Struggling with hair loss? “Stress speeds the production of DHT, a hormone that damages hair follicles,” says Anna Cabeca, MD. Luckily, tamping down DHT to keep locks thick is easy!
Tickle Your Follicles
DHT on the scalp makes strands thin, delicate and prone to shedding, says double board-certified physician Amy Shah, MD. But scrubbing it away daily with a massager like Heeta Hair Scalp Massager ($5.99, Amazon) can stop thinning in its tracks, plus thicken the diameter of new strands. Boost the benefits with dandruff shampoo that contains ketoconazole, a compound that boosts hair growth in 59 percent of women studied.
Spritz With Peppermint
Tingly peppermint essential oil prods more and thicker hair growth better than minoxidil, Korean researchers say. It blocks the production of DHT and improves circulation to hair follicles.
To do: Mix 1 drop of peppermint essential oil in 1⁄4 cup of water and spritz onto the scalp daily.
Chill With Tea
A couple of glasses of iced green tea daily helps thicken hair in just three months. Researchers say the compound EGCG in green tea decreases the output of DHT, while antioxidants prolong the growth phase of hair. “And green tea has none of the side effects of prescription hairloss treatments,” cheers Lorraine Maita, MD.
Tip: Steeping tea bags for 10 minutes maximizes EGCG content.
Take an Antioxidant Supplement
The antioxidant astaxanthin is study-proven to block the enzymes responsible for DHT production. In fact, New Jersey researchers found that supplementing with 5 mg. twice daily decreased DHT blood levels by 40 percent, allowing new hair strands to grow in thicker and more plentiful.
Note: Check with a doctor before supplementing.
The stress hormone cortisol not only makes us edgy and blue, it can triple hair loss when adrenal glands churn it out nonstop. The good news: Spending a half hour daily lounging in your backyard or swinging in a hammock decreases cortisol production to speed hair growth by up to 75 percent for more than half of women studied.
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This article originally appeared in our print magazine.