April 29, 2021
From podcast: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/hair-growth/
[00:01:52] Podcast Sponsors
[00:04:18] Guest Introduction
[00:05:02] The Fringe Microneedling Treatment
[00:09:16] What to Expect After The PRP Treatment
[00:13:21] Cameron's Background
[00:18:09] All the Cool Gadgets Inside Cameron's ÔPTIM Clinic
[00:21:09] Pros and Cons of Derma Rolling
[00:31:33] Podcast Sponsors
[00:33:43] Supplements Demystified
[00:41:23] Iron and Copper Contributing to Grey Hair
[00:53:31] If Butter on the Scalp Can Bring Back Hair
[00:56:34] How Rapamycin Affects Hair Loss
[01:01:08] How Exosomes Enhance the Effects of Hair Growth
[01:03:42] How Do Hair Transplants Work?
[01:06:41] How Cameron Treats Scars and Stretch Marks
[01:12:56] How Much Therapy Is Too Much
[01:19:41] Closing the Podcast
[01:20:44] End of Podcast
Ben: On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.
Cameron: Not that that doesn't play any role, but in general, if people aren't tearing their skin open every day, what's happening is our skin's losing elasticity over time.
Ben: A lot of these spendy things that we put in our hair, that we massage into our hair, a lot of that might be because of the massage just as much as the actual product. Okay.
Cameron: So, whether we're using a laser or whether we're using a micro-needling device, you want to disrupt the skin barrier, penetrate through the epidermis, but your real work is getting done down deeper in the dermis itself.
Ben: You are pissing off a lot of supplement manufacturers right now, you realize that?
Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.
Welcome to a very special episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show. It's no secret if you've been following me on Instagram or elsewhere that I am embarking upon a hair growth project. Meaning that I'm researching everything one could do for things like graying hair, male pattern baldness, hair loss, beard growth, hair care, fuller heads of hair, elastin, collagen, the works, not because I'm upset about my hair or dissatisfied with my hair, but because I'm just interested in growing out my hair and looking into all the different biohacks, and supplements, and medical treatments, and strategies, and everything one could do in the whole anti-aging/beauty department, particularly relevant to one's hair. And so, today's podcast episode is with my friend, an anti-aging and beauty expert, and cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Cameron Chestnut. This one's going to be a doozy, so I hope you enjoy it.
In the meantime, this podcast is brought to you by something that may not necessarily give you a full head of hair, but is definitely going to make your taste buds much happier, and that is the Kion Clean Energy Bar. The Kion Clean Energy Bar is something that I formulated after about a year of internal testing in the cold, in the heat, of course on the taste buds, it's coconutty, chocolatey, salty goodness that you can feel good about, that's guilt-free, that your kids are going to love, that you'll love, that supports both physical activity, as well as any snack cravings that you might get, as well as any crunchy toppings that you may want for a smoothie or ice cream. It works amazingly for that. I keep you few in the freezer just for that purpose alone. It's the Kion Clean Energy Bar. You get a 10% discount on this bar and anything else, any of the other fine, fine products from Kion, if you go to getkion.com/bengreenfield. By the way, our coffee, we have a new ground coffee and that, as well as our regular coffee and our decaf coffee, go amazingly with this bar. So, getkion.com/bengreenfield, getK-I-O-N.com/bengreenfield allows you to save 10%.
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Okay. One last thing. Cameron actually is available for telemedicine consults to anyone anywhere in the world, whether you want to get on there and show them your giant mane of gray hair, or talk with them about some strange stretch mark, or loose skin, or any other beauty, anti-aging topic, anything we talk about on today's show, Cameron can unpack with you on a telemedicine consult. So, I'll put all that information and all the information about his clinic at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/cameron. Check it out and let's go talk to Cameron. Here we go. Hold on to your hair, folks.
Cameron, what the hell did you just do to my face?
Cameron: We just gave you quite the microneedling treatment with your own PRP.
Ben: [00:05:11] _____.
Cameron: What do you want me to do?
Ben: Yeah. Facial numbing cream.
Cameron: Oh, yeah.
Ben: When does that wear off?
Cameron: That's going to be–
Cameron: No. Yeah. Maybe six, seven months until that's fine.
Ben: I'll get used to it. I'll just be able to hammer nails into my face between now and then.
Cameron: It looks good.
Ben: Okay. So, what did we just do to my face, Dr. Chestnut?
Cameron: So, we just did a microneedling treatment with hyper concentrated matrix enhanced PRP.
Cameron: So, did a little blood draw, ran that blood through a centrifuge, then through a pediatric chemo concentrator to take all the saline off, the same thing you'd use for like a pediatric bypass heart surgery.
Cameron: We are the world's number one consumer of those now. We do so much of this PRP, but–
Ben: You don't do heart surgeries on babies?
Cameron: Tons of that, tons of that, yeah, yeah.
Ben: Really? Every day in your sleep?
Cameron: In my sleep.
Cameron: That's a little bit more intense of an action, but–
Ben: Yeah. Hold on, I'm going to interrupt you real quick and take my recovery shot here. Your clinic is all amped up with all these–it looks like my pantry, actually. I've got some Quinton. Get my face well-hydrated after. I should just dump this on my face.
Cameron: It might sting if you can–
Ben: [00:06:14] _____. Anybody who takes Quinton, you know exactly what I'm doing. You break up in the glass vial, you put it in your mouth, then you break the bottom of the vial.
Cameron: There it is.
Ben: Sucking down–oh, I lost some of it. Rookie mistake, sucking down seawater, seawater shots better than tequila.
Cameron: Love it.
Ben: Alright. So, we basically put a baby heart surgery platelet-rich plasma into my face after you microneedled me?
Cameron: Exactly. Yeah.
Cameron: We did some in your scalp injections and right around your hair follicles of your scalp as well.
Ben: Okay. So, the microneedling is basically opening up a bunch of blood vessels in my face that the platelet-rich plasma has been able to seep into my face that much better?
Ben: And my hair, and my scalp?
