Hair thinning and hair loss is a problem that affects many, and, especially if not too severe, our first thoughts may turn to shampoos. Can they help to restore hair or stimulate hair growth? The answer is a qualified yes depending on the cause of the hair loss. Some shampoo manufacturers though do make extravagant claims for their products without much in the way of scientific evidence to back them up.
If hair loss is of the male pattern baldness type where hair follicles are compromised by the action of DHT, a hormonal derivative of testosterone, then some shampoos can be beneficial. This is due to their content of botanical substances called phyto-oestrogens that help block the production of, or the effects of, DHT. With regular and frequent use of a shampoo containing botanicals for DHT neutralization you can expect to see some improvement within a few weeks. Some people though, fail to see an improvement and may have to move on to more intensive methods of encouraging hair growth by means of drugs or medicated lotions or gels.
Some other specialist shampoos are rather less convincing in their explanation of how they might work. Some contain thymus peptides and other patented but undisclosed ingredients to effect deep cleansing and pore unplugging in order to promote new hair production. The theory here is that natural sebum can build up in hair follicles and block the pores and obstruct hair growth, or that some hair loss is caused by autoimmune disease where white blood cells attack foreign matter such as dirt and debris to eliminate it from pores. This white blood cell concentration interrupts hair growth, but deep cleaning of the peptides will reduce the need for excess white blood cells and allow follicles to function normally. These claims are largely unsubstantiated and not entirely consistent with scientific knowledge of hair loss. Sebum is not generally recognized as being a significant factor in hair loss, and, in autoimmune disease it is one’s own tissues that are attacked by defense cells such as white blood cells, and not dirt or debris which largely remains out side the body. It is difficult to believe that either dirt or shampoo would penetrate very far inside hair follicles.
Apart from DHT blocking shampoos it would seem that actual promoting of hair growth must be limited. There is though, no harm in using them as they may well be kinder to the hair than many shampoos with excessive detergent content. Many also contain nourishing nutrients that will help hair growth provided they are absorbed sufficiently. Even if growth of new hair is not initiated these nourishing shampoos will help make the best of hair all ready present by helping to provide optimum conditions for hair production. Manufacturers use terms like moisturizing, volumising and thickening.
If you are suffering some hair thinning it may be worth trying a specialist hair-promoting shampoo, but do not expect too much. It is unrealistic to expect a shampoo to be able to restore your hair like magic if you have extensive or long-standing hair loss.