If you stay up late enough watching TV, you’ve probably seen some wacky ads touting the latest hair-loss remedy. Hair-loss cures aren’t a new invention. People have been trying to come up with ways to regrow their hair or put an end to hair loss for centuries.
While there are some options that have been shown to be provide effective, permanent results, such as hair restoration surgery, there are also some options that are a little less proven or that only have anecdotal evidence to back them up. If you’re starting to experience hair loss and a friend, relative or television announcer recommends any of the following as a magic cure-all, it’s best to reconsider.
The smell of onions cooking on the stove can be very appealing. The smell of a raw, chopped onion slathered on your scalp might not be very appealing. Onions, and other members of the allium family, such as garlic, contain sulphur, which is thought to help stimulate hair growth.
A study published in the Journal of Dermatology in 2002 seemed to suggest that onion juice had some hair restoration benefit, when compared to tap water. But, it’s important to note that the study was performed on a very small group of people — 23 people in the onion juice group and 15 people in the water group. The onion juice study also examined the effect of onion juice on the bald patches that develop when a person has alopecia areata, a type of autoimmune disease that causes the hair to fall out in patches, not on people with genetic hair loss.
You are, of course, free to rub as much onion or garlic juice on your head as you’d like. Just keep in mind that it might not provide much help when it comes to hair loss and might simply make your scalp smell like a kitchen.
Will massaging your scalp with a special brush help hair grow? The companies that produce and sell the brushes want you to think so. In reality, though, they might not do much and may actually do more harm than good. Although people have argued that brushing your hair is great for it for years, the reverse is actually true. Brushing creates friction, which can make your hair more brittle and more likely to break. If you’re starting to lose your hair, the last thing you want is to damage it, which can make the effects of hair loss even more visible.
Once upon a time, people avoided coconut because of its high saturated fat content. Now, the pendulum has swung the other way, and people look to coconut as a miracle food, claiming that it has benefits for the hair, skin and overall health.
A study published in 2003 in the Journal of Cosmetic Science found that of three oils, including mineral and sunflower oils, coconut oil was the best able to penetrate the hair shaft and help prevent or undo hair damage. While applying coconut oil or milk to your hair can help condition it, making it feel softer, and can help protect it from breakage and other damage, you probably won’t see much effect if you are applying it to the scalp to make your hair grow. Go ahead and deep condition with coconut oil, but consider other treatments when it comes to hair loss.
If you walk down the vitamin and herbal supplement aisle at most stores, you will probably see biotin supplements that promise to make your hair grow stronger. Biotin is a type of B vitamin that plays a big role in your body’s metabolism, helping it to process amino acids, carbohydrates and fatty acids.
When people don’t get enough biotin, a number of side effects can occur, including hair loss. But, it’s worth noting that biotin deficiency is very rare, as the body only needs a small amount of the vitamin (30 to 100 micrograms per day for adults in the US) and it is readily found in many foods, such as carrots, salmon and cauliflower.
While the manufacturers of biotin supplements want you to believe that taking a pill will reduce hair loss or give you a fuller mane of hair, there’s little evidence to support that claim. If you are particularly concerned that you’re not getting enough biotin in your diet and that a lack of biotin is playing a part in your hair loss, it’s worth seeing a doctor to get a diagnosis and to get to the root of the issue.
Understanding the causes of hair loss and the treatments that will actually work can help you determine the best course of action to take when it comes to your hair. If you have questions about hair loss and home remedies, hair restoration specialist Dr. Kyle Choe is available to answer them. Dr. Choe sees patients in the Virginia Beach area. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Choe, call (757) 389-5850 today.