Cameron: Right. So, there's a couple mechanisms. One of them is actually forcing those growth factors down into your dermis. The other one is actually just the crude injury that the microneedling creates in your skin that's a little stimulated.
Ben: It is kind of crude looking.
Cameron: Yeah, exactly.
Ben: I'll put photos in the shownotes for those of who you want to see. Go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/cameron. That's a C-A-M-E-R-O-N. And you guys can see some pretty nitty-gritty photos of what this thing actually looks like when you get it done. Or you could go to Cameron's Instagram page I'll link to. So, you got a ton of before and after stuff on there, right?
Cameron: Exactly, yeah.
Ben: Okay. So, you said growth factors. What are the growth factors doing when they go into my face and into my hair?
Cameron: Yeah. That's a great question. So, it depends on what our target is. And PRP is a wonderfully rich source of these growth factors, but it's really a shotgun of them. Meaning that we're putting the same PRP in your hair that we're putting on your face for the most part with different targets, right? So, when we're putting it in your hair, we're targeting the stem cells that are in your hair bulb that live sort of in the fat of your scalp. And when we're doing it on your face, we're targeting a little bit more of these cells called fibroblasts, and those fibroblasts are what create new collagen and new elastin, more importantly, new elastin tissue in your face.
Ben: Okay. You said elastin is more important than collagen?
Cameron: Yeah. And so, this is a really, I think, common misnomer and just skin health in general that collagen is the key to aging. And it's certainly a part of it, but collagen is really like the rebar, it's the structural strength of our skin. And not that that doesn't play any role, but in general, if you're–people aren't tearing their skin open every day. What's happening is our skin's losing elasticity over time because–
Ben: Speak for yourself. I live a gritty lifestyle. I tear my skin every day.
Cameron: I love it. Yeah, you probably do. But the elasticity is what's going to make–
Ben: Okay. So, elastin would lend itself to the elasticity. Whereas collagen would be like the concrete?
Cameron: Right. That's the rebar and the concrete. That's that structural strength.
Ben: Okay. Got it. And so, you microneedle. Before you microneedle, you draw somebody's blood and you centrifuge that blood to concentrate the growth factors. They just separate based on weight or density.
Ben: Right. Then you take the growth factors out, and that's almost like the world's most expensive skin cream or hair cream.
Cameron: Basically, it's the dream. And there's lots of skin creams that have growth factors. They're just not autologous. They're not from you. They're from something else. And so, to have your own sort of at your fingertips is hard to beat.
Ben: Yeah. I was actually at a clinic. It's kind of funny because this is going to make it sound like I'm just in and out of medical clinics all my life, but I was literally doing a knee injection the other day, and they had some leftover platelet-rich plasma. And the doctor handed it to me in a tube and I'm like, “What's this?” He's like, “Just put it in your refrigerator, use a few times on your face.” I actually gave it to my kids. They thought it was cool, they were smearing dad's blood product on their face. And they woke up the next morning and like, “[00:09:38] _____ eight years old. What happened?” And they had totally forgotten what I was talking about and I was like, “You put dad's growth factors on you.” They're like, “Really, I do? I do look like that?” I'm like, “No, no, not really. You look like you're 13 still, but–” so, these platelet-rich plasma growth factors, once they're administered to the face or to the scalp, what can someone expect from a treatment like that?
Cameron: Yeah. So, on your face, it's going to be dependent on the injury that we're creating with it. In the case of microneedling, it's a relatively mild injury. You're going to have 12 to 14 hours where you're red and feeling like you're a little bit textured. By 24 hours, most of that's faded away and it's just sort of a pink color. And usually by the next day, so call it 36, 72 hours, you're back to life as usual. You've got the PRP in your skin. It's doing its thing. You tend to have this little edema, which is kind of like this cheater look at first that you look good because you're a little swollen. But in reality, the building of that collagen elastin takes weeks to months. And so, it really is a long-term play. Looks good over time, builds actual structural strength and resilience in your skin.
Ben: What about for the hair?
Cameron: For the hair, as you're getting around the hair bulb, the first injections, like your hair is completely virgin, that's never seen it before, right?
Ben: Thank you.
Cameron: Totally naïve, yeah.
Ben: I thought my hair is cherry.
Cameron: I love it. Yup.
Cameron: And as that happens, the hair bulb's getting this first sort of bath of these stem cells–or excuse me, of these growth factors around the stem cells. Now, if you have some blockade in which they've been senescent or quieted down a little bit, as in like an androgenic or like male pattern baldness–
Ben: We'll get into that for sure.
Cameron: Right. Yeah. It's going to take them a while to get turned back on. Now, yours are already on and running, right?
Cameron: And so, we are going to start stimulating those stem cells and we're going to increase the length of the growth phase of your hairs, which is called anagen. And as that anagen phase gets longer, your hairs get thicker.
Ben: Anagen like anabolic, anagen?
Cameron: Yup, exactly.
Cameron: Anagen, yup. Anagen, telogen is the resting phase. Catagen is the falling out phase. So, we can all lose hair every day, 100, 100 plus. And so, we're constantly going through that cycle, but that anagen phase is the key. That's going to determine the length of your hair. It's going to determine the growth of your hair. And then, cells being in that anagen phase is going to determine sort of the total number, the density that you have.
Ben: I'm going to blend the catagen phase on my cat actually for all the hair laying around the house. That [00:11:56] _____ remember that, catagen cat. I don't own a cat, but if i did, I would blame it on the cat, all that catagen activity. Now, I have a ton of questions for you because–allow me to lay the background, which I haven't even done yet for those of you listening in. We just jumped right in, but I made a decision about–I guess like three weeks ago, that despite having pretty much the same haircut for the past couple decades of my life, I want to grow my hair out. I'm not promising Man Bun status or Thor status, but I'm definitely going to get me some flowy locks.
Cameron: Full mullet?
