Whether you've found that your hair has lost its former thickness or are discovering new patches of barely-there hair on a daily basis, hair loss can affect individuals of any gender and any age. A study published in Dermatologic Surgery Journal found that, among men between 18 and 49, approximately 42% experienced "extensive hair loss," and the condition affects millions of women, with the onset of hair loss typically beginning in middle age, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD).
While there are numerous invasive treatments that claim to restore thinning hair to its former glory, you don't have to go under the knife or start an expensive prescription routine to enjoy lusher locks. In fact, for some people, the key to a thicker head of hair can be found in the supplement aisle of their local pharmacy.
"Healthy hair is dependent on your overall good health," explains dermatologist Ailynne Marie Vergara-Wijangco, MD, of Thank Your Skin.
Vergara-Wijangco says that individuals with certain nutritional deficiencies may find their hair thinning significantly, but says that a common supplement may help. "If you are low in several key areas, your healthcare provider might recommend a daily multivitamin to support hair growth. Healthy hair needs iron, folic acid, and zinc to keep growing thick and strong: three micronutrients commonly found in multivitamins," says Vergara-Wijangco, noting that it's important to speak to a medical professional before adding any new vitamins to your regular routine.
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For those who already take a multivitamin on a regular basis, Vergara-Wijangco says that adding a fatty acid supplement to your hair growth routine may help, as well.
"Omega-3 helps your body fight inflammation, an underlying cause of numerous conditions. Premature hair loss may also be related to inflammation. Omega-6, on the other hand, is important for overall skin health, which might benefit the scalp," she explains, adding that, as is the case with multivitamins, it's always best to consult a healthcare professional before taking a new fatty acid supplement.
However, there's one popular supplement that Vergara-Wijangco says may not provide the results people think it does: biotin.
"If you eat a balanced diet, it's unlikely that you're low in biotin. However, supplemental forms of biotin have been on the rise in recent years, thanks in part to marketers promising more energy and better hair growth with such products," Vergara-Wijangco explains. "While biotin helps break down enzymes in your body, there's little evidence that it can help with thinning hair."
For more great ways to maintain your mane, check out the 26 Best Foods for Hair Growth, According to Experts, and for the latest healthy living news delivered to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter!
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