    • Over-brushing your hair can weaken and damage your hair. Over- or roughly brushing wet hair especially can cause breakage.
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    Use shampoo and conditioner that is formulated for your hair type. If you color your hair, you should use shampoo designed for color-treated hair. If your hair is chemically treated or suffering from damage, consider a “2-in-1” shampoo.[4]
    • Keep in mind that regardless of cost, many shampoo and conditioner brands provide the same benefits. Don’t feel like you have to splurge to get a good shampoo and conditioner. It’s more important to use a shampoo and conditioner that are made for your hair type than the cost of the hair products.
    • There is no scientific proof that hair products advertising hair loss prevention or the regrowth of hair actually work. So be wary of these products.[5]
    • Some hair care professionals recommend using baby shampoo, as it is mild on hair.[6]
    • If you're unsure which shampoo or conditioner is best for your hair, consult your stylist or dermatologist.
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    Wash your hair with a gentle shampoo and conditioner every other day. Wash daily if you have very oily hair. Though you may think that not washing your hair will slow hair loss, in fact it might speed it up. This is because your hair follicles can’t function properly when they are blocked with yeast, microbes, and sebum.[7]
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    Work the shampoo onto your scalp when you wash your hair. Focus on cleaning your scalp, rather than washing the entire length of your hair. Washing only your hair can create flyaway hair that is dull and coarse. It also makes your hair more prone to breakage and falling out.[8]
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    Apply conditioner after every shampoo. You don’t need to use conditioner if you use a “2-in-1” shampoo, which cleans and conditions hair with only one product. Conditioner can significantly improve the look of damaged or weathered hair. It increases shine, reduces static on your hair, and improves your hair’s strength.[9]
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    Only put conditioner on the ends of your hair. Because conditioners can make fine hair look limp, or weigh down your hair, only use it on the tips of your hair. Do not apply it to your scalp or the length of your hair.[10]
    • You should also avoid rubbing your hair too hard with a towel after a shower as this can lead to breakage and damage. Try instead to "scrunch" your wet hair with the towel.
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    Skip blowdrying and straightening your hair. Let your hair air dry to avoid pulling on your hair while blowdrying or straightening it. If you can’t live without your blow out, use the blowdryer on a low-heat setting and don’t pull at any tangles in your hair. Use a thin comb to lightly pull tangles apart.[11]
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    Style your hair when it’s dry. Styling your hair when it’s wet can cause it to stretch and break. So braid it or twist your hair when it’s dry or damp.[12]
    • Avoid teasing or backcombing your hair as these styles can cause hair damage.
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    Reduce the chemicals you use on your hair. If you have gotten into the habit of coloring your hair once a month or applying chemical treatments to your hair, ease off on these chemicals. You shouldn’t get a chemical treatment done on your hair too often, as they can damage and weaken your hair follicles, leading to breakage and hair loss.[13]
    • Try to avoid products that promise "long-lasting hold," as these often cause damage to your hair.
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    Protect your hair when you go swimming. It’s important to protect your hair from the damaging effects of chlorine in pools. Wet and condition your hair before you go swimming. Wear a tight-fitting swim cap when you go for a swim.[14]
    • You should also use a specially formulated swimmers shampoo and deep conditioner after you go swimming to replace lost moisture on your scalp and hair.

