Grow It Back Now
It was the very end of eighth grade when I first noticed my thinning hair problem. Hair loss in eighth grade?! Geez. I noticed thinness on the very top and back of my head. By the end of the 9th grade, my entire head of hair was thin – diffuse hair loss. You could see through to my scalp except for the sides and the back – where hair typically lives forever. Not too cool for a young guy in his mid-teens.
“Always have the thickest hair in the room…”
In my best Fire Marshal Bill voice, “Let me tell you something!”. Let’s just cut to the chase. If you have diffuse hair loss like I do, you’ll be happy to know that those thickening hair fibers you see advertised all over the place – they really work. And they work really well! (and quickly)
My hair is thin all over but the hair fibers really do fill in bald spots and very thin areas. Something very similar to the hair fibers is dry shampoo. Dry shampoo also works to thicken your hair very noticeably in two seconds. Just spray it in, massage it around into your hair and you’re done. Similar products to dry shampoo are talcum powder and baby powder. But my favorites are Batiste and TRESemme.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way… Why did I experience falling hair at such an early age? Well, I’m genetically destined to lose my hair at some point or another. Thinning hair and baldness genetically runs in my Mother’s side of the family. I do believe there’s truth to the “If your Grandfather on your Mother’s side is bald” theory.
You carry over certain genes from your Mother that have to do with hair growth and hair loss. My Grandfather on my Mother’s side is ( edit: now was 🙁 ) completely bald. My Uncle (Grandfather’s Son) is completely bald as well. His Grandfather on his Mother’s side was completely bald too.
As soon as I turned sixteen and got my first job back in the horse and carriage days, I went crazy buying all kinds of hair products. I used to buy all the “for thinning hair” shampoos and chemicals that were supposed to keep your hair from falling out and thicken what was already there.
These types of products claimed to make your hair thicker and stronger. I’d tried them all. While I can’t be sure they worked (they didn’t grow any hair back) they probably kept my hair loss from getting any worse. Being that my hair did look a bit thicker, I suppose that could have eased some tension, and that alone could have saved me from additional hair loss. They do say stress is a killer.
They do say that the more you worry about losing your hair – the more stress you cause for yourself. Stress accelerates hair-loss. So relax! The information on this website is going to help you save your hair – and even possibly grow some back. So stop worrying about losing it. It will only make matters worse.
If you’re experiencing the beginning stages of hair loss, now would be the perfect time to start using some of these products. If you could stop your hair loss right here and now, would you be satisfied? If you have the same amount of hair ten years from now – would that be okay?
Sometimes the simplest things can keep your hair from falling out. Scalp massage brings blood (and in turn nutrients) to your hair follicles, and exercise helps keep your body and blood flow healthy. Multi-vitamins can give you some important nutrients you might be missing out on. These things can only help.
To note, exercise helps relax blood vessels in the scalp – which ensures optimum blood flow. Believe it or not, massaging your jaw will also help bring blood to your scalp. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) and Ginkgo Biloba can be used topically to improve blood circulation in the scalp.
When I turned 18, I found a full-time job and finally could afford Rogaine. I went to my Doctor and got a prescription immediately! Yes, you needed a prescription for Rogaine a thousand years ago. A few weeks later my job fell-through and that was then end of my daily Rogaine routine. It cost about $80.00 per month back then.
Luckily, as the years went on, all the special hair products that I feverishly used saved enough of my hair to look decent enough. And I bought ALL of them. If I heard of something new, I bought it.
In any event, just having confidence that these products were working could have had a placebo affect. In other words, I had a lot LESS stress actually believing these products were working to save – or grow back my hair. Whether it was a reduction in stress or an actual improvement of blood circulation in my scalp that saved my hair – I cannot be sure. But I was satisfied.
The topical solutions seemed to increase blood-flow in my scalp. I could feel it. That had to be a good thing. And that probably did have something to do with me keeping my hair. I believe in these hair products. I really feel that all these things add up to help.
If you cannot find any of the vitamins I list below, take a multi-vitamin. So many times people lose their hair because they’re not getting the proper daily nutrients. Simply taking a multi-vitamin every day could solve your problem. I bet it has a lot to do with why I still have hair.
