Tag Archive for: Saw Palmetto

Can You Block DHT Naturally Without Medication?

“No way,” was my initial reaction when my dermatologist first recommended oral Finasteride for my rapidly receding hairline.  My mind was made up, and I was absolutely not taking prescription medication for my hair loss.  I was too afraid of the potential side effects I’d heard about.  Bald certainly was better than impotent, although neither seemed like a great option. True, the number of men who experience sexual dysfunction from Finasteride is minuscule.  With my luck, though, I would be one of the three men out of a million affected.

So, I started checking out natural DHT blockers.  Natural is a better way to go, right?  Here’s what I discovered.  Yes, some natural DHT blockers are showing promise and are worth a test drive.  Are they strong enough to stop your hair loss and regrow your hair?  After many nights of research and weighing the pros and cons, I ended up going the prescription route after all. That doesn’t mean that you won’t come to a different conclusion.   Here’s a guide to help you decide whether natural DHT blockers are the right choice for you.  

Do Natural DHT Blockers Work Differently Than Finasteride, Dutasteride, and Other Prescription Hair Loss Medications?

Is there a difference between how natural supplements and prescription DHT blockers work?  Yes and no.  Functionally, both natural and prescription DHT blockers do the same thing.  They prevent testosterone from converting into Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) that attacks and shrinks your hair follicles.  When your hair follicles are miniaturized, it’s difficult for healthy new hair to grow, and existing hair falls out.  So functionally, both natural and prescription blockers do the same thing.  The main difference is the way they block the DHT and their strength.  

What Enzymes are Being Inhibited?

One milligram per day of Finasteride selectively inhibits the Type 2 isoenzyme that converts testosterone to DHT.  Half a milligram of Dutasteride inhibits both Type 1 and Type 2.  Yes, Dutasteride is considered a stronger medication because it’s a broader spectrum drug.  How do natural remedies compare?  The jury is out.  Not enough research has been conducted to fully understand which enzymes natural DHT blockers inhibit or the amount needed to do the job.  That said, let’s discuss what we do know.  

Some Supplements Effectively Block DHT

Even though more research is needed, preliminary studies indicate that certain supplements show the potential to stop hair loss and promote new growth. Here are some to watch:

Pumpkin Seed Oil

According to a study conducted on 76 men with androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness), pumpkin seed oil increased participants’ mean hair count by 40 percent compared to 10 percent of men who used the placebo.  Most participants did not experience any adverse effects from the pumpkin seed oil. (01)  Before you rush out and buy pumpkin seed oil, consider this.  The study was the first of its kind and the sample size was small.  The study also did not determine how pumpkin seed oil works.  Neither DHT nor prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels were tracked.  

Rosemary Oil

Rosemary oil was put to the test in 2015 during a small research study of 50 men.  When compared to two percent Minoxidil, rosemary oil had a surprising result.  It was found to be equally as effective. (02)  Here’s the catch, though.  Five percent Minoxidil is stronger than two percent and more effective. (03)  Is there a dosage of rosemary oil strong enough to regrow your hair?  The jury is out.  More research is needed.      

Saw Palmetto

Saw Palmetto is a palm-like tree with berries.  Extracts are known to have medicinal purposes, and there’s evidence that saw palmetto stimulates hair growth.  Thirty-eight percent of men in one research study saw increased growth after using saw palmetto every day for two years.  Sounds promising, right?  It is.  That’s why we added saw palmetto to our supplements, shampoo, and conditioner.  

While saw palmetto is a good complementary treatment to prescription hair loss medications, we don’t recommend it as a stand-alone treatment for androgenetic alopecia.  In the same study, more men who used Finasteride experienced hair growth than men who used saw palmentto.  The study also indicated Finasteride was more effective for men with more advanced hair loss. (04)   

Green Tea

Green tea contains a plant compound called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) that is believed to act as a DHT blocker and prevent hair loss due to male and female pattern baldness.  A study on mice indicated that 33 percent of the mice who drank extracted polyphenol from dehydrated green tea had significant hair growth compared to mice who drank plain water. (05)  Another study conducted in vivo and in vitro on humans substantiated the findings. (06)  Before you stock up, though, keep in mind that further research is needed.  We still don’t know exactly how much green tea is required to stimulate growth in humans or how green tea compares to other hair loss medications.  