Ben: Possibly if i can talk my wife into–I don't know about mullet, but if I can talk my wife into it, possibly also some facial growth, a little bit of beardedness, so to speak, so that I can look a little bit more lumberjacky like I've always wanted to look. And also, I just want to look more spiritual, toga, sandals, long hair, beard. That's the look I'm trying to pull off, and that's why I recruited you. So, you and I were sitting at dinner a few weeks ago, similar to how we're going to go out to dinner tonight, but I'm going to look like a freak because my face looks like it got run over by semi-truck.
Cameron: Might turn some heads, yeah.
Ben: Yeah. So, anyways though, we were at dinner and you just really started blowing my mind about a lot of this stuff because when I posted, it was I think a few days prior to when we had dinner to Instagram that I decided to grow my hair out. So many people who came through was like, “I'll do betaine and NAD. What about finasteride, what's that do? How about DHT and testosterone?”
All these questions–and I ran a few of them by you at dinner, and I thought, “Dude, where's my podcasting mic? We need to record some of this for folks because honestly, for those of you listening in, I know that so many of you are very interested in anti-aging, in beauty, especially–both men and women have been messaging me right and left about hair loss doctors from all over the world, been writing to me, “I've got this treatment, I've got that treatment.” So, Cameron are going to tackle a lot of that today, like these myths around beauty, around aging, around hair. To give you a little bit of a background on Cameron, Cameron, we know each other for–dude, how long?
Cameron: Going on 20 years.
Ben: Yeah. So, we both come from the same stomping grounds down in the Palouse in Moscow, Idaho, and Pullman, Washington. I went to University of Idaho. And Cameron, at a relatively similar time, went to Washington State University, right?
Ben: And studied medicine eventually at–
Cameron: University of Washington.
Ben: At University of Washington, yeah. And what's your actual medical license or degree?
Cameron: So, I'm an MD.
Ben: MD, and specialty in cosmetic surgery?
Cameron: Yeah. So, my residency training was in dermatology, basic dermatology, then at a fellowship training in cosmetics, facial plastic surgery, reconstructive surgery.
Ben: And so, you spend the majority of your time doing more reconstructive or more like anti-aging type of stuff.
Cameron: I'm about 25% reconstructive, about 75% cosmetic aesthetic, this one.
Ben: Okay. Alright, got it. And so, anyways, the funny thing is Cameron and I both competed heavily in Ironman, like you and I were pretty geeked out on. And not to do much chest-thumping here, but we were kind of like big fish in a little pond out here on the Palouse and out in Eastern Washington, in Northern Idaho, like you and I went head-to-head in a few races. And yeah, we were known as a couple of guys to chase. And so, we battled it out. And then, when I was operating an exercise physiology lab at a champion sports medicine up here in Spokane, you used to come in because you would come in for me to do your VO2 max testing, and your bike fits, your gait analysis, and all the fun stuff that we did down there. And then, we just didn't talk–like once I quit working at champions and started doing a lot more what I do now where I sold all my personal training equipment, and moved off all my clients, and shifted to more writing, and speaking, and media, and what I do now, I just got out of touch. Yeah.
Cameron: Yeah. One thing you may not remember was my first year of medical school when I was at the University of Washington, I was in Moscow and Pullman, and you were doing a study. I want to say it was at the very end of your education some sort of a VO2 max study between–like we were doing running on land, we were running in like an aqua treadmill, and then we were on a bike. And you had recruited me somehow to do this, and I'm in one of the most intense years of my life. And I remember going to do these studies with you in just full exertion for a VO2 max and just being super gassed after those basically a lab rat that you had me at.
Ben: Yeah. Falling off the back of the treadmill with two spotters at the back to catch it.
Cameron: Right. And then, the aqua part was the interesting–I think that was part of the thesis. But then when you're at champions, that was you–I learned a lot from you. I don't think you ever knew this, but learned a lot from you in the sense of you took what I've been doing and training and turned it into a very trained smarter, not harder, which is very cliché now. But at that time was like, “Let's get your actual lactate threshold and let's do some of these things that–” you drew out a plan for me that year, and that was my first Ironman, I believe, and I qualified for Kona with that health.
Ben: All data driven. That was really how I personally tried to carve out a name for myself here locally was I wanted to just feed on my voracious curiosity for all things that are a little bit kind of like–I guess considered a little bit geeky or biohacky, I guess you'd call it these days. So, like I said, we had all the high-speed video cameras, the indirect calorimetry. I just finished a stint in hip and knee surgical sales where I'd been administering a lot of platelet-rich plasma and spinning blood down post-surgery. And so, I went in 50-50 with the doc who I partnered with at that clinic and we bought a PRP machine. So, we were doing a PRP like 20 years ago. Same stuff we did in my face today. Probably your equipment is a lot fancier than what we had back in the day.
So, yeah. And then, we recently reconnected, and we've been hanging out a lot, and then we decided to partner up on this hair growth project, and also do this podcast for folks. Now, you also–you live in Coeur d'Alene. Your wife, Aubree, is also friends with me and with Jessa. And you got how many kids?
Cameron: We got three kids.
Ben: Three kids. How old?
Cameron: Seven, five, and three.
Ben: Awesome. Where are they at right now?
Cameron: They're with grandma.
Ben: Grandma, yeah. So, I figured it's a good place.
Cameron: Yeah, yeah.
Ben: So, a little bit of a gap to fill in there, and I definitely want to get to a lot of the anti-aging, and beauty, and hair growth, and hair loss myths. But from the time that we disconnected and then reconnected, and you obviously got out of hot and heavy competition in Ironman and shifted into building at your clinic, what would have been some of the highlights for you along the way?
Cameron: Yeah. That was right around the time where medical school really started picking up and I got married to Aubree, and we were in Seattle, moved over there.
Ben: And she was a standout basketball player at ASU, right?