Method 2
Adjusting Your Diet and Lifestyle

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    Maintain a balanced, healthy diet. Not eating enough healthy food can contribute to hair loss as you also lose out on vitamins and minerals that promote healthy hair. This is why people with eating disorders lose their hair, as well as vegetarians who are not getting enough protein in their diet. To improve the strength and sheen of your hair, focus on maintaining a diet that consists of:[15]
    • Iron and zinc. These minerals help your hair follicles grow. Lean red meat is rich in both nutrients, as well as non-meat options like soybeans or lentils.[16]
    • Protein. This is one of the building blocks of life, promoting cell growth and repair, even in your hair. Women should get at least 46 grams a day (for reference, 3 ounces of chicken has about 23 grams of protein). Other sources of protein include fish, beans, nuts, and yogurt.[17]
    • Omega-3 fatty acids. Eat fatty fish, like salmon, twice a week to improve your hair’s strength and shine. In addition to silky hair, omega-3s may also help to relieve depression and improve the health of your heart.
    • Biotin. Eggs are a rich source of this B vitamin, which is essential for healthy growth of your cells and your hair. Eggs are also an excellent source of protein, choline, and vitamin D.
    • In addition to these vitamin and mineral rich foods, you should also have a healthy amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Citrus fruits like oranges, as well as strawberries, pineapple, tomatoes, and dark green vegetables all contain vitamin C. Vitamin C has antioxidant properties that help make your skin and hair healthy by boosting your metabolism and converting fat and carbohydrates into energy.
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    Take vitamin supplements. Some vitamins, like vitamin D, help to strengthen your hair but are tricky to get through eating. Look for vitamin D supplements and take about 1,000 IU a day.[18]
    • You can also take vitamin B, vitamin E, and magnesium supplements once a day to ensure you are consuming these vital vitamins and minerals.
    • Keep in mind there is no proven scientific correlation between vitamin supplements and the prevention of hair loss. Rather, supplements will help you maintain the hair you still have and stay healthy overall.[19]
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    Check if there is a history of hair loss in your family. One of the most common causes of hair loss for adults is androgenetic, sometimes called male or female pattern baldness. This kind of hair loss is caused by a combination of genetics and hormones.[20]
    • Male pattern baldness affects around half of all men by 50 years of age. It usually starts in the late twenties or early thirties. Symptoms include a receding hairline and the thinning of the hair on the crown of your head, creating a horseshoe shape around the back and sides of your head. Sometimes it can progress to complete baldness.[21]
    • Female pattern baldness is not as common as male pattern baldness. During female pattern baldness, your hair only thins on the top of your head. It’s not clear if female pattern baldness is hereditary, but it tends to be more noticeable in women who have been through menopause. This may be because post menopausal women have fewer female hormones and this can lead to baldness or hair loss.[22]
    • While conventional wisdom on androgenetic hair loss is that men inherit their mother’s father’s hair, or lack thereof, recent studies have shown that genetic hair loss can be caused by baldness from either the mother’s or the father’s genes for both men and women.[23]
    • If there is a history of pattern baldness in your family, you can try over-the-counter hair loss treatments like Minoxidil (brand name Rogaine), which works well when used consistently over a period of time. But keep in mind the goal of these types of over-the-counter medications is to stop the process of hair loss, not help you grow your hair back.[24]
    • Minoxidil should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women.
    • However, there is no way to prevent hair loss caused by genetics.
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    Try to address any stress triggers in your life. Stress and hair loss can definitely be connected, especially if you are dealing with a recent traumatic event or are continually stressed out. Hair shedding caused by physical or emotional stress is called Telogen effluvium, and it can cause you to lose one-half to three-quarters of your hair. Your hair may come out in handfuls while you shampoo, comb or run your hands through your hair.[25]
    • Telogen effluvium is usually temporary, as you recover from stress or a traumatic event. But if you do not address any stress triggers in your life, your hair shedding could become long-term, or chronic. If you get your stress under control, your hair can grow back.[26]
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    Take up a stress releasing activity like yoga, meditation, or running. You may also want to adjust your daily routine so you have more time to do things you enjoy and to focus on cultivating calm and peace in your life.
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    Talk to a therapist or a counselor. If you feel your stress is out of control or if you are having a hard time dealing with a traumatic event, don’t keep it to yourself. Talking to someone about your issues can help you recover and release any tension or stress.

