Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 3/23/2021
Did you know there’s a number of different non-invasive ways that you can grow thicker, healthier hair? Whether you’re concerned with the health of your hair or you’re interested in preventing the effects of male pattern baldness – something that the majority of men will probably experience by the time they reach 50 – there are a number of different options available.
And best of all, most of these hair care treatments demand minor lifestyle changes or a few extra minutes in the day, so you don’t have to worry about making any major changes in your life.
Most people experiencing hair loss get caught up in the idea that there’s nothing they can do to change it. It’s easy to feel like all hope is lost and that there’s nothing you can do. We get it.
The reality, however, is there’s a lot you can do to improve hair growth — from making some simple lifestyle changes to consuming certain nutrients and even taking FDA-approved prescription medications.
You’re here because you don’t know where to start. We’re here because we know the way.
Zinc and iron are nutrients that are important for a number of different functions regarding our health and wellness.
When it comes to hair care, both of these minerals may be important for having strong, healthy hair.
In the same study posted in the Dermatology Practical and Conceptual journal, researchers didn’t only link insufficient iron levels to hair loss. They also found that people who increased their zinc intake actually had improved hair growth.
For this reason, it’s best to get your zinc and iron from foods rather than supplements, unless you’ve been given a nutritional plan by your healthcare provider.
Here are some foods that are rich in zinc that you should think about adding to your lunch or dinner that could improve your hair’s health and growth, if you have a zinc deficiency:
And if you want to boost your iron levels, eat more meat and seafood, beans, or leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard.
All that said, it’s important to note that the definitive link between both iron and zinc are still being explored by researchers. Study conclusions are riddled with phrases like, “but more research is needed” or “more studies must be conducted.”
Either way, we can always use a little more chickpeas and oatmeal — right, fellas?
This may come as a surprise for most of us, but the truth is that we shouldn’t be washing our hair every day. In fact, we should only be really washing it right when it starts to get oily.
The reason for this is because most shampoos contain harsh chemicals like sulfates which don’t just remove dirt from your hair, they also strip away sebum, an important oil necessary for strong and healthy hair, as well.
Over the past few years, researchers have been able to establish a link between over-shampooing and impaired hair growth.
So, if you’re a daily shampooer and you’re wondering why your hair isn’t growing as quickly and as healthily as it should be, look at the ingredients and switch to something that isn't so harsh.
It’s also worth noting that shampoos aren’t the only things that can strip away the nutrients your hair needs to grow.
Applying excessive heat to your hair (like using a blow dryer, for instance) has been linked to increased hair damage over natural drying techniques.
Also be sure to avoid hairstyles that pull excessively on your hair, as they’ve been linked to a specific type of hair loss called traction alopecia — a form of hair loss that results from consistent pulling for hair roots.
If you’re a smoker who’s already trying to kick the habit, you already know that ditching cigarettes is easier said than done. Still, if you’re looking for one extra incentive to quit smoking for good, do it for your hair. Researchers have found a link between hair loss and smoking.
This is because of a couple of reasons. For starters, the smoke itself is pollution that’s capable of damaging your hair and skin.
But on a biological level, it’s also been found that cigarettes actually cause damage to the DNA of your hair follicles. If you’re looking for ways to improve your hair growth, that pack-a-day habit might be the biggest culprit for your thin and damaged hair.
You may be surprised to know that overexposure to the sun’s UV rays can damage your hair. If you’ve already got a thin head of hair, you probably already know the importance of applying sunscreen to your scalp and wearing a hat to prevent sunburn.
The truth is that everyone, regardless of how thick or thin their hair is, should be protecting their hair and scalp against the sun.
Overexposure to the UV radiation caused by the sunactually damages our hair, causing it to lose proteins and weaken over time. And if you’re someone who spends a lot of time outdoors, this could have a long-term effect on your hair’s overall quality beyond lightening the color of your hair.
For this reason, you should always wear a hat when you’re planning on spending the day outside. Otherwise, you’re placing your hair at risk of being damaged and might even be affecting the way it grows.
“I tried several different options before but Hims combined approach of all four methods by far created the best results.”
“Hims has been the greatest confidence boost, no more bald jokes! I look and feel so much younger!”
“When I show my barber my progress, he is always in disbelief. I have to recommend Hims to any guy who’s experiencing thinning.”
“Cost effective and affordable. My hair keeps growing thicker, fuller, and at a fast rate.”
“I noticed a huge change in the overall health and fullness of my hairline.”
“Now after 5 months I’m able to style waves first time in 10 years!”
“I decided to jump right in and I'm so glad I did. I definitely feel ten years younger!”
“In just as little over two and half months, I can really see the difference in thickness and in color.”
“4-months strong and my confidence boosted back up to 100% using Hims, future me really does thank me.”
“I’m a 34 year old father of two and have been using Hims for over a year now. My hair is back to what it was in my mid twenties.”
Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a role in the development of our hair and nails. In the past few years, it has become a popular supplement that claims to help promote hair and fingernail growth.
However, it’s worth noting that the exact science behind biotin’s role in our nail and hair health isn’t exactly clear, according to research.
Much of the albeit scant research out there on biotin supplementation seems to indicate that it’s not necessarily effective in people who don’t have a pre-existing biotinidase deficiency.
However, the research regarding biotin supplementation for hair growth when a biotinidase deficiency in play has been very promising.
Our point is, if you’re looking to try everything you can to improve hair growth, a biotin supplement likely couldn’t hurt.
Add a section about keeping stress in check as stress and hair loss have been linked.
What? You didn’t think stress and hair loss was a thing? Well, surprise surprise. In fact, stress-related hair loss actually has its own name — telogen effluvium.
This type of hair loss is triggered by a traumatic event or persistent stress, as well as things like crash dieting, working too hard, etc.
It usually presents itself three to four months following the stressful or traumatic incident, but the silver lining here is that it’s usually only temporary.
Either way, minimizing stress means minimizing your chance of experiencing telogen effluvium.
One of the best ways to improve your hair growth is to start a daily hair care regimen using minoxidil ointment twice a day and taking a daily 1mg finasteride tablet. Both of these drugs have been approved by the FDA to treat hair loss.
In clinical testing, researchers found that men who used finasteride and minoxidil together for 12 months actually ended the trial with a thicker head of hair than they started with.
As you can see, there are a number of different ways to improve the health and thickness of your hair. And many of the changes just require living a healthy lifestyle overall, which can benefit you in a number of other ways as well.