ASK AMY: What products do you use for hair loss? - PCOS Diva
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ASK AMY: What products do you use for hair loss?

Ask Amy: I read that you are using Joico Clinicure to help with hairloss, can you tell us more about the product? – Melissa, Arlington, VA

Amy Says: Hair loss is a symptom of PCOS that can often be the most frustrating to deal with.  I struggled with hair loss after coming off the birth control pill and then after three pregnancies and post-partums. I  shared my coping strategies in two previous posts about PCOS and Hairloss “What Works for Me” and  “Make the Most of What You’ve Got.”

I did post back in July that I was going to try a product called Clinicure by Joico and am happy to provide this  update to those blog posts.  My hair stylist, Maria Rawlings at Marc Anthony Salon in Nashua,NH, knows that I am always on the hunt for the next best hair product for fine thinning hair, so I can share the info on PCOS Diva.  This past spring, Maria was excited to tell me about a product that she has been recommending to clients with thinning hair.  She had heard good things about it by her peers.  Maria told me she was amazed that every client that began using it, had noticeable hair growth 8 weeks after they  began using the product and her clients all noticed their hair loss subside as well.

It sounded too good to be true! I had to see for myself. So in July, I purchased a “starter kit” of Joico Clinicure for Chemically Treated Hair (since I color my hair.)  The trial kit contains a Purifying Scalp Cleanse trial size shampoo, Balancing Scalp Nourish conditioner and Advanced Thinning Rescue treatment.  For those women who don’t color their hair, there is also a Natural Kit .

I  am thrilled to say that I have seen a big difference in the amount of new hair that is growing.  And when I went to see Maria last month, I asked her if she saw any new growth. She  confirmed that the new growth looks to be about 14-16  weeks old (I started using the product in July). I have also noticed a big difference in the amount of hair that I am losing however, shedding season is over and the real test will be next summer.

According to the product literature from the Joico.con the Clinicure products help to reduce DHT on the scalp.

This is how it works – Androgen hormones produced by the ovaries and adrenals are transported to the hair follicle. In the hair follicle the enzyme 5-alpha reductase converts these androgens into  Dihydrotestosterone (5α-Dihydrotestosterone, commonly abbreviated to DHT)DHT is an androgen or male sex hormone and  is the primary contributing factor in androgenic alopecia which is the type of hairloss most associated with PCOS.  DHT inhibits hair growth by cumulatively over time penetrating the hair follicles, binding to hormone receptors, and building up on the scalp. After continued exposure to DHT, follicles begin to miniaturize, shortening the lifespan of each hair follicle affected.

According to Joico’s product literature their system helps by:

  1. cleansing the scalp of sebum and DHT with botanical 5-alpha reductase enzyme inhibitors.
  2. neutralizing environmental pollutants that can weaken or damage the scalp and hair follicles.
  3. providing essential nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles.
  4. increasing the microcirculation of the scalp to prepare it for targeted treatment.
  5. strengthening and maintaining existing hair.

Here are the four products that I am using:

STEP 1: Purifying Scalp Cleanse (Shampoo) (versions for chemically treated or natural)

Purpose: to cleanse the scalp of DHT and environmental residue that can contribute to hair loss, creating an optimal scalp environment for healthier, thicker-looking hair.

• biotin, vitamin B6 + nettle nourish the scalp and remove DHT

• antioxidant vitamin A, vitamin E + ginkgo biloba neutralize damaging free radicals

• invigorating balm mint + hops cool, soothe, and improve the condition of the scalp

STEP 2: Balancing Scalp Nourish (Conditioner) (versions for chemically treated or natural)

Purpose: to nourish, balance and protect the scalp, creating an optimal scalp environment for healthier, thicker-looking hair.

• sunflower oil, rosemary oil + ivy extract intensely moisturize the scalp and hair and protect both from damaging environmental aggressors

• ginseng + hops nourish and improve the condition of the scalp

STEP 3: Stimulating Scalp Treat (Treatment) (versions for chemically treated or natural)

Purpose: to accelerate scalp respiration, nourish hair follicles,
and remove DHT and environmental residue buildup from the scalp, creating an optimal scalp environment for healthier, thicker-looking hair.

