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Can retinol really make your hair grow? Experts share their verdicts

It’s time to start caring for your scalp too (Picture: iStockphoto)

The latest trend in skincare is to treat your scalp with the same care and attention as the skin on your face.

Dubbed the ‘skinification of the hair’, it’s all about using smarter, high spec ingredients.

And now TikTok is touting the benefits of retinol for the hair – yes, the same retinol used in skincare as an anti-ageing ingredient.

So what should you start using your precious retinol on your head? Well apparently, it can help your hair grow.

Viviscal ambassador and trichologist, Hannah Gaboardi, is helping us sort the fact from the TikTok-buzz.

‘We all know retinol has become a skincare buzz word, but not a lot of people actually know it can help the scalp and overall hair health too,’ she says.

‘Caring for the scalp is so important because healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp. You need to treat your scalp as you do your skin, which is why retinol is great.’

Retinol works to improve cell turnover, she explains, which means it clears the scalp of any build up which can impact hair growth – potentially making hair grow thicker and healthier. 

Although, while it can help, retinol alone won’t solve all your hair issues.

‘It can help, but I would make sure you’re attacking the hair loss issue from the inside and out, with other products that support in hair health,’ she adds.

‘Retinol also helps the absorption of other products, so it’s great to use in conjunction with other healthy hair products.’

Hannah recommends using shampoo that contains biotin and keratin – which are well known hero hair ingredients that can support hair growth.

So, as well as retinol, your routine needs to be smart and robust in order to get the best out of your hair.

Angela Onuoha, Rhyme & Reason advisor and trichologist, also agrees that retinol has the potential to help the scalp and strands, resulting in better hair growth – but, it’s got to be used in combination with ‘follicle-boosting ingredients’.

She says: ‘I recommend using skincare ingredients like salicylic acid and peptides, incorporated into your haircare products, that are proven to work on the hair follicles.’

Peptides are important because they help to absorb and retain moisture in the scalp – something retinol can wreck havoc with.

Care with retinol is always advised. Just as it can be intense on skin, it can irritate the scalp too.

Hannah says: ‘You don’t want to cause any sensitivity so I would always recommend using only once a day – similar to skincare.

‘If it’s a serum, you should apply directly to the scalp and massage in. 

‘Scalp massaging increases hair thickness by stretching the cells of hair follicles.

‘This then stimulates the follicles to produce thicker hair. So using it in conjunction with retinol would be very effective.’

So, use with caution – and with other products – and retinol really could help your locks grown long and luscious.

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