Besides. A multi-vitamin can’t hurt you. Can it? Be healthy and make your first priority to start taking a complete multi-vitamin. If you want to get really specific and take nutrients good for your hair separately, you can look into any of the following…
“Cheap stuff that can help…”
Here’s a list of vitamins and minerals that are good for your hair:
Folic acid, vitamin b12, biotin, pantothenic acid, iron, iodine, zinc, manganese, choline, inositol, para amino benzoic acid, vitamin a, vitamin b12, niacinamide, PABA, l-cysteine, linoleic acid, calcium, copper, selenium, turmeric
Here’s a list of Amino Acids that are good for your hair:
L-Isoleucine, L-Leucine, L-Lysine, L-Methionine, L-Phenylalanine, L-Threonine, L-Tryptophan, L-Valine, L-Aspartic Acid, L-Serine, L-Glutamic Acid, L-Proline, L-Glycine, L-Alanine, L-Cystine, L-Tyrosine, L-Histidine, L-Arginine 126mg
Here’s a list of herbs that are good for your hair:
Nettle, Rosemary, Burdock, Birch, Rose Hips, Irish Moss, Coltsfoot, Dandelion, Yellow Dock, Elder Flowers, Shave Grass, Horsetail (Mu Zei), FoTi, Pygeum, Saw Palmetto
“Get the DHT out of your head!”
DHT is the male hormone that causes male pattern baldness. Genetically, only the follicles on the top of the scalp are encoded with something called receptor sites. DHT attaches to these receptor sites and are perceived as a foreign body and the immune system begins to destroy the hair follicle. This shortens the growth phase (this is what Rogaine fights against) and causes the hair shaft to become progressively finer in texture. In extreme cases, only a microscopic vellus hair remains. The good news is that these follicles have the inherent capacity to mature to their former size and thickness.
If your hair loss isn’t too bad at this point – and you prefer to start slow with common things – you can do so with this list of things I posted up above – but most specifically Saw Palmetto, Pygeum and Zinc. These herbs all help to reduce Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in your body. It might be a good idea to start with these things because once you start using products like Rogaine and Propecia, you’re stuck on the for the rest of your life. At least for the most part. I’ll explain more on how you can temporarily, or in some cases, permanently stop using one or the other.
But first, I want to keep you on track with what helps before resorting to stronger, more expensive medications. Besides using the three aforementioned items, I would massage my head every day using my fingertips only – no nails. I still do this every day. I would even sometimes lay on my bed with my head hanging off to the floor to get blood circulation into my scalp. Improved blood circulation to your scalp could help – and it’s free. So why not give it a try?
Have you ever been to a hair salon to get your hair cut and/or styled? They usually wash your hair first. During this shampoo and conditioning, you’re getting a scalp massage. You can do the same massage yourself anytime you want. Do it once or twice a day. Whatever it takes to get blood flowing in your scalp.
I’ve always been very careful when it came to styling my hair. I very rarely go against my part. That’s a bad idea because it puts unneeded stress on your hair. When I used to brush my hair back – I was extremely gentle. While combing it back, I’d actually put pressure on my hairline to make sure I didn’t pull any hair out! It’s actually not a good idea to backcomb your hair. So avoid it if you can.
I do my best to avoid using hair spray or gel. Most days I’m fine with just using Rogaine Foam (trade name: Minoxidil). Believe it or not, it works really well as a mousse to keep my hair styled and in-place. I never blow-dry my hair anymore. If for some reason I must, I’ll keep the temperature on cool. Something feels wrong about using heat on my scalp.
I’m obsessive – aren’t I? Hey, that’s why I made this site. Keeping my hair is very important to me. And I’m sure it’s very important to you too.
When I drove under a streetlight at night, I was self-conscious about people in my car seeing my scalp. T-tops? (Yes, way back in the day) I could never take them off. I had them limo-tinted so the sun wouldn’t shine through. But what if I went to the beach? What if I was in a store with bright lights? I hated it! I was very self-conscious…
This whole process can be reversed. Sometimes, even when you’ve lost hair for a long time, it can still be saved. If a hair is too thin, it isn’t strong enough to push its way through the skin on your scalp. Over time, it’ll become thinner and thinner until it’s almost not even there.
