The People's Perspective on Medicine

Is There Any Natural Way to Stop Hair Loss?

Did you know that many medications can cause hair thinning or actual hair loss? This side effect rarely gets mentioned, but it can cause a lot of distress.

Q. Every time I shower there is more hair around the drain. I used to have nice, thick hair but it is thinning rapidly and I would like to do something to slow or stop my hair loss. Is dandruff a contributing factor?

I also wonder if some of my medicines are making my hair loss worse. I take a drug called lovastatin to lower my cholesterol and atenolol for blood pressure. Are there any natural remedies that might reverse hair loss?

A. Dandruff does not cause hair loss, but many medications can lead to thinning. Both lovastatin (Mevacor) and atenolol (Tenormin) may cause hair loss in some people. It often comes as a surprise to patients to learn that many medications can actually cause hair thinning or hair loss.

This is not something that is frequently mentioned when a doctor writes a new prescription. Pharmacists may not discuss it either when they go to dispense a blood pressure pill or a medicine to lower cholesterol. That said, there are literally dozens and dozens of drugs that cause “alopecia,” doctorspeak for hair loss. Here is a link to our Guide to Hair and Nail Care. It has a list of common medications that can contribute to this problem.

Natural Approach to Hair Loss:

There are a number of ways to combat hair loss including drugs such as Rogaine and Propecia. Scottish dermatologists have demonstrated that a mixture of essential oils (thyme, lavender, rosemary and cedar) can also be effective in counteracting patchy baldness known as alopecia areata. To learn more about this approach, here is an article we wrote about this ancient Scottish remedy: “Aromatherapy for Hair Loss.”

Although dandruff does not directly lead to hair loss, it can be aggravating. Our Guide to Hair and Nail Care offers some suggestions for dealing with dandruff. It als provides an overview of Rogaine and Propecia.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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wow wen so glad I read comments my friend gave me a bottle and my hair is dry as straw ad I just had a perm not too long ago and it is straight and not enough hair left to curl also was on tramadol for a misdiagnos and wonder if that started it all feel worse after going to doctors just unlucky choices I guess

I was told by nurses in the hospital that undergoing anesthesia for surgery causes hair loss. I have been under anesthesia 6 times in the last year. They recommended any dandruff shampoo containing zinc to stop the hair loss. I have not continued to lose hair, but my hair is so fine now I cannot use scrunchies to put my hair in a ponytail! I can put my hair up with one tiny hair clip now. I would like my hair to grow back and be thicker. The doctor says hair growth products work better for women than they do for men, but I have not tried any yet.

Judy in Chicago had increased hair loss with WEN, and I’ve heard that same thing from other people. WEN is a crappy product! And to make matters worse, it makes the hair look flat and greasy in my humble opinion. I have no idea how anybody could use WEN. Ick.

After years of cystitis (UTIs) and the same number of years on anti-biotics, I found that drinking baking soda with a pinch of cayenne pepper has solved the problem (Well, so far) I took this combination every day for three weeks and am delighted to report that the painful condition has completely disappeared. Thank you so much Carole G

I have to agree 100% with the People’s Pharmacy. I have quite the story to tell regarding prescription drugs. I was on 13 different ones at one time in my life which have caused me countless complications and life-long negative results. I have written my own story but it’s just too long to post here. But one of the absolute worst is concerning Zocor (a statin drug) for high cholesterol.

I had hair loss plus severe muscle and joint pain which led to several joint replacement surgeries. I would never in a million years suggest that any other person in the world should use statin drugs. There are prescription drugs that are necessary and can save your life. There are many more that are good for nothing except to make billions of dollars for big drug companies.

Research any medicine that you are prescribed and watch for any side effect that you find after taking it. It might save you many years of suffering just from the side effects, many of which can be life threatening.

Thanks for listening.

