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A question regarding shedding

Posted: Fri May 12, 2017 8:46 pm
by HairQuestion
Hi Tom,

I came across your forum four months ago and began doing the SE for 10 mins twice daily. I have a slightly receding hairline (Norwood 2, age 30) and chose to give it a go as a preventative measure against further hair loss. My hair is dark blonde and very fine but I've never had any concerns with coverage/thickness. It's short on the back and sides and about 6 inches on top.

It took a few days to get the hang of the SE, which felt great and has led to a noticeably more elastic scalp. At the two month mark I began to notice new, dark hairs emerging at the front of my hairline. I'm aware that the SE typically takes much longer to produce an effect, if at all, however I have no other explanation for these hairs. More growth emerged around the front of my hairline, which came as a very happy surprise. However, at the same time, my established hair began to shed (diffuse thinning, worse at the crown). It has continued to shed at an alarming rate for the past 6 weeks, to the point that I may soon need to shave my head. There have been no significant stressors that I can trace to otherwise trigger a shed. I should mention that the new growth at the front of my head has continued to grow and resisted shedding at this point.

My question is, is it possible that the SE could induce a positive change that stimulates new growth/shedding to this degree? Alternatively, are you aware of SE very having triggered a shed or inflammation of the scalp through chronic exercise?

At this stage I plan to persist with SE and observe what happens, though any thoughts you have would be appreciated.

Re: A question regarding shedding

Posted: Sat May 13, 2017 7:24 am
by Tom Hagerty
Are you aware of SE very having triggered a shed or inflammation of the scalp through chronic exercise?
You wrote that you started the scalp exercise about four months ago. In the frontal hairline you attribute the scalp exercise as promoting the growth of new dark hair, but a serious shed of hair mostly in the crown area.

A small minority of people have written to me about the same problem. At first I dismissed these statements because I saw no physiological reason for the scalp exercise creating the conditions for a shed. I still don't believe this but here are some speculations as to why the SE might be responsible for this loss of hair in the crown area.

1. There is no doubt that the scalp exercise speeds up the flow of lymph fluid throughout the epicranial area. This fluid is full of toxic material that might build up in stagnant scalp tissue. Perhaps the stirring up of these metabolic waste products in the crown area are having a negative effect on the hair follicles in the area. I don't think so but it may be a possibility.

2. One man with an engineering background told me that the shed could be started because the movement of the scalp over the galea might be shearing off part of the follicles in this area. I suppose this makes sense from an engineering point of view. It doesn't make sense to me, though, from a physiological point of view.

3. Because the scalp exercise greatly increases temporarily the flow of blood into the epicranial area, and therefore into the capillaries at the base of the hair follicle, this quicker blood flow could impact the follicles in a negative way. If one has a poor diet (junk food, etc.) or is a smoker, the quick flow of blood loaded with toxins might be harmful to the hair follicles. This sounds credible.

4. The scalp exercise definitely does squeeze sebum from the sebaceous glands attached to each hair follicle. This sebum has some DHT in it. This could have a negative effect on the hair follicles. I don't believe this but at least it is plausible.

Sebum has some DHT in it.
Sebum has some DHT in it.
Hair follicle, sebaceous glands.png (33.99 KiB) Viewed 12044 times
As I said, only a few people have said that the scalp exercise was responsible for hair shedding. I can't say with certainty that these people were imagining it. Perhaps there really is a negative effect of doing the scalp exercise for a small group of people.

Re: A question regarding shedding

Posted: Mon May 15, 2017 9:49 pm
by HairQuestion
Thanks Tom, there are some interesting theories.

The first sounds plausible and not necessarily a bad thing. If the shedding is due to clearing out lymph fluid, presumably the hair will return in a healthier state once the toxic material has been evacuated.

I can’t comment on the second due to a lack of engineering knowledge myself, however shedding has occurred across my scalp, which makes me think that a shearing effect is unlikely.

The third theory makes most sense to me. Typically I eat a healthy diet, exercise frequently, drink in moderation and do not smoke, although perhaps my diet has not been as clean as it normally is over the past few months.

I’ve noticed increased sebum/oiliness since starting the SE, so can relate the fourth theory. I’ve noticed long, healthy hairs shedding as much as I have short ones, and am not sure if DHT can have such an immediate effect on healthy follicles?

It’s very tempting to categorise the SE as damaging given the amount of hair that is shedding. However, the frontal regrowth that looks to be the start of dark, thick hair makes me doubt this. Is it possible that a shed could be caused by sudden increase in blood flow to follicles that have previously been neglected?

Re: A question regarding shedding

Posted: Sun May 28, 2017 10:53 am
by Sebastianyves

A short comment re this issue!

These types of fluctuations is common as seen in this study published in 2016 regarding standardized scalp massage increasing hair thickness.

“Hair number decreased in the massage area at 12 weeks after initiation of standardized scalp massage. Some telogen hair in the massage area might have fallen by scalp massage and decrease in the number of hair occurred temporarily. On the contrary, hair thickness increased significantly at 24 weeks after initiation of standardized scalp massage.”

This is the link



Re: A question regarding shedding

Posted: Wed May 31, 2017 2:59 pm
by Tom Hagerty
The Discussion section at the end of the scientific paper you linked to gives a good summary of the research project.
Mechanobiology and mechanotherapy At the cellular level, cells can change shape, and molecules are transferred into and out of the cell through the cell membrane. These processes are all driven by mechanical forces, which activate molecular cascades within the cells that alter gene expression and thereby play an important role in the life cycle of the cell.

“Mechanobiology” is the study of those molecular cascades and cellular responses: key questions relate to how cells sense and respond to the mechanical forces of the physical microenvironment. A more comprehensive and improved understanding of mechanobiology may greatly facilitate the development of new therapies that control mechanical forces and thereby specifically induce desired molecular, cellular, tissue, and/or organ formation, changes, or repair. Recently, we denoted these therapies as “mechanotherapies.” While the term “mechanotherapy” was originally synonymous with physical therapy, massotherapy, and the rehabilitation of musculoskeletal systems, our new definition reflects the multidimensional medical possibilities of the field now. An example of potential mechanotherapies was recently proposed by our article, which suggested that various skin disorders, including keloids, can be treated by mechanobiological methods. Moreover, mechanobiology-mediated medicine could be used to analyze and/or treat many disorders/diseases, accelerate wound healing, reduce scarring during wound healing, and repair and regenerate injured/aged tissues and organs.
I like the term "Mechanotherapy." One of the authors of the article has done a lot of research into how mechanical stimulation of scalp tissue may stimulate hair growth.