Scalp science has progressed tremendously in recent years. We now know that once a follicle has died, then that little factory can no longer produce new hair. We also know that some follicles stop producing hair and become dormant, rather than actually dying. If hair loss is occurring for reasons other than follicle death then improving the health of the body and scalp can have a positive impact.
There are many ways to care for the hair and nourish the body. Keeping the scalp healthy and maintaining the functioning of active follicles will help keep hair shiny and lustrous, and may also help recovery after illness.
Hair loss, or “alopecia”, can be caused by a number of different factors, or occur for no reason at all. This is why there is no one definitive way to solve the problem. The reason for the hair loss will obviously be an important consideration when looking to improve the situation.
For some people, losing their hair is a disaster and they are willing to try all sorts of remedies to prevent or slow it down. There are many well-meaning chemists and therapists and cosmetic specialists who would like to help. There is a confusing array of medicines, pills and potions available to try. There are also some pharmaceutical remedies and hair transplantation surgery as more extreme options.
Hair transplantation is not cheap, though, and the recovery is quite intense. There is a constant flow of blood to the head so surgery or injury of any kind to the kind results in quite a lot of blood loss. The fluid build-up around the head and face after hair transplantation surgery is extreme, but slowly, as the body heals from the thousands of tiny head wounds, the fluid shifts, facial swelling goes down, and the person starts to look like their normal self again – with new hair!
Interestingly, some of the pharmaceutical medicines that have been found to assist with different types of hair loss were discovered to have that benefit by accident. They were created to treat other much more severe conditions – such as cancer – and one of the drug side effects was noticed to be hair growth.
Not all hair loss is the same. Some is triggered by hormonal changes, severe illness, heredity, or chemical poisoning (such as chemotherapy). Even a very bad case of the ‘flu’ can cause hair loss. Once the immune system recovers, hair begins to regrow. Sometimes hairdressers will notice a layer of stubble, or a few inches of shorter hair closer to the scalp after a client has been quite ill some months before.
Supporting the body to achieve optimal functioning is one way to improve hair health. Supplementation with vitamins, minerals and herbs has been found to be helpful for some people. Currently, there is a great deal of interest, and some research being done, into how a combination of Chinese and Western herbs may effect hair growth, follicle functioning, and scalp health. Some of the herbs being used to help skin and hair health include: Fallopia multiflora (Polygonum) root, Stinging Nettle, Saw Palmetto, Gingko Biloba, Horsetail and Panax Ginseng.
Author: Katherine West is a health freak and freelance writer who in 2003 studied for a Diploma of Nutrition. She is also into yoga and pilates.