One of the most common questions we are asked is “how do you prevent hair loss?” Clearly people are searching the Internet for an answer. The difficulty is that anyone can publish on the Internet, so it’s hard to know who is credible and who is simply being a good, persuasive, sales person. We successfully treat thousands of people with hair loss every year, so we really do know what works.
People ask all sorts of things: “does caffeine prevent hair loss” or “does oil prevent hair loss”. Even “can testosterone help prevent hair loss”. So let’s tackle some of these queries…
Does caffeine prevent hair loss?
The caffeine one is interesting. In January 2007, the International Journal of Dermatology (skin) published a study that showed caffeine did significantly stimulate hair growth in hair follicles that had been removed from 14 people and were kept growing in the lab.
Let’s be clear, this isn’t about drinking coffee. You’d have to drink enough coffee to kill you before it had any significant effect on your hair. The idea is to apply it topically (ie. on your scalp) in sufficient concentration.
Now, we know that substances can be absorbed through the skin. Rub garlic on your skin and your breath will smell of it. Nicotine patches are another example. And caffeine will certainly harm you in a large dose. So there’s a big difference between steeping hair follicles in caffeine in the lab, and working out a way safely to deliver enough caffeine to the hair follicles to make a difference to your hair growth.
We have seen caffeine shampoos. But we’ve not seen anything that demonstrates it works as a hair loss treatment. We think it’s likely the development of caffeine shampoos has been driven by marketing departments who saw that same study and know that we’ll make the link between coffee as a friendly everyday stimulant and our hair’s need for stimulation. We have to buy shampoo, so why not buy the coffee one? Coffee is even associated with mornings, which is when most people shower. It’s a way for them to gain market share. No problem with that, we just are not convinced it will prevent hair loss.
Can testosterone help prevent hair loss?
Lack of testosterone might. In male pattern baldness (and in some instances of female pattern baldness), some hair follicles are genetically susceptible to a derivative of the male sex hormone testosterone. The effect is that those follicles gradually get weaker and eventually stop, causing baldness.
One of the recognised treatments (medically proven, actually works) is Propecia because it gets in the way of testosterone affecting the hair follicle, so preserving its life and indeed, preventing hair loss.
Does oil prevent hair loss?
I think we are squarely in the world of ‘snake oil’ here. Even if someone once got a benefit from massaging an oil into their scalp, that doesn’t mean it will work for you. And there are hundreds of things you could try. Meanwhile, you’ll be getting more bald. We say: start with what’s proven to work, you might save yourself a whole lot of time. If you get insufficient joy from proven treatments, you can try massaging oil into your scalp if you like.
So what is the best treatment to prevent hair loss?
Some illnesses cause hair loss and some drugs have hair loss as a side effect, so the first thing is to check with your doctor.
Hair loss treatment is not available on the NHS, however, so once ‘illness’ is removed as a cause, doctors won’t have spent much time thinking about how to cure hair loss and will often just recommend a hair loss shampoo, so you need to see a specialist.
The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has approved two medical treatments for hair loss, Propecia (for men only), and Minoxidil. Used in combination where possible, that’s where most good treatments start. And the most effective treatments come from using the right combination of dosages along with certain booster compounds.
So how do you prevent hair loss? Speak to a recognised, long established hair loss clinic such as The Belgravia Centre. Use their knowledge and experience to save yourself endless hours of worry and expense trying to work out what we already know. Get yourself professional help, then you can simply get on with your life.
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.