Hair loss generally falls into two categories – temporary or permanent. Temporary forms of hair loss include side effects of cancer treatment or a response to stressful situations. The common cause of permanent hair loss is androgenetic alopecia, which occurs because of a genetically determined shortening of anagen – a hair’s growing phase – and a lengthening of the time between the shedding of a hair and the start of a new anagen phase, explains Harvard Health. The risk of androgenetic alopecia rises with age, and it’s higher for women with a history of hair loss on either side of the family, notes the health body.
Most cases of hair loss are attributed to androgenetic alopecia and this has prompted researchers to counter the natural process with natural products.
One that has shown particular promise is ginkgo biloba, which is extracted from the leaves of a tree native to China.
According to research published in International Journal of PharmTech Research, this herb leads to “hair regrowth, through combined effects on proliferation and apoptosis of the cells in the hair follicle thus suggesting potential as a hair tonic.”
Japanese researchers conducted an experiment on mice to substantiate the claims.
They found that mice treated with an extract of ginkgo achieved a better rate of hair growth than those who did not receive the extract.
The same Japanese researchers performed an experiment with 50 human test subjects, whereby they treated them with ginkgo biloba shampoo.
The results of the experiment showed a reduction in the rate of hair loss rate for those participants.
The herbal supplement’s hair-growing effects are attributed to its ability to stimulate blood flow and improve circulation.
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The connection between circulation and hair growth is well documented.
According to a study performed by Massachusetts General Hospital, the increase in blood flow is directly related to healthy and shinier hair.
Using a protein, which stimulates blood vessel growth in skin, the researchers treated the hair follicles of mice.
Their findings show a total increase in hair volume by an astounding 70 percent, with hair being thicker and more new growth occurring.
Another study cited in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, reported that ginkgo biloba is a recognised blood flow simulator.
If natural products do not yield results, you can always opt for wigs.
Some wigs are available on the NHS, but you may have to pay unless you qualify for financial help.
There are a number of drawbacks to consider before buying a wig, however.
According to the NHS, synthetic wigs:
- Last six to nine months
- Are easier to look after than real-hair wigs
- Can be itchy and hot
- Cost less than real-hair wigs
Real-hair wigs, on the other hand, last for years and look more natural, but are costlier and harder to maintain, says the health body.
While you consider your options, you may benefit from some psychological support.
“If your hair loss is causing you distress, your GP may be able to help you get some counselling,” advises the NHS.
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