Lifestyle Enhancements Can Help With Hair Loss

Sure, you know that eating a lot of junk food, drinking too much, and smoking are bad for you.  But, did you know that certain lifestyle changes can help you fight genetics?  Here are a few:

Scalp Massage

Research has indicated that just four minutes of scalp massage that stretches your skin to open the hair follicles can increase your hair thickness. (07)  Should you run out and get a scalp massager?  Maybe.  The study is promising, but it was only conducted on nine men.  A follow-up study indicates that scalp massage is more effective for frontal, temporal, or vertex thinning than diffuse thinning. (08)  More research is still needed.  

Exercise

Contrary to popular belief, exercise won’t make your hair fall out.  Although not proven, it may help promote hair growth and health by improving blood flow to your scalp.  

Diet

Certain foods aren’t likely to make your hair fall out, but nutrient deficiencies are another story.  Vitamin D and iron are the most common deficiencies that contribute to hair loss.  The good news is that the deficiencies are usually temporary.  Once supplements are taken, hair loss will be reversed.  Foods can help make your hair look thicker, healthier, and shinier.  If you’re concerned about hair loss, ensure you’re eating plenty of protein.  Protein is the primary building block contained in keratin that makes up your hair.  

Sleep

Little research has been conducted on the association between sleep and male and female pattern baldness.  One study did find that men with androgenetic alopecia tend to have more sleep disturbances than men who were not experiencing hair loss. (09)  Neither cause nor effect were established.  One explanation could be stress.  Chronic stress can push your hair into a resting phase and cause hair loss.  The solution?  A good eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Is There A Downside to Experimenting With Natural DHT Blockers?

If you’ve seen a Hamilton-Norwood scale, you know that male and female pattern hair loss progresses over time.  Early on, the hair follicles are still open, even though they may be starting to shrink.  It’s easier to regrow hair while those follicles are still viable.  If you use a natural DHT blocker that isn’t strong enough as a stand-alone treatment, the follicles could completely close, and you may lose the opportunity to maximize growth. 

What if you Need Something Stronger?

It’s understandable if you want to go the natural route to block DHT.  If going au natural isn’t right for you, though, there are options that will help you avoid the undesirable side effects that you may have heard about.  Topical treatments exist to treat male and female pattern baldness and have been proven to be as effective as oral pills. (10)  They avoid side effects because they are not metabolized systemically.  Here are the top contenders:

  • Topical Minoxidil 
    • Enlarges your hair follicles to allow for new, healthy growth
    • Sold over the counter in two and five-percent solutions
    • Available by prescription in higher dosages
  • Topical Finasteride
    • First-line DHT blocker 
    • Available to men and women who are not childbearing age
  • Topical Dutasteride
    • Broad-spectrum DHT blocker
    • Available to both men and women who are not childbearing age
  • Topical Spironolactone
    • DHT blocker 
    • Only prescribed to women

Another benefit of topicals is the ability to combine multiple treatments into one formula to give the highest opportunity for regrowth.  Minoxidil is often combined with DHT blockers to enlarge the hair follicles while preventing hormones that attack the hair follicles from converting.  

Want to try prescription topical medication?  Topicals can complement natural DHT blockers or work on their own.  New customers can get 50 percent off of their first order.  Visit us and learn how to get started.  

 

Resources:

(01) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4017725/

(02) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25842469/

(03) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12196747/

(04) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23298508/

(05) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2569505/

(06) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17092697/

(07) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4740347/

(08) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6380978/

(09) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35469370/

(10) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34634163/#:~:text=Conclusion%3A%20Topical%20finasteride%20significantly%20improves,impact%20on%20serum%20DHT%20concentrations.

 

What are the Best Nutrients for Hair Growth?

A few aspects of hair growth are out of your hands. Your genetics and age, for example, are set in stone and can’t be changed. Fortunately, there is one factor that is well within your control – the nutrients you consume. Nutrients have a significant impact on hair growth. And fortunately, you can choose which nutrients you take in. 

How do vitamins and minerals help with hair loss? 

Your hair is important for your self-image, but it’s not ultimately necessary for keeping you alive. Hair thrives in a well-nourished environment. But when your health is compromised, your body diverts nutrients from areas like your scalp to more life-sustaining vital organs. Therefore, good health keeps more hair on your head. 

Although the hair you see on your head is made up of cells that are not “living,” those precious strands grow from tissues that are very much alive. Each strand grows from a follicle on the scalp, which is part of the body’s largest organ – your skin. Small blood vessels at the base of each follicle nourish the hair root to keep it growing.

The average person has about 100,000 hairs, all at various stages of growth. Hair grows, rests,  falls out, and is replaced through a naturally occurring cycle. Some stages of development require specific vitamins and minerals to keep the process going smoothly. 

