My 5 recommendations for healthy hair growth:
For many men and women, the loss of their hair is a devastating sign of encroaching old age. Male pattern baldness affects 40 million adult males in the United States. But approximately 20 million American women also suffer from some type of hair loss. The causes vary widely - genetics, stress, diet and environmental pollutants. And the solutions are just as plentiful.
For some people, the goal of beautiful, lustrous hair is elusive. The skin is known as the largest organ of the body, yet the surface area of your hair far exceeds that of your skin. You realize this when you return from a place where people are smoking, from a BBQ, or some other event where there are smells in the air. Your hair needs internal and external protection against everyday assaults from contaminants and pollutants.
What you don't subject your hair and scalp to is potentially more important than what you apply to your hair. Avoid application of toxic petrochemicals and sterilizing agents to your hair and scalp and you will be on the way to sustained healthy hair growth.
One thing is clear. Mainstream shampoos and conditioners that claim to be helpful to your hair and scalp are often more marketing claims than scientific or even good sense. Many even accelerate hair loss.
The skin and the scalp are body organs, actually the largest organ in the body. They absorb the chemicals that are applied to it, which can either have positive or negative effects.
The effects these hair chemicals can have on healthy hair growth are profound. Peter Lamas, founder of Lamas Beauty International and a hair care professional for more than 40 years says "Your skin is basically like a sponge - it absorbs all kinds of things, both good and bad. If you look at the ingredients of mainstream shampoos and the ingredients of your dishwasher detergent, they're essentially the same."
Karen Ress, director of sales at Aubrey Organics concurs. "Every manufacturer produces a product that helps to cleanse the hair and the scalp. There are millions of them out there. On any shelf in any store you can buy a shampoo that's any where from $1.09 to 12 bucks. The main difference between a mainstream and an all-natural product is that you're not using a harsh detergent. Most mainstream products are based on sodium lauryl sulfate or a petrochemical detergent that strips the hair of its natural oils. These are the same things you would use to clean industrial equipment."
But there are natural alternatives that can provide all of the cleansing benefits mainstream products claim to have, as well as encourage healthy hair growth - even slowing the process of hair loss.
"As long as you have hair in the follicle and it hasn't completely come out, you can use ingredients that will help to stimulate hair growth," Ress says. However there is no miracle cure for hair loss. There are no ingredients that can regrow hair, however, natural ingredients will promote hair growth.
Many of the ingredients Ress speaks of come from China. "He shou wu is a Chinese herb that emerging scalp benefits," she says. "The Chinese have been using it for years." A study published in the Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine in 1986 showed that he shou wu could slow several symptoms and signs associated with aging - including hair loss.
There are not many clinical studies on he shou wu, especially in English, however there is a history of clinical experience naming the positive effects on people suffering from hair loss in China for hundreds of years.
Lamas Beauty's Chinese Herb Hair and Scalp Stimulating Shampoo contains he shou wu, as well as a host of other Chinese herbs that have been used traditionally to encourage healthy hair growth.
"The Chinese herbs can get rid of fungus and dandruff and can help hair grow back, if there's a surviving hair follicle," Lamas says. "In order to have the healthiest hair, you need good blood circulation in your scalp and oxygen available. When your scalp is too dry or tight and starts to shed, that's because you're not getting enough oxygen and blood circulation to the roots. The herbs and certain amino acids we use stimulate the circulation system and in turn strengthen the roots of your hair. We've had a lot of testimonials from customers telling us that their hair has become thicker and healthier after they started using the product, which is great because that's exactly what I wanted to do."
Chlorine is highly effective in killing bacteria, germs and other microorganisms to sterilize public water supplies. But you don't necessarily want chlorine to continue its attack on living hair, skin and scalp tissue. Nor do you want chlorine to kill organisms in your lungs and on your skin. Not to mention your children's exposure to chlorine gas generated by your showerhead. Thus a shower filter will remove chlorine at the showerhead, before you fill the air in your bathroom with hot chlorinated water mist.
Chlorine is used for water disinfection and for treatment of sewage effluent. Chlorine is also used to disinfect equipment and utensils in beverage and food processing plants, and chlorine is used as an intermediate in the manufacture of a number of organic products such as antifreeze, rubber, cleaning agents, and pharmaceuticals.
Hair and skin reflect your overall health. Take a robust multivitamin containing antioxidants for general health and ginkgo biloba to promote micro-circulation in the scalp and elsewhere.
In human clinical trials, those subjects supplemented with MSM showed significant improvement in hair health, while those on placebo showed either no change, or only slight changes after 6 weeks. The most marked changes were measured in hair length and hair brilliance. Women showed the better results in hair growth, brilliance, and thickness of hair fibers.
Just as you have likely been rubbing petrochemicals on your scalp and exposing it to chlorine gas for years, it takes a long time to reverse hair loss. Expect to continue on this protocol for 6 months before you see a noticeable difference. Then continue to follow the protocol for increasing benefits.