Hair loss is something that many people go through as they begin to age. tends to be inherited although there can be other causes such as stress, iron deficiency or an under active thyroid.
Most people assume that only men suffer from hair loss, but nothing could be further from the truth. Although it is basically true with regards to hereditary hair loss, millions of women around the world suffer from some form of hair loss and these numbers appear to be rising each year.
How you prevent hair loss or increase hair growth varies, but using alternative medicine and natural homemade remedies has become increasingly popular. It’s safer, more efficient, and can save you money all at the same time.
Hair loss Statistics
Hair loss affects about 35 million men and 21 million women in the United States alone.40% of men have noticeable hair loss by age 35 and 65% by age 60.
Description of Hair Loss
Each hair grows in cycles—it grows, rests, and then falls out. Usually, this cycle repeats approximately yearly. At any time, about ninety percent of a person’s scalp hair is growing, a phase that lasts between two and six years. Ten percent of the scalp hair is in a resting phase that lasts between two and three months. At the end of its resting stage, the hair goes through a shedding phase.
Shedding 50 to 100 hairs a day is considered normal. When a hair is shed, it is replaced by a new hair from the same follicle located just beneath the skin surface. Scalp hair grows about one-half inch a month.
Hair is made up of a form of protein, the same material that is found in fingernails and toenails. Everyone, regardless of age, should eat an adequate amount of protein to maintain normal hair production. Protein is found in meat, chicken, fish, eggs, some cheese, dried beans, tofu, grains, and nuts.
Abnormal hair loss can be due to many different causes, but about 50 percent of the population experience normal hair loss by the time they reach 50. People who notice their hair shedding in large amounts after combing or brushing, or whose hair becomes thinner or falls out should consult a dermatologist.
Causes and Risk Factors of Hair Loss
Basically, your hair loss is due to your genetic make up. Your thinning hair is not due to anything you have done, whether wearing too many hats, washing your hair too much or too little or any other hair loss myths. Alopecia or hair loss is primarily genetic and is referred to as “Androgenetic Alopecia” in the medical community.
Your hair’s future is largely determined before you’re even born. Your follicles have been genetically programmed as to when, where and how much baldness (if any), you’ll experience in your lifetime. But the fate of your hair can be altered or compensated for with modern hair loss treatments.
A number of other causes might be identified. These include:
- Childbirth. When a woman is pregnant, her hair continues to grow. The usual 50 to 100 hairs per day are not shed. However, after she delivers her baby, many hairs enter the resting stage of the hair cycle at once. Within two to three months after delivery, these hairs may all fall out together and be seen as large amounts of hair coming out in their brushes and combs.
- High fever, severe infection, major surgery, significant life stressor. From four weeks to three months after a person has a high fever, severe infection, major surgery, or significant life stressor such as death in the family, he or she may be shocked to see a lot of hair falling out. This condition usually corrects itself but may require treatment.
- Thyroid disease. Both an overactive and underactive thyroid can cause hair loss. The hair loss associated with thyroid disease can be reversed with proper treatment.
- Inadequate protein in diet. Some vegetarians, people who go on crash diets that exclude protein, and those with severely abnormal eating habits, may develop protein malnutrition. When this happens, a person’s body will help to save protein by shifting growing hairs into the resting phase. Massive hair shedding can occur two to three months later. Hair can then be pulled out by the roots. This condition can be reversed by eating the proper amount of protein.
- Medications. Prescription drugs can cause temporary hair shedding in a small percentage of people. Examples of such drugs are blood thinners, some drugs used to treat gout and arthritis, acne, or psoriasis, and some medications for heart problems.
- Cancer treatment drugs. Most drugs used in chemotherapy will cause hair cells to stop dividing. Hair shafts become thin and break off as they exit the scalp. This can occur one to three weeks after beginning chemotherapy. The patient may lose all of his hair, but this will usually re-grow after treatment ends.
- Birth control pills. Women who lose their hair when taking birth control pills usually have an inherited tendency towards hair thinning.
- Low serum iron. Iron deficiency sometimes produces hair loss. Low iron can be detected by laboratory tests and corrected with iron pills.
- Alopecia areata. In this type of hair loss, hair usually falls out, resulting in totally smooth, round patches about the size of a coin or larger. This disease may affect children, women or men of any age.
- Androgenic alopecia. This is the most common type of hair loss and is often called “male- or female-pattern baldness”. The hair usually thins out first in the front of the scalp and moves progressively to the back and top of the head. It tends to be progressive. This type of hair loss also runs in families.
- Infections. Ringworm, or tinea capitus, is a common fungal infection in children. Patches of hair may be lost and replaced with pink scaly skin.
