Wish your hair looked as thick as it did when you were a teen? Two in three of us do, too! The good news: Experts say you can turn back the clock — and trade in thin locks for a healthier, more lush head of hair. Here’s how:
1. Sparse all over? Give a gentle tug. Gently “pull” on your hair for four minutes daily and your locks could look noticeably thicker in four months, report Japanese researchers. Tugging on your scalp activates genes that encourage the growth of stronger, less breakable hair strands, explains study coauthor Taro Koyama, MD.
2. Thinning on top? Nosh on pumpkin seeds. If your part line is getting wider, blame DHT, a form of testosterone that damages follicles, often on the top of the head. Luckily, Korean research suggests snacking on 2 1/2 cups of pumpkin seeds weekly can halt this shedding, plus prompt a 15 percent increase in new hair growth. That’s because pumpkin seeds contain zinc and copper, minerals essential for hair growth, plus coat follicles so DHT can’t latch on to them.
Plus, massage in emu oil. Rich in fatty acids, it calms the scalp so follicles produce thicker hair. A study found emu oil stimulated growth in 80 percent of dormant follicles! Massage; let sit 20 minutes; rinse.
3. Itchy scalp? Wash with this. Hats trap in heat, providing a breeding ground for dandruff-causing yeast that leads to itching and shedding. But research shows using a shampoo infused with piroctone olamine twice a week decreased dandruff by 87 percent, reduced hair loss by 17 percent and increased hair diameter by 8 percent! Try: Dove DermaCare Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo ($4.89, Target).
4. Dull hair? Try fish oil. Taking 2,000 mg. to 2,400 mg. of fish oil daily halts hair loss for 89 percent of women studied — and it helps 86 percent of them grow noticeably thicker, shinier hair in six months. That’s the word from French researchers, who say fish oil’s omega-3 fats boost the flow of nutrient-rich blood to scalp tissues — plus they prod hair follicle growth. Note: Check with your doctor before supplementing.
5. Go ahead and enjoy “me time.” Stress hormones prematurely age follicles, tripling hair loss during hectic times. All the more reason to take 30 minutes daily for a study-proven de-stressor like a warm bath. Belgian researchers say staying Zen revs hair growth — in some cases, by 75 percent! — for 57 percent of women studied.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.
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