Method 3
Using Home Remedies

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    Apply raw egg to your hair. Raw egg is a great natural remedy for damaged hair and acts as a natural conditioner for dry hair. You can apply raw egg to your hair in two ways:[27]
    • Whisk two egg yolks in a bowl and massage them onto your scalp. Leave the egg yolk in your hair for a few minutes and then rinse your hair with cool water and shampoo. You can apply this remedy once a week.
    • You can also use egg yolk as part of a homemade shampoo. Mix an herbal infusion of liquid soap, organic herbs, essential oils, and olive oil. Then, add in a beaten egg. Massage the mixture on to your scalp and leave it for about 15 minutes. Rinse it with cold water. You can apply this shampoo once a day.
    • Egg oil is a more convenient, less smelly alternative to raw eggs.
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    Hydrate your scalp with coconut oil. Coconut is a rich source of lauric and stearic acids, which lubricate your hair. The oil also penetrates deep into the hair shaft, which prevents the cuticle from becoming damaged and makes your hair look healthy and fresh.[28]
    • Massage your scalp with pure coconut oil using your fingers. Leave it on overnight. Wrap your head to keep the coconut oil on your hair.
    • Rinse off the coconut oil in the morning in the shower with cool water.
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    Use sour cream or plain yogurt to get rid of excess styling products in your hair. Styling products, as well as air pollution, can leave a film on your hair that saps moisture and dulls your shine. Dairy products like sour cream and plain yogurt can help to reverse this damage. The lactic acid in dairy products gently strips away any dirt and moisturizes your hair.[29]
    • Massage ½ cup sour cream or plain yogurt into slightly damp hair. Let it sit for 20 minutes.
    • Rinse the sour cream or yogurt out with warm water, followed by cool water.
    • Shampoo your hair as you normally would.
    • This treatment can be applied every other week.
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    Apply a beer soak to limp or dull hair. To add some body to your hair, go for an unlikely beauty beverage: beer. The fermented drink contains yeast, which works well to hydrate limp or dull hair.[30]
    • Make the beer flat. Pour the beer into a container and let it sit out for a couple of hours to deplete the carbonation.
    • Mix ½ cup flat beer with 1 tsp light oil, like sunflower or canola, and a raw egg. Apply the mixture to clean, damp hair. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then rinse it with cool water.
    • You can also pour flat beer into a spray bottle and spritz it onto dry hair. When the beer evaporates, the remaining protein residue from the wheat, malt, or hops, strengthens your hair.
    • Apply both treatments every other week.
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    Condition your hair with avocado. Avocado is a good natural conditioner as the fats in the avocado promote hair growth and stronger hair. Its oils and proteins also help to smooth and weigh down any unruly hair.[31]
    • Mash up half an avocado and massage it into clean, damp hair. Let it sit for 15 minutes before rinsing it off with water.
    • You can amp up the moisturizing power of avocado by combining a mashed avocado with 1-2 tsp sour cream, egg yolks, or mayonnaise.
    • Apply these treatments every two weeks.
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    Hydrate your hair with aloe vera. Aloe vera is a natural moisturizer for your skin and a natural conditioner for your hair. You can use aloe vera in a juice or gel form.[32]
    • Apply a handful of aloe vera juice to your scalp and the ends of your hair. Wash it off with warm water after a few minutes.
    • You can also create a mixture of 4 tbsp of aloe vera gel with 2 tbsp of coconut oil and 3 tbsp of yogurt. Stir the mixture and apply it on to your hair. Let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing it off with water.
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    Improve dry and sun damaged hair with honey. Maybe you have hard water in your shower, you spend a lot of time outside without a hat, or you straighten your hair every day. If you do any of these hair dehydrating things, moisturize your hair with honey.
    • Massage about ½ cup honey into clean, damp hair. Let it sit for 20 minutes. Then, rinse it off with warm water.[33]
    • You can also add 1-2 tbsp olive oil to loosen the honey for easier application.
    • For really sun-damaged hair, mix honey with 1-2 tbsp of a protein-rich ingredient, like avocado or egg yolk. This will help to replenish the keratin protein bonds of your hair that are damaged by UV rays.
    • Apply these treatments once a month.
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    Moisturize a dry scalp and dry hair with olive oil and lemon. If your scalp is itchy and dry, or flaking, use olive oil and lemon juice. The acidity in lemon juice helps to rid your scalp of any loose, dry flakes. The olive oil then moisturizes the newly exposed skin on your head.[34]
    • Mix 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice with 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp water. Massage the mixture into your damp scalp.
    • Let it sit for 20 minutes. Then, rinse and shampoo your hair.
    • Treatment can be applied every other week.

