Hair loss is extremely common, affecting both men and women, and has many causes. Although natural scalp treatments are available over the counter or even in your own kitchen, science suggests they are mostly ineffective. Many treatments use harmless ingredients, and some people figure they're worth a try. But the only proven path toward preventing hair loss requires investing in nutritious food and talking to a medical professional to tackle the genetic and environmental causes for hair loss.
Warm Oil, Juice and Green Tea
Although their effectiveness is debated, common treatments include hot oil (olive, coconut and canola) used with massage; natural juices, such as ginger and garlic, applied to the scalp; and antioxidant-rich substances such as warm green tea being allowed to soak into the scalp to prevent loss and boost growth. Scalp massage is a common treatment, and boosting circulation may help keep hair follicles active. Adding essential oils, such as lavender, may also aid in scalp massage and circulation improvement.
Vitamins and Minerals: To Your Health
Nutrition can play an important role in preventing hair loss. Hair, like other elements of the body, needs good nutrition to thrive. Key nutrients the body needs to maintain a full head of hair include omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, protein, iron, vitamins A and C, magnesium and selenium. A multivitamin can give you a good start, but a diet filled with whole, healthy foods will also contribute to healthy hair. Cutting back on stress might also help prevent hair loss. The herb saw palmetto has also been suggested for preventing hair loss, but according to the National Institute of Health, there is not enough evidence to support that claim.
Consulting the Experts
Although many forms of hair loss do not have a cure, and others resolve without treatment, some hair loss can be treated medically. Common medications include those that promote hair growth, such as minoxidil and finasteride. Other options include corticosteroid injections for treating alopecia areata, hair transplants, scalp reduction and skin lifts and grafts. Medical professionals choose treatment based on a patient's age, health, medical history and preferences, among other factors.
When Natural Treatments Can't Help
Natural scalp treatments are not effective for many causes of hair loss. Baldness, or alopecia, is more common in men than in women and is generally caused by one or more factors, including age, hormonal changes, autoimmune conditions, illnesses or medications, genetics, trauma, iron or protein deficiency or rapid weight loss. Although natural treatments can be helpful in treating poor circulation or other skin conditions such as eczema or dandruff, these conditions are not linked to hair loss.
- Fox News: Foods that Prevent Hair Loss: How to get the 7 Essential Anti-Balding Nutrients
- University of Rochester Health Encyclopedia: Baldness
- A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia: Hair Loss
- International Journal of Trichology: Sensitive Scalp
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: Questions and Answers about Alopecia Areata
- Journal of the National Medical Association: The Effects of Tea Polyphenolic Compounds on Hair Loss Among Rodents