As a result, your diet and health play a significant role in how quickly your hair grows. Good nutrition creates the framework for healthy hair and can help slow hair loss. So, while there’s no magic bullet that will regrow your hair instantly, there are nutrients that help keep more strands on your head. 

Hair Growth and Nutrients

Some vitamins and minerals are more effective at keeping hair healthy than others. So, if you’re attempting to prevent hair loss or regrow your hair, a targeted approach is the way to go. Boosting your intake of specific hair-friendly nutrients offers you the best prevention for hair loss — and keeps you healthy overall. The following is a list of the best nutrients for hair loss.

Keratin

Hair and nails are primarily made of a protein called keratin, so it’s no surprise that keratin is a vital nutrient for strong hair. This structural protein provides the structure and strength required for hair health, making strands less likely to break off or become damaged. Without enough keratin, cells within each strand of hair overlap unevenly, making their bonds weak and vulnerable to breakage. Keratin — as well as nutrients that encourage keratin formation— allows more hair to remain on your head and keeps every hair shaft strong. (01)

Biotin

Vitamin B7 or vitamin H, otherwise known as biotin, aids in keratin production. Without enough biotin, the hair shaft becomes weak, brittle, and slow to grow. Keratin cells, also known as keratinocytes, are like the bricks that make up each strand of hair. Without enough materials to make the bricks, hair can’t grow or form well enough to maintain its strength. Although biotin deficiency is rare, excessive alcohol consumption and some medical conditions can result in a lack of biotin. Biotin supplementation, whether administered through topicals, shampoos, or orally, can boost hair growth and thickness. (02)

Collagen

Most people are familiar with collagen in regard to skincare, but collagen is also essential for healthy hair. In a recent study published in the International Journal of Trichology, targeted nutritional supplementation primarily consisting of collagen was found to increase hair density in participants with a hair loss condition called telogen effluvium. Collagen improves hair growth during crucial growth cycles and limits hair loss during hair’s telogen phase – when hair typically falls out naturally.  (03)

Saw Palmetto

Individuals who experience male or female pattern baldness typically have an overabundance of a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Excessive levels of DHT impact hair follicles by shrinking the follicle, increasing the chances of premature hair loss and preventing new growth. Saw palmetto, a plant extract, has been found to have DHT-blocking solid effects and can slow hair loss caused by DHT.  For people experiencing problems with baldness, saw palmetto supplements may offer relief when used with other boosts. (04)

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a powerful micronutrient that significantly impacts hair growth. The body breaks vitamin A down into retinoic acid and retinol, which both regulate hair follicle stem cells and hair growth cycles. Therefore, a deficiency in vitamin A may lead to poor hair growth and hair loss. Furthermore, oxidative stress may hasten hair loss – especially in the case of alopecia areata. Antioxidants like vitamin A can help counter oxidative effects on hair. 

(05, 06)

Vitamin D

Despite the fact that the human body generates vitamin D from sun exposure, most people don’t get enough vitamin D.  Vitamin D deficiency can occur due to: 

  • A lack of vitamin D in the diet. 
  • Too little time spent in the sun. 
  • Difficulty absorbing vitamin D from food. 
  • Medical problems prevent the body from converting vitamin D. 
  • Medications that interfere with vitamin D levels. 

Fortunately, vitamin D is also found in foods like eggs or fatty fish and in vitamin-fortified foods. Even then, however, some people still don’t obtain enough vitamin D to grow healthy hair. Vitamin D keeps hair follicles in good shape and maintains robust hair growth. A deficiency in vitamin D may result in hair loss and bald patches. (06)

Probiotics

Recent studies indicate intestinal (gut) health plays a more prominent role in overall physical health than previously thought. Within the intestinal tract are bacteria, called the “intestinal microbiome,”  that depends on a specific environment to help break down food and keep the body functioning. An unbalanced microbiome can lead to inflammation, digestive problems, and skin conditions affecting the hair. 

Probiotics are bacteria and yeasts ingested to keep the intestinal microbiome healthy and stable. Current research shows that regulation of the intestinal microbiome using probiotics can boost immunity, help treat a myriad of metabolic conditions, and may even help alleviate the symptoms of some mental health conditions. Healthy intestinal health through probiotics can also give you thicker, more lustrous hair! (07, 08)

Ashwagandha 

According to a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, ashwagandha supplementation was shown to reduce hair thinning in a cohort of both men and women. Data from the study indicate that supplements with ashwagandha can reduce hair loss on all types of hair, encompassing many ethnicities. At the end of the 24-week study, 83% of men and 79% of women showed improvement in hair quality, scalp coverage, volume, and thickness. (09)

Healthy Hair Through Nutrient Supplementation 

The process of growing hair calls for specific nutrients. Without enough nutrients to feed the follicles, hair becomes brittle grows slowly. So, if you’re looking to keep your scalp and hair healthy, you’ll need to start from the inside. 

