Thinning Hair

When it comes to hair loss, there’s more myth than science.

By Michael F. Roizen | MD from Reader's Digest | September 2007

     

  • 1.

    The Physician

    When it comes to hair loss, there’s more myth than science. It’s hard to study, since there isn’t a reliable method for measuring hair thickness. But foods that are good for your skin (omega-3 fats and minerals, including zinc and silica) are also good for your hair. In one study, 44% of people who rubbed thyme, rosemary, lavender and cedarwood essential oils on a bald spot had new growth, but it’s unclear whether this would help with thinning hair.
    – Dwight Mckee, MD, Aptos, California

  • 2.

    The Hairstylist


    Use water-soluble styling products (those with too many synthetic ingredients clog follicles). To shampoo, use your fingertips to gently manipulate the scalp—don’t use too much pressure, and don’t be rough when you towel-dry either. For women, consistently putting your hair in too tight a ponytail kills follicles, so hair will recede more rapidly.
    – Allie Red, Stylist, Alley Olsen Salon, Edgewater, New Jersey

  • 3.

    The Acupuncturist


    An acupuncturist can help develop an herbal formula that is tailored specifically to you, in addition to using the traditional needles to help restore hair growth. Herbs have a synergy with acupuncture, so you may see a greater effect if you use both.
    – Melanie Fernandi, LAC, New York City

  • 4.

    The Hair Loss Pro


    At the first signs, see a dermatologist with experience in treating hair loss (women, see an endocrinologist to rule out hormonal causes). Propecia helps slow or stop balding for most men (it’s not an option for women). Minoxidil may help men and women, but it’s a temporary fix. Hair transplantation is great for some, but it should be a last resort. Find a surgeon at iahrs.org.
    – Spencer Kobren, President, American Hair Loss Assn.

  • 5.

    Bottom Line


    Hair is a mirror of your inner health, which is why we desire a full head of hair and want those strands to shine with gusto. Most of us shampoo our hair too frequently; instead try just rinsing with water and massaging your scalp to distribute your naturally healthy lubricating oils into the hair.