Legendary Doors frontman Jim Morrison is once quoted as saying, “Some of the worst mistakes in my life were haircuts.” A quick look back at old high school yearbooks will bring up similar sentiments in most of us.
Although questionable haircuts in our younger years were often a result of personal choice or an overbearing parent, for the millions of adult Canadian men experiencing male-pattern baldness, it can feel like there is decidedly less control over what goes on on top of the head.
Treatment options for this type of hair loss — also known as androgenetic alopecia— exist, in the form of foams, sprays and pills. But for those looking for a more natural approach to slowing hair loss, we put together a list of five tips to consider before exploring other options.
Apart from being a thoroughly pleasant experience, there is some evidence to suggest that massaging the scalp can help increase hair growth and thicken existing hair. In one study, nine Japanese men were given a four-minute scalp massage every day for 24 weeks. Hair thickness improved in all nine men, thanks in part to an increase in genes that promote hair growth and a decrease in those that cause hair loss.
Massaging coconut oil onto the scalp can produce health benefits for your hair. Coconut oil contains fatty acids that enter the hair shaft and reduce naturally occurring protein loss in the hair itself. It can be used before or after washing hair, or left in overnight. Some research has shown that coconut oil, in conjunction with medical treatments, can produce positive results with respect to hair growth and thickness.
Not just for sunburns and rashes, aloe vera has been used to treat a variety of conditions for thousands of years— including hair loss. A review of academic studies found that it is still used to this day to help promote hair growth, thickness and overall hair health. Its cleansing properties can help open up hair follicles that are blocked by excess oil and reduce dandruff.
Though one might not immediately associate fish protein with hair growth, this product has shown some promise in clinical studies. Viviscal®and other similar products use a blend of mollusk and fish powders to help men and women experiencing thinning hair. A 2016 study randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study that lasted six months found that the concoction can decrease hair loss and promote hair growth.
This root has been used in Eastern traditional medicines for millennia to treat everything from low energy, low immune system, and even erectile dysfunction. Empirical proof, however, is hard to come by. One 2015 study out of Korea did observe positive impacts on hair follicles when injected with red ginseng. Compared to the control group, hair that was treated with red ginseng benefited from more rapid growth. The study’s authors concluded that the results suggest red ginseng may promote hair growth in humans. More research on the topic is needed, to be sure.
Whether you opt for natural remedies or other hair loss treatments, results won’t come right away. Even medications can take months before improvement is noticeable. But don’t let that discourage you. Take good care of your hair, and it will take care of you.