Dr Clare Morrison

Article by Dr Clare Morrison

How to Stop Hair Thinning?

Around two-thirds of men experience hair loss over the course of their lives – and in the majority of cases this is caused by genetics. Although hair loss can feel disappointing, there’s actually a lot you can do to slow down or even reverse the process – you just need to know how to stop hair thinning.

Let’s look at how to stop hair falling out and explore some of the causes of this annoying – but manageable – process.

Are you losing more hair than normal?

There are a number of different causes of hair loss, so knowing which one is affecting you is useful for deciding how to prevent hair thinning.

Normal hair shedding

The average man who is not balding loses between 0 and 80 hairs on an average day. If you’ve suddenly started noticing many more hairs than usual on your pillow or in the shower, this doesn’t necessarily mean you are balding. It may just be part of your scalp’s natural process of shedding hair – and some experts believe people lose more hair in summer, so it could be a seasonal thing.

Rapid hair shedding

On the other hand, if you’ve suddenly noticed large clumps of hair falling out from one day to the next (or very noticeable thinning in just a few weeks), this is normally a sign of an underlying medical condition. It’s therefore important to visit your GP to discuss what’s happening.

Male pattern baldness

This is by far and away the most common cause of male hair loss and is caused by genetics. As noted above, around two-thirds of men lose hair this way. To decide if you’re experiencing male pattern baldness, you can:

  • Speak to your relatives

Hair loss is widely known to be passed down from your mother’s genes (although research shows that men with bald fathers are more likely to be bald themselves). So, look at your relatives or ask your parents about them to get an idea of whether you’re likely to have this gene too. 

  • Compare photos of yourself over time

Male pattern baldness follows a very standard process. In most cases a straight hairline will gradually recede to a v-shape. You can quickly tell if you have receding hair by simply looking at photos of yourself from a few years ago with more recent images.

Alternatively, you may start to go bald from the crown of the head. Of course, since most people don’t take photos of the crown of their head, you might want to get a friend or partner to take a photo of your crown every three months or so to help you compare.

How to stop hair thinning if the cause is genetic

Your genes certainly have an impact on the way you look, but they are not the be-all and end-all. Just as you might have a genetic disposition towards obesity but make lifestyle choices to avoid it, there are many things you can do to reduce or slow down the rate at which hair falls out.

Let’s look at some of these factors, starting with broad lifestyle choices, before zooming in on hair care and specific treatments.

How to stop hair falling out – lifestyle choices

There are many lifestyle choices which can affect the speed at which your hair falls out – whether you have male pattern baldness or not. These include:

  • Stress

Stress is one of the biggest causes of hair loss and shouldn’t be underestimated. If you are feeling stressed over a long period, your body may put your hair follicles into their resting period – and that may cause a noticeable thinning of the hair.

  • Poor diet

A diet which is lacking in a range of vitamins and minerals could mean you have a deficiency of certain nutrients needed for hair growth. Following the ‘Mediterannean diet’ gives you a balanced diet that will give your body everything it needs.

  • Drinking and smoking

Alcohol and nicotine may both have a negative impact on hair growth, thinning blood flow to the scalp.

  • Lack of exercise

Physical exercise can balance your hormone levels, reduce stress and potentially slow down hair loss. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day.

How to stop hair falling out with your hair care routine

Next up there are many things you can do to alter your hair care routine so as to reduce hair loss. These include:

  • Using a mild shampoo (including anti-hair loss brands)

There are numerous shampoos which are designed to help combat hair loss. In any case, avoid shampoos that contain lots of chemicals – choose those that brand themselves as ‘mild’ or ‘sensitive’.

  • Shampoo the right amount

Shampooing regularly may reduce hair loss as it keeps the scalp clean. That said, you shouldn’t overdo it either as all that rubbing and frothing isn’t going to help thinning hair. Aim for a couple of shampoo sessions per week, but give your hair a rinse with water every day.

  • Avoid overdoing the hair gel

There are endless hair products out there for gelling and slicking up your barnet. Suffice to say, putting lots of chemicals on your scalp and pulling your hair around isn’t going to help with hair loss – so keep these products to a minimum, and choose brands which promote themselves as ‘sensitive’.

  • Avoid ponytails and other stressors

If you have long hair, pulling it into a ponytail is likely to pull hairs out too. Indeed anything which stresses your scalp – such as frequent combine or vigorous towel drying will all make your hair fall out faster.

How to prevent hair thinning with treatments

Besides lifestyle choices and general hair care, there are also a number of hair loss treatments available which can slow down or even reverse hair loss.

These include:

  • Finasteride-based treatments

Finasteride is a hair treatment which has been proven to slow down or even reverse hair loss caused by male pattern baldness. It counteracts DHT (the hormone which is responsible for hair loss). Finasteride is taken as a daily pill and is available under the brand name Propecia.

  • Regaine

Regaine is a lotion-based hair loss treatment. The easy-to-use foam is applied to the scalp on a regular basis and can also slow down or prevent hair loss.

The key with all hair loss treatments is to catch hair loss early and start using these treatments as soon as you start to notice hair thinning – this will help slow down the process for much longer.

Know how to stop hair thinning

There are many causes of hair loss, although the principal culprit is male pattern baldness, a genetic disposition. However, as we’ve seen, there are plenty of things you can do to slow down or even reverse the condition – so by thinking long term about hair loss, you can avoid the worst of it and keep a thick head of hair for longer.

Dr Clare Morrison
Dr Clare Morrison
Experienced General Practitioner in Hampshire since 1995, with particular interest in Nutrition, Obesity and Smoking Cessation.
Originally published August 19 2019, updated September 27 2019