Millions of men and women worldwide suffer from hair loss. While we’re familiar with male pattern hair loss, over 40 percent of women over 40 experience thinning at the top and crown of the head. Clumps of hair swirling around the drainpipe after giving birth to twins also sent me into a panic. it turns out hair loss goes beyond genetics and excessive chemical and heat styling.
“Your scalp is skin, and skin function changes based on fluctuations of hormones, even certain types of birth control can cause hair loss,” explains Dr. Dennis Gross, MD, board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon in Manhattan, NYC.
According to experts, the most common reasons for hair loss are genetic thinning, scalp diseases, medications and long-term damage from chemicals and heat—even tight ponytails—so it can impact anyone, regardless of age.
Dermatologists agree: The sooner you start treatment, the better.
“A misconception is waiting to see if it improves on its own,” adds Dr. Gross, “Time is of the essence once someone determines they are losing an abnormal amount of hair.”
So what are the best expert-approved long-term and short-term solutions for regrowth and camouflage on the market? We have you covered, here’s what you need to know.
Over-the-counter products with minoxidil
You’ve probably seen Rogaine and similar hair growth products readily available at your local pharmacy. This tested, tried, and true topical foam treatment is applied directly to the scalp daily and works by exfoliating and conditioning the skin while enlarging hair follicles. Opt for a formula with at least 5 percent minoxidil for best results.
Old world solutions
Shampoos and conditioners that claim to help regrow hair just don’t work! Invest instead on shampoo/conditioner duos that balance the scalp instead. If your scalp is too oily, your hair follicles could be blocked which reduces the efficiency of the hair growth cycle – this eventually leads to thinning hair and hair loss. Lacking oil is equally detrimental to hair growth. When your scalp is not producing enough oil, hair becomes dry and more susceptible to breakage and thinning. The solution? Look for Indian ayurvedic shampoos with neem, shikakai and other natural extracts which cleanse but don’t strip the scalp of much-needed oils.
Camouflage and conceal
While a long-term solution is critical, most of us are looking for a way to disguise hair loss right now! Thinning hair, traditionally at the top and crown, can appear exponentially sparse when hair is parted to the side or center, particularly if your scalp is lighter than your hair color. Personally, this became evident to me not in my reflection in the mirror, but in photos and videos! The product I turned to? A root cover-up spray! Just a few spritzes can darken a lighter-hued scalp and give the optical illusion of more hair. Hair you go, folks!
Dust off that crimper
To get that extra oomph, turn to that old crimper you’ve stowed away! Just a few clamps with a warm iron at the crown – away from the visible hairline – is enough to give you a bit of “grit” at the root which makes your style appear exponentially fuller without damaging hair. And the best part; it lasts until your next wash!
Additionally, if you’ve been struggling for some time don’t be afraid to see a dermatologist! “Hair loss is treatable,” explains Harvard-trained board-certified dermatologist Marc R. Avram, MD. He recommends seeking the help of a professional as soon as possible for a patient-specific plan that might include over-the-counter remedies and in-office PRP (platelet-rich plasma) treatments and low-level light laser therapy.
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
Want daily pop culture news delivered to your inbox? Sign up here for Yahoo Entertainment & Lifestyle's newsletter.