A comprehensive guide to hair growth terminology & concepts

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Amino Acids

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Amino acids are key to hair growth and retention. Both L-Methionine and L-Cysteine are known to combat hair loss by supplying sulfur to the hair cells. In fact, the basic structure of the keratin within hair is made up of amino acids joined together by chemical bonds also known as peptide bonds. Therefore they are a key element to the strength of the hair fiber. There is no question that amino acids are essential to hair growth, hair strength, and length retention.

In addition to producing essential keratin, amino acids also create red blood cells, which in turn deliver nutrients and oxygen to hair-producing follicles. Of course, nutrient-rich hair makes for healthy hair.

Biotin

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Biotin, which is also known as vitamin B7, is a water soluble vitamin that is part of the vitamin B complex. These are are a group of key nutrients needed for healthy body system functions. As a nutrient it is very important in maintaining hair, nail and skin health. Having adequate levels of biotin is very important for preventing hair loss, especially in women.

According to a study done by harvard university in 2000, biotin is essential for hair health. Just like the other B-Complex vitamins, biotins help nourish hair follicles. It is important for cell proliferation and when ingested, biotin reacts with cell enzymes and produces amino acids which are the building blocks of protein. Keratin, which is important in hair structure.

Caffiene

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Caffeine is a stimulant of the central nervous system. It is a bitter substance found in coffee, tea, soft drinks and certain medicines. It has many effects on the body’s metabolism and is used widely to stay alert and for an energy boost. However a lesser known use of caffeine is for its beneficial effects on hair follicles to promote healthy hair.

Caffeine is able to interact with hair follicles and regulating hair growth. A 2007 study published in the international journal of dermatology, found that the presence of caffeine stimulated hair growth in lab-cultured hair follicles, increasing hair growth. It also stimulates the elongation of hair shafts and prolongs the hair growth cycle by blocking the effects of DHT, which is the hormone responsible for shrinking hair follicles and hair loss. Interestingly enough, female hair follicles have been found to be more responsive to caffeine than male hair follicles.

You might think that your morning cup of coffee or your red bull might be the cause of your full hair. However, according to Dr. Robert Dorin, a hair restoration specialist, you would have to drink close to 50 cups a day to see an effect – which we definitely DON’T recommend.

Hyaluronic Acid

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Hyaluronic acid is a substance that is naturally found in the human body. The highest concentrations of this can be found in eye and joint fluids. Hyaluronic acid, also known as HA, is usually recommended by dermatologists for its moisturizing benefits. It acts as a lubricating agent for the hair. It is also important to note that by the time most individuals reach their 40’s, the body produced half the amount of hyaluronic acid required to maintain hair fullness.

Hair growth products that contain Hyaluronic Acid help moisturize and rejuvenate dry scalp and therefore encourages increased hair growth. It does this by preventing hair from thinning and eventually falling out. HA is also believed to inhibit DHT(a byproduct of testosterone) production, which scientist believe to be responsible for shrinking hair follicles, leading to hair loss.
Please consult your doctor before using products that contain Hyaluronic acid.

Keratin

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Saw Palmetto

Keratin is a protein that is naturally found in your body, primarily in your hair, skin and nails. It is important because it influences both hair structure as hair health. Keratin acts acts as an internal structural protein in the cortex( the inner core of the hair that helps determine its strength); as well as an external protective protein in the cuticle (the outer layer of a hair strand). When the hair is damaged physically, chemically or through external agents(ex. The sun), Keratin is depleted. Keratin loss leads to the exposure of the hair’s cortex which makes it susceptible to further damage.
Keratin is known mostly for its use in hair straightening treatments.

It is also used to improve hair volume and thickness. Keratin-based hair products work by repairing dry or damaged follicles. This makes your hair thicker, stronger, healthier and even shinier. As a result it has become a popular ingredient in a lot hair loss treatments. Keratin based treatments are usually initiated with a stylist applying a mixture of Keratin and formaldehyde to the hair.

Minoxidil

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Minoxidil is proven to be among the most effective ways to combat hair loss and to stimulate hair growth. Though the name minoxidil might sound more like an alien planet, it’s actually the secret ingredient to some of the most famous hair loss solutions out there. Minoxidil works mostly through prolonging the Anagen phase of hair cells, which promotes their growth. Hair cells go through three phases of growth (Anagen), regression (Catagen) and rest (Telogen), which are cycled through as new follicles, replacing the older ones with similar looking follicles. It’s efficacy is extremely well documented across multiple studies and it has been found to work for the majority of users.

As such, it proudly boasts FDA approval in the treatment of hair loss. Minoxidil-based products vary from between a 2% to 5% solution, with 5% being the maximum. The only major downside to these products is that they take quite a large investment of time and patience, usually requiring between one to two treatments a day, and up to 3 months before you see major results. Bottom-line: It’s worth the patience because it’s incredible for hair growth, hair thinning, and hair loss!

Retinol

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Retinol, also known as Vitamin A and trentinoin, is essential for the growth of and maintenance of skin and hair. It is thought that retinol regulates hair follicle growth through biological manipulation of the immune system. Topical retinol has also been shown to increase blood flow to hair follicles and encourage new blood vessel formation. The anti-inflammation capabilities seen in topical retinol have made it widely accepted by the scientific community as a potential treatment for hair loss.

In a study focusing on the benefits of the topical application of 0.025% retinol, on average, test subjects saw moderate increases in hair growth and some saw extreme increases in hair growth. The combination of minoxidil and topical retinol saw even more statistically significant hair growth.

Saw Palmetto

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Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto extracts and supplements work as hair loss remedies because they keep testosterone levels balanced. As men age, the testosterone hormone is diminished and the hormone called 5α-Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) increases. The cause of hair loss is due to the hair follicles’ sensitivity to DHT, which is a male androgen hormone that causes follicles to shrink, resulting in a shorter life span and decrease of hair production.

Normally after hairs fall out, another hair starts to grow from this same follicle — but if DHT is high, hair growth decreases. Saw palmetto has the power to stop the conversion of testosterone into DHT, making it beneficial for hair growth.

Although the options about saw palmetto as an effective hair growth agent are mixed, there are studies that indicate its use as beneficial. One study conducted at the Clinical Research and Development Network in Colorado tested 34 men and 28 women, aged 18-48 years, who topically applied saw palmetto extract in lotion and shampoo base for three months; the results found that 35 percent of the participants had an increase in hair density.