But just because your hair has thinned out, it doesn’t mean that thick hair can’t grow anymore. Once you strengthen it up, it can push through as think as it used to be. I thought my hair was gone forever! I was wrong! It was still there – it just never made it through the skin on my scalp. And those hairs that did were so thin – they didn’t matter. The hairs that aren’t popping through on YOUR head won’t live forever, so don’t waste any time making changes…
“The most popular treatments…”
Rogaine and Propecia (aka Proscar) had not only kept the hair on my head – but they’d regrown lots of my fallen hair. Today, I have more hair than most of my friends. They’d all naturally thinned at around 30 years old. My lost hair has grown back and I pretty much have a full head of hair.
Minoxidil appears to work by widening the hair follicle, causing a thicker strand of hair, and by prolonging the anagen stage of hair growth which results in longer and a higher number of hair strands.
Propecia (Finasteride) specifically inhibits 5-alpha-reductase, the enzyme that converts testosterone into Dihydrotestosterone. Propecia comes in pill form and does cause side effects due to lowered testosterone for some people as it does not only affect the DHT in the scalp.
Spironolactone: For hair loss prevention purposes, it has been found that a solution of Spironolactone in a 2-5% concentration can effectively block androgens (both DHT and others) from effecting the hair follicles at the scalp when applied topically.
Azelaic Acid: Inhibits DHT up to 100% at the area of application.
*Nizoral Shampoo (2% Ketoconazole): When used every other day, Nizoral shampoo can help block the formation of DHT in the scalp.
Eucapil: Supposedly has a longer half-life than Spironolactone. Cost might be prohibitive to some, but if it works as claimed it would be very valuable to those trying to save their hair. Eucapil was designed to be applied directly to the scalp in order to enter the hair follicles thus affecting the hair loss and promoting strengthening of the hair stem.
Retin-A, or Retonic Acid, can be used in combination with Minoxidil for a synergistic effect. Studies have shown that combined with Minoxidil treatments it’ll regrow more hair faster than Minoxidil alone. It may increase the absorption of Minoxidil through the skin. It may also have some hair regenerative properties. Again, not much is known about its method of action, only that it has positive results.
Dutasteride, sold as Avodart, is a drug prescribed for benign prostatic hyperplasia (or enlarged prostate). Dutasteride has also shown very positive effects as a hair loss treatment for sufferers of male pattern baldness. Dutasteride, which is taken in capsule form, has shown dramatic success in restoring hair to bald men in trials. It interferes with 5-alpha-reductase enzymes that break down the male hormone testosterone and turn it into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) – which causes hair to thin. Dutasteride has better DHT suppression results than Finasteride (Propecia / Proscar).
At one point or another, years ago, I decided to give a few of these options a try. I went with Finasteride, Minoxidil and Spironolactone. I took the prescribed dosages until I actually noticed my hair getting thicker. People were telling me that my hair looked good and someone even thought I had hair replacement surgery. I continued with the prescribed dosages for about a year.
As time went on, I decided to lower my dosages. I’d cut my Propecia pills in half – saving me money. Instead of paying $50.00 per month, that $50.00 would last me two months. And instead of applying Rogaine twice a day – I’d apply it only once at night – and still do… I forget what my dosage of Spironolactone was, but I believe it was twice per day – and I eventually reduced it down to once per day.
I only started reducing the dosages after I was satisfied with the amount of hair I’d regrown. In order to regrow your hair, you should take the full dosages every day. A few months after you start getting compliments on your hair, you can probably think about decreasing the dosages without losing hair again. Every body is different. You need to experiment and see what results you get.
For me, this seems to have kept my hair loss in total check. I think that once you’ve grown your hair back, you can give a little less effort without having to worry. A little is better than nothing. I can’t imagine somebody losing all the hair they’ve grown back as long as they keep taking their products somewhat consistently.
