Hair and hair growth


Hair grows out of follicles, pits sunk beneath the skin surface being tube like pockets of the epidermis that enclose a small section of the dermas at their base, that are found in the top layer of skin (epidermis). A follicle may be seen as a skin organ that produces hair, found in the dermis being the layer of skin between the epidermis and subcutaneous tissue. At the base of the follicle is the hair root, which comprises the blood vessel, the papilla, the hair bulb and the hair bulge. The papilla contains nerves, connective tissue and blood vessels that are responsible for maintaining hair growth. The hair grows from the bottom of the follicle. It is nourished by the blood vessels in the papilla that extend into the follicle and for a short distance into the root of the hair. The cells of the hair bulge, immediately above the hair bulb, the region in which new hair is developed (this is according to a 1990 study), move upward as new cells begin to form beneath them. As these cells move further from the hair bulge they are cut off from their supply of nourishment and start to form a hard protein called keratin. Above the bulge, a sheath of cells surrounds the hair with openings for sebaceous glands, which produce a waxy coating to prevent the hair from drying out and sweat glands, which produce a watery secretion to lubricate the hair.





A number of factors influence the rate of hair growth such as age, sex, hair length, season, diet, general health etc. In general hair grows at a rate of approximately 13mm per month. It grows fastest in the summer months and in women between the ages of 16 and 24 years. At any one time the average head of hair is estimated to have between 100 000 and 150 000 hairs. Hair is not a permanent body structure and is present in/on the scalp for between 4 and 6 years. It goes through a growth phase called the anagen phase, which is followed by the rest phase called the catagen phase. A follicle then sheds its hair and replaces it with a new one during a phase called the telogen phase. Between 5 and 15 percent of the hairs in the scalp are in a resting phase at any point in time. A person sheds between 70 and 100 hairs a day from follicles that are in the telogen phase. As the phases of each follicle is unique and follow the cycles independently of each other the total amount of hair on the human scalp remains constant. When hair is replaced at a slower rate than that at which it falls out, thinning or baldness occur. Hair loss to some extent impacts on approximately 65% of men and 40% of women.

Causes/Types of hair loss

Baldness also called alopecia is the lack or loss of hair. Two primary types of baldness can be distinguished. Permanent hair loss arising out of the destruction of hair follicles and temporary hair loss arising from transitory damage to the follicles. Temporary hair loss occurs fairly commonly after conditions accompanied by high fever/temperature, exposure to X-rays, ingestion of metals such as thallium, tin and arsenic, drugs, malnutrition, some inflammatory skin diseases, scalp infections, child birth, surgery and endocrine disorders. Drugs that may impact on hair loss, the most infamous of which are those used in chemotherapy in addition to gout and epilepsy medications anticoagulants, anti-inflammatories, beta blockers as well as gynaecological and fertility drugs. Factors such as pregnancy and illness can affect the growth cycles of the follicles. The growing phase (anagen) is shorter which may result in a greater number of club hairs. These club hairs may be shed at the same time causing thinning of the hair or even baldness. This is a temporary form of baldness and when the follicle enters a growing (anagen) phase a new hair will grow.

Alkod (product background and application)

Alkod consists of vegetable and herbal extracts, taking the form of tinctures and essential oils, which are blended and carried in an aqueous alcoholic solution. The solution is applied to the scalp in sufficient quantity to render the scalp moist. The scalp is then massaged, using one’s fingertips, for approximately 3 minutes. The aqueous alcoholic carrier solution evaporates leaving the “active” ingredients, the herbal and vegetable extracts, on the scalp. Certain of the extracts have the effect, according to the literature, of stimulating ones circulation. When combined with the massage the impact on the circulation is synergistic. As the developing hair (the cells) is nourished from the blood, enhanced circulation will ensure the adequate delivery of blood from which the multiplying and maturing cells can extract the necessary nutrients to optimise development/growth. Other extracts contained in Alkod, the documented properties of which include being Anti-inflammatory, Antiseptic, Antibacterial, Antifungal and Cicatrizant, help create an environment necessary for sustainable healthy hair growth. Alkod has also been developed to act as a toner/freshener for the scalp.(The two shampoo variants being Alklene shampoo for normal hair and Alklene shampoo for oily hair as well as the Alkonditioner contain “Alkod” concentrate. A.K.D. is very similar to Alkod but takes the form of a cream rather than a lotion. Its application is perfectly suited to areas showing hair line recession such as temples and foreheads).


Alkod is a product developed to address certain aspects associated with unnatural hair loss. Alkod is suitable for use on all scalps irrespective of ethnic denomination. For the best results when using Alkod, a proactive approach is preferable to a reactive one.


Other related products in the range include Alklene shampoo for both normal and oily hair, Alkonditioner and A.K.D. These products all contain the herbal and vegetable extracts associated with the Alkod. The A.K.D. is virtually the same as Alkod but instead of the carrier being an aqueous/alcoholic one it is a cream base. A.K.D. thus offers the benefits associated with Alkod and can be used as a hair styling aid. The Alkod and A.K.D. are relatively unique in that there are few competing products in a similar price range.


How to apply and use Alkod

Alkod is a lotion applied to the scalp (not the hair). It is a product that must be left on the scalp as the active ingredients, being the vegetable and herbal extracts, are absorbed through the scalp so the longer the active ingredients are exposed to the scalp the greater the amount absorbed and the greater the benefit.

Replace the cap on the Alkod bottle with the spout cap. Place the spout cap through your hair and moisten your scalp with Alkod. Use your fingertips to massage your scalp for 3 to 5 minutes while the aqueous alcoholic carrier solution evaporates, leaving the herbal and vegetable extracts on your scalp, to be absorbed through your scalp. Should you wish to wash your hair, wash it and then towel your hair dry before applying Alkod. If your scalp is wet the active ingredients will not adhere to your scalp thus reducing or negating any benefit from Alkod. Once applied you can manage your hair, as you normally would e.g. blow drying it.


Frequency of application

For optimal results Alkod should be applied twice daily. Positive results may still be achieved if Alkod is applied once daily.