Postpartum Hair Loss – What Causes It and What You Can Do If It Happens to You

 

Postpartum hair loss is one of those things – like the after-pains of labor – that ‘they’ forget to tell you about as you eagerly await the birth of your baby.

That is why so many of us are truly shocked to find ourselves losing hair – sometimes in a alarmingly copious amounts – when our babies are around three months of age.

As a mom of five who has experienced postpartum hair loss with each and every new arrival, I’m here to tell you that

  1. it’s perfectly normal
  2. despite assurances that “you won’t go bald” the hair loss can be so dramatic that it can leave your hair looking very thin
  3. it’s temporary (but can continue until your baby is around 12 months of age… sometimes even a little longer than that)
  4. there ARE ways to hide it!

Please note: This information should not be seen as medical advice. If you have any concerns about postpartum hair loss, please speak to a medical professional. You should also seek a professional opinion if you are breastfeeding and considering taking any kind of supplement.

What Causes Postpartum Hair Loss?

Think back to when you are pregnant – did your hair look more abundant and feel thicker than usual?

Probably – and that’s because your estrogen levels were higher, which prolonged the stage where your hair was growing. In turn, this reduced the length of the ‘resting stage’, meaning that fewer hairs were actually falling out each day.

But all good things must come to an end… and when your little one was born, your estrogen levels took a nosedive. As a result, a lot of hair follicles entered the ‘resting stage’, which is rapidly followed by the (eek!) falling out stage!

Postpartum hair lossPostpartum hair loss often starts when baby is around 3 months of age

And once all this ‘extra’ hair starts falling out, panic can really set in… many of us seem to lose HEAPS of it in the shower, find it all over our pillows, in our hair brushes, and so on.

The way in which the hair falls out can vary from one person to another…

…the hair loss can be ‘diffuse’ (all over the head), or it can fall out in clumps. Some women notice the thinning around the hairline in particular.

Postpartum hair loss shouldn’t affect the eyebrows, nor should it cause scarring to the scalp. If anything seems unusual about your hair loss, please do speak to your doctor.

Fortunately, though, the hair loss DOES stop as your hormone levels normalize, usually at some point from 6 to 12 months.

But that doesn’t take away from the fact that losing your hair after giving birth is alarming, downright depressing and an absolute pain to have to deal with on top of everything having a new baby entails.

So here’s my list of ‘dos and don’ts’ to follow if this is an issue currently affecting YOU! (Actually, I’ve listed don’ts first… always best to end on a positive!).

Postpartum Hair Loss – What NOT To Do

  • Don’t rush to have a short haircut, as some parenting websites advise. Short hair is NOT always easier to maintain, and often requires (gasp) STYLING… something there’s little time for in the first few months following your baby’s birth! It’s easier to simply tie long hair back, out of the way.
  • Don’t be drawn into spending a fortune on hair loss ‘remedies’, even those suggested by other new moms who have been in the same boat! The simple truth is that postpartum hair loss doesn’t require a ‘remedy’ – yet some treatments or pills have been given the credit for stopping a type of hair loss that would have stopped by itself anyway.
  • Don’t put extra stress on your hair. Yes, tying it back is handy, but tie it loosely. If you’ve got the type of hair (like mine) that springs out all over the place if it’s tied loosely, use a soft, wide, fabric headband to cover all the ‘sticking out’ bits!
  • Don’t subject to your hair to more damage from dyes and perms at this time… treat the existing hair as gently as you can.
  • If you do decide to change your hair color, don’t rush to go darker. If your hair has got really thin, it will make the visibility of your scalp even more obvious.
  • Don’t sleep with your hair tied back in any way – again, it causes unnecessary stress on the roots.
  • Don’t stop breastfeeding just because you’ve heard that nursing makes postpartum hair loss worse – no studies have proven this and breastfeeding has so many benefits to you and your baby that would be lost. Besides, many mothers who DON’T breastfeed still experience thinning hair.
  • Don’t wrap your hair in a towel after washing it. A wet, heavy towel puts tremendous stress on the roots of your hair… the LAST thing you need right now. Let your hair hang free and cover your shoulders with the towel instead.
  • Don’t let this get to you. It’s temporary and you have far more important things to think about right now, such as enjoying this precious first year with your gorgeous new baby.

Postpartum Hair Loss – What You CAN Do

    • Do try styling your hair differently to hide the loss.

 

    • Do try out a few products that pump up the volume. My FAVORITE product when I experienced postpartum hair loss for myself was Batiste Dry Shampoo. Not only does it save you having to wash your hair as often, it adds VOLUME to the hair too, effectively killing two birds with one stone.

 

    • Do try a product like Joan Rivers Great Hair Day® if your hair gets so thin you can see your scalp. It’s easy to use, very effective and great as a temporary fix.

 

    • Do maintain a healthy diet. Your body has supported the development of your growing baby (and is STILL supporting it if you’re nursing), so your levels of the nutrients needed for healthy hair growth – such as iron and zinc – may be low. Furthermore, you may be skipping meals or grabbing convenience snacks because there is little time to prepare meals. So try to have plenty of wholesome food on hand that takes little preparation, such as fruit, nuts, yogurt, oats etc. You might want to ask your doctor to check your iron levels and zinc levels, too, just to be on the safe side. You may also like to check out this list of foods that are good for the hair.

 

  • Do use a detangler spray. Yanking a comb through knotted hair can cause even more hair loss – a detangler makes things easier and quicker.

Important Note

Something to be VERY aware of if you experience postpartum hair loss is the risk of your baby getting one of your hairs wrapped around a finger or toe.

Known as a ‘hair tourniquet’, this is VERY serious. Aside from the intense pain it causes (characterized by unexplained and continuous crying) it can cut off the circulation to the affected body part and has led to the loss of fingers or toes in some infants.

Check your baby’s hands and feet regularly to prevent this happening. A very tightly wrapped hair can be difficult to remove, but some emergency rooms use a hair remover like ‘Nair’ in this situation, because the hair simply dissolves. Obviously a product like that isn’t generally recommended for use on a baby’s skin – but when the alternative is the potential loss of a finger or toe, the unsuitability of the product becomes less important.

When the Postpartum Hair Loss Stops…

…You would think your troubles would be over. Alas, however, you may find yourself with loads of wispy new hairs all around your hairline… and even some sideburns to go with them!

Again, this is temporary, but bothersome. Use wide bands to cover those annoying wisps and sideburns, or consider having bangs (a fringe) cut in to disguise them.

On the plus side, all those short hairs add a LOT of volume!

I hope you found this page helpful. If you’ve experienced postpartum hair loss and would like to share any advice, comments or concerns, then please do so using the form below!

I look forward to hearing from you.


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Omega Fatty Acids and Hair Loss – Research Shows Positive Results

 

A connection between a lack of omega fatty acids and hair loss has often been suggested by experts, but new research adds significant weight to the idea that what you eat really can affect your hair growth.

A study published in the March issue of the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that the supplementation of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, plus antioxidants, prevented hair loss in the women tested and improved the thickness of their hair.

You can read the report here

Important Results – but Are They Credible?

Unlike many studies referred to in connection with hair loss – that either turn out to be non-existent, unscientific, or so small in scope as to be negligible – this research may warrant a little more attention!

Who Was Studied?

The study took place over a six-month period, during which time 120 women aged from 18 to 65, suffering from hair loss – but otherwise healthy – were evaluated.

The women were all suffering from female pattern hair loss, which tends to cause thin hair overall, but particularly around the crown and at the front of the scalp.

Women experiencing hair loss that could have had another cause – a vitamin deficiency, for example, or a medical condition known to cause hair loss – were excluded from this research.

This was to ensure as thoroughly as possible that – after the supplements were given – any resulting changes to their hair could be reasonably attributed to the effects of those supplements, rather than to any other factor (such as some other condition simply improving with time).

