Eating a diet high in protein and iron while avoiding shampoos that contain potentially hair-damaging chemicals can help men avoid hair loss, experts say.
Massick (pictured) said that hair loss often begins at a person’s hairline, temples, and top of the head
dr Susan Massick, a dermatologist at Ohio State University in Columbus, urged men to take action once their hairline is receding by switching to eating more foods like eggs, beef, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds and black beans. She said the extra protein would help hair follicles grow, while the added iron would increase the amount of oxygen red blood cells could carry to the cells.
The dermatologist also threw her weight behind the readily available 57 cents a day drug Minoxidil – commonly known by the brand name Rogaine – which can be administered as a low-dose pill to slow or even reverse hair loss.
Other experts have previously warned against using shampoos containing sulfates – used in almost all shampoos and triggering the white suds – and formaldehyde – a cleaning agent that kills bacteria. They say these can damage hair and irritate the scalp, which promotes hair loss, although studies have yet to confirm this.
It is estimated that more than half of American men have experienced some form of hair loss by the age of 40, with many spending significant sums on treatments despite little evidence that they work.
dr Susan Massick, a dermatologist at Ohio State University, said a balanced diet high in protein and iron could help slow male pattern baldness (stock photo).
Massick shared with Insiders her tips for fighting hair loss and hair loss – receding hairline and thinning hair on top of the head.
Pattern baldness is triggered by the hormone dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, which causes hair follicles to shrink, causing them to thin and fall out more easily.
WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET LOOK LIKE?
Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grain, according to the NHS
• Eat at least 5 servings of varied fruit and vegetables daily. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruits and vegetables count
• Base meals based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains
• 30 grams of fiber per day: This equates to eating all of the following: 5 servings of fruit and vegetables, 2 whole wheat biscuits, 2 thick slices of whole wheat bread, and 1 large baked potato with its skin on
• Have some dairy products or dairy alternatives (like soy drinks) and choose lower-fat, lower-sugar options
• Eat some beans, legumes, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 servings of fish per week, one of which should be oily)
• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consume them in small amounts
• Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water daily
• Adults should consume less than 6g of salt and 20g of saturated fat for women or 30g for men per day
Source: NHS Eatwell Guide
It can be slowed down if caught in the early stages – to ensure someone can keep as much hair as possible.
Massick said hair loss primarily starts at the hairline, temples and top of the head before spreading to other areas.
But she said it could be slowed by eating a balanced diet high in protein and iron, which keeps hair “healthy” and “strong”.
She didn’t say how much someone should consume to avoid hair loss, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates men should consume about 50 grams of protein and up to 20.5 milligrams of iron per day.
These estimates are based on sedentary men, suggesting that others may need significantly more. A blood test would show if someone has a deficiency.
It is believed that a balanced diet could also help women with hair loss. About 18 percent have this.
Several studies have suggested that poor diet may be behind triggering and accelerating hair loss.
Online, the American Academy of Dermatology also says people should “eat healthily” and make sure they’re getting enough iron and protein to avoid hair loss.
It adds that those whose blood tests showed they were iron deficient should take supplements.
Other experts have also previously suggested that poor diet could be the explanation for faster hair loss.
dr Debra Jaliman, a dermatologist at the Icahn School of Medicine in Mount Sinai, New York City, says that when the body isn’t getting enough protein, the available protein is diverted to the vital organs. As a result, less hair is available.
Massick said men who experience hair loss should also avoid styling their hair, as it pulls on the weakening follicles.
She warned people against using shampoos that claim to promote hair growth because they “don’t stay in the hair long enough” to penetrate the follicles.
The dermatologist also endorsed minoxidil – which turned out to be cheap last month and has been on pharmacy shelves for decades as a useful hair loss treatment.
It was formerly sold over-the-counter to patients as a lotion to be rubbed into the scalp to restore lost hair. But now more and more doctors are telling their patients to get it as a low-dose pill, which many have found much more effective. The treatment – which sells for 57 cents a pill – has yet to be approved by the FDA to prevent hair loss.
Men lose hair due to a number of factors, including family balding, stress and chemicals in their environment.
There was also evidence from the Food and Drug Administration that chemicals in shampoos, such as sulfates and formaldehyde, could trigger hair loss because they irritate the skin.
Sulfate is often used as a cleansing agent to remove oils and other foreign matter from hair. It is also known to dry out a person’s hair and potentially irritate the scalp, which can lead to hair loss.
Products that include this include Head and Shoulders Classic Clean, which retails for $5.99 a bottle at most stores, and Dove’s Men+Care Sport Shampoo, which retails for $5.59 a bottle.
Formaldehyde is released by the preservatives in shampoos. While it doesn’t directly lead to hair loss, it can cause the follicles to rupture, making a person appear to be losing their hair.
However, the agency is conducting further research into the two chemicals to confirm the risks they may pose to an individual.