Happy Head’s Hair Supplements offer the essential vitamins, minerals, and probiotics you need to strengthen and grow your hair. Formulated by our team of dermatologists, our daily Happy Head Hair Supplements come from natural ingredients like biotin, saw palmetto, and ashwagandha to nourish your hair. Subscribe and save today to supercharge your hair growth in 3 to 6 months for visibility thicker and healthier strands! 

Sources: 

(01) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6095591/

(02) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK554493/

(03) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9069902/

(04) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11337315/

(05) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9324272/

(06) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5685931/

(07) https://www.mhanational.org/fitness-4mind4body-gut-brain-connection

(08) https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2017/0801/p170-s1.html

(09) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8903234/

Your Guide to the Top Hair Loss Treatments for 2023 (Yes, They Really Work!)

2022 was a big year for advancements in the medical field.  Scientists learned how to track rapidly changing Covid variants, promising medications for prostate cancer were identified, and breakthroughs were made in diabetes management.  JAK inhibitors were found to be successful in helping patients with severe alopecia areata regrow their hair. (01)

We’ve been busy too.  In addition to seeing patients throughout the year, Dr. Ben Behnam and Dr. Sean Behnam, board-certified dermatologists and hair specialists, were behind the scenes developing, testing, and marketing stronger treatments for male and female pattern hair loss based on scientific data and their clinical experience.  

If bald spots, thinning hair, or hairballs in the shower are stressing you out, now is the time to stop the shedding and start regrowing your hair.  Here’s our guide to the Top Hair Loss Treatments for 2023.  We’ll also share the science behind the formulas so you can make smart decisions about the products you use.  

Top Oral Medications for Hair Loss

The most effective hair loss medications are prescription drugs discovered by accident.  During testing for high blood pressure and benign prostatic hyperplasia, researchers found that the medicines had a peculiar side effect.  Balding men suddenly started to regrow their hair.  Further research was conducted, and sure enough, the findings were confirmed.  Finasteride is now FDA approved to use by men with male pattern hair loss.  Although all the other medications listed below have been tested for efficacy, they are currently prescribed off-label at low doses.  Oral hair loss medications are easy to take and are relatively inexpensive.    

Oral Minoxidil

Oral Minoxidil was recently touted in the New York Times as a “cheap treatment” that “restores hair in many patients.” (02)  Minoxidil works by opening the blood vessels.  More oxygen flows to the scalp, expanding the blood vessels and enlarging the hair follicles.   Topical liquid or foam works for many people, but it does not work for some.  People who do not respond to the topical formula may have better luck with the pill.  A specific enzyme must be present in the skin and hair roots to convert topical Minoxidil to an active form.  Oral Minoxidil does not need to be converted. 

Oral Finasteride

Low-dose oral Finasteride is a first-line DHT blocker that can be used by both men and women who are not pregnant or planning to become pregnant.  DHT blockers prevent testosterone from converting to a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT).  DHT binds to your hair follicles, makes them shrink during a process called miniaturization, and makes your hair fall out.  When DHT production is blocked, your hair follicles remain healthy.  Oral Finasteride has minimal side effects on women who qualify to take the medication.  Although  not  common, some men report sexual side effects from the pills.  Switching to topical Finasteride is a good solution for men who are concerned.       

Oral Dutasteride

Oral Dutasteride is similar to Finasteride. The main difference is the number of isoenzymes inhibited.  Finasteride inhibits Type 2 isoenzyme of 5a-reductase (5AR).  Dutasteride inhibits Type 1 and Type 2.  5AR is the enzyme that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT).  Research indicates that Dutasteride reduces more serum DHT than Finasteride. (03)  Should you skip the Finasteride and go straight to Dutasteride?  Not necessarily.  Finasteride is effective for many users and can be taken at a lower dose.  It’s typically recommended to step up to stronger medications as needed.  Of course, there are always exceptions, so your dermatologist should guide you.  

Oral Spironolactone

Oral Spironolactone, a medication used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure, is used off-label at low doses to treat hair loss.  Spironolactone falls into the category of mineralocorticoid receptors (MRAs).  The medication slows the production of androgen to block DHT production.  It’s usually only prescribed to women because it can cause side effects such as enlarged breasts in men.  

