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Hair loss - how to keep what you have and retain original colour

Excellent head of hair and colour

Excellent head of hair and colour

Cross section of hair

Cross section of hair

First signs of hair loss

First signs of hair loss

Trying a few remedies

Trying a few remedies

A severe case of alopecia areata

A severe case of alopecia areata

Male thinning hair

Male thinning hair

Following radiation therapy

Following radiation therapy

Most people tend to consider a thick glossy head of hair to be their crowning glory and can become seriously depressed when nature starts to intervene. Over the centuries both men and women have gone to extraordinary lengths to retain their hair and youthful colour.

Hair loss can be divided into two different reasons for baldness. Alopecia, which can affect both men and women and Male Pattern Baldness, which can affect men from the age of mid 20s onward. Because hair is a dead substance oils can do little for its condition but it can improve the skin on which it grows.

Alopecia – This is normally a temporary hair loss condition caused by illness, accident/shock or emotional problems. Obviously the reason for the loss has to be addressed but once so essential oils can help the re-growth enormously. The treatment revolves around massage using Rosemary, Thyme and Lavender oils to stimulate growth. This can be blended with Argan oil or Jojoba oil and rubbed in gently once or twice a week. It should be left on for a couple of hours and then washed out with a mild shampoo. If the loss of hair is due to certain drugs or cancer treatment then Lavender oil has been found to have good effect. A good diet of adequate protein, vegetable fats and vitamin B is important.

Male Pattern Baldness – This is a permanent progressive baldness condition, in men, which is hereditary and usually linked to male hormone levels. There is no evidence that any “cure” can restore hair once it has gone but it is possible to hold onto what you have by treating the scalp with Rosemary essential oil blended with Argan or Jojoba oil. What you are doing is to stimulate the flow of oxygenated blood to the scalp to feed the hair follicles.

OK so now let’s take a scientific look at the main cause of hair loss. It has been identified as DHT, (Dihydrotestosterone (5α-Dihydrotestosterone)), and is a male sex hormone, synthesized in the adrenal glands, hair follicles, testes and prostate. Male and female adults can lose hair as a consequence of changes in the metabolism of androgen (a type of controlling hormone) in the body (men more commonly than women.) DHT therefore is known to play a major role in hair loss.

Male pattern baldness is caused by the hair follicle's sensitivity to DHT. The follicles reduce in size resulting in a shorter lifespan and the abnormal production of hair.

The most important part of the hair follicle is the dermal papilla, which is the part responsible for the growth of hair. The dermal papilla cells divide and differentiate to form new hair follicles and are fed by the skin's blood capillaries, providing essential nutrients for proper hair follicle growth. The dermal papilla has a large number of androgen receptors (more in males than females).

There have been hundreds of weird and wonderful solutions to hair loss and people have spent a great deal of money with, often, little result. We will take a look at some that have a record of helping prevent hair loss and even stimulating a little re-growth.

Sodium Bentonite Clay - Apart from Male Pattern Baldness hair loss is often associated with toxicity in the blood. Therefore, to rule this out scalp detox and cleansing are essential to hair retention and regrowth. Bentonite clay is recognised as a most effective cleanser and comes in two forms – Sodium and Calcium. While both can be used for detox, Sodium Bentonite has been found to have a higher negative charge effective in dealing with heavy metals and toxins.

Sodium Bentonite also works extremely well for flaking scalp and other scalp conditions. The clay removes and deals with parasites, infections and product build up while absorbing toxins and impurities. To prepare the gel, mix 50:50 with water using only a plastic or wooden spoon as metal utensils will neutralise the properties of the clay. Massage the clay onto your scalp and leave for approximately 20 minutes rinsing well with warm water and a little baby shampoo, making sure it doesn’t get into your eyes.

Indian Gooseberry (Amla) is rich in vitamin C and penetrates the scalp and strengthens hair at the root, which prevents hair loss. It can be used to supplement other oil remedies.

