hair loss, Menopause and Beyond, PCOS, Prism Blog, Transgender Wellness

Stop Hair Loss in Its Tracks

I recently taught a workshop on healthy hair care and preventing hair loss and I just want to share a few tips from the class with you!

Hair loss can have several causes, from stress to genetics to autoimmune disorders. Some of these are easier to solve than others, but treating our hair (and bodies) well can help slow -and in some cases reverse- hair loss no matter what the cause.

Some amount of hair loss is a natural part of the hair cycle. It’s normal to lose between 50-100 hairs on days you don’t shower, and up to 200 hairs on days you do. Which should tell you right away that if you’re concerned about hair loss you should be showering less often!

At any given point, about 90% of your hair follicles should be in the active growing phase and 10% should be in the dormant or falling out stage. Hair loss can involve either an imbalance in the number of active vs inactive follicles, or a change in the growth of active follicles so that they no longer produce hair of the original color, length, or texture. If you’re concerned that you’re losing too much hair, take about 60 hairs between two fingers and gently pull. If you get more than 5-8 hairs you likely have an imbalance in the number of active vs inactive follicles.

The most common form of hair loss is also the most well-known. Commonly called ‘male-pattern baldness’ or androgenic alopecia, it actually occurs in all genders. While there is certainly a genetic component to this type of hair loss, it can also be mediated with herbs and hair care -if you catch it in time. Hair loss that has been present for 3-5 years or more becomes very difficult and sometimes impossible to resolve. This type of hair loss typically presents as a receding hair line or thinning of hair along the part or crown of the head. It is generally caused by DHT, a form of testosterone that is also responsible for many prostate issues, which essentially ‘attacks’ hair follicles. Luckily, DHT can only function in low-oxygen environments, so by increasing circulation to the scalp we can prevent this type of hair loss.

Androgenic Alopecia: Saw Palmetto as an herbal supplement blocks DHT, and topical rosemary oil (like Prism’s Hair Growth Serum) blocks DHT directly in the scalp. 7 Star Treatments, like Prism’s Hair Restoration Treatment, also increase circulation to the scalp, blocking DHT.

The second most common form of hair loss is called ‘telogenic effluvium’, which literally means your hair is falling out. There’s no change in your hair follicles, simply too many of them are in the dormant vs growth stage. This is usually caused by hormonal stress like starting or stopping birth control, HRT, or hormone blockers, after birth, menopause, or even just a stressful time in your life. Yes, you can actually stress yourself out so much that your hair falls out! Besides tackling whatever caused this problem in the first place (getting acupuncture and a custom herbal formula to balance hormones and reduce stress, practicing mindfulness meditation or other stress-reduction techniques), the best thing you can do is to be gentle with your scalp to prevent as much hair loss as possible.

This also applies to hair loss caused by chemicals, heat, or other types of physical damage to the hair and hair follicles. This is most likely the case if you suddenly notice your hair refusing to grow more than a few inches long and then breaking off.

Care for Your Hair Follicles:

Beauty Routines:

  • Prevent sun damage: wear a hat or scarf to cover hair and scalp
  • Switch plastic brushes for a pure boar bristle brush or a wide tooth comb, only use on dry hair
  • Air dry hair or use a hair wrap instead of blow drying. Heat protectant sprays do not help because wetting hair before drying actually increases damage!
  • Wash hair only 1-3 times per week

Avoid drying, damaging, and toxic product ingredients (organic products generally do not contain these ingredients and are a good choice):

  • Silicone
  • Ethanol, isopropane, propanol or isopropyl alcohols (fatty alcohols like lauryl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, myristyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol and behenyl alcohol are ok)
  • Aerosols (use pump sprays only)
  • Sulfates (organic coco-sulfates and sulfonates are gentler)
  • Parabens
  • Fragrances (essential oils are ok)
  • Zinc Pyrithione and Coal Tar (in dandruff shampoos, use an organic dandruff shampoo instead)
  • Sodium laurel/laureth sulfate (SLS), aka ammonium laurel sulfate, sodium dodecylsulfate, sulfuric acid, sodium salt sulfuric acid, A12-00356, Akyposal SDS, Aquarex ME, and Aquarex methyl
  • Proplyene glycol (PG), PEG, or Polyethylene
  • Salt Sprays (too drying)

Try these hair-safe products instead:

Avoid chemical and heat styling and harsh dyes. Check out salons that use organic products and ammonia and paraben-free dyes:

Hair breakage (and hair loss) can also be caused by malnutrition, either not getting enough nutrients your hair needs to grow, or something is preventing you from absorbing those nutrients. Most commonly this is due to anemia. Make sure to get checked out by a healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause!