What Was the Aim of the Research?

Experts already know that there is a strong link between hair loss and nutrition. The report’s authors supported this by noting how hair problems are observed in sufferers of nutritionally related conditions, such as anorexia and bulimia.

They also noted, however, that whilst lots of products containing vitamins, minerals and other nutrients are strongly promoted for preventing/stopping hair loss, the role of nutrition – and particularly nutritional supplements – and its effects on female pattern hair loss has not been extensively studied and little data is available.

So this study set out to see how effective a nutrition supplement combining specific omega-3 and 6 from fish and blackcurrant seed oils, along with antioxidants (vitamins C and E and lycopenes), would be in improving hair loss, hair volume, softness and shine.

What Supplements Were the Participants in the Study Given?

The women were divided into two groups, one of 80 and one of 40. Both groups were equally divided between women of an age prior to menopause and women who had already been through menopause.

The group of 80 women were given a daily supplement containing 460 mg fish oil, 460 mg blackcurrant seed oil, 5 mg vitamin E, 30 mg vitamin C and 1mg lycopene for 6 months.

The other group (called the ‘control’ group) were given no supplements.

To ensure that any results could be fairly attributed to the supplements, all the women who took part in the study were asked not to alter their diets or their hair styles until the research was over. They were also asked not to use any hair loss treatments.

omega fatty acids and hair loss

And the Results?

Thorough evaluation procedures showed a “statistically significant difference” between the 2 groups, with a photographic review revealing an impressive 62% of the women who’d received the supplement showing an increase in the hair’s density, compared to only 28.2% of the subjects in the control group.

Of this 28.2%, only a ‘slight increase’ was observed, but for the supplemented group, 32.9% were observed to have a slight increase, 27.8% a moderate increase and in 1.3% of the cases their hair density was ‘greatly increased’.

The women themselves graded the improvement of their hair density from the photographs – 88.6% of the women who received the supplement saw an increase in their hair density, with 13.9% reporting a slight increase, 45.6% reporting a moderate increase and 29.1% reporting a large increase.

What’s more, after 6 months…

  • 89.9% of the supplemented women said their overall hair loss has decreased
  • 78.5% of the supplemented women said their hair diameter had improved
  • 86.1 of the supplemented women said their hair was more shiny
  • 85.9% of the supplemented women said their hair had more volume
  • 84.8% of the supplemented women said their hair was softer

In total, 92.4% of the women who’d received the supplement were satisfied with it and none had experienced any serious adverse side-effects.

How the Nutrients Tested in This Study Help the Hair

The fish oil used in this study contains lots of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and the blackcurrant seed oil contains the ‘optimal dietary balance’ of omega-6 and omega-3 acids.

Previous studies had demonstrated that the PUFAs is in both these oils are very readily absorbed by the skin’s cells, and provide a host of benefits.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids…

  • support cell growth
  • have anti-inflammatory properties
  • boost blood circulation

The antioxidants in this study – vitamins C, E and lycopene, have similar positive effects… all of which support a healthy scalp and – subsequently – healthy hair.

The report’s authors did note that the study did not allow them to know just how much each particular ingredient was key to the end result (i.e. whether the positive results were mostly due to the fish oil, the blackcurrant oil or the antioxidants).

But they felt that the supplement simply combines the benefits of each and every ingredient, giving positive results overall.

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This report makes it clear that those of us suffering from female pattern hair loss would do well to think about supplementing our diets with the nutrients studied in this research.

It’s also a good idea to eat foods rich in omega fatty acids, such as oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines etc), flaxseeds (linseeds), walnuts and poultry.

But please do check with your doctor before including ANY supplements in your daily routine, in case there’s a particular reason they may not be appropriate for you (especially if pregnant/nursing).

Blackcurrant seed oil, for example, can lower the blood pressure and slow blood clotting.

You may not be able to get the antioxidants in the small doses used in the study. Although larger doses should not be detrimental to the results, you may want to seek your doctors go-ahead first.

Learn more about female pattern hair loss

Learn how your iron levels affect your hair loss – even if tests say they are ‘normal’

Hypothyroidism can cause loss of hair

Hypothyroidism

Treating hair loss the natural way!

Natural Remedies

Why is your hair thinning?

Hair Loss Causes




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Onion Juice for Hair Loss – the Facts Behind This Ancient Remedy

 

Onion juice for hair loss – it’s one of the remedies ‘doing the rounds’ on the internet… particularly on social media! But does it actually work?

On this page I’ll take a closer look at just what’s behind this ancient ‘cure’ and why you may not want to dismiss it completely out of hand.

Please note: the information given here should not be seen as medical advice. Please speak to your doctor if you are experiencing unexplained hair loss, or before trying any remedies.

Onion Juice for Hair Loss – the Research

If you want to get past the typical ‘hype’ of websites suggesting onion juice for hair loss and establish the facts, then you’ve probably looked to see if there’s any research PROVING that it works.

But you need to be careful doing this – I’ve come across lots of sites that refer vaguely to research from the U.K.’s Bradford University, which found – they say – the causes of hair turning gray and thinning. They go on to say that one of the causes – a lack of an enzyme called catalase – can be reversed by the application of onion juice to the scalp.

However, the research I’ve seen mentioned – Senile Hair Graying and this paper discussing repigmentation of skin and hair in patients with vitiligo – did not study hair loss, nor did they in any way imply that a lack of catalase triggered hair loss. The onion juice itself was never mentioned at all in these studies.

But before you dismiss onion juice as a potential remedy…

The One Scientific Study That DID Investigate Onion Juice for Hair Loss

Skeptics will say that it’s unlikely that a totally natural substance like onion juice will ever be comprehensively studied as a hair loss remedy, as no one stands to profit financially from a positive result!

That being said, there has been one study published – entitled Onion juice (Allium cepa L.), a new topical treatment for alopecia areata – very small scale research to be sure, but intriguing nonetheless.

In this study, patients with alopecia areata were split into 2 groups.

Group 1 – advised to apply a crude onion juice to the scalp twice a day for 2 months

23 patients, 69.5% male and 30.5% female
Ages: 5 to 42, with an average age of 22.7

Group 2 – advised to apply tap water to the scalp twice a day for 2 months

15 patients, 53.3% male, 46.7% female
Ages: 3 to 35, with an average age of 18

After 2 weeks of treatment, regrowth of coarse hairs was observed in group 1… and after 4 weeks, researchers observed regrowth in 86.9% of the group (93.7% of the men and 71.4% of the women).

The researchers concluded that “(crude onion juice)… can be an effective topical therapy for patchy alopecia areata”.

Onion juice for hair loss

Why Might Onion Juice Be Effective against Hair Loss?

In addition to the small scale research mentioned above, there is a fair bit of anecdotal evidence from hair loss sufferers on forums and in online comments, in support of onion juice’s effectiveness.

And that may be because onions are rich in sulfur. Sulfur has antibacterial and antifungal properties, killing off germs, parasites and putting an end to fungal infections. Given the fact that hair loss is often triggered by an unhealthy scalp, it makes sense that sulfur-rich onion juice may act as a ‘cure’. Indeed, another widely reported benefit of applying onion juice to the scalp is that it gets rid of dandruff, which is usually fungal in nature.

Onions also contain quercetin, an antioxidant that studies have shown may be useful in treating alopecia areata.


How to Use Onion Juice for Hair Loss

If the information given above has persuaded you to give onion juice a try, here are some guidelines for preparing and using it.

A Warning

Some people have reported suffering from a red, itchy scalp after applying onion juice – it is, after all, very strong.

You might like to test it on a very small area before applying it all over your scalp and you should definitely avoid any sore areas, particularly those with broken skin.

