Wish you had the hair of your teenage self? We all do! Luckily, says Amy Shah, M.D., author of The 7-Day Anti-Inflammatory Detox ($5, Amazon), you can trade in thinning tresses for luxurious locks by correcting hormone imbalances. How? Keep reading to find out today!
Wash Away DHT
When a form of testosterone called DHT soaks into your scalp, it shrinks hair follicles, leading to thinner, more delicate strands, says Dr. Shah. But washing hair well every day and massaging your scalp for five minutes each time can halt thinning, plus lead to a significant increase in the diameter of new strands. Turns out, daily scrubs flush away troublesome DHT while massages switch on genes that produce thicker, sturdier strands.
Rev Thyroid Hormones with Sun
Basking in the sun for 20 minutes daily ends chronic tiredness and encourages healthy new hair growth for up to 71% of women studied, Indian researchers say. When your skin is exposed to UV light, it makes vitamin D-3 — a nutrient that energizes your thyroid, increasing its production of fatigue fighting, hair-thickening thyroid hormones, explains Michael Holick, M.D.
Cut Cortisol with Stress Breaks
The stress hormone cortisol makes you feel edgy and blue, and it will triple your hair loss when your adrenal glands churn it out nonstop! If your life is always go-go-go, carve out 30 minutes daily for a study proven de-stressor like knitting or a relaxing stroll. A daily break from troublesome cortisol speeds hair growth by up to 75% for more than half of women studied.
Snack on Seeds
Sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds are packed with follicle-nourishing minerals. No wonder Asian researchers say munching on 1⁄2 cup daily prompts a significant increase in hair growth.
Steady Insulin with Tuna
Enjoying 12 oz. of fish or seafood weekly helps 86% of women grow noticeably thicker, shinier hair in six months, say French researchers. Seafood’s secret? Its healthy omega-3 oils steady your pancreas’ production of insulin — a hormone that’s essential for blood-sugar control but that damages hair follicles when levels spike too high, too often.
Fix Brittle Strands with Coconut
Massaging 2 Tbs. of coconut oil into damp hair once weekly, and leaving it in for 30 minutes before shampooing, can make hair 39% more break-resistant. Credit coconut’s healing fats, which coat, protect and strengthen locks.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine