At the first signs of hair loss many people turn to their stock of bathroom products for clues. Could it be that your shampoo, conditioner or shower gel are ravaging your follicles and causing what looks like a small wet tumbleweed to gather in the shower tray?
Which? Magazine, the respected British publication run by the UK’s Consumers Association, thinks that the answer is probably not. In an article published in the April 2016 issue of the magazine, Which? gathered a team of experts – a dermatologist, a chemist and a trichologist – to delve into claims that shampoo brands make about what they can do for ailing hair. “Whether you’re worried about your receding hairline, paranoid about parabens or just want to restore the sparkle to your crowning glory, there’s a shampoo out there to match every possible concern,” they write, with just a hint of cynicism.
Pointing out that claims about what shampoos can do are getting ever bolder, they then spell out their findings.
Shampoo will not reverse hair loss
In a nutshell, their panel of experts seemed concerned by the claims that some of the products they tested were making. Their verdict on products which claimed to “reverse damage” was especially damning: “It’s not possible to reverse hair damage by using a shampoo – it can only prevent further damage and make hair look healthier through conditioning,” they said.
So-called “age-defying” products were given similarly short shrift. They say that people should look beyond “meaningless marketing claims” like this and find a product that suits them. Amusingly, the experts pondered how Pantene’s AgeDefy shampoo could claim to make hair look 10 years younger when hair only lasts between five and seven years before it is completely replaced due to the hair growth cycle.
On the subject of thickening shampoos designed to give hair more volume, the team suggested that a similar effect could be achieved simply by not using heavy conditioning. They also warned people to be on their guard when picking a product that made bold claims, as the small print hidden away on the bottle often explained (in tiny letters) that so-called benefits of the shampoo could only be achieved if it was used in conjunction with the brand’s other products. Naturally this could seriously hike up the price.
In summing up, the team said: “Beware of marketing ploys. Celebrity endorsements, apparent links to fashion and luxury such as ‘London, Paris & New York’ on the bottle, and distinctive product design can all heavily influence us.”
Says Which? Magazine editor Richard Headland: “It is simply not good enough to say their evidence is commercially sensitive and expect us to be satisfied with being told their products live up to claims on packaging, especially when they make substantial claims such as reducing hair loss.”
It’s important to remember that, in the same way that targeted hair vitamins can help to strengthen and nourish the hair from the inside, cosmetic products such as shampoos and conditioners can cleanse the scalp and nuture the condition of the hair from the outside, but they cannot treat hair loss conditions, as the Which? article clearly illustrates.
What well-made versions of these products can do, however, is to keep hair clean and healthy, and in some cases can help those with damaging hair breakage or scalp conditions to minimise further shedding, but there are no miracle products on the market that will enable you to not just ‘wash and go’ but ‘wash and grow’.
The only way to treat prolonged cases of excessive shedding or sudden hair fall is to fight back with medically-proven hair loss treatments. Different conditions – and even different people – require different treatments, which is why anyone concerned about hair fall is advised to visit a dedicated clinic as soon as they can so that a professional diagnosis can be made.
A bespoke hair loss treatment course is tailored to the precise needs of each individual and, although these plans may well include a supply of shampoos and conditioners to help alleviate stress on the scalp and follicles, these are an ancillary benefit and do not combat hair loss.
The primary medications found in Belgravia’s effective treatment plans include high strength minoxidil – a unisex preparation that comes in a number of formulas and is applied directly to the scalp, and, for men only, the daily tablet finasteride 1mg has been clinically-proven to inhibit the cause of male pattern baldness. These treatments can also be used in conjunction with various Hair Growth Boosters, such as the HairMax LaserComb, to help hair achieve it’s optimum potential – just make sure that if you’re washing your hair, you let it dry thoroughly before applying minoxidil.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.