Can You Buy ‘Ready-Made’ Onion Juice?

Yes – it’s easy to buy online
. BUT its potency is greatly reduced as time passes and fresh is BY FAR the best. In fact, expert onion juice users recommend preparing it as and when needed, rather than preparing a batch to store for later use.

How to Prepare Onion Juice

There are several methods you can use, depending on the equipment you have to hand.

NOTE: Do not try simply blending and onion and applying it to your scalp – you will be picking bits of onion out of your hair for days!

  • Grate an onion, either by hand or using the grating attachment of your food processor, then strain the pulp. You can strain it with a sieve, by squeezing it between two spoons, or squeezing it through cheesecloth. Discard the pulp and use only the juice.
  • Use a juicer – by far the easiest method, if you have one.

TIP:
Red onions are a richer source of quercetin than white, but ALL onions contain some.

If you are concerned about sensitivity, you could also try…

  • diluting prepared onion juice with water
  • boiling chopped onions, straining off the water once cooled and using THAT, instead of pure onion juice.

What about the Smell?

There’s no getting away from the fact that onion juice has a VERY strong smell. However, whilst the odour can be overpowering during application, supporters of the onion juice treatment say it is barely noticeable – if at all – when washed out.

(Editors note – I have not been brave enough to try this treatment myself, for EXACTLY this reason).

Nevertheless, there are a few things you can try using (besides water) that are said to help remove or hide any lingering aromas!

  • lemon juice
  • essential oils
  • baking soda
  • apple cider vinegar

Tips for Getting the Most Out Of Your Onion Juice Treatment

Apply it as often as you can
…daily if possible, and remember it can take several weeks (or even a few months) to see results with any hair loss remedy.

Massage it gently into the scalp
…and leave it to work for at least 30 minutes (or even overnight – but I strongly recommend covering your hair to protect your bedding).

Apply it in conjunction with emu oil
Emu oil has been found to be very effective in allowing hair loss products to permeate the scalp and get to where they’re needed.

Want the Benefits of Onion Juice without the Mess (and the Smell)?

Then consider using a sulfur shampoo, which is a somewhat simpler approach to achieving a healthy scalp.

For the benefits of quercetin, you could swap onion juice for the juice of any of the following, all of which are good quercetin sources…

  • apples
  • citrus fruits
  • parsley
  • sage
  • grapes
  • cherries

Omega Fatty Acids and Hair Loss

Research shows how effective omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids can be in restoring thinning hair
Read more…

If you’ve tried onion juice for hair loss and have any results to share – good or bad – please do let me know, or leave a comment via Facebook (below).

Readers’ Comments

I have been using onion juice for a week now. I had very bad hair fall and I could see the difference from the first use. So onion juice definitely controls hair fall. Regarding hair growth, it’s too early to say.

But it is a wonder because I had tried everything to control hair fall and nothing worked other than onion juice. So I’m in love with it in spite of the smell!

Deepa

Preparation of onion juice:

Extracting onion juice from a juicer is by far the best method, since no straining is required for the clear onion juice which dribbles from the juicer as the onion is processed.

Why a juicer appliance is better:

Since a juicer can extract a 3-inch diameter onion in a few as 30 seconds (with clearer juice from slower extraction), a daily juicer session is a minimal interruption in the day’s activity.

With only five minutes devoted to extraction and cleanup, a fresh supply of onion juice is always available, and in generous quantity – no need to store. If juice must be stored, however, some report they successfully freeze and store onion juice in ice cube trays for later use.

Removal of onion juice from hair:

After application of the onion juice, it is customarily left in place from a few hours to all night, with the longer periods of application investing more onion oil in the scalp.

For that reason, washing and rinsing the hair properly is critical to odor control. Washing is most effectively done in the shower under a warm stream of water, using a liquid castile soap like ‘Dr. Bronner’s’. Although available in several fragrances, Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap removes most of the garlicky odor. With this liquid soap, repeat washings are also gentler to the hair, since the liquid soap – especially if diluted further with water – is less likely to strip away the hair’s natural oils.

Dr. Bronner’s is probably the only soap capable of removing most or even all of the onion smell, especially after leaving onion juice in the hair overnight.

BG

I have been using onion juice every day for around 1 1/2 months. I see some hairs appearing, but they are very light and not thick. But the result for 1 1/2 months is good. I am planning to continue for at least 1 year .

Mohan

I have been using this for two weeks now. I do this before each shampoo. I only shampoo 3 times a week. I leave the onion juice on my scalp for 1 1/2 hours. So far my hair seems thicker. I can tell it’s also longer. But not sure how much. I did not measure.

Jill, US




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Can Plucking Hair Reverse Hair Loss? What Did the Research REALLY Show?

 

In April 2015 the UK media exploded with news of a ‘cure’ for baldness discovered by researchers, which simply involved plucking the remaining hair in a specific way to make lots more NEW hair grow back.

Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

Yet, like many miraculous baldness ‘cures’, there was a little bit more to this one than the headlines would have you believe.

What were these claims of a baldness cure based on?

The research referred to in these reports was published in a peer-reviewed journal called ‘Cell’.

It was carried out by researchers from the University of Southern California, plus colleagues from Scotland, Taiwan and China.

During the study, researchers plucked hairs from the backs of mice. They plucked some hairs close together and some far apart, to investigate whether plucking at different densities would lead to different responses from the hair.

Plucking hair to reverse hair lossCan plucking hair encourage MORE to grow?

They saw some interesting results.

If they plucked less than a certain amount (under 10 hairs per square mm), then nothing happened. But when they plucked 200 hairs from a 3 mm diameter, not only did hairs grow back, but there were even MORE hairs than before – 450 in total.

When they plucked 200 hairs from a 5 mm diameter, 1300 hairs grew back.

Why did this happen?

Researchers credit these findings to something called ‘quorum sensing’.

On this occasion, this means that the follicles from which the hairs were plucked sent a ‘distress signal’ to other hair follicles nearby. This then prompted the body to respond to the change in the ‘population’ of the hairs by signalling the follicles to grow MORE hairs.

And because the follicles seemed to act as sensors for a wider area of skin, MORE hairs were regenerated then were there in the first place.

So why isn’t this research something to get excited about just yet?

The biggest reason – and the one the media chose not to highlight as it rather lessens the impact of their headlines – is that NO ONE SAID THIS WOULD WORK IN HUMANS.

And that, of course, is significant!

Hair growth in mice is fundamentally different to that in people – their hair grows much more densely (which effectively means they are about 10 times hairier).

The research does not mention human hair at all – and whilst the studies were interesting, experts acknowledge that it would be a ‘leap of faith’ to assume this is going to work equally well in people.

There are a couple of other factors that give pause for thought too…

  1. Sufferers of the hair-pulling condition trichotillomania end up with bald patches, despite plucking their hair regularly (although the UK’s NHS acknowledges there might be stress-related conditions that explain this).
  2. Many hair loss sufferers already have very sparse hair – so there may not be enough to pluck it at the density this research seems to say is necessary.

So should you start plucking out hairs to see if this works for you?

My advice is no – you may end up doing more harm than good!

Nevertheless, this IS an intriguing bit of research. It will be interesting to see if it leads to studies on humans and just what effect this specific type plucking may have on them.

Learn how using a silk or satin pillowcase can help your hair

Sources – and for More Information

Organ-Level Quorum Sensing Directs Regeneration in Hair Stem Cell Populations

NHS Choices – Can Plucking Hairs Stimulate New Growth?

Omega Fatty Acids and Hair Loss

Research shows how effective omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids can be in restoring thinning hair
Read more…



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Using a Humidifier for Hair Growth – Why You Should Try It

 

After moving from the warm, humid climate of the Bahamas to the north of England, I noticed two things.

