In this article I’m going to reveal five powerful (and natural) ways to quickly stimulate new hair growth.
After using these techniques your hair should also feel thicker, longer, and look healthier.
The key here is to be consistent. Hair loss takes place slowly over time, and hair growth also takes time. Your body won’t react immediately, even to these methods.
I recommend choosing your favorite two or three ways to stimulate hair growth from the list below and focusing on them. If you try to do all of these, you probably won’t be as consistent as you need to be.
Pick two or three methods and stick to them until they become a habit.
NOTE: There is no clear evidence that the natural ingredients outlined below causes hair regrowth in humans, more studies are needed in this area. This is unlikely to help. There is also more research required for the use of scalp massage and microneedling as a beneficial treatment. This is not an FDA approved treatment. Do see a doctor before you proceed.
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Should I Use Conventional Methods to Stimulate Hair Growth?
Hair loss is a problem that affects men and women of all ages and ethnicity. This means that over the years, an array of hair loss treatments have been tested (and some approved) to address the wide-scale issue (1).
The most common methods are topical solutions (such as Rogaine), oral drugs (including Propecia and dutasteride), and surgery.
These methods can be a good option for many people, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Foremost, the above techniques are often short-term solutions to a long-term problem.
There is no doubt that many users of Rogaine and Propecia see positive results, and this is often true for as long as they continue the medication (2, 3). However, these treatments will often only cover up the issue instead of treating it as its source.
The same can be said for hair transplantation surgery. If the underlying cause of hair loss is not resolved, then the hairline recession will just return.
Whether you intend to use the above treatments or not, the below techniques can be a helpful addition to your current hair growth regimen or a great place to start.
1. Use A Derma Roller
In mesotherapy, or microneedling, mechanical stimulation is used to slightly wound the skin causing it to create new cells. In the scalp this facilitates the production of collagen and elastin, increasing circulation and improving the elasticity which can help to grow more hairs (4, 5).
This is mesotherapy in a nutshell, and it has been used successfully to stimulate new hairs to grow quite successfully.
In a clinical study, using a derma roller was proven to cause hair growth (6):
When using a derma roller plus minoxidil versus minoxidil alone, the study participants were able to dramatically increase the mean hair count after 12 weeks.
Minoxidil hair count went up by 17, whereas the derma roller plus minoxidil group’s hair count went up by a whopping 91 points.
The same study shows the results in a different way below.
The before and after photos below show just how effectively the microneedling process is at stimulating hair growth:
In fact, there is actually a better method than the one they used in the study.
They used a derma roller. This is an easier method, and quicker, but it is not actually the most effective way.
The problem is, the derma roller can get caught up in the hair, making it harder to go over thinning patches.
In addition, the derma roller causes a bigger wound, which takes longer to heal. The alternative option is the derma stamp.
The stamp is better than the roller in many ways because it causes less unnecessary damage and can be easily applied all over the scalp.
Take note, it is very important to correctly clean the roller or stamp before use. It must be clean otherwise you increase the risk of infection.
2. Massage & Scalp Exercises
Circulation in the scalp is vital for hair growth. Without blood reaching the hair follicles, they quickly wither and die. Conversely, when blood circulation is good, the hair follicles receive all of the oxygen, nutrients, and minerals they need to grow.
One way to increase blood circulation is scalp exercises and massages.
Scalp massage is manual manipulation of the scalp using hands or a specialized tool.
Use your hands and rub in circular motions, first at the side (above the ears), then at the front, then at the back. Feel the scalp loosening and relaxing as you massage. You will actually get better at giving yourself head massages over time.
Best of all, studies have shown just how effective the massages are to regrow hair lost. In a study from the University of Hong Kong, researchers massaged participants scalps everyday for 20 minutes for a total of 300 days (8).
The percentage hair loss before and after the treatment (highlighted in yellow) is shown below:
In every group, the percentage of hair lost (i.e. bald patches) was drastically reduced.
You can also improve circulation to the hair follicles with scalp exercises. This involves tensing and relaxing the muscles in your head, namely your forehead, to stretch and relax the skin.
If you stare at a computer all day long then you may have unnatural tension around your eyes and forehead. It is important to remove this tension each day with these simple exercises so the scalp does not become tight and restrict blood flow. The two most basic and effective exercises are:
- Raise your eyebrows as high up as they will go;
- Lower your eyebrows (furrow) as far as they will go.
These two exercises will relax the forehead and remove tension at the front of the head where hair recession is most likely to occur. After all, it is no coincidence that areas of mechanical tension correlate to pattern baldness (9).
3. Use A Rubber Scalp Massager
A rubber scalp massager is a simple, cheap, and effective way to increase the blood flow to the scalp.
There are a few different massagers, along with some different techniques.
You can also use a metal head massager which stimulates the scalp, but in a slightly different way than the rubber scalp massager. However, the result is the same: increased blood flow.
A few minutes per day will have a positive effect on your scalp.
4. Boost Hair Growth From The Inside
When it comes to health, our hair is not essential for survival. It is not a priority like, say, the heart or the brain. For this reason, our body will prioritize vital organs before the hair.
This is why it is so important to eat adequate amounts of healthy foods, because if you do not your body will use the limited resources to repair and grow cells of your organs, not your hair.
The trick is to boost your hair growing nutrients, minerals, enzymes, and bacteria so that there is an excess of these that your body can use for hair growth and other nonessential functions.
Nutrients and Minerals
The hair follicles are made of keratin, a protein made up of smaller nutrients and trace minerals (10). As such, it makes sense that nutrient and mineral support are important for healthy hair growth. Here are a few vitamins and nutrients with proven beneficial effects on hair growth.
