By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
June 3, 2020
Do you like what you see when you look in the mirror? A lot of my patients don’t.
Just today, I looked in my own mirror and noticed a few things. My hair is thinning, age spots are darkening, and a new bruise seems to have appeared on my arm.
I’m constantly being asked how to get rid of certain physical signs of aging. And if you’re over the age of 40, you know what I’m talking about.
Weird things start happening. Your hair starts turning gray or thinning. Spots show up on your skin. Bags and dark circles appear under your eyes overnight.
What’s happening, and how can you stop it?
As you age, all sorts of biological processes take place. Your telomeres shorten, cellular energy lessens, and anti-aging genes get turned on or off.
And when these processes start failing, you start showing your age more quickly.
Two of the biggest areas of concern have to do with your hair and skin. That’s why I’m going to use this and the next issue of Advanced Natural Wellness to address both of these problems.
But Before We Go Too Far…
I’ll bet it won’t surprise you to learn that people who live a healthy, active lifestyle with a good diet often look much younger than their years.
That’s because a lifetime of wholesome activities supports longer telomeres, promotes mitochondrial replication and helps to keep your youth genes turned on.
You can check out some great recommendations for how to tap into this fountain of youth in this past issue of our newsletter.
So now, back to business. Let’s look at some crafty ways you can address some of the most irritating physical signs of aging.
Hair Dyes Aren’t Always the Answer
Hair changes throughout life are something most people need to deal with in one form or another. I’m thankful for my own full head of hair, but I’ve still noticed some thinning over the years.
It’s actually normal to shed 100 hair follicles a day, but after a while, it starts to add up!
My patients notice their hair starts to turn gray and thin out. For many men, it often disappears altogether. As I mentioned earlier, diet and lifestyle play a large part in this.
But what’s done is done. What can you do about it now?
In some cases premature graying is caused by a nutritional deficiency or problems with your thyroid or pituitary gland. And it may be reversible when these issues are corrected. So consider having yourself tested.
In the meantime, I notice women are quick to color their hair to get rid of the grays. A lot of guys do, too.
But guess what?
Dyes damage your hair, dry it out and may even speed up graying. The reason? Going gray is often caused by a build up of naturally occurring hydrogen peroxide.
And guess what hair dyes contain to boost their effectiveness. Hydrogen peroxide!
I recommend ditching chemical hair dyes altogether. Even many “organic” and “natural” dyes contain a certain amount of synthetic chemicals to be effective.
But what if you’re not ready to embrace your silvery locks? Well I’m definitely not an expert on hair coloring. However, there are a few remedies some of patients use with great success.
Natural henna shampoos (not dyes) offer a slight darkening of the hair. So let’s say you have brown hair interspersed with gray. The shampoo will give your naturally brown hair a nice sheen, and generally appears to turn the gray hairs a light golden color. (It reminds me of what women refer to as “highlights”.)
If your hair is gray or silver, henna shampoos tend to give it more of a blonde tint. And don’t worry. It’s not permanent; it just coats the hair shaft. So if you don’t like the results it will fade away relatively quickly.
I also have some patients who swear apple-cider vinegar rinses reversed their graying. (A lot of women also use it to keep their hair from getting too oily. Just please NEVER use straight apple-cider vinegar or you’ll regret it. Don’t exceed four tablespoons of vinegar per eight ounces of water.)
Others have tried an ancient medicinal herb called He Shou Wu (Fo-Ti). This is a Chinese herb that has been used for centuries to treat hair loss. I’ve seen it work exceptionally well to banish gray and restore natural hair color in some people.
And What About Hair Loss?
I don’t recommend using dangerous products like Rogaine or Propecia. These are called DHT blockers. And they have some scary side effects, including impotence.
But you can block DHT on your own.
You see, a particular enzyme in your body, 5-alpha reductase (5AR), is used to make DHT. So if you lower levels of this enzyme, DHT production slows down.
This is where natural 5AR inhibitors come in handy. For example, the naturally occurring 5-alpha reductase inhibitors in saw palmetto and beta sitosterol improve hair loss in about 60% of the people who take it.
If you prefer saw palmetto, aim for about 320 mg daily. A beta-sitosterol extract will be more concentrated. So if you go that route, you’ll want to take between 50 to 130 mg once a day. Make sure whichever you take contains 5 mg of bioperine, a black pepper extract that enhances absorption.
He Shou Wu, which I mentioned earlier, may help with hair loss too. But there really are no “quick tricks” to restore your hair.
Just do the best with what you’ve got. I have some patients who come in twirling their hair around a finger and don’t realize they’re yanking hair right out of their head!
In the meantime, I also recommend ditching all of those shampoos and conditioners loaded up with parabens, pthalates, fragrances and other chemicals that mess with your hormones. Some of these ingredients can actually encourage hair loss!
Instead, opt for natural, organic brands… ones where you can actually pronounce the words listed on the label!
Stay tuned for my upcoming issue of Advanced Natural Wellness where I’ll share some of the best ways to rejuvenate your aging skin.
Kumar AB, et al. Premature Graying of Hair: Review with Updates. Int J Trichology. 2018 Sep-Oct; 10(5): 198–203.
Prager N, et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to determine the effectiveness of botanically derived inhibitors of 5-alpha-reductase in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia. J Altern Complement Med. 2002 Apr;8(2):143-52.