As anyone with access to the internet will know, there is a lot of misinformation about what will, and what won’t treat hair loss.
Myriad myths and ‘old wives’ tales’ continue to circulate, long after they’ve been debunked; perennial favourites being that applying onions to your head will regrow hair (it won’t), having a scalp massage with ginger will cure Male Pattern Baldness (nope) or that washing your hair too frequently is the reason for thinning hair (highly unlikely).
Something of a newcomer to this list of dubious hairloss solutions is whisky. And, whilst it may be a somewhat more appealing, and certainly less pungent, option for some people, it is still ineffective at preventing baldness.
That said, as with most of these rumours, there is a small grain of truth behind the myth that whisky can help hair growth…
High alcohol content
When stories about how to use whisky – or ‘whiskey’ if it’s an Irish malt, rather than a Scottish one – to regrow hair are shared, they tend to involve applying the fire water directly to the scalp, rather than drinking it.
Furthermore, it also tends to be used sparingly as a small part of a larger hair growth cocktail – after all, who wants to waste good whisky?
One example, published in Scottish Field magazine, suggested concocting a hair regrowth mask using some warm olive oil, an egg yolk, and a teaspoon of whisky. It advises, “…make sure you apply it correctly; first of all, spread the mixture evenly across your head. Then, wrap your head in plastic and put something over it to apply pressure; like a scarf or a towel.”
It claims doing this once a day – or “as much as you want” – will “facilitate stronger hair” and “stimulate new hair growth”.
“Sadly, this is untrue,” notes Belgravia superintendent pharmacist prescriber and senior hair loss specialist, Christina Chikaher, who adds “…though it is likely to be a great conditioning and moisturising mixture due to the egg yolk and olive oil. These contain many beneficial vitamins, antioxidants and softening oils from biotin to squalene.
This combination – regardless of whether the boozy element is added or not – could be helpful in terms of maintaining a healthy scalp, and a healthy scalp should technically lead to healthy hair.
That said, for men and women with androgenetic alopecia – Male and Female Pattern Hair Loss – who are using appropriate hair loss treatment in the form of high strength minoxidil, the alcohol content of the topically-applied whisky may help improve the medication’s absorption.
Whisky is often up to 50 per cent proof, and alcohol can act as a rubefacient, which means it can aid the solubility of minoxidil. When applied to the scalp it can cause the capillaries to dilate and blood circulation to increase, which could technically cause greater efficacy of this topical hair loss solution.
How effective this is, and how much whiskey would need to be used to see any meaningful hair regrowth benefits remains unproven, so this is something people would choose to do at their own risk.”
Whiskey and hair loss treatment
Whilst applying any kind of alcohol to your scalp is not recommended by Belgravia hair loss specialists, not least due to the drying effects it can have on the skin, the small amount suggested in the aforementioned recipe should not do too much damage.
It is important to note, however, that neat alcohol – whether whiskey or any other form – should not be applied to the scalp before or after applying minoxidil. It should certainly not be mixed with this medication either.
Doing so could dilute the drug, making it less efficient at its job of helping to accelerate hair growth. The same applies to hair masks containing alcohol.
Should you wish to try out this type of DIY home hair mask, firstly, if you are a Belgravia Centre patient, please speak to your dedicated treatment advisor who can provide, or arrange, personalised advice on whether this is likely to be suitable for you or not.
If you are not a Belgravia client, we recommend at the very least taking the precaution of drying your hair properly after washing the mask out, then applying your hair loss treatment to a clean, dry scalp. This should avoid dilution issues.
There are a number of arguably more reliable hair growth supporting products available, so for those worried about thinning hair or a drop in hair density, as well as those simply wanting to maintain healthy hair, it may be wise to take professional advice on which of these may work for you, before hitting the bottle.
The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. 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 world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.