Whether it’s on your head, legs, or arms, hair follicles are key players in hair growth and regulation. They contain everything needed to maintain the hair cycle and grow your hair healthy and strong. However, bodily changes, like aging, and external factors, like stress, can cause follicle damage. Over time, hair follicles can shrink to an inactive and unhealthy state. If enough follicles reach that state, you may start to notice hair loss and thinning. The good news is that there are methods to stimulate your hair follicles and help them recover, including:
- Medical procedures
- Nutrition and diet modifications
- Light therapy and scalp massage
- Direct-acting, targeted hair and scalp serums
Medical procedures to stimulate hair follicles
There are certain medical procedures that you can undergo to stimulate hair follicles. Oftentimes, this requires a doctor or dermatologist’s diagnosis and recommendation. However, there are also unconventional options offered at medical spas that may help stimulate your follicles. Some of these medical hair follicle stimulator procedures include:
The first of these procedures is corticosteroid injections, where a doctor or dermatologist injects steroids into the balding or thinning area of the scalp. This treatment is most helpful for those suffering from alopecia areata, a type of hair loss where your own immune system attacks hair follicles. Corticosteroid injections can help stimulate and recover hair follicles by mediating immune responses and lowering inflammation in the injected area. The downside to this treatment is that injections need to be maintained on a 4-8 week schedule, so regular visits to the dermatologist is required.
A hair transplant procedure involves taking active hair follicles from a healthy growing area of the scalp and transplanting them to an area that is experiencing hair loss and thinning. Rather than stimulating existing follicles, these “new” and more healthy follicles can stimulate growth and overtime, increase hair density. Though this method has high success rates, it’s a very invasive and expensive procedure that requires a lot of time and recovery.
Medical spa treatments
While the previous procedures are tried and true methods to induce hair growth, there are some new, experimental treatments offered at med spas that may work to stimulate hair follicles. Microneedling, for example, is said to stimulate the follicle by causing tiny, microscopic wounds, allowing the body’s natural healing process to take over. Plasma infusions have also been popular treatments across med spas to help with hair loss and thinning. For this method, a medical professional will take a vial of blood and place it in a machine called a centrifuge. This machine rapidly spins blood causing it to separate into different components. The medical professional will then take the plasma portion and inject it in areas of concern in the scalp. It’s theorized that the nutrients in plasma can stimulate the follicle to be healthier and produce better hair or halt shedding. Though there is little research done on whether or not blood plasma is an effective follicle stimulator, there are new studies showing promising results.
These medical procedures can be very effective for combating hair loss and thinning. However, they are not the most accessible due to their high price and invasive nature. With that being said, there are some easy ways to stimulate your hair follicles without needing to go to a doctor.
Scalp massage for follicle stimulation
The easiest and cheapest way to stimulate your follicles is to practice regular scalp massage, particularly focusing on areas of hair loss or thinning. There are a few studies that show that regular scalp massage can increase hair growth and thickness, and actually, the science behind it is pretty interesting. It’s hypothesized that the cells in your hair follicles can sense physical stretch and pressure. So, by massaging your scalp with either your fingers or a scalp massager, you are physically stimulating your follicles to produce hair.
But, the benefits of scalp massage don’t stop there. Massaging the scalp dilates blood vessels and allows for more blood circulation, so it can help hair and scalp serums work better by increasing the skin’s ability to absorb product. Additionally, using a scalp massager in the shower can help those suffering from dandruff and dermatitis by loosening dead skin cells and removing buildup.
Does brushing hair stimulate growth?
It’s been said that brushing your hair with at least 100 strokes a day can promote healthier hair. This is a myth. In fact, the friction generated from rigorous brushing can lead to cuticle damage and hair breakage. Hair should be brushed minimally and gently with the right tools to avoid damage. Also, knowing when to brush your hair is important. For thick, curly hair, brushing wet hair minimizes breakage. However, for thinner straight hair, the opposite reigns true.
Low laser light therapy
Lower laser light therapy (LLLT) has emerged as a new, non-surgical way to stimulate follicles for hair growth. There are multiple ways to administer this treatment from visiting a clinic to wearable devices for home use. Scientific studies on LLLT for follicle stimulation are scarce, but a few publications show promising results. It’s hypothesized that LLLT works by sending a particular wavelength of light to the follicles that can be absorbed by stem cells. This increases follicle stem cell regeneration which can help improve hair growth.
Nutrition and diet
Hair loss can sometimes be caused by dietary nutrient deficiencies. As hair isn’t necessary to sustain life, when your body experiences a deficit in nutrients it prioritizes other areas, causing hair follicles to become undernourished and damaged. In this case, stimulating your hair follicles holistically through diet may be the best route. With doctor recommendations, supplements and nutraceuticals can also be added to your routine to fill areas where your diet is lacking. This treatment, however, may not work for everyone so check out our previous blog on nutraceuticals for more information.
Use hair and scalp serums to stimulate your follicles
If you’ve tried some of these follicle stimulation methods and are still struggling with hair loss and thinning, a product like Revela’s Hair Revival Serum might be right for you. Our proprietary active ingredient, ProCelinyl, is designed to specifically target and stimulate dermal papilla cells in the hair follicle. When you apply it to your scalp, you’re getting a purposefully designed molecule directly to the area of concern. Pairing this with something like scalp massage can deliver the focused, controlled results you’re looking for.