How To Get Thicker Hair – The Ultimate Guide
When we are searching for significant others, what are the characteristics we look for regarding their physical appearance? Beautiful eyes, wide smile, certain body type, skin tone or something else?
Most of us have even a hair color preference. Some like dark haired people the best, some fall for curly haired gingers, while some choose angelic beauty of natural blondes. Hair matters. While color and length preference may vary, we all want the person who has healthy, shiny, thick hair. Nonetheless, we want to see high-quality hair growing out of our own heads, too! Why is that so?
Through the years, hair was recognized as the symbol of both femininity and masculinity. Long haired women are perceived as gentle, gracious, and elegant, while thick haired men seem strong, healthy and virile. As you can see, hair helps people leave a strong first impression. We often tend to change our hairstyle more drastically when we want to emphasize changes or decision we made in our lives. You have to admit; it is certainly a form of individual expression.
For all of these reasons, there is a constant search to know how to get thicker hair. Thick hair offers us an opportunity to have a stylish look, no matter the color or the haircut we choose. Because of that, hair loss is one of the biggest self-confidence killers. Just think of all the men you have met that have gone through the midlife crises and their desperate attempts to mask their bald scalps.
The American Academy of Dermatology reported that we lose from 50 to 100 strands of hair each day. That is more than 36.000 strands a year. The good news is, as there are many reasons for hair loss, there are also many ways to prevent it or at least minimize it. We'll be discussing potential causes, risk factors, and various solutions.
Reasons Your Hair Gets Thinner
Who has the best hair? Children, of course! Hair density is high during our childhood, and it reaches its peak during puberty. Unfortunately, when we turn 35, the volume of our hair starts to decrease. Yes, age has a significant role in this change, but it is not the only determining factor.
Maintaining an unhealthy lifestyle, enjoying junk foods too often, having a liver disorder, being a mother of a newborn, or baldness running in your family – all of these conditions can cause a hair loss. Fortunately, some of these factors are controllable, and we can affect them through changing our habits and adjusting the hair care.
We are going to explain how all of these factors make your hair fall out and what you should and shouldn't do.
1. Shower Temperature
We are all well aware that hot water can dry up our skin. Still, no one thinks about the hair. The same way, water of high temperatures dehydrates strands, making them brittle and fragile. They become an easy target for snapping and falling out at the same time.
Hair transplant surgeons warn that heat makes our pores increase their oil production, which damages the roots and leads to additional shedding.
For this problem, the solution is simple. Just go with the warm shower and not the hot one. Try to rinse your hair with the coolest temperature that you can bear. It doesn't have to be freezingly cold, but find the cold temperature that feels right on your skin.
2. Styling Tools
In an attempt to make our thin hair look healthy and gain volume, we use everything we can find. Sometimes it is a flat iron, at times a roller or a hot air brush. We are all aware those are not good for our hair, but what to do when it looks so much better if you style it that way?
Hot temperatures damage the proteins that make up your hair and its protective cuticle. This process disrupts the moisture balance which makes your strands much more breakable.
What to do? Limit your hot tool usage. Next time, before you take the blow dryer in your hands think twice. You should use hot styling tools only two or three times a week. Remember to start with the coolest setting possible and apply a heat protection spray. At last, try to choose high-quality hot rollers, for example, and read professional reviews before you buy something that can damage your hair.
3. Treating Wet Hair
Do you rub your hair with a towel as hard as you can when you finish your shower? Or do you try to brush it when it's still wet forcefully? If you are, you are making more than a few mistakes.
Strands are the most fragile while they are wet. During this period their protective cuticle is slightly raised, which makes them easier to fall off. Brushing and combing during the shower or immediately after, does more damage than you expect.
Change your habits. Brush your hair before it gets wet. After you are done washing it, blot your hair, never rub, with a soft towel.
4. Washing Schedule
If you ever had a long hair, you know how planning when to wash it can be difficult. It takes a lot of time, especially if you plan to let it dry naturally and it is not very fun either. You count days it’ll be clean plus days it can pass with dry shampoo, and you end up washing it only once or twice a week.
This schedule does seem convenient, but it is not the healthiest option for your strands. A buildup of products you’ve used for a few days or a significant amount of dandruff can clog hair follicles, which slows down hair’s growth.
Of course, you don't have to wash your hair every day. But, don't forget that even if your hair doesn't seem greasy, it is still dirty. The ideal plan is to wash your hair every two days, especially if you are using lots of products or sweating a lot.
