Getting Rapunzel-like strands is no easy feat—ask any girl who’s gobbled down countless biotin pills and vitamin E supplements only to be greeted with the same lackluster strands. There are a lot of factors that contribute to hair growth (or lack thereof), but one of the most overlooked is physical stimulation—as in, massaging the heck out of your scalp. Turns out giving yourself a scalp massage using some key natural ingredients can help your hair grow faster and in turn make your strands look more Blake Lively–esque. Or there’s the whole egg-yolk-mask thing. Or why not try a hot oil castor oil treatment? There are plenty of natural treatments that will give you the hair of your dreams—all you have to do is look to your kitchen for the necessary supplies.

That said, there are products that don’t have FDA approval or clearance, but may help prevent hair loss. For example, shampoos with ketoconazole, a chemical with anti-DHT properties, is widely used to treat fungal infections but has become popular among consumers as a hair loss treatment. It makes sense — research shows that ketoconazole actually has beneficial effects on hair growth (especially for those with seborrheic dermatitis).


Topical treatments like Rogaine use the active ingredient minoxidil -- originally used to treat high blood pressure. After researchers discovered that it also promoted hair growth, it was the first drug approved by the FDA to treat male pattern baldness. It is used topically on the scalp, and the success of treatment is dependent on the user's extent of hair loss. Researchers at the AHLA find its efficacy to be marginal in the long run since it has no effect on the hormonal process. 

Studies show that Propecia is effective for 86 percent of men who use it, but doctors interviewed by USA Today say that "anyone who expects miracles will be disappointed." They explain: Only about one-third of men in the early stages of hair loss will regrow some with Propecia. These doctors say that it "primarily slow(s) down hair loss and improve(s) hair quality." As reported at HairLossHelp.com, a five-year study published in 2001 found that Propecia continued to prevent hair loss but there was a "progressive decrease in the amount of hair grown over the five-year period." Experts say that it is effective at growing back more hair than minoxidil (Rogaine) but that it can take up to a year to see results.


For example, if your hair is thinning because you’ve recently started a new medication or a diet, your approach might be to take an oral supplement or use a laser light device. But if you have hair loss from psoriasis or chemical treatments, you might try a new shampoo and invest in a moisturizing scalp treatment. Throwing everything possible at the problem might not be the most effective method. 

Protein: When the body does not get enough protein, it rations the protein it does get. One way the body can ration protein is to shut down hair growth. About 2 to 3 months after a person does not eat enough protein, you can see the hair loss. Eating more protein will stop the hair loss. Meats, eggs, and fish are good sources of protein. Vegetarians can get more protein by adding nuts, seeds, and beans to their diet.


Women with androgenic alopecia may consider trying prescription ketoconazole at a strength of 2 percent. This drug comes in the form of a shampoo and also goes by the name Nizoral. It’s an antifungal agent and may help reduce the body’s production of testosterone and other androgens that lead to hair loss. You can also find 1 percent strength at your local pharmacy, but it may not be as effective.
Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine that has been practiced for thousands of years. Its applications are many, and some researchers believe that it may help with hair loss from alopecia areata. How? The needles inserted into the scalp may help stimulate hair follicles and promote regrowth. More research needs to be done in this area, but consider asking your doctor for a referral to a licensed acupuncturist if this treatment sounds appealing to you. (Learn more about acupuncture for hair loss.)
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