Hair loss treatments or recovery methods
If hair loss is caused by a temporary situation such as medication, stress or insufficient iron, however, however, the hair loss will stop when its cause ends. Hair loss due to infection may require oral antibiotics or antifungals. Alopecia areata can be treated with injections of steroids such as triamcinolone into the area. For all of the causes, early treatment works the best.
Over the past decade in particular, treatments for hair loss have made huge advances. Hair loss medication like Propecia (finasteride), Avodart (dutasteride), and to a lesser degree topical treatments like Rogaine often can stop or even reverse hair loss in most people.
However, neither Propecia nor Rogaine has been proven to restore hair in the frontal areas. Only hair restoration surgery has been successful in restoring hair in the frontal hairline area once it has been lost.
Done right, hair transplants are so natural that even a hair stylist cannot detect that a person has had a hair transplant. The days of the “corn row” or “Barbie doll” hair transplant are long gone.
Hair replacement systems or “hair systems” have also improved and become more refined. Those who are extensively bald and want to restore a full looking head of hair may find a hair replacement system to be appropriate.
There are also topicals, such as sprays and applications, which can do a surprisingly effective job of giving a person the appearance of having a much fuller head of hair.
Finally, but not less important, are the natural treatments, from accupuncture to homemade remedies. We’ll discuss them in detail below.
Each hair loss treatment has its advantages and disadvantages. We believe in empowering you with the tools and assistance to explore and evaluate all your treatment options. Ultimately the best hair loss treatment is the one that works best for you.
During the late 70’s and early 80’s it was discovered that minoxidil, used as a heart medication, had hair growing side effects. Minoxidil was tested for use as a topical scalp treatment for hair loss and proved to inhibit hair loss in many test subjects.
It has proven to be effective to some degree in slowing the hair loss process. For a minority of people it can even grow back lost hairs in the crown area (back of the head). However, Rogaine (minoxidil) does not slow or reverse the balding process in the frontal hairline area.
Rogaine is typically applied topically on the scalp twice a day, morning and evening. But once usage is discontinued the hair loss which had been inhibited will resume and the hair that was saved will be lost.
Rogaine originally required a prescription, but in 1995, it became available in 2% strength Rogaine over-the-counter. Today, men and women can buy 5% strength lotion over-the-counter as Rogaine or as generic minoxidil.
To date Rogaine (minoxidil) and Propecia (finasteride) are the only hair loss medications with FDA approval. Propecia’s active ingredient, finasteride, was originally used to treat enlarged prostate glands. It was discovered that, like minoxidil, it had the “side effect” of stopping male pattern baldness and for some even regrowing hair.
Propecia is taken as a pill once daily and acts to inhibit the body’s ability to create dyhydrotestosterone or “DHT”. DHT acts as the active ingredient or catalyst in the balding process.
Today topical hair loss products such as special shampoos, conditioners, Rogaine, various scalp treatments, and cover up products can offer a potentially helpful adjunct to more effective and proven treatments such as Propecia, Avodart, and or surgical hair restoration. However, many of the claims made by these topical treatments are unproven and even false.Examples of these procts are:
- Rogaine (Minoxidil) – Applied twice daily to the balding areas, this treatment has only been shown to work in the crown (back of the head). It is the only topical treatment for hair loss that is FDA approved.
- DHT Blockers – These topical such as Revivogen, Crinagen, Progesterone Creams, and Xandrox claim to minimize the amount of dyhydrotestosterone (DHT) present in the balding scalp. They are applied directly to the scalp.
- Growth Stimulators – These topicals claim to work by stimulating hair growth. They include Rogaine, Tricomin, Folligen, Proxiphen (along with Prox-N andNano Shampoo) and Retin-A.
- Superoxide Dismutase – These topicals such as Tricomin, Proxiphen, Proxiphen-N and Folligen, claim to treat hair loss by reducing Super Oxide and also stimulating growth and reducing tissue inflammation.
- Anti-Inflammatories – These anti-inflammatory treatments claim to reduce itching, flaking, redness, and inflammation that may increase hair loss. These topical treatment options include Tricomin, Folligen, Proxiphen and Proxiphen-N, Betadine and T-Gel and Nizoral Shampoos.
- Cover Ups – Topically applied scalp/hair cover ups like Toppiks, Prothik, and Couvré can do a surprisingly good job of masking and minimizing a person’s appearance of being bald. These “cover ups” act by reducing the contrast between a hair loss sufferer’s thinning hair and balding scalp, while increasing the volume and fullness of the thinning hair.
Natural Ways to restore hair
Acupuncture to the scalp is regarded as a safe and painless way to reduce and regain hair loss. With acupuncture to the scalp, the goal is to increase the blood flow to the head. By increasing the blood flow, the damaged cells in the head and scalp will repair. As damaged cells repair, the growth of new cells can take rise. As you may have guessed, the growth of new cells increases the likelihood of new hair growing.
