The health of your hair has a lot to do with how well you maintain it. And we’re not just talking about making time to wash and blow dry. Effective hair maintenance comes down to using the right products, following a healthy diet, and making lifestyle changes to ensure optimal health. While this may sound complex, we have a few tips to make it easy. From product recommendations to foods you should avoid, here’s how to maintain healthy hair:
1. Try Medication
If you struggle with hair loss, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Hair loss is extremely common and, luckily, can often be treated, especially with the right medication. Minoxidil is an FDA-approved medication that’s clinically proven to combat hair loss and improve growth.
Topical minoxidil is applied twice daily, and many people report noticeable results between the first four to six months of consistent use. You’re probably thinking, “Not another hair loss product.” We get it. While many products advertise themselves as effective hair loss solutions, minoxidil has the facts to back it up. In fact, studies show minoxidil can increase hair growth by up to 35%.
Over 80% of men experience hair loss by the time they reach 70, and it can start as early as your 20s. And while there are many different causes, with genetics being the main one, you don’t have to settle for bald patches and thinning hair. Thanks to scientific research and medical advancements, there are many treatment options available for those combating hair loss.
2. Be Mindful Of Heat
Taking a few minutes to straighten or blow dry your hair in the morning may not seem like a big deal. But too much heat strips the moisture content from your hair, which can cause dryness and uneven texture. Excessive heat can also cause brittleness and lead to split ends and even hair loss — two things you probably want to avoid.
One of the best things you can do for your hair is be mindful of how much heat you use. Rather than straightening your hair every morning, consider embracing your natural curls a few times a week. And don’t forget about accessories. If you’re having a bad hair day, opt for a baseball cap or headband. It’s your choice. Just remember the goal is to find ways to mitigate the heat you apply to your hair.
Keep in mind, we’re not saying you should throw your curling iron and straightener away. There’s nothing wrong with using heat in moderation. Just make sure you apply a heat protectant to your hair beforehand. It’s also wise to wait to use these styling tools on dry hair. Styling wet hair can lead to more damage and frizz because your hair is in a more fragile state.
3. Eat Clean
“You are what you eat.” If you’ve ever tried to lose weight or maintain clear skin, you’ve probably heard that phrase before. And while it’s true the food you eat affects your weight and skin’s appearance, did you know it also impacts your hair?
To maintain healthy hair, it’s important to consume a nutrient-dense diet. You also want to make sure you’re consuming food specifically meant to improve hair follicles. For example, essential fatty acids found in walnuts, certain vegetables, and fatty fish like salmon play a key role in the health of your hair.
Protein is also important for healthy hair. Unfortunately, many people, especially vegans and vegetarians, don’t consume enough protein during the day. If you’re noticing lackluster hair, a lack of protein may be the cause. If you’re not a meat-lover, look to soy products, nuts, and grains to ensure you’re getting enough protein. You may also consider supplements to help you meet those nutrition standards.
4. Try Microneedling
Have you heard of microneedling? It’s a cosmetic surgery known to reduce the appearance of skin concerns like dark spots and wrinkles. But microneedling can also be used to promote hair growth — yes, seriously!
Microneedling with PRP, platelet-rich plasma therapy, is a treatment where a provider first draws your blood. They then separate the plasma from that blood and reinject it into your scalp. This procedure helps stimulate follicle activity. If this sounds a little too invasive for your taste, don’t worry. There are less invasive treatment options available, like a scalp microneedling treatment.
With scalp microneedling, your provider rolls a device with thin needles over your scalp, creating micro injuries. In turn, your skin responds by sending additional blood flow to heal the wounds. This response can promote healthy hair growth. Regardless of the treatment you choose, make sure you work with a qualified healthcare professional to ensure best results.
5. Massage Your Scalp
A scalp massage is similar to a regular massage you’d get on your body. The only difference, of course, is a scalp massage is focused on your scalp and typically more gentle. And while giving yourself a scalp massage won’t magically regrow your hair overnight, it’s been found to improve hair loss.
Scalp massages help stretch the cells of hair follicles, which can cause the follicles to produce thicker strands. Scalp massages may also help dilate blood vessels in your scalp, also encouraging hair growth. It’s important to note that more research needs to be conducted on the benefits of scalp massage. However, many people have seen promising results with regular scalp massages.
Additionally, using oil with your scalp massage can further assist with hair growth. But not just any type of oil! You want to make sure you’re picking oils that benefit hair health, like coconut oil. Coconut oil is an antimicrobial and antifungal, which can prevent free radicals from damaging your hair. Adding coconut oil to your scalp massage may be the game-changer you’re looking for.
No matter what treatments or lifestyle changes you choose to incorporate to improve your hair health, remember change takes time. It’s important to be patient, and know, not all tips work for everyone. It may take trial and error to find what your body and your hair follicles need to flourish.