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Busting Hair Myths with Top Trichologist

Eva Proudman MIT IAT, Chairman of the Institute of Trichologists, busts some common hair myths in her latest guest blog - from onion juice to alopecia, she's got all the answers!

July 08, 2021

Photo showing Eva Proudman, a white woman in a white lab coat, studying a person with long dark hair

July 08, 2021

Hello to all you Absoluters out there! Recently, I have received lots of questions about natural remedies for your hair - naturally, you all want to know what works and what doesn’t. So here is my guide to help you sort fact from fiction - let’s bust some common hair myths together!

Can you use onion juice for hair regrowth?

Allium Cepa, or crude onion juice, was researched in 2002 by Sharquie, K.E. and Al-Obaidi, H.K. as a topical treatment for alopecia areata. They found that the application of crude onion juice to the scalp in alopecia areata did in fact induce hair growth and triggered an immune response. So, the short answer is that yes in conditions such as alopecia areata crude onion juice can be supportive in treatment.

However, while onions are lovely they are also a little bit smelly! Stimulating oils used in a carrier oil such as rosemary, menthol and juniper can have a similar effect, but smell much nicer.

Which oil is the most effective for hair?

If you are looking to use an oil that can penetrate the hair shaft and be substantive to hair then olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil are the best choice as their molecules are small enough to penetrate, adding moisture and hydration.

Castor oil is often cited as something that will make your hair grow quicker and longer, but there really is no research or evidence to support this claim. Castor oil will actually create a film around each hair strand acting as a “temporary seal”. It is very viscous and if you use too much it can easily build up on the scalp and around the hair follicles, which is not healthy or supportive to your hair. Plus, castor oil can be quite tricky to remove.

A good tip if you do choose to “oil” your hair is to massage your shampoo into the hair before you get it wet. This way, the shampoo will mix with the oil more effectively and give a much better cleanse. My advice would be to opt for organic coconut oil as it absorbs well into the hair shaft and really hydrates the hair.

When it comes to increasing the rate of hair growth, there are lots of myths about this too. In particular, there are lots of anecdotal stories about the power of olive oil increasing the rate of hair growth, but nothing is proven in this area.

Does combing your hair backwards cause your hairline to recede?

Ordinary combing, adding no stress or tension, should not affect the hairline at all.

Things that can cause the hairline to thin, change or appear to recede are wearing tight hair-up styles that put tension onto the hair, which can eventually lead to traction alopecia. The hair is very resilient, however prolonged tension will cause breakage, loss, and can even scar, leading to permanent damage. Hairstyles that are worn up or back are great - but just avoid wearing them too tightly. Always use covered hair bands and give your hair a break from being pulled up when you can.

Graphic showing two women, one with a normal hairline and one with traction alopecia from tightly tied-back hair

What is the best treatment for hair loss?

There is no simple answer to this one, as it really depends on what is causing the hair loss. This can be determined with a consultation that can ultimately save you time and money as it will identify the most suitable treatments for your individual problem.

Excessive hair shedding and thinning can be due to your hair care regime, illness, diet, stress and many other factors as well, treatments can be varied from dietary changes and supplements to hair and scalp care as well as managing stress.

Patchy hair loss can be due to an autoimmune problem, but can also be due to other factors such as ringworm.

Androgenetic hair loss, male or female pattern, is determined by the pattern of hair loss. Usually in men the hairline starts to recede and the top of the head thins. In women, the centre parting becomes wider and more noticeable with thinning sitting on the top of the head, usually behind the hairline. There are two FDA approved treatments for androgenetic alopecia which are Minoxidil and Finasteride - you can read more about male pattern hair loss and female pattern hair loss in my previous blogs.

Scalp health can be another factor in hair loss; some scalp issues can be treated easily whilst others require a more long-term approach

How can you make hair grow quicker?

On average our hair grows between ½ cm and 1 cm per month, and there are no scientifically proven products that increase this growth rate. However there are things you can do to support the best growth possible for your hair:

Graphic showing how hair grows on average 0.5-1 centimetre per month

  • A good hair care regime to keep your hair and scalp clean and balanced. This is usually washing your hair daily, using a conditioner to keep it smooth and shiny, and heat protection products to style it.
  • A balanced diet with a good protein intake. This will ensure a good level of key nutrients that the hair needs as the second fastest dividing cell in the body.
  • Scalp massage, which can stimulate the blood flow in your scalp. In turn, this stimulates your hair follicles to be active and to grow your hair.
  • Treat your hair well. Don’t overprocess it with colour or treat it too harshly with heat - if you damage your hair it will sabotage your plans for it to grow, because the damage will need to be cut off.

So although there is no magical formula to instant hair growth, there are steps you can take to boost your hair and scalp health and ultimately boost hair growth.

So there you have it - my guide to some common hair myths and questions. 

Join me soon when I will be talking to you about active ingredients in hair care products, what to look for and what works, so that you can really make informed choices when it comes to your hair care.

Photo showing Eva Proudman MIT IAT alongside a description of her expertise