An Introduction to Combating Hair Loss

Your decision to take control of your hair loss with Pelage, Victory Select’s proprietary Hair Growth formula, is a crucial first step in fostering stronger, faster-growing hair. However, there are a number of important factors to keep in mind as you begin your journey. Understanding all of the information included here not only provides valuable insight into your health and safety, but also ensures you get the best results from the medication.

Pelage 101

Victory Select has created two proprietary compounds collectively known as Pelage: an AM/PM capsule and a scalp spray/topical. Both forms have the same purpose: to restore your hair and confidence. To achieve these aims, we use the latest in tricho-technology. However, each contains different ingredients which have different impacts. We go into each of these ingredients in detail later in the section titled “How Does Pelage Work?” For now, here’s a brief summary.

 AM/PM Capsule: This proprietary oral formulation is designed to create thicker, fuller, faster-growing hair. It features pharmaceutical-grade vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, including Alpha Lipoic Acid, L-Methionine, and Valine. 

 Scalp Spray/Topical: Pelage uses a synergistic topical formulation that, for the first time, integrates the powerful antioxidant quercetin with three FDA-approved medications for growing hair: Minoxidil, Finasteride, and Bimatoprost. WARNING: If you are pregnant, nursing, or planning to become pregnant, do not use the spray/topical.

Though each can be used independently, using both the spray and capsules in combination provides everything you need to grow thicker, fuller hair. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Pelage and Other Medications

The only medication that negatively interacts with Pelage (capsule and topical) is St. John’s Wort. If you have any questions about any other medications you’re taking, we encourage you to talk to your doctor.

How Your Hair Grows

Fact: we are all born with about five million hair cells on our bodies. These are all the hair cells we will ever have. The scalp has the densest concentration of these cells; the average head holds about 100,000 hairs, which increases by about six inches per year. That said, the amount of hair you have depends on your hair color. Blondes average 150,000, brown-haired people 110,000, and redheads 90,000 scalp hairs. Again, there will never be more. 

The good news: hair can regenerate. Every time a hair falls from your head, another hair stands ready to take its place. The bad news: once a hair follicle becomes too shrunken (miniaturized), it becomes exceedingly unlikely that the hair-producing follicle will return to normal function. (See “Understanding Hair Loss” for more.) Totally bald spots will most often remain so. That’s why it’s advisable to get as early a start as possible in combating hair loss.

Hair growth occurs in three different phases; and it never grows in the same phase at the same time. Otherwise, we would shed all our hair at once and go through cycles of full heads of hair and complete baldness.  

Anagen: This is when an individual hair grows. After the root divides, a hair will stay in this phase of growth for two to six years. If your growth phase lasts six years, you might be able to grow long hair. If your hair stays in the growth phase for two years, it will have a shorter maximum length. About 85 percent of hairs are in this phase at any given time.

Catagen: This phase is much shorter (14 to 21 days), and it’s here that hair stops growing. The outer sheath of hair attaches to the root of the hair and begins to weaken at its base. About five percent of hairs are in this intermediate phase at any given time.

Telogen: This phase is when the hair cells are completely at rest; it lasts about three months. Approximately 10 percent of your hairs are in this phase at any given time.  

Understanding the Hair Follicle

The normal hair follicle is more complex than most people realize. From each hair follicle, multiple hairs sprout. These are divided into two types: primary and secondary. Here is a breakdown of each.

Primary: This goes all the way down to the main root and is “grasped” by a tiny muscle called the arrector pili. This muscle makes your hairs “stand on end,” and when it completely separates from the hair and is replaced by fat, hair loss can only be partially restored. In many other conditions that cause complete baldness, the arrector pili muscle stays attached to the final primary hair, making complete regrowth possible.

Secondary: These smaller hairs don’t go all the way to the root and are lost before the primary hair gives out. That is why so many people will experience thinning hair long before they start to see any true baldness. It’s also why balding can sneak up on you.

What This Means for Your Hair

The best time to deal with hair loss is before the thinning has progressed too far and/or before baldness has existed for too many years. To preserve hair, the attempt is best made when the arrector pili muscle is still attached to that last standing primary hair.