Combination Oral Medications

Over time, dermatologists have discovered that treating male or female pattern hair loss requires multiple approaches working simultaneously.  Many people need a cocktail of medications to stop their hair loss and to grow new hair.  However, taking numerous medications usually isn’t convenient.  That’s where SuperCapsules play a role.  These medications combine a Minoxidil (a vasodilator), Finasteride or Dutasteride (a DHT blocker), and vitamin D. 

Why Vitamin D?  Because the number of people with Vitamin D deficiencies is more significant than you would imagine. Vitamin D deficiency affects about 40 percent of the people who live in the U.S. (04)   Vitamin D is metabolized in the skin by cells that process keratin, the protein found in your hair, nails, and skin.  When your body has a Vitamin D deficiency, your body has trouble regulating hair growth and shedding.

Top Topical Medications for Hair Loss

Oral medications are effective, but they’re not ideal for everyone.  Although rare, oral hair loss medicines can sometimes cause side effects such as low blood pressure or decreased libido.  That doesn’t mean you have to forgo hair loss treatment, though.  Topical treatments can penetrate the scalp and have been found equally effective, without the same risk of side effects. (05) 

All of our oral medications are available in topicals.  For your convenience, topicals are also available in combinations.  After all, it’s much easier to apply one medication than two, three, or four.  Combined topicals also allow ingredients to be added, such as retinoic acid and cortisone.  Retinoic acid improves the absorption of the formula.  Sometimes, topicals that include higher percentages of Minoxidil can cause irritation.  Cortisone proactively alleviates the issue.  If you don’t see the exact formula you need, it’s not a problem.  We can customize a formula for you.  

Can you get topicals over the counter without a prescription?  Minoxidil, yes.  The only catch is that the foam and liquid available at the store is a lower dosage.  Percentages higher than five are only available by prescription.  Topical Finasteride, Dutasteride, and Spironolactone are only available by prescription.  

Here are the topical formulas available:

Thickening Shampoos & Conditioners

Shopping for the right shampoo and conditioner can be overwhelming.  Store shelves are packed with different options for every hair type.  There are shampoos and conditioners for dry hair, greasy hair, curly hair, straight hair, dandruff, and more.  What do you use if your hair is thinning or falling out?  Well, there’s a plethora of options for that too.  When developing their shampoo and conditioner, Dr. Ben Behnam and Dr. Sean Behnam were very particular about the ingredients they chose.  Here are some of the natural ingredients they selected and why:  

Argan oil 

Research indicates that aragan oil has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  Aragan oil can protect your hair against elements and make it look shinier.  

Biotin

Biotin, vitamin B7, is known for stimulating keratin production and increasing follicle growth rate.  It was added to help make your hair stronger.  

Collagen

Collagen is used to increase your hair’s ability to build protein.  It can help make your hair longer and thicker.  If you have gray hair, collagen may help improve your hair’s appearance by supporting the hair follicle where your hair’s pigment is produced.  

Keratin

Want smoother, shinier hair?  Keratin will help.  The  hair cuticle absorbs keratin, a structural and protective protein which helps keep your hair under control.  

Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto is a member of the palm family.  The powder is made from the shrub’s berries.  Saw palmetto not only has anti-inflammatory properties, but it also acts as a DHT blocker.  

Remember that no shampoo or conditioner alone will prevent hair loss or regrow your hair.  The right ones will, however, help keep your hair and scalp healthy and healthy looking. 

Hair Supplements

Nutritional deficiencies, hormonal issues, and stress all contribute to hair loss.  Daily hair supplements with Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Ashwagandha, probiotics, and other natural ingredients included in our hair supplements help offset the effects to give you stronger, healthier hair.  

Researched and Tested Prescription Hair Loss Treatments 

Most people are upset when they realize that they’re losing their hair.  If that’s you, it’s time to usher in the new year with a fresh approach to managing your hair loss.  Thanks to telemedicine, you can quickly, easily, discreetly access the prescription hair loss treatment you need.  Our caring, licensed dermatologists are available to help you along the way.  There’s even a special edition holiday pack to help you get started.  

Remember, it can take six to twelve months to see the full results, so make sure to celebrate your milestones along the way.  You may not think that you’re making much progress.  After all, you see yourself every day.  However, taking photos monthly will make it easier to see new growth.  Cheers to new beginnings!

Resources:

(01) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31930807/

(02) https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/18/health/minoxidil-hair-loss-pills.html

(03) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1472914/

(04) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6075634/

(05) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34634163/

 

Thickening Shampoos: Ingredients That Work

Are you worried about thinning hair? If the answer is yes, then you’ve probably considered a hair-thickening shampoo or conditioner at one time or another. However, there are hundreds of different products to choose from. Finding the proper treatment means knowing which ingredients are the most successful at growing thicker strands. 

