An unorthodox new way of purportedly tackling hair loss is springing up across America, where some black women claim a household item can help to regrow afro hair.
According to an article in essence.com, family medicine cabinet staple Vicks VapoRub is just the ticket for women with thinning edges – which is seen when hair is lost at the temples. The most common cause of this is the hair loss condition traction alopecia, which is frequently observed when women choose a hairstyle that places undue stress on the hair follicles. Among the worst offenders are tight braids, high ponytails, dreadlocks and hair extensions which place significant extra weight as well as strain upon the follicles.
Women also sometimes see thinning around the temples if they have the condition female pattern hair loss. This tends to be accompanied by thinning hair along the top of the scalp and at the crown, too as these are the areas affected by genetic hair loss in both women and men.
Can Vicks VapoRub regrow hair?
The essence.com article states that the awareness of Vicks as a potential treatment for thinning edges appears to have begun in March 2016 in Atlanta when it was first mentioned by a vlogger who goes by the name of Just Jocq on YouTube. She talks of one of her followers who mixes it with castor oil and coconut oil before applying it to the scalp and hair. Whilst castor and coconut oil are both beneficial to the condition of the hair – especially for people with afro hair as this hair type is naturally more brittle so can benefit from moisturisation – they are not capable of regrowing hair.
Since then, other women with afro hair have been extolling the virtues of Vicks online, with some of them claiming that around one to two months will be needed before regrowth is seen.
Leonora Doclis, senior hair loss specialist at Belgravia, is skeptical – though she does understand where the claims about Vicks may be coming from. “It’s all to do with the menthol and eucalyptus which can be found in Vicks,” she says. “These ingredients won’t cause hair that has been lost to traction alopecia or female pattern hair loss to regrow, but they may help existing hair to grow in length – although we wouldn’t recommend putting Vicks onto scalps. Vicks contains petroleum jelly, which is not generally advisable for the scalp, although it shouldn’t pose too much of a problem if the scalp is healthy.”
Leonora points out that Vicks would likely give the same kind of sensation as Belgravia’s menthol cream or oil of wintergreen which are used in some tailored clinical treatments that take place in our Central London and City of London hair loss clinics. Though neither ingredients have been proven to stimulate hair growth, they can be beneficial to the health of both the hair and the scalp.
Tailored hair loss treatment
It is important to distinguish between ‘hair growth’ and ‘hair regrowth’ in this context. Promoting hair growth involves optimising or ensuring the normal functioning of the hair growth cycle. This applies to anyone regardless of whether or not they have a specific hair loss condition and is something that can be helped by non-medicinal hair growth booster products. At Belgravia we offer a premium food supplement for healthy hair growth called Hair Vitalics for Women which non-clients can buy online directly from the dedicated website hairvitalics.com. This highly-targeted product has been developed after extensive research by Belgravia’s hair experts and contains high quality, potent vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanicals – including zinc, selenium, biotin and grape seed extract.
Those who do have an actual condition generally want to stop hair loss and encourage hair re-growth – this is a different proposition to simply encouraging non-affected hair to grow stronger and/or longer. Whilst hair growth boosters can certainly be used by people with a hair loss condition, these are considered an adjunct to pharmaceutical hair loss treatment, designed to maximise their hair’s potential in tandem with the relevant medications.
If women’s hair thinning or patchy hairloss becomes a concern, a specialist consultation – either in person or online – can provide an assessment, diagnosis, and – where necessary – personalised treatment recommendations. These are based upon the individual’s condition, pattern of shedding, medical and lifestyle requirements.
For women who have lost their edges to Traction Alopecia, Belgravia specialists use appropriate formulations of high strength minoxidil from those available at the in-clinic pharmacies. These solutions are applied directly to the scalp where needed, either once or twice per day, as directed. Although minoxidil is only clinically-proven as a treatment for female pattern hair loss, it is widely accepted to be useful in treating other types of hair loss in men and women by opening the potassium channels and encouraging localised blood flow.
Though results are not guaranteed, traction alopecia treatment at Belgravia often produces significant hair regrowth for women whose follicles have not been critically impaired. In cases where the damage to the follicles means they are no longer able to produce hair, treatment is not advisable as it will be ineffective. In these instances the hair loss will be permanent. This is why it is so important to be proactive if you suspect there may be an issue with your hairline. By taking advice early you can get all the facts regarding your situation and learn about the options available, in order to make a decision as which you are most comfortable with, whilst the decision is still yours to make.
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.