At one point over the years I went even a little further than this. I stopped using the Finasteride and Spironolactone altogether and stuck with only Rogaine for awhile. After a few months and things were still looking good, I experimented with stopping Rogaine every so often. Only for a couple of weeks. I do realize that if you stop taking Rogaine, you’ll lose what you gained from using it. So I never go astray for too long.
In any event, I had the idea in my head that if I kept using Rogaine consistently, indefinitely, my body would eventually get used to it and find a work-around. Maybe that’s crazy but medication works similarly where many people need to constantly increase their dose (or switch medications altogether) to continue getting the benefits. I would do this until I noticed my hair getting a little bit thinnish again – and then went right back to my normal daily routine.
Eventually I figured out exactly how long I could go without using Rogaine consistently and switching back without losing any hair. This not only saved money but it also allowed me to up the dose IF and WHEN I needed to. Otherwise, once you’re at that top dose – there’s nowhere else to go. These days I do use Rogaine on a daily basis but mainly because it’s a good styling agent for the look I like. In addition I do stick to a specific daily protocol of vitamins, minerals, and hair products – which I’ll list later…
The same went for Finasteride when I was using it. A week or two would go by where I wouldn’t use it. This saved me even more money. And I was still getting enough of the effects of the DHT lowering drug. Sometimes I’d even go a month without using it – and I’d still have all my hair – INCLUDING my newly regrown hair. As long as I didn’t give the DHT enough time to build up on those receptors, I was okay.
More often than not I’d have gone two weeks on and two weeks off with the Finasteride. But keep in mind that I was cutting my pills in half. You need to experiment and see how your body reacts to these changes. You could potentially save a lot of money and benefit from taking less drugs.
These days I always use shampoos with topical DHT reducers. I believe this is a good way to regrow your hair if it hasn’t been gone for too long – or retain what you’ve already got. Reason being, DHT lowering drugs that you need to take by mouth can have adverse affects on your body. DHT is important – with the exception of being bad for hair. As far as I know most topical DHT reducers never actually make it into your blood stream. So the effects are only seen at the scalp where you’re in need.
When you first start using Rogaine to grow back hair, you need to apply it twice a day. Once in the morning and once at night. For me, especially considering I have diffuse hair loss, I needed two bottles of Rogaine every month when I first started. I’ve now cut that down to one using it only in the morning. The Rogaine Foam goes a long way for me.
“Let’s talk about Spironolactone…”
Let’s talk about Spironolactone. It’s been firmly established that Alopecia Androgenetica, more commonly known as male pattern baldness or just pattern baldness, is initiated by dihydrotestosterone (DHT) attaching to the receptor sites on the hair follicles [188.8.131.52.].
As mentioned previously: Genetically, only the follicles on the top of the scalp are encoded with the receptor sites [5.6.24.], which explains why hair follicles along the side of the head and in the back of the head do not atrophy. The attached DHT on the receptor sites is perceived as a foreign body and the immune system begins to destroy the hair follicle, shortening the growth phase (this is what Rogaine fights against) and causing the hair shaft to become progressively finer in texture . In extreme cases, only a microscopic vellus hair remains. The good news is that these follicles have the inherent capacity to mature to their former size and thickness.
Encouraged with the success of Finasteride to reduce the amount of DHT in the scalp of patients with male pattern baldness (MPB), doctors and scientific researchers took another look at existing medications that are known to act as anti-androgens. There have to be stringent criteria for an anti-androgen that can be used to combat or even reverse pattern alopecia. The ideal anti-androgen should have the following properties:
(1) It must have potent anti-androgen activity; (2) It should selectively prevent or successfully compete with DHT without changing testosterone levels; (3) It should be effective topically, so it can be conveniently applied with Minoxidil solutions or lotions and (4), It should be easily absorbed into the skin, but should have no systemic effects where it is not applied.
