Hair, we can love it and hate it depending on where it is, what it's doing, what it looks like... need I go on
In my family the genes are not the best for hair, on my mothers side, which is of course commonly known as the genetic carrier for your predispositions for male pattern baldness.
Luckily I've been pretty lucky, but I have had a few bouts of slight thinning but have been able to fight it off, reverse it. Just a little in the front was my problem, noticing some dropping off in the shower at certain times of the year, but everything seems to be fine now that I've made the effort to prevent it
I did a lot of "web-detective" work when it was happening and came up with a good understanding of why. Testosterone turns into dihydrotestosterone in the body when oxidized and is responsible for male hair patterns such as a beard and a hairy chest. Now the scalp in some people with the genetic predisposition for male pattern baldness, grabs the dihydrotestosterone by receptors, and then wreak havoc on the follicles, essentially smothering them. You know when the scalp starts to look shiny when hair is disappearing... well I've read that's actually because the scalp is starting to scar from the damage by the inflammation.
So what do people do to go the natural route? Lots of things from the inside out to the outside in.
Here's a few things I've done to stop the process so I don't end up like my brother...
Zinc tablets - internally
horsetail tea - drink it, and put it on the scalp
shampoo often - get rid of all that excess dihydrotestosterone and or its manifestations from the scalp and clean out those follicles.
Nettle and Wild Oat teas - keeps the dihydrotestosterone levels down and good for the prostate.
The prostate that's a good point actually.... In Traditional Chinese Medicine the prostate is connected to the scalp, and they knew this thousands of years ago! And the testosterone and dihydrotestosterone are connected to the prostate. When people are going bald, making sure the prostate is healthy is important.
Saw Palmetto - This apparently works for some people and not for others. It blocks the dihydrotestosterone from binding to receptor sites. For me, when I took it my scalp was on fire! and did the opposite of what it ideally would have. What it did was tell my body to create more dihydrotestosterone, which happens in some cases, and of course happened to me. This was quite distressing.
Aloe vera - I like this one because it goes along with reducing inflammation, which is a major problem. I drink it, as you can buy it in consumable form, and I put it on my scalp once in a while.
I also add tumeric to my diet too because it reduces inflammation in the body. Actually I like the idea of reducing inflammation in the body because apparently it really has a lot to do with aging, and although aging gracefully is wonderful, there's nothing wrong with naturally retaining our youth. Although I'm 31, many people think I'm 23-24 and I actually get I.D.'d a lot if I'm buying wine or anything of the sort :P
Lots of fruits and veggies. These reduce inflammation in the body, lots of nutrients, reduce cholesterol, etc.
Now I used to be vegan, and I did just about everything right according to the books making sure I got all my vitamins and minerals, nutrients, etc... now I noticed that my hair fell out a lot before I started eating much larger amounts of protein. One thing I didn't have enough of when I was vegan was protein, I found it difficult to get all the amino acids balance without breaking the bank, and I didn't want to eat too much soy as it has been shown to increase estrogen levels. Shakes just weren't for me and my wallet at the time.
Essential Fatty Acids. I think this is essential to nice hair. When I think about this I think of how people always say fish oil is good for a shiny, healthy coat of fur on a dog. I think it works similarly in humans, and beside we need Omega 3's anyway. We get enough Omega 6's and 9's from many foods like nuts and grains. The Omega 3's are more difficult to get, but a lot of foods are fortified now.
I take either flax or Omega 3 fish oil capsules. I like the fish oil one's as I've read that the body doesn't need to process them the way the flax oil does. With flax apparently it takes that extra step to be converted to what our bodies need for it to be utilized.
I've recently heard of black sesame seed from EyeCanBlackStars on TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), and I'd like to incorporate that for interest. I bought some the other day and will incorporate them in my diet.
Multi-vitamin, I like these because it's not always easy to get all the requirements in our diet. Some days I work so much I don't get that healthy daily requirement of food, but I'm trying to balance this lately and has become a priority.
Exercise - I think this is a great way to get the blood flowing through the body, making sure we get all those nutrients flowing.
One thing I think that is detrimental to healthy hair growth on the head is cholesterol. Cholesterol is required for testosterone production, thus contributing to the potential for hair loss when it is converted to DHT, but also because it clogs arteries. It may not be scientific, but its in the back of my mind, so I choose healthy oils and make sure I get the healthy cholesterol "HDL" in my diet rather than the bad cholesterol "LDL." Healthy cholesterol in things like Olive Oil, nuts, etc. The bad cholesterol mainly comes from animal fats.
I try to keep fatty dairy foods down too, like whipped cream, ice-cream or high fat yogurt, as all that animal fat means lots of cholesterol. I find when I eat a lot of junk like that, my scalp gets itchy, and itchiness is the first sign of your follicles getting beaten by dihydrotestosterone. Then redness, then the hair starts to fall out.
Rosemary, Thyme, Lavendar, Cedarwood. These essential oils have been studied in combination to positively influence the hair growth cycle. Rosemary is an antioxidant and improves circulation, Thyme improves circulation, lavendar calms inflammation, cedarwood improves circulation, is warming and calming too.
So, I did the prevention thing, did research on the web, and no it may not all be reputable as information on the web is often based on theory and opinion rather than scientific fact but it definitely is working for me. I have come across peer reviewed journals, scholarly journals in the past and a lot of the information does seem to work together to create healthier scalp conditions for hair growth.
Generally now it's a part of daily routine to make sure I get my omega 3's, shampoo well, and eat well.