Cameron: Yeah. She was a team captain in all American–or excuse me, [00:18:44] _____ player at Arizona State. And so, yeah, she had a great basketball career. And once that finished up and I was in med school, we moved off to Seattle, finished at the University of Washington there, then went down to Los Angeles, which is just such a fun place to live for that period of time, and did residency and fellowship training, which is pretty intense. Once we finished up with that, we moved back up here to home, Coeur d'Alene, Spokane, and been back for about seven years from there, opened a medical practice here, doing like I said, facial plastic reconstructive surgery, dermatologic surgery. It's been just a really fun journey. I love, love what I'm doing every day. I get that comment from patients almost daily, like, “I can just tell you love what you're doing.” That passion shows through. It's really fun. And where we're sitting right now in this OPTIM Clinic, kind of bumped in–
Ben: I'll link to it in the shownotes for people who want to check out your site. But OPTIM is this kind of like new mashup of biohacking and anti-aging. I know you have hyperbaric here. I think my wife's actually in the hyperbaric chamber right now.
Cameron: Sitting with my wife in there right now.
Cameron: We've got LED sauna, and then we do IV drips.
Ben: What's an LED sauna?
Cameron: Like an LED sauna blanket like a full-body LED treatment. Yeah.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. What do you use that for?
Cameron: I use that a lot, post-laser treatment. You can get a little bit of anti-inflammatory component on the skin surface. So, we use it with everybody, the microneedles. We use LED light with them every single time to calm down some of that initial inflammation.
Ben: And you like hyperbaric also after some of these anti-aging treatments to help with stem cell mobilization?
Cameron: Yeah. I would say that hyperbaric was sort of the birth of this whole facility for me, and that training down in L.A. is a very progressive environment, and a little bit of it is like how much you can get your patients better faster from similar procedures to somebody next door that they do. And so, hyperbarics down there is a big, big part of a lot of practices. And I picked that up and it's not highly adopted. Regenerative medicine in general, honestly, is not highly adopted amongst cosmetic physicians. I used it a lot up here, which was very differentiating in the northwest. At one point, I was like, “You know, why don't I sort of have this in-house, build a practice around it, kind of make it work together?” And that's what the birth of this OPTIM Clinic was, really, was having like the ability to do all of this in my backyard.
Ben: Yeah. Well, like I mentioned, I mean, I was shocked at the number of I guess Instagram comments, and emails, and messages that I got when I started posting about anti-aging, and beauty, and this hair growth project. How big of an industry is this? And is it growing at the pace that I perceive it to be?
Cameron: I mean, all the things you just mentioned are massive industries individually, talking about obviously beauty, and cosmetics, and aesthetics, and then hair, like a whole separate world. And that is so, so sought after, kind of a bit murky to get through, which I think we're going to get into a little bit today to see through the pearls from the poo really. So, those individually are just such, such big markets.
Ben: I want to talk about the poo because it seems like there's a lot of like charlatan-esque activity that goes on. And after just like our dinner conversation, I mean, there was stuff I learned and I'm like, “Oh, wow. I've been doing that, and that might not be the way to go despite my misperceptions about it.” And so, I'd love to maybe start with the bad, start with [00:22:11] _____. So, I guess the first thing that I want to ask you about because I know a lot of my listeners have been doing this based on recommendations from me, specifically, guilty as charged, his derma rolling. Now, I've talked about how I do a weekly derma rolling session followed by this clay mask. And so, I use a clay mask from a company called Alitura. Shout out to them for their wonderful clay mask. They also send me derma rollers, however, which might mean that they are potentially evil. I'm just kidding. Andy's one of my buddies. He runs that company, but he might listen to this, so I'd love to hear your take on derma rolling, which a lot of people are doing.
Cameron: Yeah. Derma rolling is very, very hot right now. It's sort of the home version of what you did today, which is that microneedling device, right, causing specific injury to the skin, maybe pushing something topically into like a–we call it like a percutaneous drug delivery, getting something through our skin barrier, which is really tough. Our skin is built to keep us protected from the outside world. So, it's hard to get things through it.
Ben: Unless something is very, very small though, right?
Cameron: Right. Very lipid soluble. There's ways to get it through.
Ben: Right. Like some of these peptide therapies people are doing. They're measured in Daltons. And some peptides, one that we'll probably talk about because it's commonly used in the beauty industry, GHK copper peptide, that's often used as a transdermal. So, if it's small enough, it could potentially get through the skin.
Cameron: Exactly, right.
Ben: Derma rolling theoretically is kind of like ripping open the skin to allow that to occur.
Cameron: Yeah. Our skin sort of is a brick and mortar structure and you're just putting a hole in the brick and mortar and getting something through it.
Ben: Okay. But that's not the same as microneedling?
Cameron: Well, so microneedling is going to use that same mechanism. The difference is going to be that you're going to have needles that are penetrating perpendicular, directly perpendicular to your skin in and out. You're using a brand new needle every time and you're controlling your depth very, very precisely with what you're doing. With a derma roller, similar principle except that if you just think of the mechanism of something attached to a cylinder and rolling along a surface, it's not perpendicular the whole time. It's going to be tangential, forcing its entry and tangential on its exit, and that tends to cause a tearing injury to the surface of the skin. So, evil's not the word to use for them, but they can certainly cause more damage than they can do help at certain times, especially with the–it's a catch-22 because if you want more depth of penetration, you're going to have sort of a longer microneedle on that derma roller and you're going to do more damage because it's more tangential at those angles of the cylinder entering. And so, really common.
Ben: So, it's almost like a shearing, instead of like a straight in and out type of thing like microneedling would do? Microneedling is almost similar–to me, it felt to it like a similar sensation as a tattoo in terms of that needle going straight in and out of the skin. And what you're saying is that derma rolling more kind of like rips open the skin in a way?
Cameron: Yup. And sheers it open. And your analogy of a tattoo is dead on perfect. Tattoo is putting pigment in your dermis, and this is putting PRP in your dermis, right? Same idea. A little bit less intense as you were saying, but same idea.
Ben: Okay. So, why would derma rolling be bad? I mean, if it is ripping open the skin, isn't that kind of like what we want to do?
