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In the past, and during this particular bout of shedding, I took Nutrafol, a supplement that contains a combination of botanical ingredients and vitamins to support healthy hair follicles. It is formulated to treat hair loss in multiple ways, containing highly-concentrated botanicals to support hair at every stage of the growth cycle, Engelman explains. She also recommends Prose, particularly their Root Source product for those with thinning hair. “The supplements are custom-made for each person, and they’re packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and plant extracts designed to boost our stores of nutrients and target the causes of thinning hair. They have been proven effective in clinical trials, and are a fantastic—and healthy—way to address hair thinning/loss,” she says.
Engelman also recommends PRP, or Platelet-rich plasma treatment, which is done in-office by a board certified dermatologist. It involves drawing the patient’s own blood, processing the enriched cells, and injecting them back into the scalp. The plasma contains proteins that stimulate hair growth naturally. “This is a great method of hair growth because it is effective, doesn’t require downtime, and has minimal to no side effects in most patients. The procedure can be repeated once a month, and once the desired hair growth is reached, it is recommended that the patient return for treatments every 6 to 12 months to maintain results,” Engelman notes.
Over the Counter
Minoxidil, a treatment applied directly to the scalp, is thought to work by dilating blood vessels to improve circulation to the scalp. There are specific formulations for women, and a foam that can be easily applied. Zeichner notes that Minoxidil may also extend the active growth phase of the hair follicle.
Zeichner adds that the prescription pill Finasteride can be used to treat both male and female pattern baldness. “It blocks conversion of testosterone to its more active form called DHT,” he explains. “We don’t understand why, but high DHT is thought to be associated with hair thinning in both men and women. It should not be taken in women who are looking to get pregnant.”
At-Home Laser Therapy
The Capillus hair regrowth laser cap is FDA cleared for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia at home. The cap uses 100% medical grade laser diodes to stimulate and renew cells within the hair follicle for thicker, healthier hair. Wearing it for six minutes a day can help reboot the blood supply to the scalp. According to Engelman, “There are real data to support the efficacy of [this treatment] aiding hair growth. I prefer hair caps to light emitting hair combs because patients tend to be more compliant with the caps. Both use the same technology to deliver the red light energy to the scalp to help support hair growth. The trick however is to continue with daily use and not to slack once you start to see desired results.”
Specially Formulated Styling Products
Choosing your styling products wisely is another important step that is often overlooked, and something I neglected to take into account the first few months that I noticed my recent hair shedding. But lately I’ve turned to Curlsmith, which has a line of hair-care products formulated with nutrients like keratin, collagen, biotin and natural actives to make hair grow longer, fuller, and healthier. Philip Kingsley Trichnotherapy also has a line of four products engineered to address hair thinning, including a volumizing protein spray with antioxidants to help improve the appearance of your hair.
After six months of noticeably thinner and thinner strands, I am finally starting to see some good hair days on the horizon. I can blow dry and style my hair without leaving the sink covered in shed strands, and some days I actually like my hair. Engelman reminds me that patience is important: it can be anywhere from three to six months before you start to notice a difference in shedding and growing. But the journey can only start once you speak up and seek help—you’re not alone in this.