What is a Hair Thickening Shampoo? 

The simple act of shampooing already helps to thicken your hair. Removing grime and grease releases substances that weigh hair down, giving it a lighter, fluffier appearance. Hair thickening shampoos, however, have the added benefit of including ingredients that make hair thicker, nurture hair growth, and, in some cases, slow or stop hair loss. 

Getting past exaggerated claims and scientific-sounding words can be challenging when hunting for a hair-thickening product that works. While many products are filled with over-the-top promises they fail to deliver, others are exceptionally effective. Not all hair-thickening shampoos or conditioners are the same. But how do you know which one to buy? Check for the right ingredients. 

What Hair Thickening Ingredients Should a Shampoo Include? 

The most efficacious ingredients in hair-thickening shampoos work in one of two ways: 

  • Blocking dihydrotestosterone (DHT)
  • Encouraging hair growth

Both men and women produce the hormone DHT, the primary hormone responsible for hair loss. At normal levels, DHT doesn’t cause balding. Unfortunately, some people experience higher levels of DHT. High levels of DHT can shrink or injure hair follicles, preventing healthy hair growth. Blocking DHT helps to reduce hair loss and maintain follicle health.  (01)

Hair doesn’t contain living cells, but the scalp and follicles that manufacture and grow strands of hair do. Therefore, ingredients that help to keep the scalp healthy, increase blood flow, or feed nutrients to hair follicles can help thicken hair and accelerate hair growth. To grow healthy hair, you need a healthy scalp. 

Popular hair brands may have cache in the drugstore aisle, but they aren’t necessarily more effective when treating thinning hair. When it comes to thickening shampoos and conditioners, it’s what’s inside that counts. The following are the most potent hair-thickening ingredients to look for. 

Hair Thickening Shampoo and Conditioners: DHT Blockers 

About 50% of men and women experience some degree of a hair loss condition called androgenic alopecia, which stems from excess levels of DHT. Therefore, ingredients that block DHT keep DHT from harming hair follicles and keep more strands from falling out. (02)

Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto extract is derived from a fruit grown in the Southeastern United States. This extract is an effective DHT blocker in many studies. For example, one two-year study of a group of 100 males with mild-to-moderate androgenetic alopecia was published in the International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology. The study found that 38% of participants who used saw palmetto saw an improvement in their hair loss. (03)

For men, the prostate is very sensitive to DHT levels. One study saw a significant reduction in DHT levels in the prostate of men who were administered saw palmetto, compared to men who were given a placebo. Although more studies are necessary, saw palmetto is proving to have strong DHT-blocking effects and could help with DHT-induced hair loss. (04)

Hair Thickening Shampoo and Conditioners: Growth Enhancers

An effective hair thickening shampoo or conditioner contains ingredients that create the right environment for optimal hair growth. Substances that nourish and strengthen the scalp and strands are essential for a thicker head of hair. 

Keratin

Hair is mostly made up of keratin, a protein that’s also found in nails and skin. Keratin is an exceptionally strong material, which makes it an ideal protective protein. Tissues made up of keratin, like your fingernails and hair, are tougher and less prone to damage.  As a result, shampoos and conditioners that contain keratin work well as hair thickeners and strengtheners. 

Thinning or damaged hair experience a loss of structural integrity, where keratin cells have gaps in between or overlap unevenly.  When applied on these hair strands, keratin products fill in spaces in between those cells. The keratin acts like a filler or glue for the hair, which makes the keratin-infused strands smoother and stronger as a result. (05)

Biotin

Biotin, also referred to as vitamin B7 or vitamin H, promotes keratin production. Because hair is mostly made of keratin, biotin ensures healthy hair. A deficiency in biotin can lead to weak, brittle strands of hair and slow hair growth. Although rare, biotin deficiency can occur in people with medical conditions or who use alcohol frequently. Supplementation of biotin, whether orally or through topicals and shampoos, may foster hair thickness. (05)

Argan Oil 

Popularly known as “liquid gold” from the area it comes from (Morocco), argan oil has been used for centuries to counteract hair loss. This oil is made from the fruit kernels of the Moroccan argan tree. Argan oil has anti-inflammatory properties, making it an ideal ingredient for scalp treatments. 

Hair loss resulting from conditions like psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis, which may inflame the scalp, may benefit from shampoos and conditioners containing argan oil as an ingredient. 

