This Morning: Liz Earle discusses supplements for hair loss
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Hair loss is inevitable no matter who you are. However, the process of losing your hair could be halted by using certain natural oils, herbs and remedies. Castor oil could help to increase your hair growth.
Castor oil, also known as Ricinus communis, is a nutrient-rich vegetable oil that comes from castor beans.
Although it originates in tropical east Africa, it is widely used for cosmetic and medicinal purposes in India and the West Indies.
Castor oil is usually clear or pale yellow unless it is derived through roasting or boiling, which is known as black castor oil.
Some people use castor oil to grow longer hair or to treat hair loss, also known as alopecia.
Castor oil is marketed as a treatment for dry scalp and other scalp conditions as well.
While the average human hair follicle grows just over a centimetre a month, some claim anecdotally that using castor oil once a month can spur growth three to five times the normal rate.
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How it helps with hair?
Down to a molecular level, castor oil is a long-chained fatty acid.
“Fatty acids provide essential proteins and nutrients to hair follicles, and prevent hair follicle inflammation,” said certified trichologist Dr Bridgette Hill.
Aside from being anti-inflammatory, castor oil has a few other note-worthy properties.
Dr Hill added: “Some benefits of using castor oil include increased gloss or shine of the hair, increased hair shaft flexibility by coating the hair shaft, [and] providing antimicrobial properties.”
How to apply castor oil
Put on the old T-shirt to prevent staining your clothes.
Section off your hair.
Put on the rubber gloves and begin applying the castor oil to your scalp using the applicator brush. Massage the oil into your scalp.
Apply castor oil to the rest of your hair, using the comb to ensure even coverage. It doesn’t need to be soaked through with oil, but all of your hair should be moist.
Once applied, put the shower cap on, ensuring all hair is tucked inside.
Clean up any oil drippings with the towel.
Leave the shower cap on for at least two hours. This gives the oil enough time to penetrate the scalp, hair follicles, and hair shaft.
After two hours, wash your hair with shampoo and conditioner.
Other hair loss treatments
Finasteride and minoxidil are the main treatments for male pattern baldness, recommended by the NHS.
Minoxidil can also be used to treat female pattern baldness, but women shouldn’t use finasteride.
But it’s important to know these treatments don’t work for everyone and may only work for as long as they’re used.
They also aren’t available on the NHS and can be expensive.
Other ways to treat hair loss include hair transplant – when hair cells are moved to thinning patches, and tattooing – tattoos used to look like short hair and eyebrows.
If your hair loss is causing you distress, speak to your GP who may be able to help you get some counselling.
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