Scalp massage is a free DIY treatment that’s often touted as a hair loss solution. But does it really work?
Studies show that scalp massage can boost hair growth [1-2]. Massaging your scalp every day can improve hair thickness and stimulate blood flow to the hair follicles, feeding them with the nutrients they need to produce healthy hair.
Here, you’ll find out everything you need to know about scalp massage for hair growth, including:
Scalp massage is a type of head massage that can relieve stress, promote relaxation, and stimulate blood flow to the scalp.
Regular scalp massage has been shown to increase hair thickness in non-balding men, and even reduce the symptoms of male pattern baldness [1-2]. Scalp massage may also work for female pattern hair loss, but there’s currently limited evidence to confirm this.
In addition to the benefits for your hair, studies have shown that scalp massage can have a positive impact on stress hormones, blood pressure, and heart rate . Stress can lead to hair loss if left untreated, so scalp massage may help you regain hair loss after a stressful period.
Evidence suggests that massaging your scalp really can help boost hair growth. But it’s not a one-and-done activity — you’ll need to massage your scalp every day to see an improvement . And it can take several months for hair growth to become visible.
That’s because you need to wait for your hair growth cycle to catch up with your new routine. The hair shedding phase lasts around three to five months, so you’ll need to wait for any hairs in the shedding phase to move into the growth phase:
Scalp massage works by increasing blood flow to your follicles. This is also how Minoxidil works, which is one of just two proven treatments for androgenetic alopecia.
Massaging your scalp can also stretch the cells of the hair follicles, which stimulates them to produce thicker, stronger hair.
One study found that those who massaged their scalp for at least 50 hours over several months saw hair improvements along the frontal hairline and crown .
Using a five-point scale to measure hair loss/growth (from -2 to +2, where 0 refers to hair loss stabilisation), results showed improvements in the following areas:
Average self-perceived hair change after 152 hours of scalp massage
Participants who committed to more than 152 hours of scalp massage saw at least double the hair changes, suggesting the more you massage the scalp, the more effective it can be.
There are two main ways to massage your scalp: using your hands or using an electric scalp massager.
No studies have compared the effectiveness of these methods, but there appear to be merits for both. Self-massage by hand has been shown to stimulate hair growth in those with pattern baldness, while an electric scalp massage device was used to increase hair thickness.
Increases in hair thickness were achieved by using the electric scalp massager for four minutes every day, while hand scalp massaging was encouraged for at least 20 minutes a day. So while you don’t need to invest in an electric scalp massager, it may save you some time on your daily scalp massage.
The more often you massage your scalp, the more your hair could grow.
According to research, you’ll need to massage your scalp for 11-20 minutes a day over five months before you see results. 69% of participants who followed this advice saw their hair loss stabilise or regrow .
One study found that hair loss stabilised after an average of 36.3 hours of scalp massage . That’s roughly equivalent to a 15 minute scalp massage every day for 143 days, or almost five months.
So if you’re planning to use scalp massage for hair growth, you need to commit to the process. Set aside 10-20 minutes every day to give yourself a relaxing scalp massage.
There are no known specific pressure points on your scalp that make your hair grow. Instead, it’s best to focus on your balding or thinning areas, as this is where the follicles can benefit from additional blood flow.
For most people, hair loss occurs in three distinct areas:
Focus your scalp massage on the areas that are affecting you.
So now you know why scalp massage for hair growth works — and how often you need to do it — how do you actually give yourself a scalp massage?
Researchers who carried out the study recommended twice daily 20-minute hand scalp massages to take place 12 hours apart:
If you have diffuse thinning, this video can help you learn to massage your entire scalp, rather than specific areas. Note that the doctor recommends using essential oils. Some essential oils may help with hair growth, but they aren’t a must for scalp massage.
Handheld manual scalp massagers can exfoliate your scalp, but there’s limited research into their effectiveness for hair growth. Investing in an electric scalp massager may offer bigger benefits, as research has shown this can improve hair thickness even in those who don’t have hair loss.
To use a scalp massager, just choose your speed and hold the machine in position over your scalp. Move it around the scalp and adjust the speed as needed.
Scalp massage is just one way to grow your hair quickly. You can also try Minoxidil, improving your diet and lifestyle, and taking good care of your hair.
Ultimately, you need to know what’s causing your hair loss before you can treat it. That’s why it’s a good idea to consult with a hair loss specialist.
This is especially true for women with hair loss, as female hair loss can be much more difficult to diagnose. To access a tailored female hair loss treatment plan, book a consultation at the Wimpole Clinic.
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