The scalp’s reaction to aging may be hereditary, but that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing that can be done to protect it. In particular, hair loss due to oily scalp potentially falls within the standard operator’s manual.
Understanding Hair Loss
According to the Dermatology online journal, hair goes through a 3-stage growing cycle. In the two to six year anagen stage, the hair grows actively. The anagen stage accounts for about 90% of hair healthy hair follicles at any given time. Cessation of growth occurs in the catagen stage when the root of the hair connects to the shaft. That breaks the connection between the cells that grow hair and the hair itself. Catagen lasts about two weeks. Finally, the hair enters a long period of rest called telogen that lasts about three months before the dead hair falls out and the cycle repeats. Anything that interrupts the cycle can lead to rapid or gradual hair loss. Some of these can be controlled or moderated, while others are beyond our control.
The main example of the latter group includes serious health issues like cancer. Since hair production depends on rapid cell division in the hair matrix epithelium, medical procedures like chemotherapy or radiation that slow cell division can also cause hair loss.
Three causes of hair loss that can be partly controlled include stress, the shrinking of the hair follicle in response to DHT, and oily buildup. Since stress may cause up to 70% of hair to enter the telogen phase in a process called telogen effluvium, regulating stress levels can help with hair loss. While most people naturally lose 50-70 hairs every day, in telogen effluvium hair loss can be very rapid. By contrast, DHT-related hair loss and hair loss due to an oily scalp usually occur over an extended time period.
Control What Can Be Controlled
Very few people today would claim that male pattern baldness due to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) can be substantially improved by hygiene except at the margin. Testosterone comes with the package. On the other hand, both stress and oil buildup fall in another category entirely. Unsurprisingly, people graced with thick beautiful hair also have more sebaceous glands, and not all shiny hair is created equal. Oily hair clumps together, attracts dirt, and encourages dandruff, inflammation, and scalp fungus, any of which can accelerate hair loss. Untreated, seborrheic dermatitis, scalp psoriasis and malassezia all cause itchy dandruff to accumulate. According to the Surviving Hair Loss website, dandruff leads to hair loss by blocking pores and hair follicles.
Nothing relieves stess like a warm bath or shower. In addition, aroma therapy has been used for centuries to relieve stress. Less well known, topical use of essential oils including rosemary, lavender, tea oil, jojoba, and cedar oil have demonstrated clinical efficacy in reversing hair loss in double blind research. For example, in randomized trials, a 1998 study by Hay and Ormerod published in Archives of Dematology found that about three times as many hair loss patients who were treated with essential oils experienced new hair growth compared with those who received a placebo.
At least two shampoos exploit the available research for hair-loss sufferers that prefer to combat their problem directly by using natural formulas. Orders for both products are fulfilled through Amazon. The first comes from Maple Holistics. It incorporates rosemary, jojoba, and peach:
A second shampoo, Desert Essence Organics by OxKom blends Australian tea tree oil and coconut oil to produce a gentle product with antiseptic properties:
Some problems with alopecia may be due to heredity and severe medical problems like cancer. Others, like hair loss due to oily scalp or stress may be more amenable to natural, self-treatment regimens that include aromatic ingredients with antiseptic properties with gentle cleansers to stimulate cell growth and circulation.