Today I’d like to answer what seems to be the most asked question I get about hair loss products: what is the best shampoo for thin or thinning hair?
Well, this is a great question. When I first started researching hair loss, about ten years back, I was super into biology. I researched biology like it was the be all and end all of understanding hair loss. And I remember thinking that the shampoo you use is completely irrelevant and will have virtually no impact on your hair growth, compared with hormones.
As the years have gone by my opinion has changed. I’ve swung over more into the chemistry side of hair loss research and in doing so have discovered some amazing stuff about the chemicals we apply to our skin and how they can affect hair growth.
Ten years ago I never would have thought that a shampoo you apply to your scalp for a few seconds could have much impact on your hair. Well, it turns out it can.
Ketoconazole: the key ingredient
So, there’s a chemical called “ketoconazole”. It’s a super toxic, horrible chemical that will kill any human at the wrong dosage. But that’s why it’s also very effective for hair loss sufferers!
Ketoconazole kills a common scalp fungi that causes dandruff and more serious scalp conditions. AND it’s a ‘5-Alpha-Reductase’ inhibitor.
What in the world is a 5-Alpha-Reductase inhibitor you ask?
5-Alpha-Reductase is an enzyme that interacts with the hormone testosterone, to produce a by-product called dihydrotestosterone (or DHT for short).
DHT is what causes male pattern baldness.
So if you shampoo your scalp with a very mild ketoconazole shampoo, you can reduce DHT levels in your scalp. Since DHT effectively kills your hair; reducing DHT is fairly important for stopping hair loss.
What do I recommend?
I’ve had A LOT of feedback about ketoconazole shampoo, so I have to give you this warning:
Ketoconazole shampoo is great, but a 2% concentration like Nizoral can cause increased shedding. I’ve personally never experienced this, but a few of my readers have emailed me about this.
That said, I still personally use Nizoral three times a week.
I have recently discovered a shampoo that contains ketoconazole at a lower concentration than Nizoral. AND it contains tonnes of other awesome ingredients, that are well known for promoting healthy hair growth. Right now this is the shampoo I’m recommending. But I always say have a browse and see what you think.
Here are the best places on the internet to find the world’s best shampoos:
If you don’t think you have elevated scalp DHT levels (something that is more likely to be the case for younger women), you might prefer to go for a shampoo that doesn’t contain ketoconazole. You can check out all my best recommendations (and their ingredients) here:
Until next time, have a great week.