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Hair Loss

Alopecia (hair loss) is the loss of hair. Hair loss can be caused by different reasons, including damage to the hair shaft or follicles, and fungal infections.

There are two main types of alopecia:

  1. Alopecia areata, which occurs when the body’s immune system attacks hair follicles and causes hair to fall out. This can cause hair to fall out in patches all over the body.
  2. Androgenetic alopecia, which is an inherited form of hair loss.  With this type of alopecia, hair on the head thins and falls out. In men, this is called male pattern hair loss; in women, it is called female diffuse hair loss. About 60% of people with androgenetic alopecia are men. Hair loss caused by androgenetic alopecia is permanent.

Nutritional supplements, herbs and alternative therapies that help slow hair loss and hair thinning include:

  • Biotin (300 mcg per day) and trace minerals, such as those found in blue-green algae (2 – 6 tablets per day), may promote hair growth.
  • Biotin and zinc aspartate have been used to treat alopecia areata in children. Biotin is found in chard, romaine lettuce, carrots, and tomatoes.
  • Beta-sitosterol (50 mg two times per day) and saw palmetto (200 mg two times per day) appear to help hair growth in men with male pattern hair loss. If you take other medications — particularly hormone therapy — talk to your doctor before taking this combination.
  • Inositol

Herbs

  • Saw palmetto – is a very popular choice among hair growth remedies because it also has the ability to protect the prostate.  It has been used to not only to encourage new hair growth, but to slow down hair loss. Saw palmetto helps reduce the production of DHT which is destructing to hair and is the main cause of hair loss in men.
  • Stinging nettle – this plant has the same ability to bock the conversion of testosterone into DHT as saw palmetto. It can be bought in either pill or capsule form, and can also be found in herbal shampoos.  There are allergy factors associated with stinging nettle, so those that wish to use this plant should consult a doctor or herbalist first.
  • Algae Extract—some seaweeds such as Atlantic Kelp and Himanthalia Elongata have been used in hair growth remedies.  Seaweeds and sea vegetables have curative power because they contain very high levels of amino acid, minerals and vitamins.  They act as an anti-oxidant to heal damages to the scalp and hair and the high levels of amino acids and minerals may help in improving hair growth and quality.
  • Aloe Vera –this plant has the healing ability to calm and heal irritated skin. When massaged into the scalp, aloe helps restore the PH balance to the hair and acts as a conditioner.
  • He Shou Wu or Fo-Ti—this ancient Chinese herb has been used for centuries to treat hair loss and baldness, and is one of the main ingredients in many commercial remedies for the treatment of hair loss on the market today. This herb can be found in both tea and in capsule form.
  • Horsetail—This herb was traditionally used to treat genito-urinary system problem, but it also has a high content of silica that can help rejuvenate hair and stimulate hair growth.
  • Schisandra Berry -

Aromatherapy

One study found that massaging the scalp with a combination of several essential oils improved hair growth. The oils used were lavender, rosemary, thyme, and cedarwood. Because essential oils can be toxic, they are mixed with a “carrier” oil — in this case, jojoba or grapeseed oil — before applying to skin. Add 3 – 6 drops of essential oil to 1 tbs. of jojoba or grapeseed oil. Massage into scalp daily.

Massage

Therapeutic massage increases circulation (helping bring more blood to the scalp) and reduces stress. Scalp massage using essential oils of rosemary, lavender, thyme, and cedarwood may help increase circulation.

    Causes of Hair Loss

    Causes may include:

    • Aging
    • Genetics
    • Illness
    • Some medications (such as chemotherapy)
    • Malnutrition
    • Autoimmune disorder (alopecia areata)

    Drug Therapy

    For male pattern hair loss:

    • Minoxidil (Rogaine)
    • Finasteride (Propecia)

    Either drug must be used continually to keep re-grown hair. If you use these medications, your health care provider should monitor you for side effects.

    For female diffuse hair loss:

    • Minoxidil (Rogaine). Rogaine must be used indefinitely to keep re-grown hair.

    For alopecia areata:

    • Corticosteroids — usually given by injection in the scalp each month. In severe cases, corticosteroids may be taken orally.

    This entry was posted in Hair

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