That’s a tall order. Surprisingly, there is such a medication: Spironolactone. And it’s not a new medication [7.8.]. For over forty years Spironolactone has been used for its anti-androgenic effects in both males and females [14.15.]. Taken orally, it’s such a potent anti-androgen that, although it is an effective anti-hypertensive drug, it’s rarely used to treat men with hypertension because of its feminizing properties which can include painful gynecomastia [16.17.]. (Same as Propecia)
***Applied topically, however, Spironolactone does not have systemic side effects [184.108.40.206.]. Clinical evaluators of topical applications of Spironolactone concluded, “as far as the topical use is concerned, Spironolactone seems to be highly effective with absence of systemic effects”. Physicians have been treating patients for MPB for well over fifteen years and there haven’t been any reports of systemic side effects.
In my own research, the use of topical 5% Spironolactone along with Xandrox 5% solution yielded improved results as compared to the use of Xandrox 5% alone. Likewise, the combination of 5% Spironolactone with 5% Minoxidil yielded improved results as compared to the use of 5% Minoxidil used with daily 1 mg doses of Finasteride (with the added advantage of zero side effects).
Among its other properties as an anti-androgen, Spironolactone is a potent competitive inhibitor of DHT at its receptor sites . Therefore, Spironolactone effectively prevents DHT from attaching to the receptor sites on the hair follicles . As a result, the follicles no longer atrophy and can mature again to their normal size. And it does so without decreasing the circulating levels of DHT in the body. By comparison, Finasteride inhibits the formation of DHT, causing troublesome side effects in many patients. Multiple studies in various medical centers document that Spironolactone is effective when applied topically .
In studying the anti-androgenic effects of topical Spironolactone at the Department of Dermatology at New York University School of Medicine, researchers established that Spironolactone concentrations of 0.01% to 5% produced a dose responsive decrease . When both topical 5% Spironolactone and topical 5% Minoxidil are used daily in the treatment of MPB, the effects of the medications are synergistic. Whereas neither medication alone is particularly effective for the majority of patients, the success of the combination has been experimentally proven. The success rate with this formulation has reportedly been approximately 75-80%.
Extensive research and developments have finally produced a Spironolactone lotion which almost totally eliminates the inherent disagreeable smell of the product. In addition to the 5% concentration of Spironolactone in the lotion, there are small (1 to 3 mm) vesicular pockets of pure, unsuspended micronized Spironolactone powder. This should be spread onto the scalp with one’s fingertips to optimize the effects of the application.
Do not combine medications containing Spironolactone and Minoxidil “in the same container”. The medications slowly react with each other, resulting in a compromise of their pharmacological activities. However, since it requires many hours for Spironolactone and Minoxidil to chemically react with each other, they can be consecutively applied to the scalp without compromising one another.
Instructions for use:
- Using your fingertips, apply a small amount of the 5% Spironolactone Lotion to those areas of the scalp in which the hair is thinning/receding.
- For optimal results, the 5% Spironolactone Lotion should be applied two times/day at least eight hours apart.
- If you are going to apply the 5% Spironolactone only once/day, make the application at night.
- Use only the amount necessary to create a thin film of 5% Spironolactone Lotion in the affected area(s).
- If there are any unsuspended, concentrated vesicles of micronized Spironolactone in the lotion, rub these into the scalp with gentle pressure.
When 5% Spironolactone Lotion is used with 5% topical Minoxidil or Xandrox 5% (5% Minoxidil / 5% Azelaic acid), apply the Minoxidil solution first. Allow several minutes for it to partially dry. Then apply the 5% Spironolactone Lotion on top of the Minoxidil solution. The lotion will act as an occlusive dressing and enhance the absorption of both medications. If a rash appears (the incidence is slightly less than 1%), discontinue the use of topical Spironolactone.
“Ketoconazole and Pyrithione Zinc…”
Ketoconazole is an anti-androgen like Spironolactone. When used in 2% form as a shampoo, it helps to reduce DHT in the scalp. There’s a non-prescription product that can be purchased over the counter called Nizoral. Nizoral is only 1% but this is better than nothing. Or, you can get a prescription for the 2% version. Ketoconazole should only be used three to four times per week.
Pyrithione Zinc appears to be a very effective DHT inhibitor. Many people using Pyrithione Zinc have noticed their thinning hair problem either cease – or at least slow down drastically. And, those who use Pyrithione Zinc and Minoxidil – are experiencing better hair regrowth than without it.