Understanding Hair Loss

Despite its name, Androgenic alopecia (AGA), or male pattern baldness (MPB), affects both men and women. Regardless of gender, those who are genetically inclined to balding start losing hair in adolescence. That said, men are hit the hardest. Indeed, over 60 percent of men have experienced significant hair loss by 35. And 20 percent of men in their early twenties lose hair in two areas: the hairline and crown. 

What makes men so susceptible to balding? To answer that question, it’s important to understand the science. Hair loss is due to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the hormone testosterone becomes when it is exposed to an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase. Once DHT is introduced, the balding process often begins slowly, with clusters of follicles vacating the scalp. This results in the thinning of hair, not clear baldness. That said, once the process has begun, it is relentless—but, crucially, not irreversible. 

Keep this fact in mind as you read the common causes of hair loss below.

Common Causes

  • Genetics: Your genes will determine whether you will preserve hair into your 60s or start losing it in your 20s—and the die isn’t cast with a single gene from one parent. A recent study found that there are over 250 genetic areas that influence baldness, and they can be inherited from either your mother or father.  
  • Anemia: This can occur in women of childbearing years who have heavy periods and do not replace the iron lost each month. Men are also susceptible to iron deficiency when eating a diet low in iron. (See “Pelage and Staying Healthy” for more on how to combat hair loss by eating healthy.) 
  • Chronic Illness: While conditions such as cancer and autoimmune disease are more frequently associated with hair loss, the physical and emotional stress of any chronic illness can be a factor—including sicknesses as common as the flu. 
  • Thyroid Conditions: Too much thyroid hormone can cause the hair to become thin, while too little can cause it to become coarse and brittle. Both lead to hair loss.
  • Injury and Inflammation: Damage to the skin from any chronic inflammation or from a deep injury such as a burn can damage hair follicles. Unlike almost all the other conditions described, hair will not usually regrow over a deep scar.
  • Infections: Tinea Capitis, a fungal infection caused by ringworm, is the most widely known cause of hair loss. It is usually seen in children and causes single or multiple round patches of baldness with broken hairs. Sometimes these patches can be difficult to distinguish from seborrhea or psoriasis. Less familiar are the two types of Piedra, aka Stone, which is also caused by a fungus and can lead to hard, hairless nodules on the scalp.
  • Hormones: Hair growth cycles are sensitive to hormone levels. Some women may notice hair loss when starting certain hormone-based birth control methods, while others can see acceleration of lost hair when they stop their birth control. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) causes an excess of anabolic steroids. Hair loss is one consequence. Men who use unprescribed testosterone supplements to bolster their athletic performance can see male pattern baldness develop rapidly in the same way.
  • Stress: Stress alone can cause hair loss. The death of a loved one, illness, or divorce can lead to hair loss, as can stress-related conditions. In such cases, once the stress is alleviated, the result is the complete restoration of hair.  
  • Excessive Grooming: an inability to control the urge to pull repeatedly on hair, called trichotillomania, can lead to hair loss. In addition, excessive pressure placed on hair follicles by pulling hairs too tightly with ponytails or cornrowing can have similarly negative impacts on retaining hair.
  • Medications: Here is a partial list of medications and medication types that can cause hair loss. If you noticed hair loss after starting a medication, it is worth discussing with your doctor the possibility that the two are linked.
      • Blood thinners – Panwarfarin, Sofarin, Coumadin 
      • Gout medications – Allopurinol, Lopurin, Zyloprim
      • Beta blockers – Atenolol (Tenormin), Metoprolol (Lopressor), Nadolol (Corgard), Propranolol (Inderal, Inderal LA), Timolol (Blocadren)
      • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories – Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
      • Blood Pressure – Captopril (Capoten), Enalapril (Vasotec), Lisinopril (Zestril, Prinivil)
      • Acne medication – Accutane 
      • Antidepressants – Amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep), Amoxapine (Asendin), Clomipramine (Anafranil), Desipramine (Norpramin, Pertofrane), Doxepin (Adapin, Sinequan), Fluoxetine (Prozac), Haloperidol (Haldol), Imipramine (Janimine, Tofranil, Tofranil PM), Nortriptyline, (Pamelor, Aventyl), Paroxetine (Paxil), Protriptyline (Vivactil), Sertraline (Zoloft), Trimipramine (Surmontil)
      • Anti-seizure medications – Trimethadione (Tridione) and valproic acid (Depakote)

How Does Pelage Work?  

