Whether you're a man or a woman, one main concern you may have is how to keep your hair healthy and strong, especially if your family has a history of baldness or thinning hair.
No one likes to look in the mirror and see shiny scalp showing through.
Fortunately, there are solutions -- both natural and medical -- that can help you get and keep your tresses healthy and full.
First, it's important to remember that your hair is actually an appendage of the skin, and just as your skin relies on nutrition, so does your hair.
Your follicles work really hard to make hair. So, if you're cutting back on calories, for example, your follicles aren't going to have the nutrition to be able to make thick, healthy hair. No crash diets!
Protein is really important for healthy hair and hair growth. Specifically, fish protein has been shown to improve shine and thickness, as have fish oils.
What about concerns of balding?
A great first step, before you even experience any balding, is to determine your risk factors. There is a huge genetic factor when it comes to balding in men and women, so take a look at your relatives. If you see a pattern of thinning hair or baldness, it's a good idea to seek out a hair restoration physician. By the time you actually notice a difference in your own hair, such as the scalp shining through, you've already lost 50 percent of your hair in that area.
Improved technology has allowed physicians to determine if the problem is a diameter problem, meaning the hairs are growing thin and wispy, or if it's a hair density problem, where the follicles have actually turned off and are no longer producing hair fibers.
Treatments are available, from non-invasive therapies like medications and topicals, to low-level laser light therapy or a laser cap, which is an at-home non-chemical treatment that can help stop the hair loss process and actually re-grow hair.
There is even a treatment involving platelet rich plasma injections (PRP), which is a cell-based therapy derived from the blood. PRP stimulates wound healing, tissue repair, tissue regeneration and, in the scalp, hair regeneration.
These methods can all help prevent the need for a hair transplant.
How soon can you expect to see results?
Hair grows very, very slowly. Most people only see about a 1/2 inch a month, so it's going to take some time to see a difference in the mirror. However, the tools most hair restoration physicians now utilize can measure change, even if it's not visible to the human eye. By six months, you should be able to see some significant changes.
What effects do hormones, such as during pregnancy (and after), have on hair growth and hair loss?
Follicles are a cyclic organ, meaning they grow hair for 90 days then they rest for a bit, then start to grow hair again. Typically, about 15 percent of your follicles are in the dormant phase while the rest are in the growing phase. But, when you're pregnant, your hormones are raging and more of your follicles are in that growing phase. Many women experience thicker, fuller hair during that time.
But then, after you've given birth, your follicles go back to their normal schedule and what you'll experience is "shedding." Oftentimes this is just your follicles getting back into their groove, but sometimes it can indicate a risk for female pattern hair loss.
Tune in as Dr. Alan Bauman, an internationally renowned hair restoration specialist, joins Andrea and Lisa to share the latest in hair health technology, as well as some natural ways you can address your thinning hair.