Hair loss happens to everyone. As we get older, we lose hair more, and, eventually, it becomes noticeably thinner. This is a natural process with which all humans wrestle. However, some people, men in particular, have to suffer with no hair at all for most of their adult life.

Is there a way to prevent this loss? There have been many gimmicks throughout the years that preyed on the fear of baldness. There was the HairMax Laser Comb, NuHair Multivitamins, which are basically regular vitamins re-titled, Spectral DNC, Applepoly, Protandim, Dutaseride, just to name a few. The ancient Egyptians had many methods to halt baldness, which included a mixture of fats from a hippopotamus, crocodile, tomcat, snake and ibex; porcupine hair boiled in water and applied to the scalp for four days; and the leg of a female greyhound sautéed in oil with the hoof of a donkey. Hippocrates was bald, and prescribed himself a topical concoction of opium, horseradish, pigeon droppings, beetroot and spices!

Today, we are still trying to find a remedy for the plight of the bald head. There are several drugs that are believed to help slow the process of hair loss in men and women. Propecia, also known as Finasteride, is a prescription pill that can prevent hair loss by blocking the balding hormone. Rogaine, or Minoxidil, is a topical application of liquid or a foam that’s used to thicken the hair and slow its shedding. Laser light treatment is a red light is used to stimulate growth in the hair follicle, reducing inflammation and keeping it healthy. PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injections are injections of platelets added to blood taken from the patient, and re-injected into the scalp. The altered blood goes to the hair follicle to keep it from shedding. It also, supposedly, stimulates growth.

All of these treatments remain on the market because they have been shown to make slight improvements for some individuals. Unfortunately, there is nothing proving that these treatments are any better than their snake oil friends from the past.

The best way to prevent hair loss is to start young, and by young I mean infancy! First and foremost, children must be taught to eat healthfully. This includes a wide variety of fruits and vegetables each day, plenty of protein (whether in meat form or not), and a reasonable amount of calories. All of this is necessary to have even a chance of keeping hair on the head instead of on the ground.

A number of health problems can speed the process of hair loss, including thyroid problems (see a doctor if symptoms occur), some infections (like tinea capitis, which is ring worm that affects the scalp – make sure to address these infections immediately) and chronic stress (develop a plan to maintain balance and calm in your life). None of the above mentioned strategies guarantee anything, but they can help in slowing the process.

The way you treat your hair also plays a role in its loss. Never pull on or fiddle roughly with hair, and avoid brushing too vigorously. Avoid shampooing too frequently, particularly hair that is naturally dry, and limit the use of heated styling tools like blow dryers, curling irons, and straightening irons. Do not use harsh chemical treatments for aesthetic purposes, and de-tangle your hair using a comb with thick, wide teeth.

Certain vices also mitigate hair loss. Stop Alcohol, tobacco and coffee lead to hair loss through dehydration—which makes hair dry and brittle (one quarter of a hair strand is composed of water). These substances also deplete the body’s iron and zinc levels; Cigarette smoke, meanwhile, contains toxins that accelerate hair loss as well as premature greying.

In the end, hair loss is an hereditary aspect of life that, right now, cannot be avoided. Until we have developed a way to alter genetics, we will face the potential of baldness. Advances are being made every day to learn about the genetic code so that we can rid ourselves of many maladies that have been accepted for so long. Hopefully, this research will lead to a cure for baldness, too. In the meantime, the best thing to do is take care of your body and mind. Your hair will thank you.