Now that we’ve discussed the biological process behind hair growth, as well as contributing factors to its loss, it’s time to talk about how Pelage works. What follows is a detailed breakdown of all the ingredients in the Pelage AM and PM capsules, as well as the Pelage Scalp Spray. Also included is an overview of how each works to improve hair growth. 

Note: these ingredients are in alphabetical order, NOT in order of importance.

Pelage AM:

Alpha Lipoic Acid – This is a powerful vitamin-like antioxidant. It improves blood flow to nerves and nerve fiber regeneration essential to hair growth 

Ascorbic Acid – Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant used in collagen biosynthesis and hair-shaft elongation.

Biotin – Also known as Vitamin B7, this serves as a coenzyme in carboxylation reactions and influences fat and protein metabolism.  It has been shown to contribute to more complete hair regrowth in alopecia patients.

Cholecalciferol – Vitamin D is fat-soluble. Once activated by the body, it functions as a steroid hormone that stimulates hair follicles to grow. 

Folic Acid – Vitamin B9 is a methyl-group donor and is crucial for the formation of nucleic acids, red blood cells, and hemoglobin, which transports oxygen to hair-building tissues. Folate is responsible for rebuilding hair follicle cells, preventing hair graying and falling out, and regulating sebum gland functionality. 

L-Histidine – This is an essential amino acid that partially comprises hair and possesses potent antioxidant properties.

Methylcobalamin – The biologically active, or methylated, form of B12 is important in nucleic acid formation and other cellular functions such as cell division, cell replication, and homocysteine metabolism.

Niacinamide – Vitamin B3 promotes blood flow and facilitates circulation, removal of toxins, and delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicle. It is also converted into nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, which coordinates numerous oxidation-reduction reactions.

Pantothenate – Vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid, is an important molecule involved in the Coenzyme A construct and the metabolism of carbohydrates, synthesis and degradation of fatty acids, and steroid hormones.

Pyridoxine – Vitamin B6 is a coenzyme involved in numerous metabolic transformations of proteins and amino acids, including transamination, decarboxylation, desulfurization, synthesis, and cleavage. It helps to build hair follicles by incorporating nutrients like cystine into the hair cell.

Riboflavin – Vitamin B2 is involved in many critical processes in hair formation, including iron absorption, collagen formation, and glutathione production.

Silicon – This element helps to improve the appearance and shine of hair through collagen cross-linking.  

Thiamine – B1 is a water-soluble vitamin that plays an integral part of carbohydrate metabolism and energy production. It’s involved in the proper functioning of the cardiovascular and nervous systems. 

Tocopherol – Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that reduces lipid peroxidation and quenches free-radicals that have a detrimental effect on hair growth processes.

Vitamin A – This fat-soluble vitamin is important for proper hair follicle structure. A deficiency in this vitamin leads to deformation of hair follicles, resulting in slower cell cycle speed and decreased hair cell generation.  

Pelage PM:

Copper – This mineral is crucial for maintaining hair integrity and color, thanks to its coordination of sulfur bridges. A copper deficiency results in hair that is brittle, weak, and tends toward early graying. 

L-Arginine – This amino acid partially comprises hair, serving as a precursor molecule of nitric oxide that helps improve blood flow by relaxing endothelial smooth muscle.  

L-Isoleucine & L-Leucine – These essential branched chain amino acids are a component of hair and facilitate the K+ ion channel permeability in the hair follicle. This process leads to improved oxygenation and subsequent hair growth.

L-Lysine – Also an essential amino acid, it’s a component of hair and is involved in multiple biochemical processes, including receptor affinity, protease-cleavage points, nuclear structure and function, and the biosynthesis of carnitine, collagen, and elastin. A lysine deficiency decreases hair growth while increasing the risk of hair breakage.  

L-Methionine – This sulfur-containing essential AA forms sulfur-chains that comprise the basic structure of hair. Methionine also enhances the synthesis of the body’s most potent antioxidant: glutathione.