Brahmi (Indian Pennywort or Water Hyssop) is an ayurvedic remedy with its oil having positive results when protecting from hair loss and from premature greying/white hair. It has many other positive attributes in the treatment of prion protein diseases and circulatory disorders. Apply to the scalp twice a week.

Amaranth (Amaranthaceae also known as Pigweed), has good properties against premature greying when formed into paste by mixing its leaves and seeds, apply to the scalp, massaging for few minutes, and rinsing with warm water.

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Mustard and Henna, Add crushed henna leaves gradually to warmed mustard oil, filter through muslin apply and massage onto scalp for ten minutes, then rinse off with water. Re-apply a couple of times a week to nourish and promote healthy hair growth and prevent premature greying. Be very careful with Henna as it can stain skin and clothing for months.

Triphala is an ayurvedic remedy and a natural healer used to encourage blood circulation and tissue rejuvenation. Hair roots are strengthened and it enriches natural hair colour.

Saw palmetto has also been strongly linked to the reduction of DHT around the root and follicle of the hair among its many other attributes.

Pygeum bark is derived from an African evergreen and as above it inhibits the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase- which reduces DHT. It has been used widely throughout Europe to treat male pattern baldness.

There are two products which can be ingested to improve your hair.

Alfalfa, Use by combining juiced fresh leaves with carrot and lettuce juices. Take a 250ml glass once a day which, is claimed will increase the chance for regrowth of hair.

Bringraj, Is very popular as an ayurvedic herbal remedy, it rejuvenates hair follicles in the treatment of Hair loss, premature greying, while fortifying hair roots, and prevents baldness and hair loss.

There are certain diseases/conditions that have been associated with hair pigment reduction/loss, known as Canities (the 'greying of hair') a pigment deficiency frequently seen in both male and females when reaching their middle-age. When examined closely greying hair is caused by the presence of white hairs among the normal darker pigmented hairs. In many people this may result in the development of snow-white hair in later life. This gradual progressive process of pigment (melanin) reduction/loss may also be accompanied by the hairs either thickening or thinning.

Clinical trials. A research team recreated a naturally-occurring molecule called K(D)PT, which replicates the hormones in the body that stimulate the hair pigment melanin. The researchers took hair follicles from six women aged between 46 and 65 and reproduced the two conditions which can cause hair to turn white. These are a skin disease known as alopecia areata and stress-related disorder telogen effluvium. The research is still in its early stages but this work could potentially open a path for new therapies to restore colour to white or greying hair

Leucotrichia (Poliosis)- This condition is when a congenital absence of pigment in a lock of hair shows as a contrasting grey/white. This tends to be inherited.

Vitiligo - loss of pigment over small or large areas of skin/hairs. This is often due to an inherited melanin failure caused by damaged melanocytes. It can also occur owing to an immune system reaction, or, in some cases a genetic defect.

White hair - This is caused due to the hair having no pigment. The possible causes are Genetic, Vitamin B deficiency and Drugs used in the treatment of arthritis

Hair loss can also be caused by an under active thyroid gland. The thyroid hormones are made from iodine and tyrosine. These regulate metabolism in every cell and your doctor can carry out a simple basal body temperature test to determine if this is a problem. Kelp is often the answer as it is high in iodine, potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron. Fish also contain iodine and the addition of crab, lobster, clams, oysters and sardines will be very useful.

A rather quirky treatment has been pioneered by UK tricologist David Satchell who claims a 70% success rate. He has a clinic but you can do the same thing at home. It involves dunking your head for 10 to 15 seconds alternately in hot then cold water - five times each session. You should aim for as many sessions each day as you can manage. After, say, a week you can just do it once a day and use your normal shampoo.

Finally you need to get a greater amount of live enzymes into your diet and you can do this by increasing the amount of juiced vegetables and fruit together with a good quality multi supplement with live enzymes.

Always ensure that if you find your skin irritated or you feel unwell, discontinue the treatment immediately and talk with your doctor.

Vitiligo - skin and hair pigment problem.

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© 2012 Peter Geekie

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