5. Tight Hairstyles
High ponytails and braids are always trendy. Besides, they are practical and handy, especially during the summer. However, they are common thick hair enemies.
Dermatologists specializing in hair health teach us that these styles put excessive tension on the hair follicles. This damages them and creates scars that destroy them permanently. Because of this, wearing your hair up too often can lead to traction alopecia which permanently limits your hair growth.
However, there is no need to be scared; this doesn't mean you can never wear a ponytail. Just be sure to loosen it up. Wear your hair down, whenever you can, but if you have to tie it, keep it soft. If you feel your tail is pulling on your skin, you will know it is too tight. Also, do not tie your hair while you are sleeping, let it rest, too.
6. Long-Lasting Styling Products
After you've been standing in front of your mirror for hours, trying to make something good out of your hair, you sure want to make it last long enough for everyone to see. That's why you use long lasting hold products that practically turn your soft hair into cement. You probably realize that can't be good, but you don't know the mechanism.
These products usually contain a high amount of alcohol, which makes strands dry and brittle. Product residue will cause your hair to fall out once you brush or comb it.
Choose products that won't make your hair sticky or stiff. Go with softer hold solutions, as styling creams. These will keep hair's natural moisture intact.
7. Inadequate Nutrition
Your hair needs to be well fed, which means you need to be well fed too. Engaging in a strict diet regime, which requires starving yourself forces your body to direct its energy toward heart and brain. There is no energy left for making hair. One of the symptoms of anorexia nervosa is severe hair loss.
However, not only diets can destroy your hair. Being vegetarian (and especially vegan) can cause a hair loss due to protein deficiency. Hair is made of protein fiber, which means it won't grow without it. This doesn't have to happen if you watch your protein intake.
Still, protein is not only important component, iron, zinc, selen and other elements are just as necessary. You can see the full list of needed elements here.
This is another factor that you can regulate by just changing a few habits. For starters, eat healthier. Focus on protein, fish, and chicken or lentils and beans. Make sure that 25-30% of your daily calories go on proteins. It should be around 46 grams a day.
8. Prescribed Medications
Certain medications and hormones can cause your hair to fall out. They change the regular growth cycle. They push hair into the resting phase too early, which leads to premature hair loss. If you take anti-depressants, anti-anxiety agents, anti-hypertensive pills or thyroid replacement drugs, you may experience these symptoms.
Unfortunately, we can't control this factor entirely, because we have to take certain medications to stay healthy. What you can do is ask your doctor about alternative drugs that don't come with this side effect.
Stressful and traumatic events which are highly significant – such as loss of a family member, divorce, job change, changing your apartment, money debts – can cause a temporary pause in hair growth. This is practically how your body tries to protect you. It shifts all of its resources toward overcoming the stressful situation.
"Hairs don’t all grow at the same rate. Some are growing some are resting, and some are actively being shed. When you have these conditions, your body halts hair growth, and then things get restarted and all these hairs that have been blocked start to get pushed out at the same time. The same thing can happen with physical stress and trauma, like having a big operation, being hospitalized, or even losing a significant amount of weight very quickly”, said Bethanee Schlosser M.D. in her interview with SELF.
Of course, you are not able to predict when will stressful events happen nor how it will affect your body. Still, it's nice to know this fact, so you wouldn't be scared if stress cause hair loss happens to you.
Hair loss is usually inherited. It can be passed down to you from one or both of your parents. If your mother or your father is experiencing hair loss problems, there are chances you will too. If both of your parents had these problems, it is much more likely you will have them too. This is called hereditary patterned baldness, and it is the most common cause of hair loss.
We grow less hair as we get old. As the year's pass, some of our follicles start to produce thinner hair, while some don't produce at all. Researchers found that this happens due to age-related DNA damage which reduces the amount of gene Collagen17A1 in the follicles. We can only hope the medicine will solve this problem before we go bald.
12. Medical Conditions
Many medical conditions can cause hair loss, so if you experience it, it is better to check with your doctor. We'll be listing most common ones here so you could know possible explanations of your hair falling out.
- Hormonal changes – Your hormones can fluctuate due to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, wrong birth control, thyroid gland and so on. Any of these changes can result in temporary hair loss. Do not panic and do not be your doctor. Seek professional help. Hormones have a tremendous impact on your body, and you should approach them carefully.
- Autoimmune diseases –These conditions occur when your immune system decides to recognize your body cells as foreign and attacks them. In hair case, your body attacks your follicles until the strands fall out. The most common autoimmune hair loss disease is alopecia areata – patchy hair loss that doesn't leave scars, just round, smooth bald patches on the skin.
