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Noticing that your ponytail isn’t as thick as it used to be or seeing more stray hairs on your pillow can put you into panic mode. There’s no doubt that hair loss can make you really anxious and do a number on your self-esteem. But the good news is, there are effective ways to deal with it. 

“There are many different causes of hair loss or alopecia,” board-certified dermatologist, Brooke Grant Jeffy, M.D., tells FabFit Fun. The three most common types of hair loss she sees in her office are androgenetic alopecia, telogen effluvium, and alopecia areata. Androgenetic alopecia is the typical patterned type of hair loss based on a genetic predisposition, telogen effluvium is the shedding of hair seen with stress or triggered by underlying medical conditions, and alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that attacks the hair follicles.

As cosmetologist Ghanima Abdullah tells FabFitFun, hair loss can also be attributed to bad styling habits. For instance, wearing tight ponytails or buns can put pressure on your hair follicles and cause hair to fall out. Using accessories and clips in the same place all the time can also weaken hair. The high heat from dryers, flat irons, and curling irons can damage hair follicles. Clearly, there are a lot of different things that can lead to hair loss.

With that said, here are some tips for stimulating hair growth. 

Massage your scalp daily
One of the simplest things you can do to stimulate hair growth is to massage your scalp for a few minutes each day. “This will boost the blood circulation in your scalp and give your hair follicles more nutrition and oxygen,” Ann Ramark, hair expert and owner of A Younger Skin, tells FabFitFun. “I recommend bending over with your head downwards. It’s a great way to get thicker hair regardless of whether you’re experiencing hair loss or not.” 

Regularly exfoliate
In order to stimulate hair growth, it’s important to keep your scalp in optimal condition. According to celebrity hairstylist Nunzio Saviano, getting a detoxifying hair and scalp treatment at your local salon can help to remove pore-clogging first and debris from your scalp as well as excess product residue that can have a negative effect on hair quality and growth. “It’s important to regularly exfoliate, balance, and hydrate,” Saviano says.  

Use natural hair products
When you’re shopping for products to use on your hair, Saviano suggests looking for “naturally stimulating, repairing, and replenishing ingredients” such as coconut oil, edelweiss, chamomile, thyme, and peppermint. 

Eat a balanced diet and take vitamins
It’s no secret that what you eat can greatly affect you. If you’re dealing with hair loss, eating a well-balanced diet is essential. As licensed dietician nutritionist, Rebecca Washuta, tells FabFitFun, “Your hair follicles are some of the most metabolically active glands in the body, therefore, thinning or brittle hair can be a sign that you’re suffering from protein or micronutrient deficiencies.” For example, many women have low levels of iron, which can lead to hair loss. Deficiencies in zinc and selenium can also cause issues with hair growth. 

According to Lisa Richards, nutritionist and author of The Candida Diet, eggs and dairy are also loaded with essential nutrients known to prevent and reverse hair loss. “Biotin, B12, protein, zinc, and omega-6 are all vital to the hair growth process,” Richards says. “Biotin, in particular, is connected with reversing as well as slowing hair loss.” Foods rich in biotin include seeds, nuts, fish, and sweet potatoes. 

Use specialized treatments
It’s always a good idea to consult with a professional to find the root of the problem and get a treatment tailored to your individual needs. But there are some over-the-counter treatments you can use. For instance, Jeffy says topical minoxidil is an over the counter treatment you can get to help halt loss and potentially increase growth. Another great over-the-counter alternative is the BeautyBio GloPro® Scalp Microneedling Tool, which stimulates new hair growth by microneedling the scalp. This, in turn, helps the scalp absorb scalp topicals that help the hair look fuller and improve density, like the Healthy Scalp Serum

Spend some time in the sun
Staying out in the sun for too long can potentially damage your hair and scalp. However, heliosis or exposure to the sun can be an effective way to stimulate hair growth due to the vitamin D you get. According to the UV Foundation, the best times to go out are in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun isn’t too harmful.

Practice healthy habits to minimize stress
When you’re dealing with a lot of stress, it can put your hair follicles into a “resting phase” where new strands don’t grow. It’s a condition called telogen effluvium, and it can make your hair fall out through just combing, washing, or touching your hair. One thing you can do daily is practice healthy habits. According to Jeffy, exercising, getting adequate sleep, and practicing mindfulness can all be helpful. 

As always, consult your doctor or dermatologist with questions regarding your hair health.

xx, The FabFitFun Team