Hair loss is one of the most common signs of aging, affecting more than 50% of people worldwide. Androgenetic Alopecia (common hair loss) affects more than half of males over the age of 40 and 75% of women over the age of 65.
In fact, according to the American Hair Loss Association, approximately 65% of American men will experience some degree of hair loss by the time they turn 35. That number rises to 85% by age 50. Hair loss in women, while receiving much less attention, is surprisingly prevalent, with women making up 40% of all hair loss sufferers.
Clearly, hair loss is a serious concern for men and women alike—but because there is no single cause, trying to prevent it can be a challenge.
However, the good news is that no matter the root cause, there are some steps you can take to keep your hair healthy. Read on to find out the 11 science-backed ways to prevent hair loss before it starts.
How to prevent hair loss in Men and Women
- Maintain a healthy diet
As with anything related to aging, eating a healthy and well-balanced diet can help with keeping the body healthy, which can result in healthy hair growth.
A 2018 study found that a diet containing raw vegetables and fresh herbs, like the Mediterranean diet, may reduce the risk of androgenic alopecia or slow its onset. The best results were observed when participants consumed high amounts of these foods (such as parsley, basil, and salad greens) more than three days a week.
2. Quit smoking
Smoking can negatively impact your hair health and damage your hair cells. Studies have also linked smoking to increased rates of premature graying and hair loss. Quitting can be difficult, but with the help of a qualified professional, you can find a program that works for you.
3. Eat extra protein
Eating a good amount of protein is important for hair growth because hair follicles are made of mostly protein. A lack of protein in the diet has been shown to promote hair loss.
4. Limit your alcohol intake
Drinking alcohol in excess reduces hair growth. A 2013 study on male twins specifically found that consumption of more than four alcoholic beverages per week was associated with hair loss.
5. Avoid hairstyles that pull on the hair
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) mentions that tight hairstyles “can cause strands of your hair to break or fall out”.
Although hair is flexible, research shows that your hair can only be stretched so much before becoming permanently damaged. Hairstyles like cornrows, dreadlocks, tight braids, buns, and ponytails can pull your hair away from your scalp and loosen the bond between your hair and scalp over time.
6. Avoid chemically treating your hair
Chemically treating hair with methods such as bleaching damages hair by stripping away the protective coating of the hair fibers (protein molecules called keratin). If you want to prevent hair loss, limit the use of dyes, highlights, peroxide treatments, and perms.
Using heat to style your hair leaves your hair follicle dehydrated and vulnerable to damage. Hairdryers, hair straighteners, and curling irons can all damage hair over time by causing moisture in your hair shafts to expand.
Let your hair air dry whenever possible, and if you do blow dry your hair or use heat styling tools, use the lowest possible heat setting, as well as heat protecting sprays, to avoid further hair damage.
8. Manage your stress levels
The root cause of stress-induced hair loss is inflammation and its damaging effects on our hair follicles. There are several types of hair loss related to high-level stress, including telogen effluvium, alopecia areata, and trichotillomania. Although they differ in how they affect your hair, they are all treated in the same way: by de-stressing.
You may have to try different stress-management techniques before you find what works for you. Some popular ways include exercise, meditation, hobbies, and writing.
9. Take supplements when needed
Deficiencies in specific vitamins can cause hair loss or thin, brittle hair, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Therefore, getting enough of each vitamin in your diet might help your hair stay healthy.
These nutrients include:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Anyone considering taking a multivitamin supplement should talk to a health professional first. The best products contain all or most of the recommended daily amounts of each vitamin and mineral in a single dose.
10. Try Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy (RLT), also known as photobiomodulation (PMB) and low-level light therapy (LLLT), is an innovative biohacking technique that uses red and near-infrared light to supercharge your cells and, as a result, boost overall health and wellness.
The term “red light” includes wavelengths of red and near-infrared (NIR) light. It is the most popular and most widely studied form of light treatment, due to its broad range of effects. The main difference between them is that NIR wavelengths are longer and penetrate much deeper into the skin than red light.
Red light therapy works by shining red and/or NIR light onto an area of the body. When the body is exposed to red light, the light wavelengths stimulate the mitochondria to produce more ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP is a molecule that produces the energy our body needs to function so that it can heal tissue, cells, and systems.
How Red Light Therapy Can Promote Hair Growth
The key to hair growth is to promote activity in the hair follicles and support their health so they can regrow hair. Red light therapy can help with this by:
- Increasing Cellular Energy
When red and NIR light is absorbed into the skin, the light wavelengths stimulate the mitochondria to produce more ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the primary cellular fuel.