- Hair pulling disorder – Trichotillomania – It is a mental disorder that causes people to have the irresistible urge to pull out their hair from various places on their body.
- Scalp infections – These are infections that invade the hair and the skin of the scalp, leading to hair loss and patches. The loss is only temporal, once the disease is treated, the hair grows back.
- Various skin disorders – This group includes diseases that can cause scarring alopecia, with possibly permanent hair loss. Examples are lichen planus, sarcoidosis and few types of lupus.
Now that we know all of the possible reasons for hair loss, we can proceed to symptoms and solutions.
Hair Thinning Symptoms
Hair doesn't fall out only in patches; there are few different forms in which hair loss can appear:
1. Gradual Thinning On Top Of The Head
This affects both men and women as they age and it is the most common type. Men's hair often starts to recede at the forehead, creating the "M“ letter-shaped line. Women usually retain the hairline on the forehead but gain the broadening of the part in their hair.
2. Loose Hair
Hair loss caused by stress often starts with hair loosening. People often notice this while combing or washing their hair as an unusual amount of hair comes out. This type of hair loss results in general thinning rather than bald patches.
3. Bald Spots
They appear as smooth, relatively round, coin-sized spots without any hair. It usually affects the scalp, but they can occur in beard or eyebrows too. Some people experience itchiness or pain before the hair falls out.
How To Thicken Your Hair? All You Need To Know
There are many ways to thicken your hair. Some of them include just a proper diet, some can be categorized as "DIY“ and some require specialized products and drugs. We'll be listing all of them so you can choose what suits you the best, but remember that it is often more productive to combine a few techniques for better results.
1. Scalp Massage
Studies had shown that massaging your scalp can stimulate the follicles and grow thicker hair. How does it work? Massage increases blood flow to your follicles, and blood carries all of the essential nutrients that enhance the hair growth. Also, it supplies your hair with needed oxygen and lets it breathe.
How should you do it? Find a comfortable place to sit and relax. Put your fingers on your head in a crisscross pattern. Next thing you should do is apply pressure to one spot with each finger and repeat this process by moving backward, then on the sides and at last on the back of the head. You can always use scalp massaging brush or add nourishing oils which will additionally help your hair grow faster and thicker. You can ask someone to assist you in scalp massage, but you can also do it yourself.
2. Home Remedies
Your home and especially your fridge are full of supplies that can help you grow thicker hair. We are not talking about what you should eat to get healthier hair, not just yet. Following groceries will help you mix up the perfect masks for faster hair growth and better hair quality.
Most people have eggs in their fridge at any time, so it shouldn't be a problem for you to get ingredients for the egg mask. Eggs can offer your hair all of the proteins it needs.
Take two eggs and beat them in the bowl until they are whisked well together. Apply the mask all over your dry hair and keep it that way for at least 20 minutes. Rinse it very well and use light shampoo to get the egg smell out of your hair. For best results, repeat this process four times a week. You can also try mixing egg yolk, olive oil, and water, applying it the same way and letting it sit for 15 minutes.
# Olive Oil
Throughout the history people have been using olive oil to thicken their hair and promote skin health. Olive oil is so beneficial because it contains omega-3 fatty acids.
You can simply and directly apply olive oil to your hair and massage it, making sure to cover all of your hair with it. You should leave this olive oil coat for 30 minutes, and then rinse it while using a light shampoo. The result will be even better if you leave it in overnight and then wash it in the morning.
# Coconut Oil
When people talk about hair health, they always mention the coconut oil. Much like proteins in eggs, there are proteins in coconut that are responsible for adding strength to the hair. Using this oil is probably the fastest way to get nice, healthy and thick hair.
Massage a bit of warmed coconut oil into the scalp and the length of the hair and cover it with the hot towel. You can get the towel hot by putting it in the dryer, or run it under the hot water and wring it out afterward. Leave it that way for 30 minutes and then rinse. You can repeat this treatment every few days.
Vitamin E in avocado contributes to the overall health of the hair shaft while adding body to your hair and moisturizing it at the same time.
When using avocado mask remember to apply it on the freshly washed, damp hair and wash it out afterward. There are few versions of this mask and every one of them is highly effective. Mash one avocado with a tablespoon of olive oil and apply it on your hair. You can also add one mashed banana to the mask, or replace olive oil with wheatgerm oil.
# Green Tea
If you don't like applying oily stuff to your hair, green tea is the perfect solution for you. It is full of antioxidants which prevent hair loss and boost hair growth at the same time.
