Hair loss and sparse strands can be caused by everything from vitamin or mineral deficiencies, hormone fluctuations, overuse of heat styling products or androgenetic alopecia. It’s so common that by age 50, more than 52% of women and up to 50% of men experience hair loss. And that number only increases with age. Thankfully, it’s easier than you’d think to thicken strands and fill in sparse spots. One great place to start: Choosing the best shampoos for thinning hair.
How shampoo primes the scalp for healthy hair growth
“Although many shampoos claim to re-grow hair, no rigorous clinical study has ever demonstrated an over-the-counter shampoo’s ability to re-grow hair,” maintains Andy Goren, M.D., dermatologist and Chief Medical Officer of Daniel Alain.
But while a shampoo might not directly help hair re-growth, its scalp-cleansing benefits are essential for thwarting shedding and maintaining healthy strands.
“Often patients with hair loss reduce the frequency of hair washing to avoid shedding in the shower,” Dr. Goren explains. “A scalp that is not clean can increase the chance of bacterial and fungal infections that can worsen hair loss.”
How to choose the best shampoos for thinning hair
With so many products on the market, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. Francesca Fusco, M.D., a dermatologist who specializes in hair care, advises choosing a shampoo that is both nurturing and moisturizing. She says opting for a formula with ingredients like antioxidants and natural oils helps create a healthy environment for hair to get stronger and thicker-looking with each use.
Hair break easily? Fortify hair with vitamin E & peptides
For those bothered by hair that frequently breaks, Dr. Fusco recommends a shampoo containing peptides, like acetyl tetrapeptide-3. The protein compounds penetrate and moisturize the hair shaft to reinforce strands and fortify follicles at the root to prevent future breakage.
Plus, the addition of vitamin E deeply hydrates a parched mane and seals hair’s cuticle to enhance shine. This makes hair more manageable and bolsters strands against breakage. One we like: Maria Nila Head & Hair Heal Shampoo (Buy from Amazon, $16.75)
Hair fall flat? Plump up flat roots with pea peptides
If your hair tends to fall flat, opt for a pea peptide-infused shampoo. “Pea peptides are great at adding body without drying or damaging your hair,” says Anabel Kingsley, consultant trichologist and brand president of the Philip Kingsley Clinics.
A study in Phytotherapy Research shows the pea-derived peptides densify hair follicle cells to increase strand thickness and make your roots look fuller, while also providing hydrating and smoothing benefits. One we like: Phillip Kingsley Density Shampoo (Buy from PhillipKingsley.com, $40)
Can’t grow hair as long? Look for rosemary oil
For hair that grows longer and stronger, look for a shampoo with rosemary oil. The herb’s oil contains carnosic acid that increases circulation to the scalp. This delivers nutrient-rich blood to follicles that can prolong the anagen (growth) phase of hair, reversing hair thinning. One we like: L’Oreal Paris Ever Strong Sulfate-Free Thickening Shampoo (Buy from Amazon, $8.99)
Notice “shorties” falling out? Unclog follicles for salicylic acid
Notice new strands of hair popping up, only to have them break off before they truly get a chance to grow? You can fix the problem with a salicylic acid-infused shampoo. When massaged onto the scalp, the astringent acid gently removes excess oil, flakes and buildup that can clog hair follicles and spur fallout. Plus, its color-safe formulation won’t strip hair dye or fade hair color. One we like: Aveda Invati Advanced Exfoliating Shampoo (Buy from Aveda.com, $14).
Tip: In addition to using one of the best shampoos for thinning hair, there’s an easy way to get extra protection against shedding. The trick: Opting for a pre-shampoo scalp serum like Daniel Alain INTACT (Buy from DanielAlain.com, $27). Simply apply it onto scalp 30 minutes before washing your hair. It’s patented PiliLock® Sevilla Orange Complex contracts the muscles on the scalp that hold hair in place. This grips hair at the root to secure strands and reduce shedding up to 77% after one use.
Click through for more information on how fast hair grows and ways to regrow it.
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.
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This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.
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