Cameron: Right. So, you generally want to minimize the trauma at the epidermis, the surface of the skin, with anything that you're getting through. So, whether we're using a laser or whether we're using a microneedling device, you want to disrupt the skin barrier, you want to penetrate through the epidermis, but your real work's getting done down deeper in the dermis itself.
Cameron: And so, when you have a hole that's not maybe a perpendicular or perfect cylindrical shape, you're, like I said, doing a bunch of epidermal damage for very little, like sort of dermal penetration.
Ben: Okay. So, in terms of derma rolling, and this was my theory that we talked about again at dinner, I feel like I've actually looked a lot better since I started that weekly derma rolling and clay mask protocol, and I've gotten comments on how I seem to be retaining a youthful appearance with age. But my hypothesis is perhaps it's more the clay mask than it is the derma rolling, and the derma rolling might actually be doing more harm than good.
Cameron: Well, could be any combination of those things. You were telling me that you were derma rolling almost every day, right?
Ben: No, no, no. Like, once a week.
Cameron: Gotcha. Okay. Well, and like I just mentioned with the microneedling from this, you get a little bit of edema after that first part of the treatment that's like that fake result. Like it looks really good and taut and full of fluid at the very beginning. So, wrinkles and things like that look great, but it's fake, it's just swelling from injury. And so, sometimes derma rolling can actually give more edema because it's causing a little bit more injury in that sense.
Ben: It's like the fake pump that the bros get at the gym. It's like when you want to crank out all the push-ups before a hot date night, or like how bodybuilders look really swole, or if you do blood flow restriction training, or even electrical muscle stimulation. Like, you actually look pretty big because the amount of edema and swelling that goes into the muscles afterwards, but you're not actually building muscle. That's just metabolic byproducts and swelling.
Ben: Well, not all, but a lot of it is.
Ben: Okay. And what you're saying is that edema is kind of like a short-lived trade-off to look a little bit better that might be doing long-term damage to the underlying structure of the skin?
Ben: That's interesting. Now, what about something, a little bit simpler like a coffee scrub for the face, or one of these scrubs that just kind of like irritates the face a little bit followed by, say, a clay mask?
Cameron: Right. And it's going to be a similar sentiment. And honestly, if you talk about, I don't know, like an apricot scrub, that's a really common one, right?
Cameron: Around a dermatologist, they're generally going to cringe a little bit because it's causing that sort of epidermal damage. The idea is that you're shedding it–
Ben: But they're so popular.
Cameron: So popular, yeah. And you put them on and you get that. I think you mentioned afterwards that after you got your microneedling, your face felt a little injured, right?
Ben: Oh, yeah. It still does.
Cameron: Yeah, exactly. And so, you can get that feeling with those types of–
Ben: I'm going to punch you in the face later on just to trade-off.
Cameron: Yeah, right. I deserve it. But you can get that same sort of thing with like that epidermal scrub to it.
Ben: Interesting. So, no scrubs, no derma rollers?
Cameron: There's some devices that are geared at this like a Clarisonic, for example, like a really common popular thing.
Ben: That's what I was going to ask you, if they sell maybe like a home unit version of more like microneedling.
Cameron: Yeah. You can't get a microneedling device for home necessarily. I'm sure somebody can hack that and find one certainly, but it's really–honestly, it's the PRP that's the benefit of that treatment in the first place anyway. And lots of people microneedle without PRP, and it's fine, but it's an inferior treatment, certainly. They do have home exfoliating devices that are like gentle brush tip. It's like if you talk to a dentist about your teeth, use a soft bristle brush, right? Don't go nuts with a hard bristle.
Cameron: It's going to be the same thing on your skin surface.
Ben: Okay. So, if you were somebody listening in and you had some kind of fancy hair or skin product–and we'll talk about the ingredients of some of these products momentarily. Let's say like C60 or GHK copper peptides, somebody paid a lot of money for, you also have a derma roller, or maybe some of that coffee scrub, or an apricot scrub, would you say that–is there anything someone could do to enhance the delivery of some type of skin treatment prior to using it if they listen to this podcast and decide they don't want to use a derma roller or a scrub, or should you just put it on your face and call it good?
Cameron: Yup. Generally, you're going to want to put those on and let them do the penetration that they're going to do if they're going to get through. Like you were talking about putting straight PRP on your face earlier, you're going to get some penetration of some of those growth factors through. This is like one of those ideas of the good stuff sticks a little bit. You're going to want to stick with those if you're trying to force them in with a derma roller. Like I said, they're not evil, they're not going to do a ton of damage in the sense of like, “Oh, you've ruined your face,” but they're probably doing more harm than good in general.
Ben: And possibly wasting your time with that extra 10 minutes you're spending doing the rolling beforehand. Now, what about afterwards? Because you'll often hear people say, “Oh, find like an infrared light and do infrared light afterwards,” or–well, I guess infrared is the only one I can think of that people are talking about like post-treatment. But are there things you could do after you apply one of your beauty products to enhance its effects?
Cameron: Yeah. You nailed it right there. And that's why with a hair treatment or like the microneedling we talked about, infrared or near-infrared like red light, anything that's giving a little bit of depth of penetration.
Ben: But not sunlight because the UVA and UVB?
Cameron: Correct. Yup. You're going to get some vasodilation with that initially, and that can help with some of your delivery of your drug that way, too. So, that's kind of nice to do afterwards. Even a little nitric oxide release that comes with it and things like that are going to be beneficial to what you're doing. You said you'd mobilize some stem cells where you came in for your treatment today, right?
Ben: Well, yeah. Before I came in, I have this thing called the BioCharger and it has all these recipes, and a recipe for adrenals, and a recipe for recovery. It's got a recipe for nitric oxide, and I thought, “Okay. Well, I should increase my blood flow before I go into Cameron's clinic so that this stuff gets delivered even better.” So, I did a nitric oxide session. And so, if one were to do something like that, let's say even before they do a beauty treatment, like go hit the infrared sauna or–what about oral administration of betaine, or niacin, or even like arginine, or citrulline, or some kind of blood flow precursor?