• biotin + vitamin B6 nourish the scalp and prevent DHT

• nettle + ivy extract boost scalp circulation, increasing oxygen and nutrient flow to hair follicles

• vitamin A, vitamin E + ginkgo biloba protect the scalp against damaging free radicals

STEP 4: Advanced Thinning Rescue (Treatment)

Purpose: to rescue hair in advanced stages of thinning by increasing the oxygen supply to the scalp and delivering a megadose of nutrients to the hair follicles, creating an optimal scalp environment for healthier, thicker-looking hair. Over time, RESCUE is clinically proven to decrease the number of hairs in the telogen phase and increase the number of hairs in the anagen phase, resulting in fuller, thicker-looking hair.

• densiox, a patented hair rejuvenating complex, nourishes and stimulates each follicle at its growth center

• nettle, biotin, coix extract, licorice root extract + vitamin A boost scalp circulation, prevent DHT, and protect the scalp against damaging free radicals

  • Clinicure also offers a vitamin supplement which I am not taking.

For more information about  these products read the Clinicure FAQ.

If you decide to try Clinicure please post results in the comments section below for reference for other readers.  Thanks!

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    1. I have tried Nioxin and I never noticed a difference. It is a botanical based product which I believe is similar to Nioxin.

  1. I was going to try Nioxin, but could not find it any where local. Right now, the only way to try the other products is to buy on line.

  2. Started using this product 1 week ago and even though it is not a huge amount of time, I notice a difference in my hair. So much hair would fall out before and my part was so thin. This seems to help keep hair from falling out and it also slows down my shedding during the day. Love the product. I still have hair breakage from before using this product that needs time to restore itself. Hair Sytlest said today that I have a lot of broken off hairs on the top of my head. My hair was also getting kinda of see through due to the PCOS. Would recommend this product. Such good results after 1 week cannot imagine how good it will be after a month.

  3. Is this a product you would have to keep using with for the results to stay? I am weary of products like that (Rogain) I currently use Nioxin, and it helped along with taking Saw Palmeto daily.

  4. Yes please tell us if you are using minoxidil still with this system? I am desperate for help 🙁

  5. Hi Amy!

    First off, congratulations to your site!

    I would like to ask a question about PCOS hairloss – where you able to regrow some of your hair that you lost?

    Does the hair follicle automatically die when it gets into contact with DHT? It’s something I don’t really understand.

    I guess I’ve always had high androgens, but what if postpartum hairloss adds to the mix? Can this hair grow back?

    Please help!

    1. Brit – I have found that when your hormones come back in balance the hair grows back. I am trying Viviscal right now. I’ll be posting in 6 months my results. So far so good!

      1. Hi Amy!

        Thanks for answering!

        I hope you’re right… hormones just need to be back in balance.

        When I sent you the last message I was in complete distress. I gave birth almost 7 months ago and 4 months later I was suffering from greasy scalp / hairloss (however, I was not nursing anymore). I went to an endocrinologist and she put me on an antiandrogenic pill to balance my hormones.

        I don’t know if I have PCOS, the doctor said I have low estrogen because of being too thin (?) – it’s true that I’ve lost so much weight in the last months and I’m now underweight.

        I’ve been on the pill for two months now and so far my hairloss hasn’t decreased, but I do see new growth.

        I’m very very scared. I hope everything works out for me. I just thought I’d post my story here to let everyone know they’re not alone!

  6. Dear Amy,

    Thanks for setting up a website like this, I cannot express to you how frustrating having PCOS has been and how little is still understood about the symptoms. so THANK YOU!

    I have been diagnosed with PCOS and later suffered from PMDD – SERIOUS DEPRESSION related to my cycle. I am writing though because I have been experiencing significant hair loss for about a year and half and i dont know what to do. I read your post re the nizorol, palmetto etc, with the minoxidil is there any brand you would recommend i checked the walmart website i see equate as the brand with 5 percent is that adequate.?