My personal self-treatment regimen has changed over the years. Currently, I’m using 2% Ketocanazole 3 or 4 days a week, 2% Pyrithione Zinc 3 or 4 days a week (alternating with each other) and a moisturizing conditioner every day. I wash my hair 5-7 days a week. I do my best to give my hair at least one day off during the week.
I still use 5% Minoxidil – once every day. It seems that the thickness of my hair varies throughout the year. While I believe that’s normal for everyone, I think I notice it more than everyone. Maybe I’m just being self-conscious. I can always use hair fibers or dry shampoo whenever I’m feeling a little “thin”.
In case you didn’t know, hair fibers blend in with the rest of your hair and can REALLY fill in some empty spots. Seriously well… Dry shampoo has a similar effect and seems to thicken each hair strand. If you have diffuse hair loss like I do, either of these options will make you appear to have a fullest hair in the room…
I sometimes still use Spironolactone on very rare occasion. This may come at a time when I’m noticing my hair is thinning for whatever reason. I believe that my regimen works well but I also believe that since I’m so inconsistent, there are times when I slowly start thinning again until I pay close attention. However, I’ve already grown back enough hair to keep me more than satisfied.
Using Minoxidil, occasional Spironolactone, Ketoconazole and Pyrithione Zinc combined, year-round, can be quite expensive. However, taking breaks until I notice something awry works very well. At 45 years old, my hair is the thickest out of all my friends who noticed my thinning hair back in high school.
“Other topics of interest…”
Devices like the laser comb and other systems are interesting products. I’m not sure what my take is on this. I’m going to guess it stimulates existing hair and may possible have that hair grow-in thicker and stronger. I do believe this is the third FDA approved hair regrowth product (the first was Minoxidil, the second was Finasteride). However, I don’t think that means it definitely works to grow back hair you’ve lost.
Still, it may be an option to help thicken the hair you have – which will give you a thicker head of hair. And who am I to say it doesn’t actually grow back fallen hair? It just might.
Procerin is mainly a natural approach to hair regrowth. The company started off by selling an oral formula to combat DHT (dihydrotestosterone) with the following ingredients: Saw Palmetto Berries, Gotu Kola, Nettles, Magnesium, Zinc Sulfate, Eleuthero Root , Vitamin B-6, Pumpkin Seed Meal, and Muira Puma Root.
Their next approach became two-tiered when a topical version of their formula was released – with the following ingredients: Gamma Linolenic Acid, Grape Seed Extract, Azelaic Acid, Saw Palmetto Extract, Avocado Oil, and Nettle Extract.
This is a unique (and good) approach because you’re blocking DHT from two different angles – from the inside and from the outside. Some believe one way works better than the other. DHT isn’t something you want to prohibit entirely as it’s needed to maintain proper bodily function. The topical DHT blockers only work in your scalp – exactly where you don’t want DHT. However, even the oral version shouldn’t block enough DHT internally to cause any issues – but it could have some impact on helping to restore your hair.
Procerin offers a 90 day unconditional money back guarantee. A one month supply of their combo pack (internal and external formulas) costs $49.99. If you’ve already tried Minoxidil or Propecia without success, than I hate to say that it’s unlikely Procerin will work for you – in my honest opinion…
Since I’m not a doctor, it’s important that I add this disclaimer.
It’s important to know that when taking herbal medicines and supplements you should seek the advice of a qualified health care practitioner. It’s not recommended that this information be used as a guide to self-prescribe any medicines or change existing medications. It is intended for educational purposes only and to increase awareness of the various treatments that are available for your falling or thinning hair.
This site describes exactly how I kept my hair from falling out and even grew lots of hair back. What worked for me may not necessarily work for you. However, I feel that if you follow the steps I took, you will find success.
About the Author
Sal is a 45 year old black belt at trying to be a black belt. He’s been studying mixed martial arts for about as long as he can remember.
He also enjoys writing self-help books about various topics like weight loss, hair loss, and acid reflux, three things he’s had to work against in his own life. In addition, he enjoys building websites and writing about automobiles – as well as driving them…
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