  • The North of England is somewhat colder than the Bahamas (haha!)
  • The central heating needed to counteract the cold was drying out my hair. Instead of it becoming silky soft after escaping from the tropical sun, it began breaking off all over the place.

If you live in a very dry climate – or one where indoor heating MAKES it dry – you’ll know exactly what I mean.

The dryness doesn’t just affect your hair, either – it takes its toll on your skin, too.

If your hair loss is aggravated by a dry and itchy scalp, then this can quickly become a big problem.

I stepped up my hair conditioning treatments but they didn’t seem to help. In fact, I couldn’t remember it ever looking this bad – frizzy, parched and hay-like, with awful tufts all along my hairline where the breakage was at its worst.

The solution to the problem turned out to be a humidifier!

But doesn’t humidity make hair even MORE frizzy?

That’s the ironic thing – in the Bahamas, humidity was the bane of my life and gave my hair the sort of ‘volume’ I didn’t want.

But in the Bahamas (and many other tropical places) the humidity is TOO HIGH for your hair… and for your comfort.

The purpose of a humidifier is not to put too MUCH moisture into the air, it’s to replace the moisture that’s lacking.

Optimal humidity in a room is somewhere between 35 to 45%, but in a heated room it can drop right down to 10%. A humidifier simply brings the level back where it SHOULD be.

I’ve been using mine for 4 months now and the difference has been amazing. My hair is MUCH softer and the breakage appears to have stopped (although it may take a while to grow out those tufts!). I’m also seeing a lot less static.

Tips When Using a Humidifier for Hair Growth

I have mine in my bedroom and run it overnight, every night. It’s inexpensive to run and it makes only a gentle, whirring noise that I actually find soothing (I miss the white noise of the big fans we used to have running all night in the Bahamas).

Using a Humidifier Brings Added Benefits!

I was only really concerned about my hair, but I discovered there are other advantages to using a humidifier.

  • It can really help relieve congested sinuses (which can also eliminate snoring!).
  • It can alleviate the sore/dry throat with which many of us in dry rooms tend to wake up.
  • As mentioned earlier, it does wonders for your skin. No more of that itchy, dry, winter flakiness – and some people with eczema find that it really helps reduce their symptoms.
  • Some humidifiers can warm up a room, some can cool it down (more on this below).

There are different types of humidifier and what suits one person may not suit another

Here are some facts to help you choose which type may be best for you.

  • The 2 basic types are cold mist and warm mist and those descriptions are pretty self-explanatory. Cold mist humidifiers add moisture to the air WITHOUT heat, warm mist humidifiers heat the water to create the mist.
  • Some humidifier models can do both.
  • Cold mist humidifiers can cool down your room a little – some people choose to use a cold one in the summer and a warm mist model in the winter. Because the warm mist version actually boils the water to produce steam, it tends to warm up the room.
  • Warm mist models can be a little noisier than cold mist because you can usually hear the water boiling. That being said, it’s not necessarily annoying… some people even find it soothing.
  • Warm mist models are not ideal for asthma sufferers or those with allergies. They can actually worsen symptoms.
  • Warm mist models can get hot and are not safe to use around young children.
  • All humidifiers – particularly warm mist models – need to be cleaned regularly and thoroughly, to prevent any mold/bacteria buildup.
  • Many models (both cold and warm mist) use filters which need replacing. A few models are filter free.

My humidifier of choice is…

The Honeywell Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier

 

humidifier for hair growth

Honeywell Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier – Click to Order

 

These are the benefits that ‘sold’ me on this particular model…

  • It’s very quiet – in fact, at the lowest settings, you can barely hear it at all. So if you plan to use it in your bedroom, it won’t ruin your sleep.
  • It’s a cold mist model – I have asthma and people with asthma/allergies find that warm mist humidifiers make them worse.
  • It has a big tank (twice the size of the Crane model below), so you don’t have to keep refilling it.
  • It’s easy to clean (dishwasher safe) and easy to refill.
  • It’s durable (I have a house full of kids so EVERYTHING needs to be durable).

If the Honeywell doesn’t quite fit the bill for you, here are a few a popular models that might…

A Few Extra Tips When Using a Humidifier for Hair Growth

  • Think about using a silk or satin pillowcase too. One of my favorite beauty ‘secrets’, a satin/silk pillow case is very kind to the hair. It reduces friction and pulling, eliminating breakage and leaving the hair soft and static free. (It’s also believed to help prevent wrinkles!).
  • Use distilled or filtered water in the humidifier, rather than tap water. The minerals in tap water build up inside the humidifier and can end up being dispersed into the air as an annoying – and potentially unhealthy – white dust.
  • Buy a hygrometer (humidity monitor) to check the humidity levels in the air. Don’t let the level go over 50%. If it does, you risk mold/bacterial growth, an uncomfortable room… and frizzy hair because there’s too MUCH moisture floating around! (Note: some humidifiers have a hygrometer built-in).
  • If you travel a lot, grab yourself a mini humidifier. The Vicks Filter-Free Cool Mist Humidifier is great.

Please do let me know if you’ve tried a humidifier to improve the health of your hair and which type YOU’D recommend.



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Can Caffeine Cure Hair Loss? Researchers See Interesting Results!

 

Can caffeine cure hair loss? There are certainly a growing number of caffeine shampoos and lotions on the market.

And there have been several reports in the media recently about how research has ‘proven’ that caffeine can reverse baldness.

But is drinking more coffee REALLY the answer to our prayers? Or should we be taking caffeine in some other form?


On this page I’ll take a look at some of the claims about caffeine and the facts behind the newspaper headlines.

NOTE: This information is presented as a guide and should NOT be seen as professional medical advice. You should always discuss your hair loss concerns with a doctor or other medical professional.

The Research Showing Caffeine Can Reverse Hair Loss

The claims about caffeine are based on 2 separate pieces of research.

The first took place in 2007. Researchers studied a group of male patients affected by androgenetic alopecia. Hair follicles were collected during 14 biopsies and cultured in a laboratory (which means they were grown artificially).

The samples were exposed to caffeine and testosterone, to investigate their effects on hair growth.

It was found that – whilst testosterone suppressed hair growth – exposure to caffeine could COUNTERACT its effect. In other words, it could prevent the hair loss testosterone can cause.

What’s more, it was found that caffeine could actually STIMULATE the growth of hair.

The researchers concluded that caffeine is a “… stimulant of human hair growth”.

You can see a summary of this research here

Promising results of MORE research into the potential for caffeine to cure hair loss were published in 2014.

In this new study, researchers planned to further investigate the effects of caffeine on the hair and this time included women.

Tests showed that female hair follicles seem to be even MORE sensitive to caffeine than male.

Researchers noted that the caffeine enhanced the elongation of the hair shaft and prolonged the ‘anagen’ phase of their hair (the growth phase).

The conclusion was that

“…this study reveals new growth-promoting effects of caffeine on human hair follicles in subjects of both sexes at different levels”.

Here’s a link to the 2014 study

So Will Drinking More Coffee Make My Hair Grow Back?

Can caffeine cure hair loss?

Sadly, no, because the amount of caffeine needed to see these results is far too high to safely consume each day in coffee form!

A mind boggling 50 to 60 cups would need to be consumed daily!

I think Dr Weil put it best when he said

“… If you drank that much coffee you’d be so wired you wouldn’t care about the state of your hair”.

(On another note, too much caffeine can limit your iron absorption, potentially causing hair loss. You can find out more about how iron affects your hair here).

The caffeine, then, would need to be applied topically (to the scalp).

Are Caffeine Shampoos and Lotions the Answer?

Not necessarily.

The problem is that the levels of caffeine in these products is unlikely to be the same as the dose used in the research.

It is unclear just how much caffeine is absorbed from products like this (although this research seems to indicate that there is SOME absorption).

