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Are Korean shampoos better for hair loss
Reviewed by Dr Bosty Chan, MBChB, MRCS
Korean shampoos are specially formulated for Asian hair. They can be effective for mild cases of hair loss, but if you are losing a lot of hair daily, there’s no replacement to seeing a doctor.
As women, we tend to be emotionally attached to our hair.
It is one of the first things people notice and it can significantly affect our self-esteem, confidence and certainly our mood.
According to a survey on beauty among people in Singapore conducted in 2022, hair loss was the top concern among 44% of more than a thousand respondents.
And it is no secret Singaporeans love all things Korean.
In 2020, when borders closed due to COVID-19, South Korea topped a poll of countries that Singaporeans would like the Republic to have an Air Travel Bubble with.
It was the clear favourite with 40.7% of the 6000 respondents who participated in an online poll conducted by The Straits Times.
The Korean wave
In the past decade, the wave of Korean culture “hallyu” has swept the world, from K-pop, K-movies, K-dramas to K-fashion and K-beauty.
K-beauty is an umbrella term for the Korean influence on skincare, beauty treatments, routines, lifestyle and products that originate in South Korea.
It is not uncommon in Singapore to find a salon offering Korean hair treatments. The Korean standard of beauty has influenced not just Singapore but throughout the world.
Why does hair loss happen?
This intersects with a problem that you might be facing: hair loss.
Hair loss can occur in women for a variety of reasons: stress, hormones, pregnancy, diet, health or hereditary conditions.
In Singapore, the constant hot and humid weather also poses one of the greatest challenges to that healthy-looking hair we all desire – no matter what type of hair you have.
Can you reverse your hair loss by using Korean shampoos?
All about Korean shampoos
We are Asians
When looking for a shampoo for hair loss, we tend to believe that Asian products can address Asian-specific hair concerns. With the rise of K-idols and even K-celebrities of all ages in K-dramas endorsing hair products, we’d like to think it would work for us too.
Non-stop innovation and advanced technology
Beauty is a serious business in South Korea.
The worldwide success of K-beauty began with the development of innovative products such as BB creams, sheet masks, the cushion compacts, acne pimple patches and under-eye masks. These products were subsequently adopted by famous European and US beauty brands.
Increased global demand for Korean products resulted in competition between major Korean beauty companies investing heavily in research and development, constantly looking for something new and better. Korean beauty care always seems to be one step ahead of others.
We trust that K-shampoos have a solution for our hair loss.
Gentle and natural formulas for all skin types
One well-known strength of Korean beauty products is its skin-friendly compositions, formulated with natural ingredients.
According to a global study in 2017, the prevalence of sensitive skin in Korea is the highest (56.8%) among countries such as the USA, Europe, Russia, Brazil and Japan.
For this reason, K-brands have focused on developing hypoallergenic, anti-breakout and naturally derived formulations that are safe for all skin types, including acne-prone, oily, dry and even extremely sensitive skin.
Although current scientific evidence has not pointed to any specific shampoo ingredient as a potential cause of hair loss, we do know that certain shampoo ingredients such as sulfates, formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates, etc., can increase skin sensitivity and trigger allergic skin reactions. This can result in an irritated scalp and poor hair growth.
It is common for Korean shampoo to be made with very mild chemicals, free from harmful ingredients and suitable even for sensitive scalp types.
You would also find Korean shampoos for treating hair loss to contain unique ingredients from nature.
They tend to include numerous herbs and other components that have been used in traditional Korean medicine to cure hair loss. You may find red ginseng extracts, Jeju green tea and Centella Asiatica in these shampoos. These are commonly used as medicinal herbs in the Asian culture but are difficult to find in the Western world.
The role of these natural ingredients and their effectiveness in preventing or treating hair loss are still unclear, many more studies are still required to establish their role in hair loss.
However, it does feel reassuring to use a shampoo product that is packed with beneficial ingredients that are kind to the scalp and potentially useful for hair loss.
Prevention is better than cure
Koreans tend to focus on prevention and tackling the root of skin problems rather than treating when necessary. In other words, they take time to care for their skin before the actual skin problems occur.
With a ‘focus-on-prevention’ philosophy, they understand that consistency and patience play an essential role in its effectiveness.
This philosophy applies similarly to hair loss, as much as we would like to speed up the growth process, medications and products for hair loss need to be used consistently, rather than using them just once and expecting immediate results.
Medications for hair loss treatments typically require 3-4 months for potential visible results to be seen as this is just the normal growth cycle for hair follicles.
In the prevention of hair loss, it is also advisable to avoid tight pulling hair styles and high temperatures from styling devices like hair dryers, curlers or flat irons.
Keeping our hair and scalp healthy is the main philosophy in the development of Korean shampoo products for hair loss.
How to use Korean shampoos in your daily routine
Many Korean shampoos for hair loss contain many different natural active ingredients with mild chemicals; they also cater to different skin types.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends washing your hair with a shampoo as often as once a day depending on your hair or scalp type. Generally, how often you wash your hair should be based on how much oil your scalp produces.
Choosing a shampoo may be a matter of personal preference. We all have our preferences in the way the shampoo lathers up, the smell, how it leaves our hair and scalp feeling after – shampooing is a multi-sensorial process (we just enjoy our showers!)
Beyond smell and feel, make sure to check what ingredients are in the product and make your own list; observe how it affects your scalp and hair – if you ever have an allergic or negative reaction to a product, or if it works well for you.
Don’t be afraid to switch out products if you need to, it is a trial-and-error process, what works for you may not work for someone else.
Korean hair loss shampoos may be worth trying as a preventive measure or in addition to medical treatments for hair loss in the early stages for a potential additive effect.
When should you see a doctor?
Hair loss affects us in many ways – the anxiety we feel when we see clumps of fallen hair, the dread of looking in the mirror, the constant urge to make up and conceal the loss.
In more advanced stages of hair thinning, shampoos aren’t likely to work effectively.
At that stage, you will need to get down to the root of the problem with a doctor.
It is important to know whether your hair loss is actually normal or excessive. It is quite common to lose about 50-100 strands of hair each day, but anything over 100 is considered excessive.
Here at Dame, we understand your concerns and we stand by the age-old adage that prevention is better than cure.
Dame provides convenient hair loss consultation for women in the comfort of your home.
If you are at a loss – you’ve tried home remedies, shampoos and made changes in lifestyle – but you are continuing to lose hair, we can help you reverse this.
Our doctors can prescribe a range of treatments from shampoos containing medicated ingredients like minoxidil to a range of oral medications.
At Dame, we believe in choice. We carry the largest selection of birth control methods that can be readily access through our online platform. With just a few clicks, you can get a professional consult with our experts, and the medications can be shipped discreetly to you.
There is even an option for subscription, if you are looking to commit to something regular and fuss free.