    Also do you know about cod liver oil helping with the hair growth. Please advise. I am now about to put some sort of treatment is in place. Which is delayed because my stylist nor family believed me when I said my hair was falling out because it was very thick…now it is noticeable and you can see through.

    Please HELP!

    1. Chalise-
      I am testing Viviscal – I haven’t posted about it yet because I am waiting for the 6 month mark. I am at 3 months and shedding has really slowed down. It is spring and that is when I experience the most shedding – we will see if it continues! But I am happy so far – you might give it a try.

      1. Hi. Do you know if you if you can take the Viviscal with a low dosage of Spiro? Thanks.

  7. Hi Amy,
    I’ve been using the start kit of the Joico 3-step program for hair loss for about a month now. Sadly, my hair is still falling out enough to clog the drain during each shower, have clumps in my comb, and random strands attach themselves to clothes, furniture, etc. . . Do you have any other recommendations for shampoos?

  8. How are you going about the minoxidil? Will you continue to use it or stop at some point?

  9. Yes I would like to know if you still use the Nizoral as well?
    I am curious about the dose of minoxidil that you use, what is your doctor’s opinion about using the men’s vs. women’s dose?

  10. Amy,

    I have PCOS and was experiencing significant hair loss. I spoke to my endocrinologist about Men’s Rogaine and, she agreed, since my body is so confused with its male/female hormones, I should feel free to go ahead and use the Men’s version; the Women’s is far too weak to combat PCOS. I use the men’s foam twice daily. Just be aware that one of the signs that Rogaine/minoxidil is working is increased shedding at first. The product moves the hair quickly out of the shedding phase and those immediate results can be shocking. But, if the shedding increases, the regrowth will come soon after.

    I also take Saw Palmetto (my endo just asked that I stay off of that for a couple of weeks before going for testing since it will affect hormone levels).

    I recently was on a high dose of prednisone for another issue and, again, experienced hair loss; however, the prednisone really kicked the hair loss into high gear and I lost many of my eyelashes and most of my eyebrows.

    I found this site and immediately added Joico and Viviscal to my regime. It took about two weeks (PCOS and prednisone are mortal enemies and this shedding was particularly traumatic), but the shedding has finally stopped and the hair is coming back. By the way, my ophthalmologist previously recommended RapidLash for my brows and lashes and, save for the recent prednisone debacle, my brows and lashes had become their prior thick and long selves. They are making their way back quite rapidly now and I wonder if that has to do with the Viviscal.

    Before the prednisone debacle, my hair dresser was shocked at how much the Men’s Rogaine and Saw Palmetto helped. According to her, my hair volume doubled. Based on what I’m seeing now in my “prednisone recovery,” and with the addition of Joico and Viviscal, I’m hopeful that this re-growth will be even better than before. If you’d like, I’m happy to report back and let you know and also let you know some of the other things I have done, which have helped.

    1. Yes please Cynthia. I haven’t decided if the Viviscal has worked for me or not. I had major shedding early summer which is typical for me. It is slowing down and I think I’ll have a better feel for it in the fall. Glad it is working for you!

  11. Amy,

    Let’s see. I am using the Clinicure mini-set and just ordered the four products you mentioned, above, in full-size. I use Nioxin styling products–hair spray, mousse, and a thickening spray–Diomax–that I recommend highly. In fact, there is less of a need for other styling products with this one and Diomax really does provide me with a thickening benefit over and above any other product I have tried. I will probably use this alone after I finish with the other Nioxin products.

    As for vitamins, I take Saw Palmetto, FlaxSeed, BioSil, Biotin, Damiana, Viviscal, and Shen Min (for men–I don’t trust products like this and Rogaine for women because they are, simply, not up to the task of handling PCOS hair loss). The Shen Min is a Chinese herb meant to use for about four months (I am not through the four-month period). I also take other vitamins for general health–multivitamin, D, C, cinnamon, cranberry, glucosamine/chondroitin etc. I read somewhere about Licorice for hair loss, but my endocrinologist said that I should never take this as it not only affects adrenal gland testing/functioning, it will have the opposite reaction with hair. I immediately stopped and, coincidentally, so did the shedding. I do take the Nioxin vitamin.