Also, all the hair follicles in the research I mentioned earlier were cultured in a laboratory (in other words, grown under controlled laboratory conditions).

So it’s a real stretch to assume that caffeine will work in just the same way when some is added to hair loss products and used in a real-life situation.

I haven’t come across ANY research ‘proving’ that caffeine shampoos or lotions can cure hair loss.

Nevertheless, many women do swear by a couple of these products (one of these is a relative of mine!) and you’ll find quite a large number of positive reviews online.

By far and away the most popular seem to be Ultrax, followed by Alpecin (this is my family member’s shampoo of choice, although I found it very drying on my scalp).

Despite the favorable reviews (and trusting that they are genuine!), the fact remains that these products are not backed with any science that demonstrates they can prevent or reverse hair loss.

But the results of the research were undoubtedly promising, so let’s keep our fingers crossed that they are used to develop a genuinely effective hair loss treatment.

If You Plan on Giving Caffeine Shampoo a Try…

Then there are 2 things to take into consideration.

Some women find that caffeine shampoo strips any artificial color from their hair.
If your hair is dyed, you might want to think hard before using it.

There is a lot of debate about whether it makes sense to use a caffeine shampoo alongside Minoxidil.
Minoxidil is a vasodilator (it relaxes the blood vessels). Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor (it constricts blood vessels). So it seems that the two products would contradict each other.

There seems to be no official answer to this dilemma, with some manufacturers simply stating on their websites that it’s okay to use both, without directly addressing the issue.

My advice then, would be to apply the Minoxidil, then to wait at least 30 minutes before using a caffeine shampoo or lotion. Better still, use one in the morning and the other one at night.

Learn how using a silk or satin pillowcase can help your hair 

Omega Fatty Acids and Hair Loss

Research shows how effective omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids can be in restoring thinning hair
Read more…

As always, I welcome your feedback…

Have you had amazing results with any products containing caffeine? Or have you had any negative side effects that you’d like to tell others about?

Please contact me here – I look forward to hearing from you.




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Lupus Hair Loss – How to Recognize and Treat It

 

Hair loss can be one of the first symptoms of lupus. But lupus is a notoriously difficult condition to diagnose – and the ways in which it can lead to hair loss are varied.

On this page I’ll take a look at exactly what lupus is, what the most common symptoms are, the types of hair loss it can cause, and how it is treated.

Note: this information is given for guidance purposes only and does NOT constitute medical advice. You should always discuss any concerns you have regarding your health with a qualified medical professional.

What Is Lupus?

Lupus is an autoimmune disease.

Ordinarily, the immune system protects us from germs, bacteria and viruses by producing antibodies. With an autoimmune condition, your body cannot tell the difference between these unwelcome invaders and your own healthy tissues. So the immune system starts making antibodies that attack your tissues.

This causes a variety of symptoms, including pain, inflammation and tissue damage.

There are various kinds of lupus.

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the most common type and affects multiple organs in the body.
  • Subacute cutaneous erythematosus causes inflammation and sores on skin that is exposed to the sun.
  • Discoid lupus erythematosus causes a chronic rash on the skin.
  • Drug induced lupus can be triggered by certain medications.

Cutaneous and discoid lupus do not affect the health of any bodily organs beside the skin. Skin lupus does not necessarily progress into SLE, with only around 10% of sufferers later developing lupus in other organ systems.

What Are the Symptoms of Lupus?

As I mentioned earlier, hair loss can be one of the first symptoms, and approximately 50% of lupus sufferers may experience it to some degree.

Other symptoms of lupus include:

These symptoms can come and go and may be mild or severe. Many sufferers of lupus experience several of these symptoms.

  • extreme fatigue
  • fever
  • rash or redness on face
  • photosensitivity (sensitivity to the sun)
  • pain or swelling in the joints
  • chest pain upon breathing
  • swollen glands
  • swelling around the eyes
  • swollen legs
  • purple or very pale extremities (fingers and toes)
  • ulcers around the nose or mouth

How Does Lupus Cause Hair Loss?

Some people who have lost hair due to lupus – then had it grow back – report that the new hair can be different to the way it was previously (for example, curly instead of straight).

There are a number of ways in which lupus can have an effect on the hair.

With systemic lupus (SLE)…

the immune system can actually destroy hair follicles.

The hair might become thinner all over, or fall out in clumps.

Some people experience hair loss from their eyebrows and eyelashes, or elsewhere on the body.

With skin lupus…

rashes on the skin can cause the hair to fall out. One form of skin lupus – discoid lupus – can cause a thick, scaly red rash, typically on the scalp, face and ears. This can actually scar the hair follicles to the point where they can no longer produce hair.

It’s important for lupus sufferers to seek immediate medical advice in a situation like this, to prevent permanent hair loss.

Some people find themselves losing their hair thanks to the medication they’ve been given to treat their lupus, rather than from the disease itself. Examples include steroids like prednisone and immune system suppressants, which seem to trigger hair loss in some people.

It’s not just hair LOSS that can be a symptom of lupus!

Some people just find that the texture of their hair changes quite significantly.

In some cases, it becomes very brittle and grows poorly. It can become so fragile that it starts to break, sometimes causing a ‘rugged’ appearance characteristic of the condition, known as ‘lupus hair’.

How Is Lupus Diagnosed?

Unfortunately, lupus is one of those diseases that difficult to diagnose because there is no one test that can tell doctors conclusively whether or not you have it.

This means that some people go a long time without finding out just what’s wrong with them, or receiving the treatment they need.

There are “11 Criteria of Lupus” devised by the American College of Rheumatology that doctors use to help them diagnose the condition.

To decide whether or not someone has lupus, doctors look for at least 4 of the criteria to be present.

These are:

  • A malar rash (a rash across the nose and cheeks which is shaped like a butterfly)
  • A discoid rash (scaly, raised, red patches on the skin)
  • Sensitivity to sunlight, resulting in a rash
  • Ulcers around the nose or mouth
  • Arthritis in at least 2 joints
  • Indication of inflammation of the lining around the lungs or the heart
  • Psychosis or seizures
  • Excessive protein in the urine, indicating a kidney disorder
  • Disorders of the blood
  • The presence of antinuclear bodies (determined by an ANA test)
  • Other disorders of the immune system

If You Think You May Have Lupus…

… Here’s a useful table from me National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, courtesy of Womenshealth.gov

You can complete this and take it to your doctor, to assist with a potential lupus diagnosis.

Do seek a second opinion if you feel your concerns are not being taken seriously – an early diagnosis may prevent or reduce any subsequent hair loss.

Click on the image below for a printable version.

Lupus symptoms checklist

Who Gets Lupus and What Causes It?

Lupus most affects young women and often starts somewhere between the ages of 15 and 44. It affects women of Asian, Latino, African American and Native American descent more than Caucasian.

It is not always possible to pinpoint the cause, though in a few cases it is triggered by medication and in around 10% of cases it’s hereditary.

Lupus is NOT contagious.

How Is Lupus Treated?

Because it’s such a complex condition, treatment for lupus varies quite a bit from person to person.

It’s usually treated with steroids, which can control inflammation, and immunosuppressives, to limit the activity of the immune system.

As I mentioned earlier, hair loss can be an unfortunate side-effect of these medications.

Lupus hair loss - how to prevent it

Lupus Hair Loss – Will It Grow Back?

Because there are different causes of the hair loss, the answer to this question is ‘it depends’.

Systemic lupus tends to cause ‘flares’ – in other words, there are times when the symptoms are worse than others. During these flares, the hair loss can be heartbreakingly dramatic.

But the good news is that hair often grows back once treatment is received, although it can be up to 6 months before things really seem back to normal.

