Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body found in your skin, hair, bones, and tendons. Our body produces less and less of it as we age. I’ve long read about the benefits, including improved skin and nails and even pain reduction, of replenishing our depleting collagen stores with a form easily assimilated by the human body including hydrolyzed collagen and gelatin. I became particularly interested in collagen for hair loss when I read about a study published in Science in 2016. It all started with investigating the hair follicle stem cells of mice where researchers discovered that age-related DNA damage triggers the destruction of a protein called Collagen 17A1. The hair follicles of older people then convert themselves into skin cells, and over time baldness ensues. Think of the image of each hair follicle on your head disappearing leaving behind bare skin one at a time and on and on. My favorite brand is Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides grass-fed and pasture-raised.
My hair began to thin when I was 28 years old. Now I am 44 and the top of my head is bald. Recently, I considered using medicine to treat my hair loss and see if any hair would regrow. After reading the literature and talking to my doctor, I decided not to take medicine because it is unlikely to make a huge difference in my hair—and I don't want to take medicine forever!
Correct ferritin levels maximize your hair’s “anagen” or “growing” phase and encourage your hairs to grow to their full length. When you aren’t getting enough iron through your diet, your body takes ferritin stored in non-essential tissue, like your hair bulb, and gives it to essential tissue, such as your heart. Because your hair bulb is where all your hair cells are produced, this leeching of ferritin can cause your hair to shed before it reaches its maximum length.
Taking hair supplements can be helpful for anyone who is experiencing hair loss or hair thinning. Dendy Engelman, MD, a board-certified dermatologic surgeon at Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery in New York City, previously recommended Nutrafol, a research-backed hair supplement, to Prevention. "This uses highly concentrated botanicals to address every stage of the growth cycle," she says. Nutrafol's hair supplements include vitamin E and ashwagandha (an adaptogen that helps balance cortisol levels in the body), among others.
Topical creams and lotions: Over-the-counter minoxidil (also known as the brand name Rogaine) can restore some hair growth, especially in those with hereditary hair loss. It is applied directly to the scalp. Prescription-strength finasteride (Propecia) comes in pill form and is only for men. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AFP), it may take up to six months to tell if these medications are working.
Spironolactone has been widely used in Australia since the 1960s to treat high blood pressure and fluid retention. It blocks the effect of androgen hormones. In women, androgens can cause oily skin, acne, unwanted facial and body hair, and hair loss on the scalp. Women can use spironolactone to treat all of these conditions, but requires a prescription from your doctor.
Pattern balding is most common among middle-aged men, but signs can actually begin as early as the mid-20s. Once the hair loss starts, it generally takes about 15-25 years for most men with this condition to lose most of their hair. In some cases though, the progression of the condition can be fast so that others are already completely bald in just five years.
None of these need be life threatening, nor does hair loss usually follow them. (Moreover, it can happen after one pregnancy, but not the next.) But when the hair falls out, it's all over the place -- covering the pillow, clogging the drain, and so forth. Paradoxically, the more dramatic the hair loss, the better the prognosis, because when the body gets back into normal rhythm, most if not all of that hair comes back; these people need no special treatment. Normal shampooing can continue, because this only loosens hairs that were going to come out anyway.
To us, that meant any product with zero proven ingredients, case studies, or FDA clearance — which shrunk our list by a whopping 180 contenders. That’s right, there are only three treatments that have actually been cleared by the FDA and supported with clinical studies: finasteride (commonly marketed as Propecia), minoxidil, and laser treatments. And, since finasteride is prescription-only, it left us with two.
Drink plenty of water and keep yourself well hydrated. Cut down on smoking and alcohol drinking which makes you dehydrated. If you are not consuming enough water to meet your body’s daily oxygen requirements, the cells responsible for hair growth will not be able to grow and reproduce. This will make your hair brittle, withered and very dry. Not drinking enough water can stop the natural growth cycle of your hair. So drink plenty of water to get a long, shiny and luscious mane!
1. Hair color. Anytime you dye your hair, you’re increasing the diameter of each strand, which can help add volume when your hair is sparse and fine. As a general rule, ask your colorist to make sure highlights are finer at the top of the head, where hair is the thinnest, and more intense at the bottom, where it’s thickest, says Eva Scrivo, a hairstylist and the owner of the Eva Scrivo Salon in New York City. And beware: A color that contrasts with your scalp (blonde tones if your scalp is dark, deep brunettes if your scalp is light) will make any visible scalp more obvious.
I tried various iron supplements and many of them gave me digestive issues including gas, stomach cramps, and constipation. With a life-long history of constipation, that was the last thing I needed. I have personally found this brand Perfect Desiccated Liver Capsules from grass-fed cattle works well for my body. My doctor regularly checks my iron levels including ferritin to be sure I am taking the right dosage of iron supplements for my body and that I’m not taking too much because over-dosing on iron can be dangerous.
Hair transplantation is usually carried out under local anaesthetic. A surgeon will move healthy hair from the back and sides of the head to areas of thinning. The procedure can take between four and eight hours, and additional sessions can be carried out to make hair even thicker. Transplanted hair falls out within a few weeks, but regrows permanently within months. Hair transplants, takes tiny plugs of skin, each which contains a few hairs, and implants the plugs into bald sections. The plugs are generally taken from the back or sides of the scalp. Several transplant sessions may be necessary.
Like a Ferrari production plant where luxury automobiles are painstakingly assembled from carefully crafted parts, hair growth depends on a number of carefully coordinated systems that work together. It’s no secret that supplements can have a positive effect on other parts of your body, such as your immune system and your heart. Can hair growth supplements have a similar effect on hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) to promote healthy hair growth naturally? Absolutely. In order to understand why, first it’s important to know how your hair grows.