Cook the green tea and apply it warm to your scalp. Still, don't do it while it is hot because of adverse effects that high temperatures can have on your hair and scalp skin. Leave it in for at least an hour. At last, rinse it off with cold water. This treatment is incredibly simple, and you can do it every time you wash your hair.
These are the most common and most beneficial home remedies you can use, but there are much more just like them. Some people prefer orange, onion or potato juice, aloe vera, henna, coconut milk, hibiscus flowers, cumin seeds and so on. Whichever you choose to include in your regular hair care rituals, it can only do you good.
3. Products, Treatments, And Drugs
There are many pharmaceutical products made for preventing, stopping and curing hair loss or enhancing hair growth. Our list contains the most common ones, but you should always use what your doctor prescribed you because he knows all needed details about your health.
# Saw Palmetto Supplements – Serenoarepens
However, studies had shown that it also helps with the hair loss. Daily intake of 200-miligram saw palmetto soft gel supplement increases hair growth in six out of ten men. It is believed that this supplement blocks the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, which is associated with the hair loss.
# MSM Supplements –Methylsulfonylmethane
MSM is an organic sulfur compound, used for reducing pain and inflammation. It can be bought at any health food store as a supplement. Studies had shown that MSM and MAP (magnesium ascorbyl phosphate) are also effective in increasing and fastening the hair growth on mice whose hair had been removed.
# Rogaine – Minoxidil
This substance is a vasodilator and potassium channel opener. It is sold in drugstores without a prescription. Minoxidil stimulates new hair growth and prevents continued hair loss in both men and women. After 16 weeks of consumption, his effects should be maximized, but the medication must be continually applied to maintain its benefits.
It has a few potential side effects, such as scalp irritation, hair growth on the face and hands and tachycardia – rapid heart rate but they appear relatively rare.
# Propecia – Finasteride
If you want to buy this medication you must have a prescription. It contains an inhibitor of type-25-alpha reductase, which limits testosterone's conversion to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). In this case, hair growth is caused by the decrease of the DHT. Finasteride is also used for treating an enlarged prostate. This medication must be taken daily to maintain the benefits.
However, women cannot use it, and they are advised not to touch it in crushed or broken form. Side effects for men are significant, including lower sex drive, decreased sexual function and increased risk of prostate cancer.
4. Diet And Recipes That Promote Hair Growth
We've already discussed a little about how your diet should look like if you want to have shiny, healthy, thick hair. Here we will dig deeper into proper nutrition, find out which vitamins and minerals are crucial, and what does that mean for your everyday cooking.
As we previously mentioned, the essential food factor for proper hair growth is protein.
This means you should add more chicken, turkey, fish (especially salmon and halibut), oysters, eggs and dairy for maximum protein. On the other hand, if you are vegan or vegetarian, you shouldn't worry – nuts and seeds, legumes, soy products and green leafy vegetables such as bok choy or spinach, should give you all the protein you need.
Next important thing was iron. Anemia usually comes with the hair loss, because hair follicles are not properly fed with minerals which means the process of growth is affected. You can always choose to take it as a supplement if you notice you are not getting enough iron even after adjusting your diet.
But, first, try with consuming more of these groceries – chicken, grass-fed red meat (especially their liver), fish, dairy products, spinach, again bok choy, oats beans, lentils, baked potato, tofu and so on. You can see the full list of the iron-rich foods here.
# Zinc And Selenium
These minerals have a great role in protecting your scalp. If you decide to take them as supplements, you will notice they usually go together. If you have zinc or selenium deficiency, you will probably end up with dry and flaky scalp and a hair loss.
You can find these two minerals in whole grains and cereals, beef, turkey, chicken, shrimps, lobster, eggs, oysters, nuts (especially cashews, almonds, and Brazil nuts) and seeds.
# Vitamin A
This vitamin is necessary for sebum production. Sebum is the oily substance that conditions your scalp. If your glands don't produce enough sebum, it might result in dry hair and itchiness.
You should include orange and yellow vegetables in your diet because they are full of beta-carotene, a compound responsible for forming vitamin A. Carrots, pumpkins and sweet potatoes are ideal. Other than that you should start eating more beef liver, kale, spinach, apricots, broccoli, butter and winter squash.
# Vitamin B
Healthy and thick hair requires this vitamin, especially biotin. You could buy B complex and use it as a supplement, but you should always try to get necessary vitamins from your food first.
Include plenty of whole grains, cauliflower, carrots, dark leafy greens, soy flour, liver, poultry, avocados and legumes in your daily menu. Meat and dairy are necessary for B-12 which cannot be found in plants.
