As a doctor who specializes in hair restoration, I frequently receive questions about which shampoos should be used for the prevention and maintenance of hair loss. This question comes from many patients as a result of heavily marketed products which claim to solve every hair loss problem which exists. Although shampoos can affect the quality of a person’s hair, its overall influence on hair growth is minimal.
Shampoo is primarily suited toward keeping hair clean and adding shine. It is incapable of replacing lost hair for men or women who suffer from patterned baldness. Although there are some shampoos which contain chemicals that are harmful to hair follicles, most shampoos found in everyday stores do not contain these additives. Shampoos only affect hair shafts and the actual hair follicles are what truly determine whether hair will grow.
Cleansers can also safely be used without causing damage to permanent hair growth. Some cleansers on the market make great claims of opening scalp pores and oxygenating hair follicles. Although those are clever sounding claims, they are not realistic. Hair follicles do not absorb oxygen or nutrition from the outside of the scalp. Rather, they get the necessary amino acids from the bloodstream.
In the end, the major factors affecting balding are centered on genetics, health conditions, and temporary situational factors such as: stress, trauma, and transitions. Although there may be several major claims declaring shampoo can magically restore lost hair, it is nothing more than slick marketing and salesmanship. Whenever I have patients share their concerns about the shampoo they are using, I often say to them, “Do not stress too much about the shampoos!”
Dr. Parsa Mohebi
Editorial Assistant and Forum Co-Moderator for the Hair Transplant Network, the Coalition Hair Loss Learning Center, and the Hair Loss Q & A Blog.
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