Hair loss: Dr Ranj discusses causes of male pattern baldness
It is important to temper expectations when experimenting with natural hair loss treatments. Hair loss is a product of complex interactions and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, animal studies hint at the promise of several herbal extracts to treat alopecia.
Giant dodder — a sprawling, Ayurvedic plant — has been shown to help treat alopecia.
According to one study, giant dodder treated alopecia caused by steroid hormones by inhibiting the 5a reductase enzyme.
The 5-alpha-reductase (5-AR) enzyme converts testosterone into DHT – a major driver of hair loss.
If 5-AR levels increase, more testosterone will be converted into DHT, and greater hair loss will result.
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False daisy is another Ayurvedic herb shown to increase hair growth.
According to one study, false daisy helped stimulate hair follicles and provoked a faster hair growth stage in nude mice.
Furthermore, Chinese hibiscus, which is commonly promoted by herbal dealers, has also shown promise in scientific studies.
For example, one study indicated that a leaf extract of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis positively affected hair length and hair follicles in lab rats.
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Researchers found the leaf extract was more effective than the flower extract.
There are conventional treatments you can try if your hair loss is causing you distress. But most treatments aren’t available on the NHS, so you’ll have to pay for them.
According to the NHS, finasteride and minoxidil are the main treatments for male pattern baldness.
Male pattern baldness is a permanent type of hair loss that usually runs in the family.
“Minoxidil can also be used to treat female pattern baldness. Women shouldn’t use finasteride,” warns the NHS.
Some wigs are available on the NHS, but you may have to pay unless you qualify for financial help.
There are two types of wigs to choose from and both come with pros and cons to consider.
As the NHS explains, synthetic wigs only last six to nine months are easier to look after than real-hair wigs and less costly.
Real-hair wigs, on the other hand, last three to four years and look more natural but are harder to maintain and more costly.
Other hair loss treatments include:
- Steroid injection
- Steroid creams
- Light treatment
- Hair transplant
- Scalp reduction surgery
- Artificial hair transplant.
Some of the above treatments may not be available on the NHS.
“If your hair loss is causing you distress, your GP may be able to help you get some counselling,” adds the NHS.
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