With skin lupus, the hair loss can be permanent if the hair follicles themselves have been scarred. This is why it’s so important to seek immediate treatment if a rash is present.

If your hair loss is caused by the lupus medication (or other medication), the hair will usually grow back when the medication is stopped.

How to Prevent Lupus Hair Loss

Seek immediate advice from your doctor if you notice a rash developing. Early treatment can prevent scarring.

Speak to your doctor about altering your dosage or changing your medication if it seems that the medication is causing your hair loss. Do bear in mind, though, that your doctor may not recommend this until your lupus is well under control.

Try to avoid ‘flares’ of systemic lupus by avoiding your ‘triggers’. It’s a good idea to keep a diary to help you work out what your triggers may be.

  • Try to keep your stress levels low.
  • Avoid the sun, especially between 10 and 4 PM
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Avoid exposure to halogen lights or fluorescent lights.
  • Make sure any infections are treated promptly.

Don’t necessarily assume your hair loss is related to your lupus.

Hair loss has lots of other causes – please see this page for more information.

How to Disguise Your Hair Loss and Look after Fragile Hair

  • Consider a shorter hairstyle, so the weight of your hair does not flatten your roots against your scalp (which makes the bald patches more obvious).
  • Color your hair so it is lighter, creating less of a contrast between dark hair and a pale scalp. (This may not be suitable for everyone, particularly if the hair is very fragile).
  • Consider hair extensions, a ‘topper’, or partial wig if the hair loss is severe. Avoid any hair pieces that need chemicals or glue to attach them.
  • Decorate your hair with trendy hair wraps, scarves or bandanas. Type ‘how to tie a head scarf’ into Youtube and you’ll find masses of video tutorials to help you discover a look that suits YOU.
  • Use a hair volumizer to add some ‘bounce’. I also find that dry shampoo is great for adding a little volume.
  • Look after fragile hair by avoiding heat as much as possible and using a gentle shampoo. These hair loss shampoos contain many nourishing ingredients that are kind to the hair.
  • Considering taking biotin supplements, which some women find helpful and are occasionally recommended by dermatologists. Saw palmetto is another popular remedy. Please remember to speak to your doctor before taking any supplements.
  • Eat foods known to encourage healthy hair growth (you’ll find lots listed here).
    • Invest in silk or satin pillowcases
      which are very gentle to the hair and help prevent breakage (there are said to prevent wrinkles too!).

 

  • Use organic, unrefined coconut oil
    to soften brittle hair. It’s one of the few oils scientifically proven to actually penetrate the hair shaft shaft.
  • Avoid over-the-counter hair loss treatments or at least check with your doctor before using them. They are not always recommended for lupus sufferers.
  • If your hair loss is caused by scarring and likely to be permanent, read question 3 on this page by Dr David Fiorentino of the Lupus Foundation of America before considering a hair transplant. He recommends waiting until your lupus is very well-managed before undergoing such a procedure, as a hair transplant itself can reactivate lupus or trigger a flare.
  • Keep brittle hair hydrated! I’m a big fan of humidifiers and use one myself for this reason (read more here).

Sources and for more information…

Lupus Research Alliance

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

I hope you have found this lupus hair loss page useful. If you suffer from lupus and can offer advice to other women experiencing hair loss, please do contact me here.



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Diabetes Hair Loss – Why It Happens and What You Can Do

 

There is a definite connection between diabetes and hair loss. Some women are not even aware that they have the condition and a loss of hair can be one of the first signs.

On this page I’ll take a look at the symptoms of diabetes, why it causes hair loss, and what to do if it’s affecting you.

NOTE: This information is provided for guidance purposes only and should not be seen as medical advice. You should always discuss ANY concerns about your health with a qualified medical professional.

Could Your Hair Loss Be a Sign of Diabetes?

According to recent statistics, 24% of diabetes cases go undiagnosed. Data from the National Diabetes Statistics Report 2014 shows that there are 29.1 million Americans with diabetes – but only 21 million people are aware of it.

There are lots of different reasons that diabetes causes hair loss, which I will cover later in this article. But it’s also worth knowing that thinning hair can also indicate two other related conditions –

  • insulin resistance
  • pre-diabetes

Insulin resistance is a precursor to pre-diabetes and BOTH conditions are precursors to type 2 diabetes.

More About Insulin Resistance and Pre-Diabetes

When insulin levels in the body remain sufficiently high over an extended period of time, the body’s sensitivity to the hormone begins to decline. This is called insulin resistance.

A difficult condition to reverse, insulin resistance causes symptoms that include high blood pressure, lethargy and hunger. It’s a ‘vicious circle’, because the increased insulin levels and weight gain make the insulin resistance even worse.

Eventually it can develop into pre-diabetes, which doctors can identify by increased glucose levels in the blood.

Research supports the fact that women with insulin resistance are at risk of hair loss – so it’s certainly worth discussing this possibility with your doctor if your hair loss is unexplained.

Source: Insulin Resistance – MedicineNet

So What Exactly IS Diabetes?

Understanding the Role of Insulin

Insulin is a hormone that the body produces in order to utilize carbohydrates.

Sugars from the foods you eat go to the bloodstream and insulin moves those sugars from the bloodstream to the cells, where they are either stored or used as energy.

People with diabetes either don’t produce this vital insulin, their bodies don’t use it properly, or both.

The result is that sugar can build up in the blood, causing multiple problems.

  • The sugar can damage the body’s organs, such as the kidneys, nerves and eyes.
  • The sugar can damage the blood vessels, preventing them from delivering enough oxygen to nourish the body’s tissues and organs.

There are two different kinds of diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 Diabetes

This type occurs when the immune system destroys the cells of the pancreas that produce insulin. The result is that the body can no longer regulate blood sugars properly.

The condition, which cannot be cured but CAN be managed, is generally diagnosed in childhood. It is also known as juvenile diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes. It is far less common than Type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes

This type occurs when the pancreas doesn’t make ENOUGH insulin to properly control the amount of sugar in the blood.

90% of diabetics have Type 2 diabetes.

Unfortunately, the condition is on the rise, because it can be triggered or made worse by bad food choices, lack of exercise and being overweight.

It’s this type of diabetes that many people have without even knowing.

The good news is that the condition can be improved – and sometimes even reversed – by doing more exercise, losing weight and eating healthily.

Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can cause hair loss.

Why Does Diabetes Cause Hair Loss?

Unfortunately, the reasons for diabetes-related hair loss are complicated and varied. This can make it quite difficult to identify just what might be causing YOUR issues.

Here’s a summary of potential reasons – but it’s important to talk to your doctor to see which might apply to you, and – if appropriate – to discuss what action to take.

  • Physical stress. The impact of diabetes on the body is considerable, so the sheer physical stress (not to be confused with emotional stress) can disrupt the normal cycle of hair growth.
  • Hormones. The regeneration process of the hair follicles can be negatively affected by fluctuating hormone levels.
  • Poor circulation. As described earlier in this article, diabetes can damage the blood vessels. This makes it hard for them to deliver all the necessary nutrients to the body’s tissues and organs. When the hair follicles don’t get all the nutrients they need, hair growth can be affected. This can cause a loss of body hair, too.
  • Infections. High blood sugar levels affect the body’s immune system, leaving people with diabetes more prone to infection, and with a reduced ability to FIGHT infection. Infections can disrupt the healthy hair growth cycle.
  • Emotional stress. Diabetes is an ongoing condition and you may find it stressful to deal with, particularly at first. Emotional stress can trigger hair loss (you’ll find some tips for coping with it here).
  • Medication. Certain medications can cause hair loss in some individuals (see this page for more information).
  • Thyroid disease. This is quite common in people with diabetes, but it can be treated. You’ll find more information about thyroid problems here.
  • Zinc deficiency. Zinc is critical for healthy hair growth, but many people with diabetes are low in this essential mineral. Visit this page for more information about zinc.
  • Rapid weight loss. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor will recommend a healthy diet and exercise. This can cause significant weight loss (which is, of course, a good thing). The only problem is that rapid weight loss sometimes causes increased hair loss (you can’t win, can you?). The good news is that this is likely to be temporary.