Cameron: It's going to flush, yeah, exactly.
Ben: Like anything that makes your face red. And a lot of people who have taken like a pre-workout or a blood flow precursor, you've probably noted. And some people are more genetically predisposed to this, kind of like alcohol flush, but your face gets red. If you have something like that and you've noticed increased capillarization or blood flow to your face or your skin or elsewhere, theoretically, that might be something that you could almost use is kind of like a pre-workout, your pre-beauty.
Cameron: Just like your pump you just talked about, same thing.
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Ben: I want to throw at you some of the things that my audience asked me about. We talked about one already, collagen. And obviously, this is a hot one. It's a big seller in the supplements industry. People take it and it's often marketed for hair, skin, nails, beauty, and its oral supplementation of something that theoretically is going to assist by building up your body's own collagen. What do you think about collagen and stuff like that?
Cameron: Yeah. That's another hot topic. When we think about the way that our digestive tract works, when we're eating that collagen, whatever the sources bovine say, we're getting that in our GI tract and we're breaking it down to its amino acids. They're transporting across our gut wall, and then we're reassembling them into the proteins that we need. I think a lot of people have this idea that they're going to eat collagen, and then it's going to get deposited in their skin, or wherever they're looking at that end-organ, that target that it's after. And we know that that's not what happens, right?
So, from a nutritional standpoint, and we get into this with skin and hair a lot, when we're looking at–okay, well, I'm not that smart of a guy, so I like to think of this as a–what's the anatomy, the structure that we're looking at, and what's the physiology of how it got that way, right? So, when we're looking at how these things are getting deposited, what's happening? We're building them from the precursor amino acids that we need for that. And so, eating collagen is not going to cross your gut, get in your skin, and all of a sudden you've got like a bunch of new collagen in your skin, especially if you're nutritionally sound at baseline. You've got those amino acids–
Ben: That would be almost like saying, “Well, I'm going to eat hair to grow my hair.” It just doesn't work that way.
Cameron: The exact thing.
Ben: Interesting. Or eat nails to grow my nails.
Cameron: Well, that's good idea.
Ben: Or grind up rhino horns to grow my nose.
Cameron: Yeah. Get keratin in there, some stuff, right?
Ben: Got it, got it. Now, there are some other things people have asked me about. You just brought one up, keratin.
Ben: And I was actually unfamiliar with this. Apparently, it is available for oral supplementation?
Cameron: Yeah, yeah. Keratin is that hard, hard protein that our hair, nails, and rhino horns, interestingly, you mentioned that, are made out of. And so, same idea. In our body, there's numerous, numerous types of keratin that make up those different things or little subtypes of this protein, but it's the same idea. You're not going to eat keratin and have it deposited, especially since when we break it down, we've got a set number of amino acids that we're looking at that make up that keratin. They're going to get broken down into that, and that's what we're going to recreate it out of, anyway.
Ben: You are pissing off a lot of supplement manufacturers right now, you realize that?
Cameron: Oh, I'm sorry.
Ben: You're also saving a lot of rhinos on the flipside.
Cameron: Oh, there you go, yeah. Is that a delicacy?
Ben: I guess so. Yeah. It was a keratin source. Okay. So, peptides. I'm also asked about–a couple that came up were–a lot of these peptides that are used for anti-inflammation, TB-500 is one that apparently some, I guess doctors are recommending for hair, skin, nails, beauty, et cetera. What about a peptide like that? That's an injectable peptide. We'll get on this topical peptide shortly, but–
Cameron: Yeah. That's the thymosin beta-4. There's an oral version of that as well, and that basically comes from a thymus. And that little peptide portion of it certainly is angiogenic. So, you see it used a lot for injury recovery in general, let alone with like hair growth or something like that. There's a part of regeneration, stem cell migration, and angiogenesis, all these aspects that are key to healing, which are also key to hair growth. And as we get into that mechanism maybe a little bit more, anything that's angiogenic in the scalp could potentially be helpful. There's not a ton of data backing that up. That's not like a strong evidence-backed type of recommendation, but it's sort of a–
Ben: It's theoretical. Well, this is going to increase angiogenesis. So, theoretically, it could be conducive to something like hair growth.
Ben: Now, what about another peptide that I mentioned earlier that's more of a topical? And I see this all over the place. I've been using it. There's this one company called Auxano that sent me like a two-part beauty application. Number one, we can tackle both of these, number one is GHK copper peptide, and then number two is C60. Are you familiar with either of those?
Cameron: Yeah. C60 is the soccer ball, right?
Ben: Yeah. It's called buckminsterfullerene.
Cameron: Buckminsterfullerene, yes, exactly, which is a potent anti-inflammatory, right?
Cameron: And that's its main mechanism of action if we're talking about hair or something like that.
Ben: Right. And when I interviewed Ian Mitchell a while back, and I'll link to all this stuff in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/cameron, Ian swore up and down by C60 for both gray hair, as well as hair growth.
Cameron: Yup. And so, mechanistically, gray hair, that makes sense from an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative standpoint. For hair growth, it's going to be–again, for me going back to like what's the cause of the hair loss in the first place, right? Are we talking about androgenic alopecia? Are we talking about an inflammatory scarring? Alopecia means hair loss. Are we talking about a scarring inflammatory alopecia? Are we talking about an autoimmune alopecia? There could certainly be roles for a peptide like that or a compound like that.
Ben: If the hair loss is inflammation-related, basically?
Cameron: Absolutely. Yeah. And that's going to be the same as we get into a lot of these nutritional discussions of jumping head biotin or iron, things like that. Well, are you deficient in that? Is that an issue? Is that part of this anatomically something that you're missing, or physiologically something that you're missing? If so, those could be incredibly helpful for that type of situation.
Ben: What about the GHK copper peptide?
Cameron: Yeah. I think that that was the one you mentioned at dinner that really sparked our conversation.