Nutrition for Hair Health:

  • Hair and Skin from Nature’s Way
  • Hair, Skin, and Nail Support from Gaia Herbs
  • A prescription formula from Prism, tailored to your individual constitution
  • Omega Plus from Thorne, or:
    • Omega-3 from salmon, mackerel, tuna, white fish, sardines, walnuts, hemp seeds, flax seeds
  • Basic Nutrients (if you don’t need iron), Basic Nutrients IV (with iron), or Basic Prenatal from Thorne, or:
    • Vitamin C from oranges, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, strawberries, grapefruit and kiwi.
    • vitamin D from halibut, mackerel, eel, salmon, whitefish, maitakes and portabellas.
    • Vitamin A from Sweet Potato, pumpkin, Carrots, Peaches, Kale
    • Vitamin E from Fish, Beans, Leafy Greens, Meat, Nuts and seeds, Whole grains
    • Biotin & B5 from chicken, avocado, legumes, nuts
    • Niacin from Fish, lean meats, Portabellas, Sunflower seeds, Avocado, Mushrooms, Tuna, Nuts
    • Iron from spinach, Swiss chard, collard greens, navy beans, black beans.
    • Zinc (especially with autoimmune alopecia) from oysters and other seafood, Whole grains, Legumes, Sunflower seeds, Pumpkin
    • Selenium from brazil nuts and other nuts and seeds, oysters, tuna, mushrooms
  • Collagen from bone broth; or boost your own collagen production with dark leafy greens and red fruits and veggies like cherries and beets
  • Lycopene from guava, papaya, grapefruit, asparagus, purple cabbage
  • Avoid Inflammatory foods like dairy, red meat, trans-fats (like margarine), gluten, alcohol, coffee, eggs, bananas, mango, pineapple, watermelon, nightshades (eggplant, paprika, peppers, potatoes, tomatillos, tomatoes), and soy.

If you’re not sure what kind of hair loss you’re experiencing, a dermatologist can examine your hair under a microscope and determine this for you. Beware the Rogaine they may prescribe, however, as it can often cause hair growth in unwanted places! Rosemary oil on the scalp (like Prism’s Hair Growth Serum) has been shown to be as effective as Rogaine and does not have this side effect.


All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.


Contact us to see if your insurance covers services at our office!

Join the Prism Family! Subscribe to our newsletter and get $30 off your first visit.

Fertility and Pregnancy, hair loss, Menopause and Beyond, PCOS, Press, Prism Blog, Transgender Wellness

Hair Brilliance with Chinese Medicine

Capture

Join me for this wonderful class, in collaboration with Berkeley Community Acupuncture. We will make a hair growth serum together in class, which you will get to take home and use, you will also receive a BCA’s Glow Tea for hair and skin!
$40
At Berkeley Community Acupuncture, 2880 Sacramento St, Berkeley, CA.

Sign up!


All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.


Contact us to see if your insurance covers services at our office!

Join the Prism Family! Subscribe to our newsletter and get $30 off your first visit.

 

Acupuncture, For Providers, hair loss, Menopause and Beyond, PCOS, Prism Blog, Transgender Wellness

Plum Blossom for Hair Loss

Plum blossom therapy is a great alternative to prescription finasteride (which can come with unwanted side effects) and toxic creams and over the counter medications.

I love plum blossom therapy, it’s gentle and effective for hair loss (more details). It involves using a tiny hammer with light pressure just until slight redness appears. This stimulates circulation to the scalp which helps to reawaken hair follicles and encourage hair growth. DHT, the compound responsible for hair loss, is only formed in low oxygen environments, so by increasing circulation with plum blossom therapy, the concentration of DHT is reduced. Studies have shown an 80% success rate for androgenic alopecia % and a 97% effectiveness rate for alopecia aureata in all genders.