What Can You Do if You Are Suffering From Diabetes-Related Hair Loss?

If diabetes is the ONLY cause of your thinning hair, then the good news is that it’s probably a temporary problem.

Once you start receiving treatment, and your hormones start working properly again, your hair growth cycle should begin to settle down and return to normal, although the rate of growth may be a little slower than before.

Nevertheless, here are some positive steps you can take to address the issue.

  • Talk to your doctor to establish the cause. Your doctor will be able to help you identify whether other factors besides the diabetes itself – such as emotional stress of thyroid problems – are at play.
  • Visit this page and apply the techniques suggested to keep emotional stress to a minimum.
  • Eat the foods known to promote healthy hair growth (within the guidelines of the diet recommended by your doctor)
  • Discuss your medication with your doctor if you feel it may be causing hair loss as a side effect. It may be possible to amend your dose, or your doctor may suggest a different brand.
  • Speak to your doctor about taking a biotin supplement. People with diabetes sometimes have low biotin levels.
  • Get lots of exercise. Not only will this reduce your blood sugar levels, it also improves the delivery of oxygen to the body’s cells (including the hair follicles), prompting hair growth. Be sure to support your exercise with adequate nutrition (see this page for more information).
  • If your hair loss is particularly severe, ask your doctor if Minoxidil (Rogaine) might be suitable for you. Also, try different camouflage techniques, such as using a hair piece or a fill-in powder until things improve (see it as make-up for the hair!).
  • Think about coloring your hair, which can ‘plump it up’ and make it look thicker. Coloring it a lighter color can be useful if you want to minimize the contrast between dark hair and your scalp.

If you have been affected by diabetes-related hair loss and have any advice or experiences you’d like to share,
please do get in touch with me here.

Sources and for more information…

Healthline – Does Diabetes Cause Hair Loss?

University of Maryland Medical Center

Comments from our readers…

I love your article and I totally agree with you. See, when I was 22 I was diagnosed with alopecia. Now I’m 28 and I was recently diagnosed as a pre-diabetic.  I take 500mg of Metformin. And my hair has started to grow. I also have been going to the gym 6 times a week and I watch what I eat. I truly believe that this article is the cure for alopecia and that every alopecia patient should follow.  Thank you 

Yolanda, United States



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Hide Hair Loss and Regain Your Confidence With these Easy To Use Products

 

Finding a way to hide hair loss is a priority for most of us as we work on trying to restore our hair to its former glory.

Changing hairstyles or wearing head bands and scarves can both be helpful tactics. But another option is to instantly ‘plump up’ the existing hair or disguise thin patches with a ‘fill-in’ powder or product that can be shaken into the hair.

Easy to use, these products can be a great way to get your confidence back and are much more economical than costly extensions. They are also designed to stay put in your hair, so you can enjoy the things you want to do without worrying that your secret will be revealed to the world!

Here are some of the most effective products currently available to help you hide hair loss in an instant.

TOPPIK Hair Building FibersBest-selling Toppik is one of the most popular products designed to hide hair loss.

You simply shake it on to the hair and pat to spread out the fibers, giving a natural look. There are 9 different shades to choose from and the product comes in a range of sizes.

Most importantly, it STAYS ON – so you can wear it with confidence, yet it can be easily washed out with shampoo.

Not just great for hiding thin patches, you can also use Toppik to disguise gray hair and touch up your roots!

Click here to buy

Our top pick


Strand MaximizerThis hair loss concealer for women AND men is available in a range of colors and you are 100% guaranteed to be happy with it, or your money back!

Made of keratin fibers, Strand Maximizer clings to your existing hair and covers up any scalp that’s showing.

It’s easy to use – you just shake it on and pat it down! It’s non-greasy and allows the hair to move freely, so it looks natural.

It’s guaranteed to stay on, even in windy conditions or if you sweat – but it’s also easy to wash out with shampoo.

Click here to buy


Joan Rivers Great Hair Day® fill-in powderAnother hugely popular product is Joan Rivers Great Hair Day® fill-in powder, which was created specifically for her all day TV shows.

Rather than fibers, this product is a powder which comes with a handy mirror and specially designed brush, making it easy to apply. Coverage is excellent, it doesn’t wear off in any way and comes in 6 different colors, so you can get a perfect match.

It may be a little pricey, but it lasts for a while and its many fans say it’s well worth the investment!

Click here to buy


Irene Gari Fill In PowderIf your budget is a serious consideration when choosing a fill-in powder to hide hair loss, then this product is well worth checking out.

Similar to Joan Rivers Great Hair Day®, this is a powder that you apply with a brush and is resistant to both sweat and the elements.

Whilst users of both products tend to remark on the superiority of Great Hair Day®, this powder still does a good job, and for a mere fraction of the price.

Click here to buy


Bumble and Bumble Hair PowderAlthough designed as a tinted dry shampoo, some women find this useful as a hair loss concealer.

It certainly does a good job of hiding the scalp and – because it absorbs oil – tends to make the hair look fuller too.

It can be sprayed on to the hair, so it’s easy to use, although you do need to be careful and avoid inhaling the spray, particularly if you are using it regularly. And do bear in mind the fact that this product has a drying effect, so it might not be your best choice as a fill-in powder if you plan to use it on a daily basis.

Click here to buy


Home

Products to Hide Hair Loss

Could Rogaine® help restore your hair?

Learn how a silk or satin pillowcase can prevent breakage



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Hair Loss Laser Treatment – Does it Work?

 

Hair loss laser treatment is becoming a popular therapy, with devices on the market declared safe for home use. But does laser therapy REALLY help restore hair?

Of all the hair loss therapies out there, the one that seems to cause the most debate among experts is hair loss laser treatment!

There are doctors who will flat out tell you that it absolutely does not work, whilst others will insist it’s effective. There is medical research available that shows promising results… but there are also studies indicating that people treated with lasers showed little improvement in hair growth.

Yet the claims made by proponents of laser therapy persist and – whilst still costly – devices intended for home use make it more affordable than ever before.

So is it worth giving it a try?

On this page I’ll take a look at the pros and cons of tackling hair loss with lasers, which will – I hope – help you decide if it MIGHT work for you.

Note: this information is given for guidance purposes only. It should NOT be taken as medical advice and it’s very important to speak to your doctor if you are experiencing hair loss, or before starting any course of treatment.

What Is Hair Loss Laser Treatment?

In 1967, a Hungarian scientist using lasers to treat cancer in mice noticed something he hadn’t anticipated.

The mice he was studying had been shaved in order to receive treatment, then divided into 2 groups. One group received laser treatment for cancer and one group did not.

The hair grew back more quickly on the mice that had been treated with the lasers.

This discovery led to the development of low level laser therapy (LLLT) – a safe treatment that is used for various medical conditions, including the restoration of hair after hair loss.

Also known as bio stimulation, red light therapy, soft laser and cold laser, LLLT involves the use of devices that emit a light that can penetrate the scalp.

The scalp is exposed to the light several times a week, for anywhere between 8 to 15 minutes at a time. This is believed to trigger hair growth. Some practitioners pair the therapy with scalp massage or another form of scalp treatment.

How Is Hair Loss Laser Treatment Given?

There are a variety of ways that this therapy can be administered.

It is available

  • in clinics
  • in beauty salons, via special ‘hoods’
  • at home, using handheld devices like The HairMax Laser Comb or the Theradome

Hair loss laser treatment is now seen by some as a safe alternative therapy for people whose only options previously were a costly hair transplant, or other medication like Minoxidil.

