I will be discussing basic science on hair structure, methods of prevention, look into medical and natural treatments and highlight the importance of living a balance non-toxic lifestyle.
It is important that I warn you at the outset that the quickest ways to stop hair loss do not exist. There is no instant method or instant cure to prevent your hair from dropping off your scalp. It will take time, patience, dedication on your part and a complete lifestyle change to control hair loss.
I hope that by the time you finish reading this post, you would have some concrete information to help you decide the best path to take control of your hair loss.
Normal hair growth cycle
Hair growth can be broken down into three normal hair circles.
1. Anagen phase – in this phase, the hair is actively growing and can last for years.
2. Catagen phase – this phrase last about 10 days, during which the hair stops growing and separates from the follicle. This is below the skin that holds the hair.
3. Telogen phase – during this phase, the hair rests from 2-3 months before falling off. Then the next Anagen phase starts all over again as hair grows in the same follicle.
In a normal cycle, a person loses anything from 50-100 hairs per day. If the cycle is interrupted or the hair follicle is damaged, then the hair will fall off quicker before regenerating.
Some telltale signs to look out for that is warning you are :
- a receding hairline
- hair falling out in patches
- recurring split ends
- gradual thinning on top of the head.
If you are worried about these warnings, I would suggest you consult a dermatologist or seek medical advice immediately.
How to arrest hair loss.
Assuming that you were to consult a dermatologist or your doctor about hair loss, there is a good chance that they will introduce medication as one of the strategies for preventing hair loss. I am no medical expert so the information I provided here is based on my research. I will provide all the links to the various medical websites so that if you so desire, you can dive into the subject further.
Minoxidil – was first used for treating high blood pressure. It was also known to have a side effect of unwanted hair growth. To treat hair loss, this drug was developed as a foam to be used topically. Minoxidil is marketed today as Rogaine Topical Solution.
When applied to your scalp twice daily for up to 4 months, it can stimulate hair regrowth which is thinner than the original hair. Some side effects like itching, stinging and sometimes dermatitis can occur. Unwanted hair can grow also on your arms, chest and lower back as well.
In case you are pregnant or breastfeeding (it can contaminate the mother’s milk), you should avoid Minoxidil. Another warning is that, if you choose to stop using the product, within 3-4 months your regrowth hair will just fall out.
Finasteride is a prescription drug that can be taken orally. It is used in a product with the brand name Propecia to treat male pattern hair loss. It seems to work better for men under the age of 60.
There are side effects like skin rash, swelling etc. that can discourage anyone from using this drug. I would suggest you consult with your doctor if you want to try this drug. Another downside is that if you stop taking this drug you will revert to hair loss again.
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A 2017 study done in Rome showed that a male on a Mediterranean diet was not affected by Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA) or male pattern baldness. It does make sense that what you put in your gut will have a corresponding effect on every part of your body including your hair.
What is the Mediterranean diet? Why is it stopping or reducing hair loss? Mediterranean diet consists of fruits, beans, legumes, olive oil, cheese, yoghurt, vegetables and herbs which are eaten daily. Every week food like poultry, eggs, fish is added to the menu. Red meat is only taken monthly.
The daily beverage recommended is 6 glasses of water and wine is taken in moderation. However in some case taking the right diet and avoiding fab diets will go a long way in helping you prevent the loss of your hair and keep it healthy.
For more information on the right food to eat to help hair growth, check out my last post on What is the best food for hair growth.
If you are unable to get all the essential nutrients, then you should look at supplements to help fill the void.
Scientists are still studying the relationship between vitamins and minerals and hair loss. Studies are inconclusive, that multivitamins ( A, B, C, D, iron, selenium, and zinc ) may help in hair follicle development and immune cell function.
Biotin supplement does help support hair growth, skin and nails. Biotin is part of a family of B vitamins. You can get Biotin from food sources such as fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, and vegetables.
It is shown in some studies that Ginseng helps strengthen hair roots as well as protect the scalp from dandruff and fungus. Ginseng extracts are also known to help circulation and nourishing the hair. Consult with your doctor if you plan to take it as a supplement or apply topically. You can buy Ginseng supplement at Amazon.com.
Saw palmetto supplement.