L-Proline – This cyclic, non-essential amino acid partially comprises hair and is involved in the production of collagen.

L-Tyrosine – This amino acid helps form hair and gives hair its color by increasing the production of melanin via tyrosine oxidation in melanocytes.

N-acetyl-cysteine – This amino acid provides the building blocks for the formation of cystine, a molecule that is crucial to hair growth. It is also an important precursor to glutathione, which protects against toxic substances and free-radical damage.

Threonine – Also an essential amino acid, it’s a component of hair and is important for hair growth, especially the threonine-rich regions of keratin strands.

Valine – This branched-chain essential amino acid partially comprises hair and interacts with the potassium ion channel permeability in the hair follicle. This process leads to improved oxygenation and subsequent hair growth.

Zinc – An essential mineral, it helps form keratin and coordinates hundreds of enzymes, such as alkaline phosphatase, which are important in hair follicles. Thin and brittle hair results from zinc deficiency.

Pelage Scalp Spray: 

Bimatoprost – This synthetic analogue of prostaglandin F2 promotes hair growth by prolonging the growth (anagen) phase. It’s also involved in melanogenesis, a biological process that increases the production of melanin—the pigment that gives hair its color.

Dimethyl sulfone – A penetration enhancer by nature, MSM improves minoxidil absorption across the skin, resulting in increased minoxidil concentration in the hair follicles and the improvement of hair follicle oxygenation.

Finasteride – This is a specific inhibitor of 5-alpha-reductase, the enzyme that converts testosterone into a more potent form called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The latter shrinks the hair follicle. With less DHT, hair follicles are more active and capable of producing full grown hair.

Minoxidil – The only FDA-approved medication for male and female alopecia, Minoxidil opens up blood vessels by relaxing vascular smooth muscle cells, allowing for improved oxygenation of the hair follicle. It is also thought to stimulate the production of growth factors and promoters that enhances hair growth.

Quercetin – This potent antioxidant and antimicrobial slows down the production of certain prostaglandins that shrink hair follicles and, thus, cause hair loss.

Pelage and Staying Healthy

It should come as no surprise that your overall health and well-being matters when it comes to treating hair loss. (For more, see “Understanding Hair Loss.”) As you’re now aware, hair growth is a biologically complex process which occurs in multiple phases. Each can be impacted by how you treat your body, including by what you put into it. 

That’s why your health and well-being are so crucial. So, to help improve your chance of success in restoring your hair and confidence, we’ve compiled the following tips to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 

Diet and Exercise 

What you do with your body and what you put into it matter for all sorts of reasons, including hair loss. In order to maintain your hair as well as your mental and physical well-being, you should follow an exercise routine. Indeed, even a simple walk around the neighborhood can do wonders for your body and state of mind. Set an exercise schedule and stick to it.  

 Vitamin B and protein deficiencies in your diet can also lead to hair loss. But iron deficiency, or anemia, makes people especially susceptible to alopecia. Women who have heavy periods should make sure to replace the iron lost each cycle, as should women who’ve recently given birth. 

Similarly, men must maintain iron in their diets or risk creating the conditions for baldness to begin. 

 Thankfully, these contributing factors are within your power to rectify. A well-balanced diet and regular physical activity are things everyone can do on their own. Talk to your doctor to address your individual needs and circumstances.

Sleep and Stress

Sleep and stress are related to each other, as well as to hair loss. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you increase your risk for health problems, including decreasing iron and other essentials. 

Limiting your stress is also important to a healthy hair growth and to your health more generally. From reducing your blood pressure to obesity, keeping your stress in check keeps your mind and body working in harmony. This is essential to staving off baldness. (For more, see “Understanding Hair Loss.”)

Booze and Beyond 

Reducing the amount you drink improves your health in numerous ways, from liver function to blood pressure to achieving hair growth. Similarly, it should come as no surprise that quitting smoking also improves your overall health in many ways, including reducing your risk of hair loss. 

It’s Time to Restore Your Hair—and Confidence

Pelage’s many benefits will only happen if you follow this guide and, above all, communicate with your healthcare professional. If you do both, these potent compounds will allow you to lead a richer and more enjoyable life. You’re now well on your way to restoring your hair—and your confidence.