Thinking Out Loud Series No. 1
Editorial Content Provided by The Hair Society

Serums, Elixirs, and SupplementsYou don’t have to look very far to see another news story or Internet claim that someone has the cure for your hair loss woes. Maybe it is a special serum that contains fruit extracts or even stem cells from human conditioned media, or its a “special” shampoo that has a unique peptide that when used in conjunction with the “special” conditioner, will miraculously restore your lost locks.

We decided to take a deeper dive into the world of serum’s, elixirs, potions, and supplements in an effort to ferret out some of the facts and provide you with a basic roadmap that we hope will lead you to a better understanding of why, how and when these modalities should even, if ever be considered as a treatment for your thinning hair concerns.

Let’s begin with the clinical studies that are done in an effort to persuade you to either buy and or sell these products. It is widely accepted that most of us will experience some form of hair loss in our lifetime. The cause of hair loss, however, differs from person to person based on a slew of possibilities. There is hereditary hair loss, genetic hair loss, medically induced hair loss, stressed induced hair loss, psychologically induced hair loss, and even autoimmune related hair loss just to mention a few.

So it is important to keep in mind that when these “clinical studies” are conducted most do not take into account the subjects histories as it pertains to hair loss and underlying causes. They are merely looking to see if the product they are testing is considered effective using a weighted statistical scale. For example, if I had a study that had 100 participants using a new shampoo that claimed it would grow 25% more hair, and in the study it showed that 90% of those who used it did in fact, grow more hair, they would then make the claim that the “study shows that more than 90% of participants saw more hair growth” this would easily convince the unsuspecting, sometimes desperate public at large who is seeking a solutions to buy the shampoo and expect to see at least 25% more hair. The fact is, we are all very different. We tolerate food differently than each other, same with medicine, so it’s safe to say the same would apply to hair loss solutions.

This is why it is so important to speak with a trained professional, one who takes into account you as an individual, your history and of course has a complete understanding of your expectations when it comes to treating your thinning hair and or hair loss.

There are probably 50+ serums and elixirs on the market today, all claiming that they have the unique combination of extracts or stem cells to solve your hair loss concerns. While some of them have been proven to work. Most of them are really just “hope in a bottle” and will prove to be nothing more than another of a long line of modalities that you will try in an effort to hold onto your fading locks. In our experience, serums that have contained human fibroblast conditioned media and human stem cell conditioned media seem to have shown the most promise. This is not to say that other extracts and peptides aren’t effective, rather I am simply saying that in my experience, those that have the stem cells and other human conditioned media show more results, faster, and let’s face it, in the end analysis the end user wants to see results fast. Again, this does not mean that everyone will have the same results.

Another area of hope in a bottle has come in the form of shampoos. There are a variety of shampoos on the market that claim when used will aid in the reduction of shedding hair and even help promote healthy hair growth and even thicker hair. Some of these products are sold over the counter at your local grocery store, and others are sold via multi-level marketing schemes while others are only sold in salons. There are ongoing debates as to whether or not these products make any significant difference in the growth cycle of hair, but one thing is for certain. There are no shortages of lawsuits, and other online reviews and complaints about these products and they’re supposed claims. You might be asking at this point, why are there so many companies and products trying to vie for your dollars? It’s simple, the number of individuals who experience thinning hair or hair loss is staggering. It is a multi-billion dollar per year industry and of course, these companies want your money, even if it is at the expense of you not really seeing any hair restored in any significant manner. Let’s face it, there is no long game in curing hair loss for these companies, there is however billions of dollars to be had every generation they don’t have a cure.

SupplimentsNow let’s take a look at supplements, and how these are engineered to bring back to life the dormant follicles and help grow thicker more fuller hair. First of all, let’s not call them supplements, after all, that is a vitamin one takes to lose weight…right? We need a better name, something that sounds far more scientific and believable. So the new name will be Nutraceuticals. Sounds persuading to me… After all, that means its a food that contains health-giving nutrients. What are in these so-called Nutraceuticals that would assist you in achieving healthier hair? I suppose it really depends on which one you look at. Most of them contain vitamins we are all familiar with, like Vitamin C, B12, B6 etc., all of which have shown to be critical in our daily lives to promote a variety of healthy living for most of our bodies, including our hair and follicles. There are even some that specifically are engineered to deal with inflammation and stress, both contributing factors to thinning hair and hair loss. So, does this mean if you take one of these supplements, along with the magical shampoos and even use the serums that your hair will return to its original state? The simple answer is “Perhaps, probably not though”. The fact is, all of these products have additives and ingredients that have either been proven to promote hair growth or extend the hair growth cycle, which can lead to fuller hair, healthier hair and possibly the appearance of more hair.

Common SenseThe end analysis is this…Use common sense, there are no miracle cures, lotions, potions or other products on the market today that will “cure” your hair loss. There are however a wide variety of products that when used together, can and usually will help. Here is the kicker though, how much will it help? If you came to me with 50% hair loss, and I placed you on a variety of treatment protocols for a period of 6-9 months I might be able to show an increase of 25%-50% improvement. But let’s face it if you have a penny, and I give you a penny, I have increased your wealth by 100%, does that mean you are rich? Of course not, so the same applies when it comes to hair retention and restoration. Having realistic expectations is absolutely imperative to this process. If you come to me with 50% hair loss and expect to see all of your hair restored by using serums, elixirs, and supplements, then you are kidding yourself. You would far better off looking into the amazing new technologies behind hair systems or transplants (if you are a viable candidate).

Talk to a professional, do not rely on Dr. Google for all your answers. Gather the facts and make an informed decision. Make sure that wherever you go, and whatever methods you use, it is being monitored for results. Not all results are visible to the naked eye at first, and it is important to know if progress is being made in the short term.

You can locate a professional near you using The Hair Society Directory