Niacin (Vitamin B3)
When blood flow to the hair follicles is restricted, it can lead to weak, brittle hair. This is because the hair is not able to receive sufficient oxygen and nutrient supplies. Other benefits of niacin are its anti-inflammatory properties, and its ability to increase keratin synthesis (12, 13).
Biotin (Vitamin B7)
Found in many multivitamins, as well as those aimed at hair, skin, and nail health, biotin is one of the most important vitamins to add to your diet. Its main function is as a protein synthesizer, which means it turns fatty acids into proteins, like keratin, that the body can use.
Biotin is produced in healthy gut flora, but it can also be found in many foods, including:
You can also add a biotin supplement (or multivitamin) to your daily routine, though, the absorption rate and true benefit of supplemental nutrients is hotly debated (15).
Zinc and Selenium
- Red meats
- Pumpkin seeds
- Wheat germ
- Egg yolks
- Soy products
Antioxidants are mentioned often when discussing hair health, and there is a good reason. They protect against the breakdown of important organs, including hair follicles.
One of the best antioxidants found in nature is Vitamin E and, more specifically, tocotrienols (20).
These have been proven beneficial in hair growth, and an eight-month study even showed a hair count increase of 34.5 percent (21).
You can take Vitamin E supplements, but it is better absorbed through food consumption.
(You can learn more about vitamins, and the role they play in hair growth, here.)
Enzymes comes from raw (or fermented) foods and help digestion. They help make the nutrients and minerals more easy to absorb by your body. This is known as bioavailability and means your body can easily make use of the mineral (22).
Bacteria also play a part in hair growth. There are billions of bacteria inside the body, some of which are ‘good’ and others ‘bad’ (23). Some foods help promote healthy bacteria, and some foods kill the good bacteria and feed the bad ones.
Too much bad bacteria can mean your body finds it hard to absorb the nutrients and minerals from the food.
Instead of breaking down the food so that the nutrition can be easily absorbed into your blood, the bad bacteria actually feed on the food itself and release waste. The result is that, although you may eat a relatively healthy diet, you may be undernourished resulting in hair loss.
This is a highly simplified version of things, but it’s important to know that having the correct gut bacteria will help to encourage new hair follicles, whilst having too many bad bacteria could cause weak hair growth. Eat food rich with probiotics, such as yogurt, pickles, or sauerkraut.
5. Use Inversion Therapy
Inversion therapy is a fancy term for hanging upside down for a few minutes in order to increase blood flow to the scalp.
Blood circulation to the hair follicles is important for hair growth because the blood delivers the vital oxygen, minerals, and nutrients to the hair. The more blood the better. Since your scalp is the highest point on your body, it can be hard for the blood to reach that high.
With inversion therapy, you get your head below your body as far as possible so the blood can make its way to the scalp.
You don’t want to do this for too long since the blood can pool in your head causing you to feel dizzy, but a few minutes per day can be beneficial to scalp blood flow.
To increase the amount of blood flow more, incorporate the scalp massages and exercises whilst being inverted.
Bonus: Consider FDA-Approved Hair Loss Treatments
There is one treatment you may want to consider if you want “fast” results: FDA-approved treatments like minoxidil and finasteride.
Minoxidil is a topical solution, and the first drug to be FDA-approved for the treatment of pattern baldness.
The drug was first produced as a anti-hypertensive. This means it combated high blood pressure by dilating the blood vessels. And while it is still used as an anti-hypertensive today (under the brand name Loniten), it is more commonly known for its hair growth promoting abilities.
There are a few theories about minoxidil’s efficacy
The most common theory is that its vaso-dilating capabilities are a powerful blood flow promoter. When applied topically, the blood flow to the immediate area is increased.
This increase in blood flow ensures the proper delivery of oxygen and vital nutrients. And because it dilates the blood vessels, it can even deliver blood to hair follicles that have been miniaturized.
Perhaps an even more important mechanism is its proven ability to upregulate growth factors, namely Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) (27). This growth factor, which minoxidil is shown to upregulate in dermal papilla cells, plays an important role in hair growth.
One thing to keep in mind before you use minoxidil is that you are likely to experience an initial period of shedding. This is known as “dread shed,” but it is a normal part of the hair growth process.
Finasteride is the second (and last) drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of male-pattern baldness. It is an oral drug initially developed for the treatment of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). While the drug does work for its intended purpose, it is also shown to promote hair growth in men with pattern balding.
BPH is a medical condition that affects the prostate. The condition is believed to be caused by an excess presence of the androgen hormone Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The same has been said of male-pattern baldness, though more theories on pattern baldness are coming to light.
If the DHT theory holds any truth to it, then it makes sense why finasteride works.
Contrary to popular belief, finasteride does not block DHT. Instead, it inhibits 5-alpha-reductase, which is the enzyme responsible for DHT’s production. As such, finasteride lowers the levels of DHT at the hair follicle (and throughout the body).
When to See a Doctor
A dermatologist — particularly one that specializes in hair loss — can provide you with helpful information. They can perform blood tests, physical examinations, and even scalp biopsies to gain a clearer picture of your situation.
They may even be able to offer some advice when it comes to getting start on hair regrowth.
There are many ways – medicinal, surgical, and natural – to stimulate new hair growth.
The thing with any regime to trigger new hairs to grow is that it takes time. Your hair does not fall out all at once, so do not expect it to regrow overnight.
Realistically, you need to stick with any regime for at least eight weeks before you can accurately assess whether it is working or not.