Hair breakage. Hair damage. Oily hair. These are the things shampoo makers talk about. But there’s one thing you don’t see them mention often: the appearance of hair loss. If you’re starting to see more of your otherwise healthy scalp than you care to, your hair priorities might be shifting. Once, you wanted an all-in-one shampoo — something that smelled great or was easy on your wallet. Now, your number one priority is protection: what shampoo does not cause hair loss?
Choosing the right shampoo for your hair health is about way more than scents and packaging these days.
It can mean learning about things like the different hair types, what ingredients work best for those hair types and, perhaps most importantly, what ingredients to avoid.
Whether you’re young and catching the problem early or your hairline has seen some significant wear and tear that you’re triaging doesn’t matter — there’s no time like the present to start taking better care of what you’ve got.
Let’s start at the beginning.
You might be surprised to hear that shampoos might be part of your hair care problem. Why would anyone put hair-killing ingredients in a thing designed to clean and protect hair?
A good shampoo is supposed to clean, nourish and protect your hair. In fact, a great shampoo can do more than just keep the dirt off of your hair — it can replenish oils and vitamins your hair uses to remain resilient. Shampoo can also, when medicated, help you fight off fungal infections, seborrheic dermatitis, alopecia and other problems on your scalp.
Shampoo doesn’t really cause hair loss, no. Maybe a hundred years ago the guys who were using mercury and wasps as their all-in-one product lost their hair, but they probably died from mercury poisoning and wasps well before their hair fell out.
These days, however, there aren’t many ingredients in hair care products associated with hair loss.
The exceptions tend to be certain kinds of surfactant — the soap-like chemicals that clean stuff off your hair — which can leave hair brittle and depleted of its natural oils, making it more vulnerable and prone to things like split ends and breakage.
Certain straightening products may also have formaldehyde in them, which has been linked to health problems and, more specifically, hair loss over time, as well.
Generally speaking, however, these chemicals are becoming more and more rare in average shampoos as companies trend toward safer, more natural products for hair.
Chances are, if you’re losing your hair in the shower, it’s not an active ingredient in your shampoo doing it — it’s hair loss.
Male pattern baldness can strike at a variety of times in a man’s life, but you tend to notice it first in the shower drain or sink.
It’s in these times that you’ll also start considering what you can do to protect yourself from further hair loss, and one of the ways you can do that is by using products with a positive impact on your hair health.
Most — nearly all — shampoo does not contain any ingredients that could cause hair loss, at least not from what we know today.
What we can tell you is that there are some ingredients in shampoo that have the potential to actually have a net benefit on your hair’s overall health and longevity.
Olive oil, thyme, rosemary, tea tree oil, garlic and cedarwood don’t just make for a really gross pizza topping list — they’re also ingredients shown to offer some potential benefits to hair health when included in products.
Now, that’s far from saying that olive oil will protect your hair from hair loss. But some of these ingredients can reduce inflammation and protect follicles in a way that increases their survivability and structural integrity.
Likewise, shampoos for hair loss can come with a variety of vitamins and minerals that are proven beneficial to your hair.
Vitamins A through E, biotin and zinc are all linked to better hair health in one way or another, and if you’re looking for a way to squeeze some extra hair support into your daily routine, they might be a good place to start.
These are just a few of the things you might want to look for if you’re trying to find the best shampoo for hair thinning. You might even consider DHT-blocking shampoos like our hair thickening shampoo, which contains Saw Palmetto to help target DHT.
Of course, the best way to get some hair protection going day to day is to look at proven medications.
Let’s take a look at those.
“I tried several different options before but Hims combined approach of all four methods by far created the best results.”
“Hims has been the greatest confidence boost, no more bald jokes! I look and feel so much younger!”
“When I show my barber my progress, he is always in disbelief. I have to recommend Hims to any guy who’s experiencing thinning.”
“Cost effective and affordable. My hair keeps growing thicker, fuller, and at a fast rate.”
“I noticed a huge change in the overall health and fullness of my hairline.”
“Now after 5 months I’m able to style waves first time in 10 years!”
“I decided to jump right in and I'm so glad I did. I definitely feel ten years younger!”
“In just as little over two and half months, I can really see the difference in thickness and in color.”
“4-months strong and my confidence boosted back up to 100% using Hims, future me really does thank me.”
“I’m a 34-year-old father of two and have been using Hims for over a year now. My hair is back to what it was in my mid-twenties.”
The consumer world is populated with a lot of “solutions” for hair loss. From hair transplants to laser therapy hair products and even pumpkin seed oil, fuller hair and hair regrowth treatments abound. But what actually works?
That said, there are some FDA-approved ways to protect the healthy hair you have left, stop the pattern of loss from progressing and maybe even recover a few recently lost hairs before the follicles are damaged beyond repair.
Topical minoxidil, which is sold under the brand name Rogaine®, is a proven hair loss helper that’s believed to work by increasing blood flow to the scalp and therefore increasing the blood flow to your hair follicles. Increased blood flow means that struggling follicles get oxygen and nutrients and, generally, perform better.
There’s also oral minoxidil, which hasn’t yet gained FDA approval, but has shown very promising results in early studies.
Finasteride is the generic version of Propecia®, and also comes in both topical and oral applications.
It’s FDA-approved for the treatment of hair loss as an oral medication, but like oral minoxidil, topical finasteride hasn’t yet met the requirements for FDA approval.
Finasteride can help your body reduce the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a byproduct of testosterone thought to be the cause of male pattern baldness. No danger hormone means no danger to the follicle. It’s as simple as that.
These aren’t the only two options on the table, of course, but both finasteride and minoxidil are considered safe and effective by the very people you want making these decisions for you.
And if you were wondering (and we know you were!), minoxidil and finasteride can be — and often are — used together.
Speaking of, this is probably a great time to talk about our number one recommendation if you’re worried about hair loss: talk to a professional.
Generic for Rogaine®, this FDA-approved over-the-counter version of topical minoxidil is used for regrowth on the crown of the head.
This is the FDA-approved dynamic duo. When used together, men saw better results in clinical trials compared to using either alone.
If you’re looking for something effective but don’t want too many steps in your routine, this once-a-day pill could be right for you.
Clinically proven to regrow hair in 3-6 months, no pills required.
If you think your current shampoo is causing you some scalp or hair health issues, stop using it for a while. While there aren’t many ingredients in modern shampoo that are known specifically to cause hair loss, that’s not saying that they can’t cause other problems like dryness or irritation.
But if you’re noticing legitimate hair loss, talk to your healthcare provider or a certified dermatology practitioner about what you’re seeing and let them take a look.
Hair loss in any capacity isn’t something you should ignore — even if you think it’s because of something as simple and seemingly harmless as your shampoo.
There are a lot of reasons you could be losing hair, including some medical conditions and autoimmune diseases. You can read more about these in our guide, Why Is My Hair Falling Out?.
In any case, talking to a healthcare professional is your first step.
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