Hair loss can seem like a hopeless situation when it is the result of complex genetic processes. Androgenetic alopecia, more commonly known as male pattern baldness, is a common cause of hair loss that invites such despondency. It is permanent and usually runs in the family – factors that do not provide much cause for hope.
However, research suggests there are natural ways to reverse this form of hair loss.
Rosemary’s essential oil is extracted from the Rosmarinus officinalis; an evergreen shrub with needle-like leaves and a woody aroma.
According to research, rosemary oil treats androgenetic alopecia by preventing a byproduct of testosterone from attacking your hair follicles, which is the cause of this condition.
When men with androgenetic alopecia massaged diluted rosemary oil into their scalp twice daily for six months, they experienced the same increase in hair thickness as those who used minoxidil.
Minoxidil is one of the main drug treatments for hair loss, according to the NHS.
“Minoxidil can also be used to treat female pattern baldness. Women shouldn’t use finasteride,” it says.
Additionally, those who used the rosemary oil reported less scalp itching compared to minoxidil, which suggests that rosemary may be more tolerable.
According to Mayo Clinic, itching or skin rash is a less common side effect of taking minoxidil.
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Other research indicates that rosemary oil may fight patchy hair loss or alopecia areata.
In alopecia areata, one or more round bald patches appear suddenly, most often on the scalp.
When people with alopecia areata rubbed a rosemary essential oil blend into their scalp each day for seven months, 44 percent showed improvement in their hair loss compared to only 15 percent in the control group, who used the neutral oils jojoba and grapeseed.
Other hair loss treatments
Some wigs are available on the NHS, but you may have to pay unless you qualify for financial help.
There are two types of wigs – synthetic and real-hair – and both come with pros and cons.
According to the NHS, synthetic wigs:
- Last six to nine months
- Are easier to look after than real-hair wigs
- Can be itchy and hot
- Cost less than real-hair wigs.
Real-hair wigs, on the other hand, last three to four years but are harder to look after than synthetic wigs, says the health body.
They also look more natural than synthetic wigs but cost more than synthetic wigs, it says.
Other hair loss treatments include:
- Steroid injection – injections given into bald patches
- Steroid creams – cream applied to bald patches
- Immunotherapy – chemical applied to bald patches
- Light treatment – shining ultraviolet light on bald patches
- Tattooing – tattoo used to look like short hair and eyebrows
- Hair transplant – hair cells are moved to thinning patches
- Scalp reduction surgery – sections of the scalp with hair are stretched and stitched together
- Artificial hair transplant – surgery to implant artificial hairs.
Some of the above treatments may not be available on the NHS.
While you explore your options, you may benefit from counselling from your GP.
As the NHS points out, losing hair can be incredibly distressing because it is an important part of who we are.
You may also benefit from joining a support group, or speaking to other people in the same situation on online forums.
Try these online support groups:
- Alopecia UK
- Alopecia Awareness.
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