How Does Hair Loss Laser Treatment Work?

Manufacturers of laser devices intended for home use attempt to explain how this type of therapy works to restore hair. The truth, however, is that no one knows for sure quite how or why hair growth might be triggered by lasers.

The generally accepted theory is that the therapy increases blood flow to the scalp, stimulating the follicles and encouraging them to produce more hair. In the same vein, experts say that the lasers rejuvenate ageing cells, helping the hair to regrow.

In cases of alopecia areata, it is believed that the lasers help reduce inflammation, thereby allowing the healthy growth of hair.

Who Is Hair Loss Laser Treatment for?

This type of therapy isn’t suitable for everyone with hair loss.

In fact, at this point it’s important to note that you MUST initially speak to your doctor, rather than spend money on an expensive treatment or device you can use at home.

If your hair loss is caused by a thyroid problem, for example, or by very low iron levels, laser treatment will do nothing to help you whatsoever. Your symptoms will persist until your doctor has diagnosed and begun treating the cause of the problem.

The primary type of hair loss that laser therapy can potentially treat is genetic hair loss (also known as pattern balding or androgenetic/androgenic alopecia).

There are also a limited number of studies suggesting it may help in cases of alopecia areata.

Even so, there are other factors to take into consideration. Doctors using LLLT have found it to be less effective for people with major hair loss – it seems to work best for those with little to moderate loss. So the extent of hair loss is usually determined prior to treatment, using something called the Ludwig-Savin Scale.

So Does Hair Loss Laser Treatment Really Work?

This question is incredibly difficult to answer, since there is so much conflicting evidence and such a wide variety of professional opinion.

Some of the research (below) is certainly compelling.

In short, it seems it works for some and not others. Furthermore, it appears there is no ‘ideal’ type of laser to use, no ‘perfect’ wavelength for optimum results, and no proven recommendation as to how long or frequent the treatment should be.

So it doesn’t seem too surprising that results are mixed, particularly those shared online by men and women who’ve tried the ‘home use’ devices.

Below I’ve shared some of the published research I encountered when investigating laser therapy…

Studies showing possible benefits of hair loss laser treatment

*HairMax LaserComb laser phototherapy device in the treatment of male androgenetic alopecia

*A Randomized, Double-Blind Clinical Trial to Evaluate the Safety and Efficacy of the HairMax LaserComb 2009, 9 Beam Model: For the Treatment of Androgenetic Alopecia in Females

Efficacy and Safety of a Low-level Laser Device in the Treatment of Male and Female Pattern Hair Loss: A Multicenter, Randomized, Sham Device-controlled, Double-blind Study

Low-Level Laser (Light) Therapy (LLLT) for Treatment of Hair Loss

*It’s important to note that some research in favor of laser therapy was sponsored by the companies selling the devices that customers can buy to use at home.

Evidence questioning the effectiveness of hair loss laser treatment

“Laser and light therapies have also become popular despite the lack of a profound benefit.” From:  Female pattern alopecia: current perspectives

The use of low-level light therapy in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia and female pattern hair loss

Comment by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS)…

The ISHRS takes no official stand on LLLT as a treatment for hair loss. On the one hand, it recognizes that some members strongly believe in LLLT as a complement to other treatments. On the other hand, the ISHRS is aware that there is currently a lack of good support from large, well-designed double-blind studies to support the effectiveness of LLLT as a treatment for hair loss. Some ISHRS member physicians believe that this lack of evidence should make us cautious about recommending LLLT to our patients until more scientific studies are performed.

Source: LLLT Devices

Anecdotal Evidence – What Does the Average Person Have To Say?

Online reviews are as mixed as professional opinion – some people say they found laser treatment a waste of money, others swear by its success.

Whilst I’ve pointed out that much of the research supporting the use of laser therapy was funded by the manufacturers of laser devices, it’s also necessary to treat online reviews with caution!

Truly impartial reviews can be invaluable when looking for hair loss solutions but – as we all know – it is very difficult to tell whether a review is genuine or not!

For that reason, my personal opinion is that it’s wise to seek the opinions of hair loss sufferers AWAY from the websites of the companies selling the devices.

(NOTE: there is a comments section at the end of this article where I would LOVE you to share your experiences with hair loss laser treatment if you have any!).

Why Do People’s Experiences with Laser Treatment Seem to Vary so Much?

There are lots of reasons for this!

  • For starters (and as I mentioned earlier), the ‘right’ way to administer this type of therapy has not been established. Neither have the ‘perfect’ laser or the ‘ideal’ wavelength used. So everyone’s experience is probably that little bit different.
  • It can be difficult to tell if ‘good’ results are truly down to the laser therapy, or have another cause, in which case hair may have grown back anyway.
  • With ‘bad’ results, you cannot tell if the individual sharing them used the treatment properly. Did they attend the treatment sessions as often as they should, or did they use their home device as directed? Were these sessions as long as they should have been? Were they using a device cleared as being safe for this type of use?

Is Hair Loss Laser Treatment Safe?

If there is something all the medical experts agree on, it’s that this treatment is safe. No serious side effects have been reported by those receiving it.

That being said, please note that you should not receive laser therapy or use a laser device at home if you are taking photosensitizing drugs, because this may trigger a reaction in the skin. Here’s a list of photosensitizing drugs, but you should consult your doctor before having laser therapy if you are taking ANY medication.

Please also note that it’s important to only visit a reputable salon, or use a home device that has been cleared for safe use at home. The most popular are the iRestore Laser Hair Growth System, the Theradome and the Hairmax Lasercomb Professional.

Lasers should be treated with respect – after all, some are used for hair REMOVAL. My recommendation is to avoid cheaper units that have not been tested for safety in treating hair loss.

So Is It Worth Investing in Hair Loss Laser Treatment or Not?

As this article has shown, results are so mixed that it’s a hard question to answer.

If you are suffering from genetic hair loss or alopecia areata – and your doctor has given you the go-ahead – then it may be worth a try.

Laser therapy is considered safe, so you have nothing to lose in that respect.

However, it is NOT cheap. Clinic/salon treatments can run into thousands of dollars, and even home devices can cost several hundred.

My personal inclination would, however, be to opt for a home device over a salon treatment. If the therapy didn’t work for me, I would – at least – be left with a device that could be passed on to someone else!

To Sum Up…

Benefits of hair loss laser treatment

  • It’s considered to be safe by the medical profession
  • It’s painless
  • It’s clean
  • Some home device these are portable, so you can go about your business whilst using one
  • Can be used in conjunction with other hair loss therapies

Drawbacks of hair loss laser treatment

  • It ranges from expensive (home use devices) to very expensive (treatments in a private clinic)
  • Not suitable for everyone
  • Significant time commitment
  • It’s not a permanent solution and would require long term use

Sources

DermNet – Low Dose Laser Therapy for Hair Loss

Alopecia: A review of laser and light therapies

Please Share Your Experiences!

Have you tried any kind of hair loss laser treatment, either at home or in a clinic/salon?

Did it work for you? Did you experience any problems?

Do you have any advice for anyone considering this type of therapy?

Whatever your experience, I’d love to hear from you! Please share your story by completing the simple form below…

Comments from our readers…

I would recommend laser therapy to other people because it really worked for me. I had traction alopecia (receding hairline).

Betty, from R.S.A, South Africa

I Have been using Theradome for 2.5 years. First twice a week as recommended, then every day as suggested by the manufacturer when I contacted them. No evidence that it has done anything for me whatsoever. It didn’t slow down hair loss and it certainly has not improved the quality and/or thickness of any hairs. And definitely it has not stimulated new hair growth. Total fail!

Mirta, from Virginia, USA





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