Many of us noticed stress-triggered hair thinning this past year. The good news: Now that life is getting back to normal, Harvard scientists say our follicles are recovering, and we can reverse hair loss and accelerate regrowth faster than ever before.
Relax in a hammock.
Spending 20 minutes daily relaxing outdoors speeds hair growth by up to 75 percent. That’s the word from Belgian scientists, who say focusing on the blissful sights, sounds and smells of nature cuts the production of the hair-thinning stress hormone cortisol by 40 percent in two minutes — an effect that lasts up to 12 hours. Rainy day? Unwind by an open window and breathe in the fresh scent of raindrops!
Savor this cocktail.
Shrimp cocktail is more than just a treat, it’s a proven hair thickener too! Research in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology suggests enjoying three servings of shrimp (or other seafood) weekly fuels the growth of noticeably thicker hair, often in two months. Study co-author Toni Tosti, MD, says healthy fish fats energize hair follicles, helping them stay in their active growth phase.
Get extra Zzzs.
Sleeping soundly can boost hair growth by 45 percent, Italian researchers report. Credit the hormones your brain releases while you snooze (melatonin and HGH), which nourish follicles and fuel the growth of strong new strands. Tossing and turning these days? Don soft foam earplugs and you’ll sleep 65 percent more soundly, suggests research in Critical Care. Study co-author Sophie Lavault, PhD, says blocking out background noise helps you stay in the deepest stages of sleep.
Tip your hat.
You usually don a broad-brimmed hat when you’re outdoors, but simply taking it off for 10 to 20 minutes midday so you can soak up a little sun boosts hair growth by as much as 20 percent, UCLA scientists say. Turns out the vitamin D-3 your skin produces when it’s exposed to UV light switches on the keratin-producing cells in hair follicles.
Get a cool spritz.
Rosemary stops stress hormones from attacking follicles even better than minoxidil to reverse hair loss. Plus, its herbal scent lowers cortisol levels by 23 percent in minutes. Tip: Stash a small spray bottle of rosemary essential oil diluted with water in the fridge. When you’re ready to go to the pool, lake or beach, toss it in the cooler and spritz your scalp to cool off. Aah!
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.