Although not everyone is willing to stick needles in their body to heal a specific area, acupuncture has become widely accepted throughout society. Aside from being a complimentary hair loss treatment, it can also be used to release tension and help relax muscles throughout your body.
The search for natural alternatives to treat hair loss aims to find alternatives for conventional pharmacological measures, since these often have extreme side effects. One of these alternatives is homeopathy – it can be termed a natural route because this medicinal system utilizes distillations of organic substances. Homeopathy has several treatment modes for addressing hair loss. A qualified homeopath’s arsenal of remedies includes fluoric acid, lycopodium, kali carbonicum, kali sulphuricum, natrum mur, phosphorus, selenium and tissue salts. What a homeopath actually prescribes depends on the problem’s nature and severity.
Results from the homoeopathic approach can take a longer time, but they are very often dramatic. Effective treatment of hair loss with homeopathy depends on accurate dilution ratios. In other words, it is not a ‘do-it-yourself’ option.
Aromatherapy has been used successfully by some people to treat thinning hair and bald patches. The aroma blend is massaged into the scalp for two minutes each night, and then the scalp is wrapped in a towel, to increase absorption of these oils.
The essential oils suitable for treating alopecia include ylang ylang, roman chamomile, rosemary, lemon, lavender, grapefruit, and bay. Try this blend of oils:
- 3 drops of lavender
- 3 drops of rosemary
- 2 drops of thyme
- 2 drops of Atlas cedar wood
You can’t put essential oils directly onto the skin or scalp, they have to be mixed in a carrier oil. Use a half a teaspoon of jojoba oil and 4 teaspoons of grapeseed oil. Mix them all together and rub this mixture into your scalp for at least two minutes. Use a warm towel to wrap your head in afterwards. Not only does it feel relaxing, but it helps the oils absorb.
- Aloe Vera: Indians, Native Americans and Caribbeans have used Aloe Vera to promote healthy hair and prevent hair loss since ages. Aloe Vera balances the pH of the scalp and heals from within. It is also helpful in cleansing the pores. A general remedy of Aloe Vera gel with coconut milk and small amount of wheat germ oil used as a shampoo has shown great benefits. Aloe Vera surely helps you stop hair loss.
- Jojoba:If you are affected with hair problems like eczema, psoriasis, dandruff or seborrhea you are requested to use jojoba oil. Native Americans and Mexicans have used jojoba oil for centuries to prevent hair loss and to control dandruff. Jojoba oil works well for hypoallergenic skin, as is a good moisturizer. This is one of the best hair loss treatment products.
- Henna:Henna is a traditional Indian herb, which is a good natural conditioner and works great as hair loss treatment product. It heals hair shaft by sealing the cuticle and repairing, stops breakage and restores the silky-shiny effect of your hair.
- Capsicum – It stimulates hair growth by 50% and increases flow of blood to the scalp. This herb is effective in preventing hair loss.
- Lemongrass – This herb helps stabilizing oil product in the scalp. It also provides nourishment to the hair. You can use oil of lemongrass for massage as well.
- Dong Quai – Formation of DHT is the main cause of hair loss. Dong Quai contains phytoestrogens, which reduces the formation of DHT. Hence, Dong Quai is believed to be helpful in hair loss.
Homemade remedies and tips
- Tame your frizzy hair by rubbing coconut oil into your hands and applying sparingly onto your hair. You don’t want to overdo it – too much will make your hair look greasy. Shampooing your hair less frequently also helps with the frizzies. Excess shampooing strips natural oils from the hair.
- Rinse your hair with baking soda and water to rid your hair of shampoo build-up and styling residues. Rinsing your hair with one juiced lemon and one cup of water is said to bring life and shine back to dull hair. Apple cider vinegar mixed with water will give your hair shine and bounce.
- Add essential oil of ylang ylang to your shampoo, conditioner and styling agents as a hair rejuvenator and to stimulate hair growth. Add patchouli to your shampoo if you have oily hair.
- Rosemary is an effective hair tonic and conditioner. Rosemary also helps retain color especially in dark hair.
- Chamomile and lemon juice have a mild bleaching effect on hair. Mix chamomile tea with lemon juice and use as a rinse to lighten hair.
- For problems with dandruff, add rosemary and/or patchouli essential oils to your shampoo or mix with almond oil as a hair treatment for your scalp.
- For hair loss, add horseradish oil, cedarwood, clary sage, and/or rosemary oil to your shampoo. Also, Vitamins B, C, F, zinc, iron, copper and protein are essential for hair growth. MSM (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane) is a natural source of organic sulfur good for treating hair loss. Take MSM supplements or eat high sulfur content greens such as kale and watercress.
- Drinking plenty of water and eating plenty of raw fruits and vegetables is probably the best way to achieving healthy hair. What goes into your body is reflective on the outside including your hair.
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