Perhaps more importantly, however, argan oil also contains linoleic acids that moisturize the scalp and hair. By strengthening and moisturizing the scalp, hair follicles, and strands, argan oil can assist in thickening hair. (06)

Choosing a Multi-Pronged Approach to Thicken Hair

Most people who have hair thinning or balding know that the causes typically stem from more than one source. While genetics may be one risk factor, other elements like scalp health, nutrition, and external influences also play apart. The American Academy of Dermatology Association lists the following possible risk factors that may lead to thinning hair: (07)

  • Increased age
  • Inherited genes
  • Immune system disorders (such as alopecia areata)
  • Medical treatments
  • Overall health
  • Hair care
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Scalp health and infections

There’s no one magic bullet for hair loss, because the causes may stem from many different areas. Because of this fact, combating hair loss should be a multi-faceted approach. For example, eating a nutritious diet, practicing appropriate hair care, and using a medicated treatment to combat hair loss will yield better results than relying on a one-track approach. 

Do Thickening Shampoos Work? 

So, do thickening shampoos actually help with hair loss? Yes! Although finding the right ingredients and utilizing thickening shampoos alongside other approaches is vital for success. 

If you’re experiencing balding or thinning hair, let Happy Head help you manage your hair loss. Our experienced board-certified dermatologists will work with you to find the right prescription topical to regrow your hair. You can also try a multi-faceted approach with our Happy Head hair thickening shampoo and conditioner. Filled with high-quality hair-healthy ingredients like saw palmetto and biotin, our hair thickeners will give your strands volume and depth, as well as strengthen the health of our scalp. Subscribe and save on your purchase! 

Resources: 

(01) https://www.webmd.com/connect-to-care/hair-loss/symptoms-of-high-dht

(02) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430924/

(03) https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/039463201202500435

(04) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11337315/

(05) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5582478/

(06) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796020/

(07) https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/causes/18-causes

 

Choosing the Best Shampoo for Thinning Hair

If you have thinning hair, you probably shampoo your hair as gently as you can to keep as much hair on your head as possible. But are you using the right shampoo for your hair? There are a broad range of shampoo and conditioner options to help prevent further hair loss. However, the ingredients and results may differ for each. Understanding product contents and how they work can help you figure out which hair loss shampoos are best for you. 

How do shampoos for thinning hair prevent hair loss? 

Hair loss shampoos are also known as “hair thickening” shampoos. These products aren’t an overnight solution to thinning hair, but they can make a difference in two ways: 

  • Fortifying, thickening, and strengthening individual hair strands to give the illusion of thicker hair. Many hair loss shampoos work with the hair that you do have by making each strand fuller and thicker. Some ingredients in these hair thickening shampoos penetrate into the hair shaft and fill in any spaces, causing the strand to swell and bulk up. These thicker strands then create the appearance of more hair. 
  • Encouraging the growth of new hair. Over-the-counter shampoos for thinning hair aren’t typically medicated, but they do contain ingredients that promote hair growth. For example, some may include vitamins and minerals that are known to make scalp healthier and boost hair growth. 

Shampoos for thinning hair contain ingredients that are categorized as thickeners, but they may also contain ingredients called opacifiers. (01)  These ingredients are added to improve the appearance of the existing hair, like pearlescent flakes to make hair appear thicker and healthier. Before taking a deep dive into the ingredients of hair loss shampoos, it’s important to remember that most of the results from thickening shampoos are temporary. That said, they’re still an excellent choice for someone concerned about hair loss. 

Most Common Ingredients In Hair Loss Shampoos

What sets hair loss shampoos apart from average run-of-the-mill shampoos are their ingredients. (01) Average shampoos often contain elements that are too harsh for thinning hair, raising the potential of further hair loss. Hair loss shampoos are much more forgiving, cleaning the hair without disrupting the hair’s full life cycle. 

The following are the most common ingredients found in hair loss shampoos. 

Biotin

Look at any hair strengthening shampoo on the market, and you’ll likely find biotin on the ingredient list. Why? Because biotin deficiencies result in weak and brittle hair and nails. (02) Biotin, also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H, is a water-soluble vitamin that’s crucial for keratin production. Keratin and collagen are the primary structural components of each strand of hair, essential for hair growth. Many foods contain biotin, and this nutrient works best when consumed. Biotin is also available through supplements as a nutraceutical. However, hair loss shampoos and conditioners also contain biotin to help strengthen hair from the outside. 

Essential Amino Acids

Shampoos for thinning hair often include essential amino acids on their ingredient list. Like biotin, amino acids are vital for the production of keratin and collagen. Keratin and collagen require the following amino acids: (03)

  • Lysine
  • Arginine
  • Methionine
  • Cysteine
  • Proline
  • Glycine

To generate enough keratin and collagen needed for sufficient hair growth, the body needs a steady supply of amino acids. In particular, lysine and methionine are the most essential amino acids for hair. Hair thickening shampoos that contain these amino acids can help combat hair loss and encourage growth. 

Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto, also known as serenoa serrulata, serenoa repens, or sabal serrulata) comes from palmetto berries (also called serenoa repens, serenoa serrulata or sabal serrulata). Studies show this berry extract acts as an anti-inflammatory for the scalp and skin. Furthermore, saw palmetto extract decreases sebum production and increases hair density in cases of androgenetic alopecia and polycystic ovary syndrome. (04, 05)

Niacin

Niacin (Vitamin B3 or nicotinic acid)  is a common ingredient in hair growth shampoos because it increases blood circulation, especially through the scalp. Improved blood flow feeds nutrients to hair follicles and encourages hair growth. Niacin also repairs DNA and boosts keratin production, helping to keep hair strong. (03)

Caffeine

Caffeine not only boosts the energy in your body, but it can protect hair follicles from dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is converted from testosterone and – when linked to receptors in hair follicles – results in hair loss. By preventing DHT from negatively impacting hair follicles, caffeine encourages hair growth and retention in both female pattern hair loss and male pattern hair loss. Additionally, caffeine may stimulate already weakened hair follicles, potentially repairing damaged roots. (06)

Zinc

Known for its immune boosting properties, zinc is also a hair-strengthening mineral. Zinc balances sebum production and boosts scalp health. Many dandruff shampoos contain zinc because of its dandruff-busting capabilities. Shampoos for thinning hair, however, also include zinc for its ability to strengthen hair and keep hair follicles free from obstructions like oil and dandruff. (03)

Green Tea

Green tea is a popular drink, but it’s also a common ingredient in hair growth shampoos. Green tea inhibits the production of a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor. The enzyme 5-alpha-reductase is responsible for the conversion of into DHT.  5-alpha-reductase inhibitors prevent the production of DHT, reducing hair loss. An additional benefit of green tea is its high antioxidant consent. Antioxidants combat environmental cell damage from free radicals, keeping your scalp and hair healthy. Green tea may also improve scalp health, balance sebum production, and treats dandruff. (07)

What to keep in mind when choosing shampoos for thinning hair? 

Choosing the right hair loss shampoo can be overwhelming, but following three simple rules can help you choose the one for you. 

Stick With Companies that Specialize in Hair Loss

When finding shampoos for thinning hair, stick to hair products from businesses that specialize specifically in hair loss. While cosmetic companies may know all about healthy hair, they may be unfamiliar with hair loss or balding. Whenever possible, take the time to find products sold or endorsed by reputable hair-loss companies. Although you may have to wait for shipping or make a special trip to another store, using shampoos from reputable companies that specialize in hair loss can make all the difference in how your thinning hair progresses. These companies understand hair loss and all its nuances, therefore their products are more likely to suit your needs. 

Pay Attention to the Ingredient List

Just like the way you check ingredient lists on food, you should check the ingredient lists on products you place on your body. When looking at the ingredient list, keep an eye out for items listed above. Furthermore, if you’re thinking about buying more than one product, keep using the same company product line. For example, a manufacturer of a hair loss shampoo may also have hair loss conditioner and hair loss hair spray from the same product line. 

Choose For Your Hair Type

Thickening shampoos may target various hair types. For example, one shampoo may be ideal for fine hair while another may be best for dry hair. Because these shampoos are formulated to work with a specific type of hair, you may need to find the one that matches with your hair type. The results can vary wildly depending on the different formulations, so finding the right shampoo for your hair type is essential. 

Don’t Wash Your Hair Away

Keeping your hair healthy means keeping it clean, but you don’t need to wash your hair away in the process. Finding an excellent quality shampoo for thinning hair may take some research, but it’s worth it to keep as much hair on your head as you can. Matching the right shampoo to your hair’s needs can help you resolve trouble spots and help reduce further hair loss. 

If you’re thinking you may need more than shampoo for thinning hair, contact our specialists at Happy Head. Our physicians tailor each hair treatment for every client, ensuring safe treatment aimed at your unique situation. Happy Head is so confident you’ll be satisfied with our services, we offer a six-month money-back guarantee. Contact us today for your personalized hair loss treatment! 

 

Resources:

(01) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4458934/

(02) https://www.webmd.com/connect-to-care/hair-loss/does-biotin-really-prevent-hair-loss

(03) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6380979/

(04) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2840915/

(05) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2840915/#CIT2

(06) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32599587/

(07) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6930595/