Real Talk: Do Any of These New Hair Loss Supplements Actually Work?
On average you might lose 100 strands of hair per day. But what do you do when you're losing more than usual? Research shows that up to 45 percent of women experience hair loss in their lifetime, and many before the age of 30. Everything from stress to acne medication can lead to thinning. Luckily, a handful of hair loss supplements out there actually work, according to dermatologists.
“I don’t want you to panic—I want you to know you’re not alone,” says board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, in an episode of Well+Good's YouTube series Dear Derm. (She deals with alopecia-related hair loss herself.) “There are a lot of solutions, and there is definitely hope.”
Topical treatments for hair loss
Topical solutions like Women's Rogaine ($23) and Nioxin Hair Regrowth Treatment ($36) work by thickening the hair, says Dr. Gohara. The active ingredient in these solutions is minoxidil, which New York City-based dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD, says isn't new or sexy, but it's very effective. “Minoxidil’s mechanism of action is believed to be due to an effect on the calcium channels in the hair cells. Minoxidil increases the capillary blood flow to the dermis of the skin where the follicle resides—promotes oxygen, blood, and nutrients to the hair follicles—to make them stronger and help re-grow hair," she says.
Oral hair loss supplements
Hair loss can also be symptomatic of nutritional deficiencies, says NYC-based integrative nutrition health coach Maria Marlowe. “Deficiencies in iron, zinc, and biotin, to name a few, have been associated with hair loss,” says Marlowe. “The good news is hair loss related to nutrient deficiencies generally isn’t permanent and can be rectified by adding in the nutrient.” The once-a-day Recharging Complex ($39) by Nioxin works from the inside out to lengthen and strengthen your strands. It's got 16 essential nutrients, including biotin, zinc, and iron.
Adaptogens can also be super helpful if you're experiencing hair breakage or excessive shedding. Dr. Gohara's personal favorite is Nutrafol ($88), an over-the-counter adaptogenic ashwagandha supplement that helps balance out stress levels in your body. Similarly, Moon Juice's Superhair ($60) combines 21 ingredients—including pumpkin seed, ashwagandha, biotin, saw palmetto, and organic kelp—meant to promote healthy hair growth “healthier, thicker, stronger hair.”
Want to know more? Dr. Gohara explains everything you should know about hair loss:
Feeling alone in your hair loss journey? Here, three Well+Good staffers share their stories. And here's how hormonal birth control can contribute to hair loss.
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