# Vitamin C
This vitamin is essential in combination with iron because it aids its absorption. Vitamin C also participates in the reduction of collagen which strengthens capillaries and enhances the blood supply to hair shafts.
Start eating more oranges, lemons, red peppers, kale, brussels sprouts, broccoli, strawberries, grapefruits, guavas, kiwis and green peppers. Remember, you can never get too much of vitamin C!
# Vitamin E
When it comes to this vitamin, his primary role is protection. It protects your hair from sun damage and keeps it healthy.
Almonds, spinach, sweet potatoes, avocado, wheat germs, sunflower seeds, palm oil, butternut squash, trout and olive oil should give you all the vitamin E you need for having thick, beautiful hair.
# Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3s help the scalp oil production, which is important for conditioning and keeping your hair healthy.They also improve the hydration of the scalp and hair making them thicker, healthier and silkier all at once.
If you want to increase your omega-3s intake, you should add plenty of oily fish in your diet. You can start with salmon, mackerel, cod liver, walnuts, chia seeds, herring, flaxseeds, tuna, white fish, sardines, hemp seeds, anchovies, natto, egg yolks and so on.
Hair Care And What To Avoid
We've already talked about what causes hair loss and how to prevent those things. Now, we'll be focusing on mistakes every one of us makes during our daily hair care. You surely don't want to be responsible for making your own hair thin and brittle.
1. Be Aware Of What You Put In Your Hair
If you can, always go for organic products and avoid chemicals. This means you might spend more money and a little more time to clean your hair, but you will be sure there is no chemical caused harm done. Remember that Laureth sulfates and sodium laurel (which are the part of many hair products), can cause damage to your hair.
2. Don't Go Over The Top With Washing
We mentioned that washing your hair too rarely can cause the hair loss. Well, washing it too often does the damage, too. Don't do it every day. This process will strip it of vital oils and therefore lead to thinning and falling out.
As we said, washing your hair every second day (which means 3-4 times a week), if you have an oily scalp is the ideal measure. If your hair doesn't get greasy fast you can wash it two or three times a week, it will be enough.
3. Essential Oils Are Your Friends
Cedarwood, Geranium, lavender, rosemary or thyme oils can help your hair grow thicker. 20 drops or less should be applied to your scalp and then worked down through the length of your hair. You can combine using these oils with recommended scalp massages for better results. At last, you can add a few drops of oil in your shampoo every time you wash your hair.
4. Mind Your Hair And Be Gentle
If you have a problem with thin hair and hair loss, it is likely that your hair is not as strong as you think. So, use a wide tooth comb for untangling and avoid brushes that pull on each strand. Take your time to work through the tangles. When your hair is wet, don't do anything but gently squeezing it dry using a soft towel. Never comb it while it is wet, because of how fragile it is during that time.
5. Avoid Chemicals And Pollutants As Much As You Can
Chemical substances that can damage your hair are not only inside the popular hair products. They can be all around you. Protect your hair by wearing a scarf or a hat when you are out in a busy place. If you go swimming in the pool, always wear a cap or wash your hair as soon as you get out because of the chlorine.
6. Try Not To Burn Your Hair
Avoid heating your hair as much as you can. Blow dryers, straighteners, and curling irons shouldn't be used more than twice a week. They can dry out your hair and make it very brittle. When you decide to use hot styling tools, protect your hair with heat protection spray.
|Read More: How To Get Rid Of Burnt Hair Smell
7. Masks From Your Kitchen Are The Best
Apply masks that you've created by yourself and do it often. Remember that eggs contain all of the needed proteins. Therefore, make egg-based masks, no matter what other ingredients you add.
There are many things you can do to get thicker hair. Of course, it would be ideal to apply all of the said, but no one expects you to do so. Choosing just a few of offered advice and combining them with balanced nutrition should do the trick.
However, before you dive in intensified hair care, check with your doctor to see if your hair loss has a medical explanation and do as he or she says. Treating your health condition as something unimportant and minimizing its value can only lead to further complications.
Remember that taking care of your hair is just as taking care of the rest of your body. The job won't be done if you pay attention to your diet and hair care habits for a month and then forget all about them. Having a beautiful, thick hair is the result of continuous work.
At last, when you get to wanted results, you will be delighted. The change in hair quality is always noticeable. So, invest a little effort, develop a new ritual and be gentle to your hair as you are to yourself and your loved ones. It is a part of you, and a meaningful one.
Protect it, just the way it protects your head. Your effort will pay off.
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