Thinning hair can occur for many reasons, ranging from hormonal imbalances in the body to the use of harsh hair care products and tools. Switching to a healthy shampoo can do a great deal for your tresses, from strengthening the strands to promoting better growth from the follicles. Here are our tips for finding and using the best shampoos for thinning hair.
Key Ingredients to Look for
Knowing what to look for on the product label will help you identify how many key ingredients a shampoo has for battling hair loss. While you're not likely to find all of these ingredients in one package, even three or four of them can deliver impressive results. Understanding what each ingredient does can also help you identify those that are best suited to your concerns. Some effective shampoo ingredients for thinning hair are:
- Caffeine: Caffeine can boost hair growth by increasing circulation. Caffeine also limits transepidermal water loss, helping your scalp stay healthier. If you're suffering from hair loss as the result of high testosterone levels, caffeine can help here too, as it suppresses excess testosterone.
- Histidine: Histidine is an amino acid that helps protect your hair from UVA and UVB damage by absorbing excess copper.
- Saw palmetto: Saw palmetto blocks the hormone DHT which is linked to hair loss. One study found that saw palmetto increased hair density for over 83% of patients.
- Pomegranate oil: Containing vitamin C and antioxidants, this natural oil increases circulation and stimulates the scalp to restore healthy hair growth.
- Biotin: Also known as vitamin H, biotin promotes fuller hair. It works alongside keratin to keep strands stronger and thicker.
- Procapil: This ingredient increases blood flow to provide hair follicles with more nutrition and oxygen. It also reduces the effect of DHT.
- Niacin: Also known as vitamin B3, niacin stimulates circulation and blood flow in the scalp to carry nutrients to the hair follicles more efficiently and promote better hair growth.
- Minoxidil: Used as a 2% topical solution, Minoxidil is approved by the FDA for the treatment of hair loss. You can also find it in some hair loss shampoos.
- Rosemary oil: In some studies, rosemary oil has been found to be as effective as minoxidil for treating hair loss.
- Lactic acid: Lactic acid stimulates the scalp's natural response to hair damage and loss, providing a boost that may help prevent or slow future hair loss.
- Reishi mushrooms: These mushrooms have antioxidant properties that stimulate the hair follicles for greater hair growth. They may also inhibit DHT.
- Vitamin B5: This vitamin nourishes and strengthens hair.
- Salicylic acid: Salicylic acid helps exfoliate the scalp and treats the itchiness, dryness, and irritation associated with dandruff. If dandruff is causing you to pick at your scalp and exacerbate hair loss, salicylic acid can help. It may also get rid of blockages preventing hair growth.
- Hydrocortisone 1%: This reduces swelling, itching, and redness. It can calm an irritated scalp and help restore hair growth.
- Ketoconazole 1%: Ketoconazole is an antifungal that can address fungal infections that may affect hair growth. It is also believed to affect the DHT hormone that's responsible for hair loss in men.
Problematic Ingredients to Avoid
Knowing what to avoid is nearly as important as knowing what to look for. Though you might expect that no shampoo would contain ingredients that cause hair loss, this isn't true. Many hair products contain compounds that may contribute to thinning hair. Avoid shampoos with:
- Sulfates: Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and Laureth sulfate are foaming agents that cause the satisfying sensation of a rich lather as you're washing your hair. This is meant to reduce surface tension between the shampoo and the hair so the shampoo can effectively remove dirt and oil. However, in high doses, these ingredients can go too far and strip away your hair's natural oils and proteins, weakening the strands.
- Sodium chloride: Also known as table salt, this ingredient is used to thicken some hair care products. It can lead to an itchy, irritated scalp that's more susceptible to hair loss.
- Parabens: Parabens keep shampoo from expiring for a long period of time, but they can lead to hormonal imbalances and allergic contact dermatitis, both of which contribute to thinning hair.
- Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA): These foaming agents create a great lather, but they also damage your hair's natural keratin, which keeps it strong and healthy.
How to Use Shampoo for Hair Loss
Less is more when it comes to shampoo for thinning hair. If you're experiencing hair loss, try decreasing your shampoo routine to just once every two or three days. On your off days, you can tuck your hair up under a shower cap while you wash your body, or skip shampooing and use a restorative conditioner only.
When you're shampooing your hair, massage the product into your scalp gently. Avoid vigorous scrubbing or scratching, which can lead to hair breakage. Gentle massaging strokes are just as effective for cleaning your hair, and they'll also stimulate blood flow in your scalp which promotes hair growth.
When you get out of the shower, gently squeeze the water from your hair and pat it dry with a towel. Don't rub your hair with the towel, as this friction leads to hair breakage and hair loss. Many products on the market can help with hair loss. For a powerful punch of active ingredients, we recommend Density STIMUL8 Shampoo and Density EXHILAR8 Conditioner. Used properly, these can encourage hair growth and promote thicker, healthier looking strands.