Hair loss may be a signal that a person has insulin resistance. That can be combated with lifestyle changes. As insulin normalizes, hair may grow back. Once we got my mother’s diabetes under control, and changed her eating to a healthier way, she regained a lot, but not all, of the hair she lost. My hair loss began in my late 20s, but was very slow. However, by the time I was diagnosed with diabetes, made my own lifestyle and diet changes, it did not grow back. Perhaps some of my medications precluded that. By the time I reached my late 40s, I had to start wearing a wiglet, now wear a wig. I am 78.

Have you considered having your thyroid hormone levels checked? My thick hair was thinning and I’d lost the outer third of both eyebrows. Once I started on thyroid pills I got all of my hair back.

My eyedrops for glaucoma, Cosopt, containing both a beta-blocker and another agent, caused very alarming hair loss. A search on the Internet confirmed that beta-blockers often cause hair loss, and a suggestion was Vitamin B12. I began taking 1,000 mg. per day (one tablet) and my hair loss stopped cold within a week. Maybe won’t work for everyone, but worth a try, I say.

First I got that heart Rx, then my daughter and both of us lost hair immediately. I went off it at once and she had bald spots behind her ears before hers was changed. Atenolol is awful – but I’ve lost a lot of hair the past few years, too. I know some of the Rx’s I Have to take, do that but get off the Atenolol first – we hated it and my other daughter got it and She went off it; it made her b.p. too low.

As a massage therapist I sometimes employ techniques to release tension in the cranial fascia. This is a “covering” of connective tissue that covers the whole scalp and can be likened to a swimming cap. It can hold a great deal of tension. Releasing it often helps to eliminate headaches. Secondarily, circulation can be restored to the hair follicles and like most other parts of the body, now they can thrive. Locate a certified massage therapist who is familiar with this approach.

You don’t mention low thyroid as a possibility? I’m having hair loss as well. When I mentioned it to my doctor she checked my thyroid levels. It is high signifying low or hypothyroidism. Going to get it checked once more before beginning medication. I hope the hair thinning doesn’t get any worse before that.

Thank you for your information.

When I experienced this, I asked my doctor to check my thyroid, and it was low. She put me on some medicine and my hair started growing back two days later. It’s not a “natural” remedy, but it worked. If I were you, I would have your thyroid and Vitamin D checked. There are numerous natural thyroid stimulators out there you could try.

Just a note here–I began to use a high-end hair product called WEN and lost half of my hair mass within a month–and my hair has not grown back. I later found out that hundreds of people have had the same thing happen.

Since no one expects an expensive hair product to permanently damage their scalp, I thought I’d throw that in.

My doctor suggested I eat more protein daily for my hair loss, lo and behold my hair loss has slowed considerably. Eating 2 eggs instead of 1, whey protein powder mixed into 2% or skim milk, these seem to work for me.
A friend believes her hair loss slowed considerably when she began taking 1000iu of D3 and vitamin B complex daily.

While not on any prescription drugs, my daughter was afflicted with alopecia areata in February, 2015. She began to faithfully follow a strict change in eating habits, following advice offered in Paleo and AIP (Auto Immune Protocol) diets. We as a family went gluten free, sugar free, and dairy free. Her hair has grown back in without the help of any pharmaceuticals, and we’re all living with better health as a result of these changes. The key, according to my daughter, is to go 100% into the elimination protocol. It works!!

I have found that I need a high level of hemoglobin, 14 rather than the 12 which is considered usual for women, in order not to lose a lot of hair. The difference is “full” hair compared to 3/4 of it.
I have also found that I lose a lot of hair if using a hair rinse which is slightly acidic (you know, the old advice or adding a tsp of vinegar in a gallon of water and rinsing your hair with the solution to make your hair shiny!) I was once prescribed a remedy against dandruff which contained more than that low concentration of vinegar and make me lose 1/3 of my hair in a week!
Those two reactions may not be universal, but I am certainly not unique, and I hope those comment will help a few people.

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