News ID: 191811
Published: 0208 GMT April 30, 2017

Expert reveals what causes baldness

Expert reveals what causes baldness

Hair loss, also known as balding or alopecia, affects thousands of men each year — and, according to the NHS around half will suffer before they reach the age of 50.

A leading hair surgeon has shed some light on the myths and facts surrounding hair loss, and how men can treat it, reported.

It’s no surprise there’s an abundance of tales on how you can combat hair loss using at-home remedies.

Some believe hair oil massages, onion juice, liquorice and fenugreek are just some of the remedies which can help prevent baldness.

Dr. Edward Ball, a leading UK hair transplant surgeon from specialist London center the Maitland Clinic, helps to debunk some myths — while untangling the truth behind others.


Onion juice


Onions are often talked about when it comes to ‘curing’ baldness because they are rich in sulfur, which promotes hair growth.

It has been said that rubbing onion juice on the scalp twice a week for two months can help bring dormant hair follicles back to life.

Ball, who runs centers from Hampshire and London’s Harley Street, and is an examiner for the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery, said, “As a surgeon, my natural instinct is to be cynical of home remedies that have no founding in scientific research.

“I get patients all the time asking if certain herbs, foodstuffs and lotions can delay or treat hair loss.

“And it’s totally understandable. Hair loss can be very distressing to it’s natural to look for preventions or cures in the strangest of places.

“Onion juice may well have a beneficial effect on the appearance of the hair, enhancing volume and shine like a conditioner.

“But its effects on hair growth are less certain, and there’s no solid evidence that onion juice has any impact on it.”


Hair oil massage


Ball, recognized as one of the UK’s leading hair replacement surgeons, said, “It’s quite a common myth that head messages can prevent hair loss.

“And the theory behind it makes some sense — that stimulating the scalp will boost circulation, bringing more oxygen and nutrient to the hair follicles.

“It’s also said that increased blood flow helps drain away toxins that gather in the scalp, damaging healthy hair growth.

“But while having a head massage may do wonders for relaxation, it won’t have any impact on your hair unfortunately.

“A head massage might boost circulation to your head, but poor circulation doesn’t cause hair loss in the first place.”




While most people think of liquorice as a sweet, the plant — liquorice root — is said to help many ailments including asthma, ulcers, arthritis, and hair loss.

Ball said: “Liquorice undoubtedly contains many compounds that are beneficial to our overall health. So this can only improve a person’s chances of maintaining a healthy head of hair.

“But the claim that by applying liquorice to bald areas, one can stimulate hair growth has no basis in fact.”




Fenugreek is celebrated for its healing properties. The seeds are said to help cure many conditions, including hair loss.

When ground into paste and applied to hair, proteins in the seeds are said to strengthen hair from the roots and act as a hormone antecedent to improve hair growth.

Fenugreek is believed to reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It has also traditionally been thought to lower fever and soothe digestive problems.

Ball explained: “It is certainly nutritious but its effects on hair loss, like many of its supposed ‘medical’ applications, have little scientific backing.

“There are many causes of hair loss, including stress, nutrient deficiency and illness.

“Keeping this in mind it is important to look after your overall health with a good diet, supplements where necessary and enough sleep and exercise.

“But the most common cause of hair loss we see is male pattern balding.

“With this, hair loss is caused by the testosterone derivative dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which results in the hair cycle getting shorter and the hair follicles shrinking until they eventually disappear.

“Some people are genetically more sensitive to the effects of DHT, hence losing their hair before others.

“Where baldness is caused by DHT and a genetic disposition, it’s unlikely that any home remedies will have an impact.

“In those cases, evidence-based non-surgical and surgical treatments are likely to be the only option, depending on the patient.”

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