    By the way, I take glucosamine for my joints, but I’ve heard it help strengthen hair.

    For my eyebrows and lashes, as I mentioned, I use RapidLash. For me, this has worked wonderfully. My lashes and brows are coming in thickly (so, now, I have both sparse, longer lashes and a level of shorter, thicker lashes).

    I had been using Skin Biology’s Folligen products (Hair Signals liquid and cream and the shampoo and conditioner) for my hair, brows, and lashes, but when I switched to the Clinicure and Viviscal, I stopped them. I’m not sure about their impact on my issue because, with my prior regimen, my hair had been growing in thicker and healthier, but the prednisone seemed to upset virtually everything in my body; I also want to give the Clinicure a chance so I can see how that works out. Of note, when my husband uses Folligen Hair Signals Cream regularly and with Rogaine, his white hair turns blonde and grows in thicker.

    I also just started using Vaniqua cream for my face in the event the prednisone has a permanent adverse effect that reverses the laser hair removal effects. For your readers who may not be aware, Vaniqua is a prescription face cream prescribed to reduce facial hair. It does work, but takes about two months for effects to show.

    When I added the Viviscal to my vitamin regimen, eliminated the licorice, and swapped the Nioxin and Folligen for the Clinicure (all this, two weeks ago), my massive shedding finally stopped. My eyebrows began growing in and are nearly back; I already mentioned what is going on with my lashes. My hair is coming back in. As a matter-of-fact, there is a layer of short hair all over my head that is too short for my pony tail and is noticeable when my hair is tied back. The only area I am finding very stubborn is my widow’s peak and one spot on one eyebrow. We’ll see how that turns out.

    Meanwhile, I have a question. The Clinicure line has a twice-daily spray and Rogaine is used twice daily. I’ve been giving it a few hours between each. Do you have any recommendations based on your experience?

    Phew! Okay–I think that covers everything, for now. I will check in again and keep you posted as to how this is all working out, if you’d like. Right now, two weeks into the new regimen, everything appears to be moving in the right direction and reversed for the better quite quickly. While I believe the effects of prednisone would have reversed eventually, the reversal took place rapidly when I amended the regimen and included the Clinicure and Viviscal, which was around the same time I added the BioSilk and Damiana.

  12. Amy, How are you finding the Clinicure products, thus far? I have a question with how you use them. Joico advised me to replace Rogaine with Rescue. Have you done that? Do you use both? They say to use one or the other and I’m feeling a bit reticent about stopping the Rogaine. Thanks, Cynthia

  13. Amy,

    Thanks! Are you using both at the same time or one in the morning and one in the evening? Also, do you find Rescue a bit oily? The Joico representative, by the way, told me that people should either use Rescue or Treat, but not Rescue and Treat at the same time. Rescue is for more significantly thinning hair and, Treat, for after hair grows back. Meanwhile, they have a thickening spray? I will be checking that out right now!

    1. Tameka-
      I actually stopped using Viviscal because after 6 months I didn’t see a difference. It didn’t increase body or facial hair for me.

  14. I have read on other sites that mint can actually lessen hair growth and that some people use it to stop hair from growing in unwanted places.Last year I tried a shampoo that contained mint (stated it stimulated the scalp) I had to stop using it because I had huge hair shedding. My question is you stated you had a large amount of shedding this summer and when I read the list of ingredients of the Joico line you are using mint is listed. Did you start the Joico line before or after your shed. So is mint good or bad for hair growth??

  15. Hi Amy,

    Any update on the Joico products? I think it’s been 6 months. I’m desperately looking for products for my daughter. Thanks!

  16. Hi Amy, Any 6 month update on the Joico product? And if you’re also using spiro and rogaine, how would you be able to distinguish Joico results over those? Thanks!

    1. I have used Spiro and Rogaine for several years. I added Joico and saw very positive results. I have been experiencing stress induced hair loss and the Joico isn’t helping with that unfortunately.

    1. I will be providing an update soon. I use the Joico because the Nizoral was unavailable for some time. I also have started using the Aveda hair thinning products and like them too.

