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Remedies for Hair Loss

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 10, 2020

Hair loss — also known as alopecia — has many causes. Many people lose hair on just their scalp, but some people with alopecia also lose hair on their face or other parts of their bodies. Hair loss can take several different patterns including:

  • Thinning
  • Circular bald patches
  • Sudden loosening or coming out in handfuls

Some amount of hair thinning is normal for everyone. A strand of hair usually grows for two to six years before it sheds. Most people have about 100,000 strands of hair on their respective heads, and the average person loses between 50 and 100 hairs per day.

Excessive hair loss has many causes, including:

  • Aging
  • Chemotherapy or radiation therapy
  • Hair trauma from wearing tight hairstyles
  • Medical conditions such as thyroid problems or major infections 
  • Pattern baldness due to genetic and hormonal factors
  • Poor nutrition, particularly when characterized by low iron or protein levels
  • Rapid or significant weight loss
  • Severe stress
  • Side effects of medication for birth control, depression, gout, and heart problems
  • Skin conditions like psoriasis or folliculitis

Remedies and Treatments for Hair Loss

When new hair doesn’t grow fast enough to replace the amount of your hair that falls out daily, alopecia occurs. Hair loss can be a temporary reaction to certain conditions, but it can also be permanent.

If you’re experiencing rapid hair loss and want to remedy the situation, there are several ways to encourage new hair growth or make your hair strands stronger and healthier.

Biotin Supplements

Biotin is a B vitamin that helps hair loss, according to doctors. Many foods naturally contain biotin, including:

  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower

However, taking a supplement with biotin may also help hair loss. For the best effect, doctors recommend taking biotin, vitamin C, zinc, and folic acid together.

Scalp Massages

One preliminary study showed that receiving a scalp massage for four minutes every day for six months improved hair loss symptoms. At the end of the test period, the test subjects had greater hair thickness. 

Another survey of men experiencing hair loss supported these results. More than 65% of those who tried daily scalp massage reported hair regrowth or at least a slowing down or halting of hair loss. 

To enhance your scalp massage, you can use lavender or peppermint essential oils. Early studies done on mice show that peppermint oil may enhance hair growth with few negative side effects. The same can be said for lavender oil. Further research with human subjects is needed to prove the viability of these oils as hair loss remedies.

Giving up Smoking

One of the negative side effects of smoking cigarettes is hair loss. Some of the toxins in cigarettes can damage your hair follicles. Additionally, smoking can affect your hormones — and hormonal imbalance is one possible cause of hair loss. Studies have also shown that smoking leads to early hair loss.

Early studies with mice show that quitting the use of nicotine products may reverse hair loss caused by smoking. However, further research with human subjects is needed.

When to See a Doctor

Talk to your doctor if you find your hair loss distressing. You should also talk to your doctor if you notice a sudden and significant hair loss, as this may be a sign of an underlying condition. Remedies your doctor may recommend include:

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES: 

Cleveland Clinic: “Hair Loss Treatments.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Is Biotin as Good as Advertised for Your Hair Loss?”

Dermatology and Therapy: “Self-Assessments of Standardized Scalp Massages for Androgenic Alopecia: Survey Results.”

ePlasty: “Standardized Scalp Massage Results in Increased Hair Thickness by Inducing Stretching Forces to Dermal Papilla Cells in the Subcutaneous Tissue.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Hair Loss.”

Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology: “Implications of cigarette smoking on early‐onset androgenetic alopecia: A cross‐sectional Study.”

Life Sciences: “Muscle sarcomas and alopecia in A/J mice chronically treated with nicotine.”

Mayo Clinic: “Hair loss.”

National Institutes of Health: “Biotin.”

Toxicological Research: “Hair Growth-Promoting Effects of Lavender Oil in C57BL/6 Mice.”

Toxicological Research: “Peppermint Oil Promotes Hair Growth without Toxic Signs.”

 

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