This herbal supplement supports hair growth for women and men. Saw palmetto comes from an American dwarf pine tree. It has fatty acids that help stimulate testosterone production which leads to hair growth. Recent research studies have shown that people taking Saw Palmetto experienced an improvement in hair growth.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – the French scientist Rene Gattefosse discovered lavender’s properties of tissue regeneration and wound healing. Toxicological research showed there is marked hair growth when using lavender.
The other medical properties Lavender is known for are antiseptic, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory including slowing hair loss.
- Drop 8-10 drops into a 4oz spray bottle.
- Mix it with carrier oil such as coconut oil, jojoba or olive oil.
- Spritz scalp before bedtime (for overnight cover your hair).
- Massage your scalp for up to 3-5 minutes.
- Wash your hair with a mild shampoo and conditioner.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) was burned as incense to protect against infection. Until recently, it was used in the hospital to disinfect the air. Rosemary is known to have medical properties such as liver protection, throat/lung infections, including preventing hair loss (alopecia areata).
One study showed that Rosemary was just as effective as Minoxidil / Rogaine in protecting against hair loss. This study also showed that Minoxidil / Rogaine may cause an itchy scalp, but not Rosemary essential oil.
Recipe 2: similar to recipe 1 but replace Lavender with Rosemary essential oil instead.
Essential oils such as Clary Sage, Tea Tree, Thyme, Lemongrass and Cedar-wood can also be used to help stop hair loss. They are all plant-based, safe to use with no side effects. You can add such essential oils to shampoo and conditioners to protect your hair and give it a healthier look.
In my opinion to prevent hair loss one must take a holistic approach. Why you may ask? Our bodies are all different. Each of us comes from different backgrounds, age, culture, relationship status and life experiences. A holistic approach would mean that you have to look at yourself as an individual with different needs in support of your diet, physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being.
Here are some of the simple tips you want to consider focusing on:
Diet – you need to reduce eating junk food and go for the Mediterranean diet. You have to watch what you eat and organise an exercise program for yourself.
Haircare – look after your hair by massaging regularly with the above mentioned recommended essential oil. Don’t put stress on your hair by wearing tight braids as they pull your hair from the roots. Also, avoid heat styles like straightening irons as they can damage your hair. Be gentle with your hair.
Environment – try to avoid direct sunlight on your hair. Stay away from cigarette smoke and dust exposure.
Toxic chemicals – this can be found in your hair care and household products. Dump all of them and go for natural plant-based products instead. It is safer for your health and your family as well. Do it gradually by replacing one product at a time and in no time, you will get rid of all of them.
Hydration – water is a source of energy for your body and your hair follicles, which is the fastest growing tissue of your body. It is important to keep yourself hydrated with more than 8 cups of filtered water a day. There are sufficient hydration studies done to show that water plays a very important part in preventing hair loss.
8 hours of sleep – an area ignored by many people is having sufficient sleep each night. Sleep studies show that lack of sleep can harm the body which can lead to hair loss or thinning of your hair.
Stress – the last but not the least is stress. Mental stress does more harm to your body and mind which directly or indirectly affects your hair loss. So if you manage your stress level well, your hair may grow again. Luckily, hair loss due to stress is not permanent. Managed your stress well and you will not have to worry about losing your hair!
In my opinion, there is no one way to prevent hair loss. A holistic approach starting with living a non-toxic lifestyle, a balanced diet, exercises for the body and mind should be the focus for everyone.
Do your research as well because the mountain of scientific and non-scientific information available to digest is astounding. I hope the little information I have provided is an “eye-opener” and has whetted your appetite to investigate further what is good for yourself as an individual.
If you have enjoyed my post please share it with friends and relatives. Should you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below. Don’t forget to come back and get my reply to your comment!
References / Resources
- NYU Langone Health – Types of hair loss
- PMC – Minoxidil & its use in hair disorder
- Researchgate – Mediterranean Diet of fresh herbs and vegetables decreases the risk of Androgenetic Alopecia.
- What is the best food for hair growth – natural food or supplement to stimulate hair growth
- NIH – The role of vitamins and minerals in hair loss, a review.
- PMC – Efficacy of Korean Red Ginseng in the treatment of Alopecia Areata.
- NIH – Natural hair supplement, Friend of Foe Saw Palmetto.
- NIH – Rosemary oil vs minoxidil
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Disclaimer: These statements are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease. They are for information purposes only. They have not been evaluated by the FDA. You should read carefully all product packaging. If you suspect that you have a medical condition, seek help from your doctor.