It's normal to lose up to 70 hairs a day, but if you're worried about hair loss, there are a few things you can do to prevent it — even if it's genetic. In honor of National Hair Loss Awareness Month, here are five things you need to know to avoid getting bald spots before your time.
1. Rethink your diet: The idiom "you are what you eat" applies to your hair health, too. "Hair and scalp problems can arise from either a deficiency or an excess of nutrients in your diet," says trichologist Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips of the Philip Kingsley Clinic in New York City. "Your hair cells need a balanced diet of proteins, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals to function at their best." Avoid extreme weight loss as well, another common determinant of hair loss.
2. Chill out: Elevated stress levels may cause an increase in shedding, so it's important to take time to relax your mind. And while exercising is a great way to reduce tension, be aware: too much working out can provoke hair loss.
3. Don't forget about your scalp: "Infrequent washing encourages dandruff, and studies have shown that dandruff can cause or exacerbate hair loss," Phillips explains. "If you already have dandruff or a flaky/itchy scalp, use specialist shampoos and toners to help clear irritation and flakes." For at-home relief, concoct a preshampoo treatment of two eggs, two half eggshells full of witch hazel, and half an eggshell of vodka. Apply the tonic to scalp and hair, then massage for 10 minutes.
4. Take your vitamins: Get your fill of the necessary scalp and hair vitamins by taking supplements. Add calcium, iron, zinc, gelatin protein, soy protein, and vitamins D, B12, and B6 to your daily diet. It seems like a laundry list, but if you're patient, you'll notice the difference.
5. See a specialist: If you know hair loss runs in the family, it's worth it to see a specialist. A trichologist like Phillips deals specifically with the hair and scalp. A simple blood test can determine the cause of your hair loss and suss out the solution.