Ben: [00:38:53] _____ Q46 explosive space modulator, GHK copper peptide.
Cameron: It's really interesting, and that there may be a double benefit a bit with it. One of which being an improvement of the hair that you've already grown from the copper itself, and then–
Ben: So, it's the copper that's doing it?
Cameron: It's the copper that's doing it, right? And then, you've got–that one has a couple of mechanistic things as well that makes sense. One of the things is an elevation of this vascular endothelial growth factor, VEGF. We know that it increases that, and that's important at the hair follicle, at the stem cell level to signal them. It also changes the way–and we talked about this a little bit when you're talking about your hair and your skin, fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are those cells that create collagen and elastin. It stimulates dermal fibroblasts. And so, with all those mechanisms, the vascular endothelial growth factor, just like we talked about before, it's going to be angiogenic. So, it might be helpful there.
Ben: Okay. Interesting. This is where I get to sound smart. You know what else increases VEGF?
Ben: Hyperbaric oxygen therapy. I learned this from a guy–I learned almost everything from people I interview. It's like my continuing education for years and years. I get to talk to smart people. Blood flow restriction training can also increase VEGF. So, if you're losing your hair, get a hyperbaric oxygen chamber and put some tourniquets on before you lift weights and–
Cameron: You put those around your neck?
Ben: Not yet.
Cameron: Not yet?
Cameron: It's a different game.
Ben: No. Okay. So, another one that someone asked me about was this ketoconazole shampoo?
Ben: What is that?
Cameron: So, ketoconazole is just–again, this is a perfect example of–it's an antifungal. So, ketoconazole is an antifungal. It may have some anti-androgenic effects as well, but ketoconazole, if you've got a fungal issue happening on your scalp, which is really common, tinea capitis it's called, certainly treating that fungal infection can improve your hair. Same thing, there's a couple of other–something called seborrheic dermatitis that's pretty common to get on the scalp. That's when someone has like dandruff in general, just straight dandruff. It's going to probably fall under some spectrum of the seborrheic dermatitis. And ketoconazole's one of the mainstays of treatment for that. So, again mechanistically, yeah, totally. If that's one of your predisposing factors to having alopecia, or hair loss, or hair thinning, ketoconazole is going to be a miracle.
Ben: Okay. So, to clarify real quick, ketoconazole would be indicated if you had what, [00:41:11] _____ hair loss?
Cameron: Like a fungal infection.
Ben: Fungal, okay. So, it's not like being used off-label. It's not the fungal, it's actually its mechanism of action is in that sense, is acting as an antifungal?
Cameron: Yeah. You can get it in all kinds of forms, used all over dermatology for fungus.
Ben: I had fungus at one point. It was actually back in my triathlon days, I used to have like super speckled mottled skin. It would tan. And it turned out it was like this skin fungal infection I had for years and I thought I had like a–what's it called, tinea versicolor, which is another way that that happens. So, I started, after I'd shower, I would take oil of oregano and use it as like a topical on my skin. And within like three weeks after years of tanning discolored, like I was tanning perfectly, it just basically killed off all the topical fungus on my skin and I was good to go.
Cameron: Really interesting.
Ben: Nuts. Yeah. Just make sure you don't use concentrated oil of oregano because that will burn a hole through your skin.
Cameron: Yeah. A caustic, yeah.
Ben: Use something diluted. Okay. So, this one kind of made sense to me based off of what you said about oxidation, and also copper. There's this guy named Ray Peat out there. And Ray Peat is kind of like this fringe anti-aging guy, and one of his forum enthusiasts told me balanced iron to copper ratios, and that would be like, for example, regular consumption of organ meats, or encapsulated liver, or something like that, which I think is a smart strategy anyways, especially for men who have a higher risk of hemochromatosis. But iron is also an oxidant. And in a certain sense, from what I understand, can contribute to graying hair in particular due to that oxidation. I'll let you get into the mechanism of action regarding hydrogen peroxide here momentarily because I think you'd do a better job explaining it than I could. But then in addition to balancing the iron to copper ratio, using methylene blue to reduce ferrous iron, I think it would be, to ferric iron, Fe4 to Fe2. And then, finally, topical DHEA. That was kind of like the trilogy with iron to copper ratios, and then something like methylene blue, and then DHEA. Is that just way out there or is that [00:43:11] _____?
Cameron: So, it's super interesting because I certainly love the first part of it, iron, copper, huge oxidative capacity, having a peroxidative iron. That's going to contribute to graying, first of all, as you mentioned because stress on the stem cells, those melanogenic stem cells that are creating pigment is going to calm them down, and they're not going to make as much pigment, and that's the normal senescence of aging anyway. And we can do things to turn them back on. Even the PRP that you had today with graying hair can certainly turn gray hair back to color, which is really fun and interesting. So, I love that. And then, I get the DHEA. That's where things get a little bit kind of like, “Well, we got to talk about that.” DHEA is going to be a precursor for testosterone, right? So, we're going to get increased testosterone levels, and we know–
Ben: Do you just want to get into the testosterone discussion right now?
Cameron: Well, this is going to lead us to it, I think.
Ben: Okay. Let's do that, but don't worry if you're listening in, we'll jump back into the myths, but we're going to rabbit hole here for a second. Alright.
Cameron: Well, this I think kills two birds with that sort of myth and whatever because interestingly, if you look through the literature, there is some evidence on scarring alopecia. We call that cicatricial alopecia where the hair follicles themselves are getting destroyed by something and shut down. And there's a bunch of versions of this that are relatively common, but putting DHEA on it can have an effect to protect those follicles themselves because hair follicles are really–
Ben: Like topical DHEA.
Cameron: Topical DHEA, yeah, yeah. Topical DHEA. It's really, really reactive. Hair follicles are really, really reactive to–let's just call it androgens in general, whatever form it's going to be. There's one, in particular, that's very important that we can get into. But for regular patterned baldness, this is like the androgen paradox with the scalp, and we could talk–it's incredible.
