Hair loss is one of the most common cosmetic problems that people face. It can be detrimental to one’s self-esteem and often results in a very large expense to effectively treat. Unfortunately, most people are under the belief that hair loss can be treated with creams, shampoos, and other topical applications. While this may offer some benefit, it is not the most effective way to get significant and long-term results. In this article, I will be addressing some of the underlying factors needed to provide your hair with the proper nourishment, stimulate growth, and counter the cause of hair loss.
Stimulate Hair Growth
Rosemary Oil vs. Minoxidil
In a comparative clinical trial, the topical application of Rosemary Oil was found to be just as effective as Minoxidil (the most common hair loss treatment) in treating androgenetic alopecia (male or female pattern baldness) (see study). Minoxidil is usually considered the go-to drug for treating hair loss. However, the topical use of Minoxidil is associated with a wide range of unwanted and dangerous side-effects. Rosemary Oil, only when ingested, is associated with side-effects. For the treatment of hair loss, Rosemary Oil is not ingested but simply used topically.
How to use Rosemary Oil?
Add 3 drops of Rosemary Oil to 15 drops of Almond Oil, Coconut Oil or Pumpkin Seed Oil and apply it to the scalp daily. Continue this for 3-6 months.
It can also be added to your shampoo and conditioner.
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More important than stimulating hair growth is to treat the underlying cause of hair loss. In otherwise healthy people, this generally comes down to two things:
However, there are actual diseases such as Alopecia Areata, thyroid disease, anemia and PCOS as well as medications such as chemotherapy drugs that can also cause hair loss.
When it comes to hormones, the key player is DHT or Dihydrotestosterone. This is a potent metabolite of testosterone that is associated with several conditions including hair loss in both men and women. DHT causes hair follicles to shrink and shortens the hair growth cycle, resulting in thinner hair that falls out easily and eventually leads to balding. Therefore, treatment of hair loss often (but not always) involves the use of DHT blockers.
Men who have high levels of this hormone are at risk for developing prostate enlargement so it is crucial to keep it under control. (Since this hormone is closely connected with prostate enlargement, most studies on the reduction of this hormone are done on people with this condition more so than hair loss.) Women with PCOS/PCOD also tend to have high testosterone levels that can lead to hair loss and even growth of facial hair. What causes this hormone to rise is an enzyme known as 5-a Reductase. Therefore, the method of blocking DHT involves using 5-a Reductase inhibiting herbs and nutrients.
5-a Reductase Inhibitors:
Pumpkin Seed Oil
My primary choice for reducing DHT via 5-a Reductase inhibition is Pumpkin Seed Oil. This is due to the fact that it is highly effective both internally when supplemented as well as topically when applied to the scalp. In fact, in clinical research, pumpkin seed oil supplementation resulted in significant hair growth in both men as well as women. In the study involving men, 76 participants supplementing with 400mg of Pumpkin Seed Oil experienced a 40% increase in hair growth after 24 weeks (see study). Similarly, highly significant results were seen in the female study when it was used topically (see study).
Other DHT blockers (5-a Reductase Inhibitors):
For Women (Including Women with PCOS)
Use these herbs and nutrients under the supervision of a holistic/Ayurvedic doctor.
Hair is made up of keratin which is a type of collagen. Collagen formation and hair growth are dependent on several nutrients including Vitamin C, B-Vitamins, Silica, Amino acids, Iron, and Trace Minerals. Multiple studies have associated a deficiency in these nutrients with hair loss, therefore, one should try to get enough of these nutrients by eating nutrient-dense foods and/or supplementation (see studies)
– Organ Meats (Liver, etc.)
– Edible Seaweed
– Grass-fed Beef
– Sweet Potato
– Nuts & Seeds
– Nutritional Yeast (non-fortified)
Try your best to use the above-mentioned foods and avoid nutrient-fortified foods such as cereals, bread, and processed foods. If you find it difficult to get all of your nutrients through diet, speak to a holistic or Ayurvedic doctor about supplementation as not just any supplement will work. In my experience, patients/clients usually only need to supplement with trace minerals and Silica (from Horsetail).
Dermarolling or Microneedling
Dermarolling is a popular practice involving the use of a tool known as a dermaroller to create micro-punctures in the skin in order to stimulate new growth. It is often compared to microneedling, however, it is not the same. Microneedling is more effective but requires a professional. Dermarolling is a much milder form of microneedling, which while it is less effective, it still has significant benefits. Dermarolling and microneedling are part of a therapy known as Collagen Induction Therapy. It is used for reducing wrinkles, improving skin tightness, reducing fine lines on the skin, reducing scars (most commonly Acne scars), inducing hair growth, and improving the absorption of topical products.
In a clinical trial, microneedling was found to be highly effective in hair growth. In the study, patients were divided into 2 groups – one used minoxidil and the other used both microneedling and minoxidil. The group using both experienced superior hair growth (see study)
Hair Cream That Works
In my experience, most creams are a waste of time. However, there is one herbal cream that has been used successfully in multiple clinical trials for treating hair loss. This cream is known as “Anti-Hair Fall Cream” by Himalaya Wellness. This cream contains two herbs – Butea Frondosa and Butea Parviflora – and has been proven effective for treating Alopecia Areata and Telogen Effluvium (see study 1 & study 2). The cream requires at least 6 months of daily use to notice significant improvement.
In these studies, Anti-Hair Fall Cream was able to reduce hair loss and stimulate new hair growth. What makes this cream stand out is that in clinical trials as well as my clinical experience, there have been no major side-effects. The only minor side-effect that I have seen is mild headaches which were easily managed with the use of Meriva (a very potent curcumin extract). I have used this hair cream with patients experiencing hair loss of various etiologies and have seen impressive results when used in combination with a nutrient-dense diet a 5-a Reductase inhibitor.
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(Always use medicinal herbs under the supervision of a doctor)
by Dr. Nishal R.
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