A: Hair thickness is basically the combined diameter of the individual hair shafts. Hair is only about .09 mm thick, so slightly increasing this diameter on all the hair follicles can greatly increase the perceived density and thickness. In addition, men are born with about 100,000 hairs on their head. Since about 80% of men lose hair, these tend to decrease in number over time. So a thickening shampoo that helps prevent hair loss is an ideal product to use daily.
First, buy some shampoo containing zinc (such as Kiehl’s Scalp Purifying Shampoo). Zinc, a natural mineral, helps protect against hair loss by blocking the hormone that causes hair follicles to shrink and die. In fact, zinc is the only ingredient that has been shown to help halt hair loss, so don’t believe the marketing hype with any other “hair growth” products. What’s more, zinc prevents scalp dehydration, reduces yeast buildup (which can cause flaking), and decreases inflammation in the scalp that can lead to itching and irritation. Also look for essential oils in the shampoo ingredient list, like marjoram oil, to protect the scalp from overdrying. For best results, don’t use really hot water (which can dry out the hair and dilate blood vessels of the scalp, causing redness). Use lukewarm instead. When applying shampoo, make sure to gently scrub the scalp (not the hair) using smooth, circular motions to ensure thorough contact between the zinc shampoo and the skin of the scalp.
Since shampoo can strip the natural oils from the hair and cause brittleness of the follicles, it is important to not shampoo more often than every other day.
Conditioners that contain dimethicone restore moisture to the protective, outer layer of each hair follicle. Since this layer becomes thicker with conditioner, your hair will appear thicker. It is important to smooth conditioner into the hair (not the scalp), rubbing the product with your fingertips from the root of the follicles to the tips. Leave on for a minute or two. When rinsing out condition, go for a cooler temperature. This leads to hair that is easier to style, healthier looking, and more manageable.
Vorteil’s Bottom Line: Treat your hair to zinc shampoo every other day to increase the thickness and prevent hair loss.