Hair loss warning: Doctors reveal the dangerous truth behind popular hair loss remedy

Hair loss can be very distressing so people are often willing to pursue unorthodox practices in a bid to treat it. This makes them especially vulnerable to unfounded claims, which can be both costly and harmful. Doctors are calling out a particular practice that has become popularised on YouTube and across other social media channels.


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The craze in question involves pouring chilli oil or sprinkling chilli powder on your to head to stimulate hair growth.

Doctors are condemning this practice as not only false but damaging to the scalp and leading to greater hair loss.

One prominent critic, hair transplant surgeon Dr Bessam Farjo, is warning people not to risk injury by trying out these suggested homemade concoctions.

“It’s highly unlikely anyone who tries this will see any results, but there is a risk of causing skin irritation and inflammation to the scalp and subsequent hair loss,” said Dr Farjo.

Dr Sharon Wong, a Consultant Dermatologist and and British Skin Foundation spokesperson, has also weighed in on the issue: “Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chillies and is known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. However the evidence of it regrowing hair is minimal.”

She continues: “Rubbing chilli in any of its forms directly onto the scalp can cause burning sensations, hypersensitivity and contact dermatitis, which if severe enough can potentially cause hair loss as a secondary effect.”

What has been shown to work?

According to the NHS, finasteride and minoxidil are the two main treatments for pattern baldness, a type of permanent hair loss that usually runs in the family.

Both medications are available either as prescription medicine or as over-the-counter treatments in most countries.

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Minoxidil can also be used to treat female pattern baldness but women shouldn’t use finasteride, says the NHS.

It is important to note that these medications are not guaranteed to work for everyone and only work for as long as they are used, explains the health site.

Both medications also aren’t available on the NHS and can be expensive, adds the health body.

Early evidence suggests applying essential oils may stimulate hair growth.


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One study divided 86 people with alopecia areata into two groups, one of which mixed cedarwood oil with lavender and rosemary into their scalps.

After seven months, 43 percent of that group showed improvement in their condition.

According to the British Skin Foundation, alopecia areata is a common cause of non-scarring (does not cause scarring to the scalp) hair loss that can occur at any age.

“It usually causes small, coin-sized round patches of baldness on the scalp, although hair elsewhere such as the beard, eyebrows, eyelashes, body and limbs can be affected,” explains the health body.

Another solution to permanent hair loss is to wear a wig but there are some important points to consider before making your purchase.

You can buy wigs that are both real and synthetic, and both have their pros and cons.

As the NHS explains, synthetic wigs last six to nine months, are easier to look after and cost less than real-hair wigs, but can be itchy or hot.

Real-hair wigs, on the other hand, last three to four years and look more natural than synthetic wigs, but cost more and are harder to find, explains the health body.

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