Updated: Dec 11, 2020
This article is going to be a little bit different than the articles I typically write.
Here I will be providing insight into an important aspect of my personal hair loss regimen. This is a regimen that has been extremely effective in allowing me to take control of my own hair loss, and nearly completely reverse it. I should preface it by saying that everyone reacts to treatments differently and this is based on personal experience, although there is a lot of scientific research backing some of the claims that I will make.
My hope is that after reading this article you will be able to expand upon your own hair loss routine and ideally implement some new treatments/techniques that may provide some great benefits.
Blood flow: I cannot stress it enough
Anyone and everyone who is trying to overcome hair loss knows that you need to block DHT in order to have any degree of success. Finasteride is an FDA approved treatment for just that. But often, people will unfortunately use only finasteride or they may not be quite sure about what other treatments may work for them.
In my opinion, again based on my personal success in regrowth, once you have DHT taken care of you need to use not one, but several treatments that are inherently focused on increasing blood flow to your hair. In fact, I believe blood flow is the most important aspect of hair regrowth and should be the only thing, besides DHT, that you should focus on.
This is because blood is responsible for delivering the vital oxygen and nutrients that your hair uses to grow/complete healthy hair growth cycles.
Normally, the root of healthy hair is nearly completely enveloped in blood vessels. But researchers believe that as you experience hair loss, you begin to lose some of those blood vessels. This can be directly correlated with the process of miniaturization; where your terminal hairs slowly receive less and less blood flow, therefore turning them into vellus hairs.
Whether or not vellus hair receiving less blood flow is the cause or the result of hair loss is still up for debate in the scientific community, but the main takeaway is that the two are inherently related. This is not theoretical either as multiple studies have shown a link between low blood flow and hair loss (1,2).
Not only is there low blood flow, but when hair is undergoing miniaturization the anagen (growth) phase of the hair cycle is shortened, which greatly contributes to vellus hair development. The only way to regrow hair that has turned vellus is to re-lengthen the anagen phase: increasing blood flow is the primary way to achieve this.
Apart from DHT, low blood flow is the factor that is most consistently show to be correlated with hair loss. This is why nearly my entire hair loss regimen involves various treatments that work in different ways to increase blood flow.
The treatments I use to increase blood flow
Although some treatments, namely minoxidil, have been shown to work well on their own, I believe that using a combination of several blood flow-promoting treatments can yield better results. Personally, I used minoxidil alone for years and only achieved sub-par results. It was only once I added some of the other treatments that I am about to talk about when I started to see real progress.
Here are the treatments that I use to increase blood flow to my scalp:
First and foremost is minoxidil.
Using minoxidil is paramount for success in overcoming hair loss. It is one of the only three FDA approved hair loss treatments, and the only one that is FDA approved as a vasodilator.
A vasodilator is a medication that dilates, or widens blood vessels, therefore increasing blood flow. By promoting increased blood flow, although the mechanism of action is not completely understood, minoxidil has been shown to increase the length of the anagen phase and successfully help revitalize vellus hair back into terminal hair.
Again, most people make the mistake of using only minoxidil. I did the same thing for nearly two years and it was only once I added other blood flow-promoting treatments to my routine that I saw worthwhile results.
Low-level laser therapy (LLLT)
Another treatment that I swear by is LLLT. It is the last of three FDA approved hair loss treatments (besides finasteride and minoxidil). It was also the first treatment that I added on top of minoxidil that almost instantly began compounding my successful regrowth.
Scientists are not exactly sure of the mechanism by which LLLT improves hair growth. One common hypothesis is that it works similar to minoxidil by increasing blood flow. It theoretically does this by assisting in the release of nitric acid from the cells in our blood vessels which encourages vasodilation. This ensures that hair will be receiving an adequate supply of uxygen and nutrients that it can use to increase the length of the anagen phase.
Here is an article I wrote that takes an in depth look at rosemary oil for hair loss.
Every other day I apply diluted rosemary oil to my scalp (combined with a scalp massage).
Although the research on rosemary oil is limited there have been some profound findings. One study in particularcompared rosemary oil to minoxidil and found that it was equally as effective at increasing the overall hair count by way of increased blood flow.
It is also completely natural and offers a whole host of other potential benefits.
This is a more recent addition to my hair loss regimen, and I am loving it. When you preform a scalp massage, you get this oddly satisfying/relieving tingling sensation where the blood flow is stimulated. It is a result of the pressure you put on your scalp that drastically increases the blood supply to that area.
There is plenty of evidence supporting the notion that scalp massages can have a direct contribution to increased growth rates and thicker hair overall (1,2). It has even been shown to possibly benefit androgenic alopecia itself.
Here is another in-depth article about scalp massages.
Yet another powerful way to drastically increase blood flow to your scalp is through the inversion method. Just like with scalp massages, when it is working you will usually feel a tingling sensation in areas that typically will receive less blood flow (i.e. temples and crown).
Full article here.
Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence backing the inversion method. But, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence online, including myself. I believe that once I added the inversion method into my routine it markedly changed my hair loss situation. I do not have any way of proving this as I did not track my progress, but the premise makes sense.
The premise of the inversion method is quite simple: essentially all it is is hanging upside down so that your head is below your heart for roughly 2-3 minutes, twice a day. This delivers a large supply of blood to your head that your hair can use for hours to promote growth.
Even though there is currently no evidence, I am almost certain it worked for me, plenty of people online say it worked for them, and it is very simple and therefore, in my opinion, worth trying.
Our formula, Follicle Foundation, is the last treatment on this list, and yes I did save the best for last.
Having put Follicle Foundation into production only 4 months ago, it is a relatively recent addition to my hair loss regimen. Although it had been taking all of the ingredients in it separately for a long time.
It contains many ingredients that were specifically chose because not only did they immensely impact my own hair loss, but they have also been shown in scientific studies to promote increased blood flow.
There are several other benefits for hair loss, check them out here.
It is important that I reiterate that everyone responds to treatments differently. This list of treatments is what has worked well for me, but it may not for you.
That being said, it is my opinion that, based on our current body of research, increasing blood flow is the number one most important thing you need to do in order to successfully regrow your hair (besides block DHT of course). These are the treatments that I believe are the most effective in doing so.
Hopefully this article provided you with a new perspective on what it might take to be successful in overcoming your hair loss. Give a few of these treatments a try, you might be surprised at what happens.