This Morning: Liz Earle discusses supplements for hair loss
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Finding a blanket treatment for hair loss is unrealistic because hair loss has numerous causes. Treating it therefore requires a finer-grained approach. Take alopecia areata – an autoimmune disease that develops when the body attacks its own hair follicles (where hair grows from). Alopecia areata has been shown to respond well to specific natural substances, such as garlic.
Garlic’s unique chemical composition has been shown to have many pharmacological effects.
In one study, researchers sought to establish whether these effects could extend to the treatment of alopecia areata.
Ten patients complaining of single or multiple patches of alopecia areata on the scalp region (total of 18 patches) were enrolled in the study.
The study took place over one year.
All patches were treated by topical garlic extract twice daily, for two months.
Re-growth of terminal coarse hairs was evaluated by the researchers every two weeks.
Terminal hairs are the thick, dense hairs that can be found on the scalp, face, armpits, and pubic area.
What did the researchers find out?
At the end of the study, a total of 18 patches of alopecia areata were treated.
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All patients responded well (to varying degrees) to the treatment.
Hair growth started by the end of the second week in eight patches, within four weeks in seven patches, and within six weeks in three patches.
It is worth noting that erythema (a type of skin rash) was observed in all patients, in addition to itching in eight patches and burning sensation in five patches.
Nonetheless, the researchers concluded that “garlic is an efficient and rapid topical treatment” for alopecia areata.
“It is cheap, available and with negligible side effects,” they added.
There are other things you can try if your hair loss is causing you distress.
But most treatments are not available on the NHS, so you’ll have to pay for them.
According to the NHS, finasteride and minoxidil are the main treatments for male pattern baldness.
Male pattern baldness is a permanent type of hair loss that usually runs in the family.
“Minoxidil can also be used to treat female pattern baldness. Women should not use finasteride,” warns the NHS.
Some wigs are available on the NHS, but you may have to pay unless you qualify for financial help.
“If your hair loss is causing you distress, your GP may be able to help you get some counselling,” adds the NHS.
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