Hair

This $20 Supplement Completely Reversed One Woman’s Hair Loss

Plus, three easy ways to thicken your hair.

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By age 40, 66 percent of women experience thinning hair. Valentina Karanfilian, 57, was one of them — until she found the inexpensive remedy that helped her regrow thick, shiny strands!

Valentina Karanfilian’s cheeks burned with embarrassment every time she thought back to the moment: She was taking a walk with a dear friend, when the friend asked why Valentina’s hair was looking so thin.

“I was shocked — not because I didn’t know that I was losing my hair but because I’d been in denial about how bad it was,” Valentina recalls. “I had been struggling privately with my hair thinning and losing its shine. But when my friend pointed it out, I knew others were seeing it too. I felt like I was losing the thing I always liked most about myself, and I began to fear I would never feel sexy again.”

Feeling self-conscious

“Shortly before that embarrassing experience, I had noticed the strands of my hair had become weaker and thinner — and it seemed to have happened overnight! At first, I thought maybe it was from stress at work.

Then I saw more hair in the shower drain, and when I looked in the bathroom mirror I noticed that some parts of my head had less hair. It was as though the growth, health and shine of my hair had disappeared — it looked so dull and lifeless. I had always loved my fluffy, shiny hair and now it seemed it was gone. At just 57 years old, I started to feel like I was losing my identity.

“I turned to my hairdresser. She gave me a new style and blew it out from the roots to make my hair look fuller. She also suggested a different shampoo and conditioner for hair loss, which I used for about a month or two without noticing any difference.

“Panicked, I tried just about every recommendation I could find online: applying olive oil to my scalp, eating more almonds, experimenting with hair masks and even putting caviar on my hair. Nothing seemed to restore my hair to its original fullness or luster, and I was wondering why this was happening to me.

A surprising solution

“One night at dinner, a different friend started talking about how happy she was with her hair and how it looked better than ever — and I couldn’t deny that there was a difference. She told me about a supplement she’d been taking for almost a year, and she credited it for the improvements in her hair. My friend’s doctor had suggested the supplement astaxanthin because it can reduce inflammation in the cardiac system and boost immunity, but it has also been shown to reduce inflammation and increase blood flow to the scalp, which can boost hair growth. Maybe this will work for me, I hoped, feeling excited for the first time. I purchased astaxanthin ($22.95, Buy at Amazon) and started taking one 12-mg. capsule every morning.

“After taking astaxanthin every day for a month, I noticed the subtle, first difference: There was less hair on the shower floor. After another 10 to 15 days, my hair started looking healthier. One day while brushing it, I noticed it was a little thicker and looked shinier.

I was so relieved, I started to cry.

“Now, more than 90 days since I started taking the supplement, my hair has grown back thick, shiny and healthy, and I have a new outlook on life. I also have more energy — a bonus side effect of the supplement! I continue to get compliments on how great my hair looks, which makes me feel so much better and more confident. I hadn’t realized how stressed I was by my hair loss, and now I feel much better about everything in life. It’s such a total sense of relief, and I love myself again!” —As told to Cindy McVey

3 more ways to thicken thinning hair

  1. Massage your head. Rubbing your scalp in circular motions for five minutes a day while washing hair prevents the buildup of follicle-harming hormones and enhances blood flow to the scalp, supporting healthy hair growth. Plus, a daily scalp massage boosts volume, “plumping” individual hairs for a fuller-looking mane.
  2. Sip green tea. This brew is loaded with polyphenols linked to hair growth. Indeed, researchers say the compound EGCG in green tea decreases the output of follicle-damaging hormones, while its antioxidants prolong the growth phase of hair. Aim to drink two cups of green tea (hot or iced) daily to get the full benefits.
  3. Try a rosemary spritz. Rosemary essential oil stops stress hormones from attacking hair follicles. To get the perks, mix two drops of rosemary essential oil with 4 oz. of water and spritz on your scalp before bed. Research shows 44 percent of women who do this see new growth, making it just as effective as minoxidil — without side effects!

This story originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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