When cells are healthy, they can function better, replicate more successfully, and defend themselves against oxidative stress and any environmental pathogens. As the cells in the hair follicles become more active, the papillae will produce more keratin, which will result in new hair growth.
- Increasing Collagen Production
Red light therapy increases cellular and stimulates the body to produce more collagen, which is another type of protein. Collagen acts as an antioxidant to fight damage caused by free radicals, as explained in this study.
Free radicals damage cells in the follicles, which impacts their ability to grow hair. By increasing collagen in the body, there is less oxidative damage to the follicles and so, they are able to function normally.
- Increasing Microcirculation to the Scalp
Red Light therapy has been shown to aid the functioning of both the circulatory system and the lymphatic system by increasing the creation of new capillaries. The increase of capillaries improves blood flow to the scalp and brings oxygen and nutrients to cells.
This is important if you’re suffering from disease-related hair loss or you’re suffering from an abnormal inflammatory response that could inhibit normal hair follicle functioning.
Studies on Red Light Therapy for Hair Loss
Here are some studies investigating red light therapy as a safe and effective treatment for hair loss:
- A 2019 meta-analysis of 11 randomized, controlled trials on light therapy and hair loss found the following:
- Red light therapy “significantly increased hair density”
- Red light therapy increases hair growth in both men and women
- Effective with both short- and long-term treatment
- No reported negative side effects
- In a 2014 study in which 47 women with AGA (Androgenetic alopecia) had either red light therapy applied to their scalp at 655nm or a placebo treatment, every other day for 4 months. The active group showed significant improvement in hair counts compared to the control group.
- Another 2014 study on both men and women produced similar results. Researchers found a significant increase in hair density among participants, as well as self-reported improvements in thickness and fullness of hair, independent of sex.
- A 2020 study analyzed the various factors that might affect the effectiveness of red light therapy on AGA. They found that the duration of the session, light pulsing, and energy fluence (number of joules per square centimeter) have a significant therapeutic effect on AGA.
- A 2016 review of red light therapy and hair regrowth concluded that red light therapy is a safe and effective treatment for men and women suffering from AGA who have not responded to or were not tolerant of standard treatments.
- A 2014 review showed similar findings. Researchers hypothesize that the main mechanism involved is the stimulation of epithelial stem cells in the bulge of the hair follicle, as well as increased anagen activity.
- A 2018 study looked at red light therapy in combination with minoxidil. Results showed a significant increase in recovery from AGA as well as higher patient satisfaction in those having undergone the treatment compared to those in the control group.
- A 2003 study on red light therapy and AA found that participants regrew hair 1.6 months earlier in irradiated areas compared to non-irradiated areas.
- A 2017 study on chemotherapy patients found that those undergoing red light therapy treatment showed 2.6 more hair growth than those in the placebo group, with no adverse effects.
There are hundreds of more research that demonstrated the efficacy of red light treatment, notably with regard to AGA. While there is still more research needed on the treatment’s effect on AA and CIA, the existing findings are definitely promising.
Other Benefits of Red Light Therapy
Thousands of studies and scientific reviews have been conducted to investigate the physiological effects of red light therapy. The main benefits include collagen production, repair and recovery of muscles, and relief from symptoms of illnesses that stem from some type of inflammatory response.
Other benefits include:
- Skin rejuvenation, wound, and scar healing;
- Muscle growth, performance, and recovery;
- Weight loss;
- Hair growth;
- Cognitive health;
- Immune health;
- Hormones and sex drive;
- Pain and inflammation;
- Mental health and depression;
- Sleep disturbances;
- Eye health;
- Oral and dental health.
How You Can Benefit from Red Light Therapy for Hair Growth at Home
With a Lumousred at-home device, you can now commit to consistent red light therapy sessions from the comfort of your home, and for a fraction of the price compared to spas and clinics.
The key to success is consistency and patience. It’s important to remember that red light therapy is not a quick fix. In contrast, it is an inside-out approach that treats hair loss and overall health from a cellular level.
You can either focus on small areas such as the scalp with a small, portable LED panel, or you can choose a full-body treatment to help improve your health from head to toe. Whatever your goals or budget are, we can help you find a device that fits your needs. You can shop Luminousred here.
Sample Application: How to Use RLT for Hair Growth
- Device to use
- Our Model 1+2 is the ideal device to use, because of its size and coverage area. Shop the Model 1+2 and our other RLT devices here.
- 17 minutes is the optimal duration
- We recommend positioning the device 1 inch away from your scalp.
- For optimal results, we recommend 660nm (red light).