Method 4
Using Medical Treatment

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    Keep in mind preventative medicine for hair loss may not work. There are many ointments, creams, and shampoos available that promise hair loss prevention or hair regrowth. But many of these products are not scientifically verified or considered effective by the medical community. Before you try hair loss products, speak to your doctor about its effectiveness and other treatment options available to you.[35]
    • Your doctor may recommend oral medications or even laser treatments to help with hair loss or regrowth.
    • Male and female pattern baldness aren’t usually treated by doctors because they are considered a natural part of aging and don’t pose a health risk.
    • If you want treatment for pattern baldness for cosmetic reasons, there are two medications available: finasteride and minoxidil (brand name: Rogaine). But these treatments do not work for everyone and only work for as long as they are used. They can also be expensive.
    • Spironolactone may be effective for some women.
    • There are also surgical options for hair loss, including hair transplants and artificial implants. But this is considered a serious operation and should be done by a licensed physician. Talk to your doctor before you consider hair transplants or implants.
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    Speak to your doctor about switching your medication if it can cause hair loss. Sometimes doctors prescribe medicines that can cause hair loss. Chemotherapy drugs for cancer are probably the medicines most known for causing hair loss. But hair loss can also be a side effect of some medicines used to treat acne, bipolar disorder, and ADHD.[36]
    • Diet pills that contain amphetamines can also cause hair loss.
    • Never simply stop taking your medication. Instead, discuss your treatment options with your doctor and see if you can switch to a medication that does not cause hair loss.[37]
    • If you suffer from a condition like diabetes or thyroid disease, taking proper care of your disorder should reduce or prevent your hair loss.
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    Go to a dermatologist if you display extreme symptoms of potential hair loss or hair damage. These include:[38]
    • Hair loss in an unusual pattern, like a many patches or in just one area of your scalp.
    • If you are losing hair rapidly, especially if you are in your teens.
    • There is any pain or itching on your scalp and you are losing hair.
    • The skin on the scalp is red, scaly, or looks abnormal.
    • You have been gaining weight or have muscle weakness, get cold easily, and tire easily.
    • Try to find a dermatologist who specializes or has specific training in hair loss.
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    Submit to an exam by the dermatologist. Your dermatologist should review your medical history and do an exam of your hair and scalp to diagnose the cause of your hair loss. She may also run other tests like:[39]
    • A blood test to rule out disease.
    • Microscopic examination of a plucked hair.
    • A skin biopsy.
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    Answer any questions your dermatologist might have. During your exam, your dermatologist may also ask you questions such as:[40]
    • Are you losing hair only from your scalp or from other parts of your body as well?
    • Do you notice a pattern to the hair loss, like a receding hairline or thinning on the crown, or is the hair loss throughout your head?
    • Do you dye your hair?
    • Do you blow dry your hair? If so, how often?
    • What kind of shampoo do you use on your hair? What other hair products, like gels or sprays, do you put on your hair?
    • Have you had a recent illness or high fever?
    • Have you been under unusual stress lately?
    • Do you have any nervous habits like hair pulling or scalp rubbing?
    • Do you take any medications, including over-the-counter drugs?
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    Check with your dermatologist about an illness or medical condition you have that could cause hair loss. Hormonal conditions like (uncontrolled) diabetes or thyroid disease can interfere with hair production and cause hair loss. Individuals with lupus can also lose their hair.[41]
    • As well, the hormone imbalance that happens in polycystic ovary syndrome can cause hair loss in women.[42]
    • If you suffer from an eating disorder, like anorexia or bulimia, you may lose your hair. This happens because your body is not getting enough protein, vitamins, and minerals to support hair growth.
    • Fungal infections, such as tinea capitis, can cause hair loss in children. It often causes scaling of the scalp and broken hairs with patchy hair loss and can be treated with oral medications and special shampoos.[43]
    • Alopecia areata is a condition in which the immune system attacks hair follicles and can lead to severe hair loss. Your dermatologist may treat this with oral, topical, or injected medications.[44]
    • Some people who are vegetarians also lose their hair if they don’t get enough protein from non-meat sources. Some athletes are at a higher risk for hair loss because they are more likely to develop iron-deficiency anemia. Anemia can then result in hair loss.
    • Pregnancy or recently giving birth can be associated with hair loss.
    • If you suffer from trichotillomania, or a compulsion to pull out your own hair, you should seek assistance from a mental health specialist.


  • When wearing over-the-ear headphones especially (or any headphones), make sure you pull your hair back beforehand. When you walk and wear headphones over your hair, the headphones tug and rub against your hair, causing damage.

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Categories: Hair Loss and Scalp Conditions