Hair loss: Dr Ranj discusses causes of male pattern baldness
Hair loss can affect anyone from their late teens onwards, yet, despite its universality, it can be incredibly isolating. Long-held notions of masculinity and femininity partly explain the crisis in self-belief that stems from hair loss. There are proven ways to repair hair loss, however.
Increasingly, people are turning to herbal solutions to treat their hair loss.
A lesser-known remedy that has shown promise in restoring hair growth is red clover.
Red clover (Trifolium pratense) is a wild flowering plant that is widely used in traditional medicine.
The research supporting its application for hair loss is somewhat limited but promising.
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A study in 30 men showed a 13 percent increase in the hair growth cycle (anagen) and a 29 percent decrease in the hair loss cycle (telogen) when a five percent red clover extract was applied to the scalp for four months, compared with the placebo group.
What’s more, in a randomised study in 109 postmenopausal women, participants reported significant improvements in hair and skin texture, appearance, and overall quality after taking 80 mg of red clover extract for 90 day.
Another herbal remedy that has shown promise is Chinese hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa sinensis).
Chinese hibiscus is an evergreen shrub. Its edible, vibrant flowers are often used to make herbal tea.
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Hibiscus is thought to help stimulate hair follicles, increase follicle size, and increase hair growth.
There are other things 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.
If you are looking for more established treatments, minoxidil and finasteride are commonly used to treat male pattern baldness.
Male pattern baldness is a permanent type of hair loss that usually runs in the family.
According to the NHS, minoxidil can also be used to treat female pattern baldness but women shouldn’t use finasteride.
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.
As the NHS explains, synthetic wigs are not too costly and are easy to maintain.
Real-hair wigs, on the other hand, last longer than synthetic wigs and look more natural but are far more expensive and harder to maintain.
While you weigh up your options, you may benefit from joining a support group, or speaking to other people in the same situation on online forums.
Try these online support groups:
- Alopecia UK
- Alopecia Awareness.
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