For most of us, our hair is an integral part of who we are. It frames our face, makes us feel beautiful and is an important marker of our individuality. That’s why it can be totally disconcerting to notice your hair falling out more than usual—and wanting to make your hair thicker and fuller before your upcoming wedding. But according to experts, hair loss is quite common—in fact, far more than we realize. “Fifty percent of all women experience some degree of hair loss by the time they are 50, and this number approaches 75 percent for post-menopausal women by age 75,” says Philip Bruder, M.D., founder of Soho Hair MD in New York City.
If your wedding day is fast approaching and you find yourself one of the millions of people experiencing hair loss, you might be wondering why—and what you can do about it. Well, according to Ednan Sheikh, M.D., New Jersey-based Aesthetics Physician, and Hair Transplant Specialist at Eternal Hair & Esthetics, hair loss can be the result of a myriad of factors including aging, genetics, stress, hormonal issues, medical procedures and lifestyle habits. Additionally, dieting that leads to quick and severe weight loss due to not consuming a sufficient amount of vitamins, minerals and other vital nutrients can expedite hair loss, he explains.
The good news is that there are several solutions that can not only stop hair loss, but also lead to regrowth of new hairs. The average adult loses 100 to 200 hairs per day, and if you are subject to any of the risk factors above, the rate of shedding may outpace the rate of new growth.
If you feel that there is progressively more hair in your brush, there is still time before your wedding to seek a clinically proven solution and make your hair thicker and fuller before the wedding.
See a doctor.
It's always best to get a licensed medical professional involved when you're experiencing hair thinning just to rule out any underlying medical issues. “If you're able to pinpoint the cause of your hair thinning, you'll be able to make informed decisions and take on a protocol to get your hair back on track ASAP.” says Andrew Fitzsimons, celebrity hair stylist and TIGI Copyright Brand Ambassador. “Plus, your doctor may be able to refer you to specialists who can help further.”
There are a number of supplements you can take to help boost the overall health of your hair and make your hair thicker and fuller. The most recommended supplement is biotin, according to Fitzsimons. In addition, he recommends getting your fair share of omega fatty acids and amino acids in your diet from supplements or food sources alone (think eggs, meat, nuts and whole grains).
Use the right hair products.
Keep the hair you do have longer by making sure it's in optimal health. Fitzsimons recommends adding a reparative mask treatment into your weekly hair care routine to help fortify and strengthen your strands. “Look for products that contain proteins to repair the tears and gaps in your hair,” he says. “You can also look into a leave in conditioner, which will keep your strands moisturized and flexible to prevent future breakage.” His favorite right now is from Daily Dose.
LED light therapy
There is increasing evidence from randomized clinical trials that shows that low level light therapy is both safe and effective in both men and women, and the FDA has cleared this technique for combatting hair loss, according to Divya Shokeen, MD, dermatologist based in Torrance, California. “Dual wavelength LED light therapy from REVIAN RED® offers a natural way to block the sex hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and stop thinning hair without the adverse side effects of oral drug therapies,” she says. “Innovative products that use LED light have also overcome the technical limitations of lasers to provide full scalp coverage in a lightweight, cordless configuration for at-home use.”
Minoxidil, the key ingredient found in Rogaine®, was first approved as a topical therapy by the FDA for use in female pattern hair loss in 1991. “The active ingredient, minoxidil, is proposed to increase blood flow to the scalp which results in an increase size of hair follicles and extends your hair's natural growth cycle to make hair thicker and fuller,” explains Dr. Shokeen “The 5 percent foam, available for both men and women and requires twice daily application to the scalp for the best clinical results.”
PRP (platelet-rich plasma)
This procedure was made famous after an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians aired showing Kim undergoing it—clad in her own blood. As gruesome as it looks, it’s a relatively painless in-office procedure. “Your doctor takes a blood sample, processes it, and isolates growth factors,” explains Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “The red blood cells are separated from the white part of the blood, or the plasma and that plasma is then concentrated to isolate growth factors that are then injected directly back into the scalp in areas of hair thinning.” Treatment protocols vary from doctor to doctor, but Dr. Z recommends a regimen of once every month for four months for his patience and then one treatment every four months as maintenance.
There are several brands of keratin-based hair fibers that give your hair a thicker appearance, explains Dr. Bruder. Although they do not help hair grow or thicken, they are extremely small and are not obvious to the naked eye. “They stick to your natural hair by static electricity, are available in different shades to match your hair color, work immediately and, most importantly, do not harm your hair,” he adds.
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