Plum blossom therapy can be used both for scalp hair loss and also for encouraging facial hair growth. It can even be used for reducing scars, wrinkles, pores, visible blood vessels, and can increase collagen and skin softness (for facial feminization therapy).

In combination with herbal formulas, this technique can create significant hair restoration. Find out more about herbal formulas for hair loss here.


All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.


Contact us to see if your insurance covers services at our office!

Join the Prism Family! Subscribe to our newsletter and get $30 off your first visit.

For more herbal estrogens, ideas, and resources see my previous posts: Feminizing Herbs and “The Basics.”

hair loss, Menopause and Beyond, PCOS, Prism Blog, Transgender Wellness

How Does Saw Palmetto Decrease Baldness?

Normally, hair follicles remain active for up to a decade, producing a long strand of 10 year old hair. In alopecia, however, follicles stop producing hair before the hair is long enough to even emerge from the skin. Male pattern baldness, or Androgenic Alopecia, is both genetically determined and influenced by hormones.

Genetics cause some people’s hair follicles to be more susceptible to DHT (dihidrotestosterone), which changes the growth phase of hair follicles. This gene can be present in any sex, but is only expressed when DHT, a form of testosterone, is present. Hence the name “male-pattern” baldness. This is the reason why many trans men develop this pattern of baldness while on T, and why this process of balding stops in most trans women once they start taking anti-androgens (like spironolactone).

Though we cannot change the gene, we can prevent testosterone from converting to DHT to stop this balding process. Testosterone converts to DHT via the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. Research has shown that saw palmetto inhibits 5-alpha-reductase, preventing this pattern of baldness.


Saw palmetto is very effective for hair growthSaw palmetto together with the supplement beta-sitosterol has been shown to have a 60% effectiveness rate for hair loss reversal. In my experience this does not increase facial hair growth, however studies have shown inconclusive results about its effect on overall testosterone levels. It likely blocks aromatase, an enzyme which converts testosterone to estradiol, a major hormone involved in breast development. If you’re concerned about saw palmetto supplements increasing your testosterone levels, a good alternative is to use it topically. It has been used topically with similar effectiveness.

Saw palmetto also prevents the accumulation of DHT in the prostate, lowering the risk of prostate cancer. It acts on estrogen and progesterone receptors to lower the risk of breast cancer. It’s helpful for colds and coughs, sore throats, asthma, chronic bronchitis, chronic pelvic pain syndrome, and migraine headaches. It is also a diuretic (makes you pee more), a sedative, and an aphrodisiac, so be cautious if those are effect you do not want.

DO NOT take saw palmetto with spironolactone because they are both diuretics and could significantly lower your blood pressure or cause dehydration. People with bleeding disorders or who are taking anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications (“blood-thinners”) such as warfarin (Coumadin), aspirin, or clopidogrel (Plavix) should avoid taking saw palmetto unless under medical supervision. It should also be avoided at least two weeks before or after surgery. Saw palmetto may interact with other medicines, including anti-inflammatory drugs, blood pressure medications, birth control pills and antibiotics.


Another great herb for hair loss is Shou Wu. Shou Wu Pian (aka Fu Ti) is an ancient Chinese herb that increases hair growth. It is generally used for scalp hair growth, but in my experience it increases mustache growth as well. If increased facial hair would be a problem for you, you may not want to take this formula. It’s also important not to take this formula if you are already taking synthetic hormones or other medications as it can increase the strain on your liver.


More hair loss prevention
Massage daily with Rosemary hair oil
Topical borage seed oil works like Propecia to block androgen receptors in hair follicles
Teas of silica rich herbs like horsetail, oats, or nettles
Nourish your kidneys with asparagus, artichoke, celery, aduki beans, parsley
Using a plum blossom needle to stimulate hair growth.

Finally, to support your overall constitution and get treatments tailored specficially to your goals, come in for a treatment!


Where to find:

Shou Wu Pian (aka Fu Ti)

Saw Palmetto with Beta-Sitosterol

Topical Saw Palmetto

Read more


All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.


Contact us to see if your insurance covers services at our office!

Join the Prism Family! Subscribe to our newsletter and get $30 off your first visit.