  17. Hey when you had postpartum hair loss…did your scalp burn or tingle? How long did it take your hair to start coming back? I’m going through this right now…uggg!!

  18. Hello Amy,

    I tried to ask a question earlier and Im not sure if it went through lol. So this is my second attempt 🙂

    I was diagnosed with PCOS last summer 2012. Since then I have worked on losing weight and eating properly. I have been seeing a dermatologist in regards to my hairloss and thinning. She has helped me so very much and actual suggested i try Nioxin. At this present moment I don’t have shedding like i use too and I do use rogaine to help and I do see sprouts (new hair growth) coming in.

    My question is being that I don’t shed as I once use too. Would Nioxin, clinicure or a plain regular volumnizing shampoo line? any advice you have will be greatly apperciated. I am so confused on what to pick.

    Thank you

      1. Thank you so much Amy :). I’ve read some reviews on amazon about nioxin causing more hairloss. And that freaks me out, I’ve also read that it doesn’t really remove DHT. With that being said would Clinicure be a better option? Do you know anything about nizoral being a good brand to use?

  19. Hi,

    thanks for the great post

    Where did you get the info on this?

    I can’t find it anywhere on the joico website

    1. Elisa-
      I really love all Joico products – their new Body Luxe Line is great too. I use the volumizer mousse and hairspray. I also like their Kpak hair conditioner. I’ve been trying to reach them to find out the status of clinicure. You can still find it on Amazon. I did just find out from their corporate office that it is still available.

  20. I developed telogen effluvium from dying my hair three times in three weeks (long story). A few weeks later I started shedding massively. I lost about 70% of my hair with hair thining. I also developed burning scalp syndrome. What was there grew, but nothing new grew back. I then was diagnosed with PCOS and elevated testosterone two months later after I asked for some specialized tests randomly (even though I saw 6-7 doctors over various PCOS complaints since last July and for my new onset hair thinning). So I likely have some underlying androgenic alopecia too. 3 months since my event, no new growth, but am using rogaine, vitamin b, progesterone, fish oil, vit d, spironolactone.

    I wanted to let you know last week I started the Joico products and it is the first thing that has taken away my burning scalp! It feels great! I feel this is a sign that Joico must be doing something healing for my scalp. I wanted to pass this along in case anyone else has this syndrome.

  21. I am currently using the Clinicure vitamins, and I love what they have done for my hair. I see noticeable differences in the thickness of my hair. I have only been taking them for about 45 days, but with three weeks, I could tell the difference. I have used the Joico conditioner before but never the entire system. I think I will try that next.

  22. I have just got the trial size of the Joico kit, so hopefully it will help with my hair loss too. Thanks for your recommendation.

  23. Amy, I am recently diagnosed with PCOS and the big reason I asked to be evaluated was thinning hair. Mostly my hair is thinning around the top/crown/part and it is quite noticeable – luckily it curls naturally but I have had to cut it short and you can see my scalp. I am wearing hats constantly now to prevent sunburn. A couple of months ago, before being diagnosed with PCOS, I saw a dermatologist who wanted to do biopsies – she would cut two pieces of scalp from the top thinning area to see if she can find out why it’s thinning and likely propose strong steroids which may or may not help. This is not an attractive plan for me – I would have scars with NO hair growth and it might not even show what is going on. I’m wondering if people with PCOS hair loss have other kinds of scalp symptoms? I have occasional “pimples” on my scalp which seem to clear up with a few drops of hydrogen peroxide and are worst if my scalp is sweaty/oily – but they can pop up quick in batches and are very annoying. My entire scalp also feels very dry and irritated – not quite itchy but enough to have me trying to not scratch at it. I tried Rogaine and had a horrible allergic reaction and then found out it is toxic to cats and decided that is not for me. I have stopped using all my former hair products and purchased an organic shampoo with tea tree oil and mint which is what feels best so far. I also tried putting turmeric powder mixed with jojoba oil on my scalp for twenty minutes a few times a week – and it seems to comfort whatever irritation is going on. But my hair is still quite thin. I’m supported to be starting metformin. Does this sound like PCOS related symptoms or could there be something going on with my hair loss aside from PCOS? Thanks.