Ben: Okay. I'll lay the foundation here. This is the stereotypical, like alpha male, The Rock, or–I don't know what would be another example of like a bald Hollywood guy like Bruce Willis or whatever. And they're obviously horny, full libido, strong alpha male, but they're bald. And then, a lot of times, like the guys with the long flowy locks are a little bit more effeminate and maybe appear to have slightly lower testosterone. And while I'm painting with a broad brush and stereotyping here to a certain extent, there's something to that.
Cameron: There's absolutely something.
Ben: Explain that.
Cameron: Yeah. On a hormonal level, there's something to that as well. So, the androgen paradox is that our hair follicles all over our body, and then primates, in general, are exquisitely sensitive to testosterone. Let's just call it testosterone. It can get converted by this enzyme called 5-alpha reductase to a more potent form, but that is going to determine the anagen phases of our hair where we're growing hair. Think about puberty, right? Until you get that testosterone growth for women and for men, we're lacking hair in certain parts of our body, right? And so, our hair follicles are so exquisitely sensitive. And then, we get to our scalp. And our scalp, which we want the most probably of all those, has this little paradox where we know that people experiencing patterned baldness, androgenic alopecia, have higher testosterone levels, dihydrotestosterone, which is what the fiber–
Ben: The more anabolic form that testosterone is converted into.
Cameron: Yeah. It has a way higher affinity for the follicular bulb and things like that. But at that level, those areas, the DHT levels are really high, and there's no hair. And so, this is the paradox like. And there's theories about this that are really interesting.
Ben: Yeah. But I have hair in my balls, but not in my head.
Cameron: Right, yeah. And there's theories about gravity playing a role in where those key areas are, and that makes anatomic and physical sense. And we could talk about that for a minute or two because that's really interesting.
Ben: That's interesting, yeah. What is that?
Cameron: So, the idea is–this was actually first proposed by this Turkish physician, this Turkish plastic surgeon in like a decade ago maybe, eight years ago or something like that, and it's this gravity theory. And his theory is, I like it, it's that the areas if you think about where men are losing their hair first tend to be the vertex ground frontal part of the scalp. And the paradox is not explained by anything in that. Okay. Why do we have high DHT levels in those areas and no hairs? And so, the idea is that the gravitational force on the most apex part of our scalp, the pushing on it causes some restriction of the microcirculation to the hair follicles, it causes loss of fat cells in those areas. And we know that the hair bulb lives around, like in our adipose tissue there.
We were talking about this [00:47:26] _____ your injections earlier. It's very important to bathe that adipose layer because that's the energy that feeds these very, very metabolically active hair bulbs. And so, the gravitational force of all of the scalp, all the neck, everything really on that part of the scalp in particular causes changes in microcirculation that causes decrease in the fat cells. And we know that in bald men that their adipose tissue is gone or thin. We see this all the time in skin cancer and reconstructions where there's just no adiposity left at all. And so, the idea of having higher DHT then gets explained by the microinsults to the fat change the–fat is one of our main metabolizers to create estrogen. And so, when we lose that ability to metabolize, it creates a little vicious cycle where the DHT actually causes more fat to go away, and it creates more like a preoxidative environment. So, you're getting this vicious cycle where DHT levels rise, basically, long story short. And so, that can explain–that's really the only thing that explains why DHT levels may be higher in those areas. And so, what that leads to therapeutically is, okay, well, what in the world do you do about that?
Ben: That's just nuke DHT, right?
Cameron: Right, nuke the DHT, but that's not–
Ben: Or is that what finasteride does?
Cameron: That's exactly a finasteride or dutasteride do. Those inhibited–
Ben: See, I'm paying attention in class.
Cameron: Yes. Good job. And that's a huge topic as well, but the problem is, great, you can decrease those DHT levels, but that's not–we're talking about a chicken and egg situation. That's not what caused in the first place. That's a byproduct in the gravitational theory of gravity pulling it down.
Ben: Plus if you suppress the DHT levels, you're going to suppress libido, everything else that you would want for that as a trade-off to taking finasteride.
Cameron: Correct, yeah, because the finasteride inhibits one–there's two specific 5-alpha reductase that we're worried about. And finasteride hits one, the dutasteride hits both. Finasteride's the only one that's sort of FDA-approved for hair loss. But the problem is most importantly, those exist in our brain quite a bit, which is why you're talking about libido. We're talking about mood, dopamine receptors, like we want to–we don't want to decrease mood. There's like concerns with suicidality and decreased libido. And so, I struggle with that from a hair standpoint, like, well, do I really want to give you a medication that may grow your hair, but maybe decrease your libido and make [00:49:41] ____?
Ben: Right. Full head of hair on me. A depressed person doesn't want to go out with my full head of hair.
Cameron: Yeah. Quite the irony, isn't it? And that's not the case every time, but when you start–again, I like to look at the anatomy, and the mechanism, and the physiology. Is there another way that we can get around that a little bit? And on the scalp proper, this is where ideas like doing stem cell-rich fat transfer or like adipocyte-derived stem cells from your own autologous fat placed and put into your scalp can do a few things. You're going to get the growth factor release that we just talked about for your scalp with the PRP and all those exosomes that come from these mesenchymal-derived stem cells. You're also going to get the extra volume and fat density that was in a youthful scalp. So, you're going to recreate some of those things. And so, there's a little bit–we know that adipocyte-derived stem cells work really well for hair growth, but is it just the paracrine effect of them, or is it the mechanical effect of actually lifting and supporting that–
Ben: By paracrine, you mean their cell signaling effect that would be attracting more of the compounds that would cause follicular generation?
Cameron: Exactly right. Yeah.
Ben: So either way, it works regardless of us not knowing how. If you're a man who has, say, high testosterone, great, but the problem is you're beginning to bald from all the DHT that that high testosterone is producing. The solution, therefore, would not be finasteride, but to instead look at how you can increase the activity of the stem cells in that adipose tissue around the follicle, and that would be literally like a stem cell treatment for your head would be a better solution.
Cameron: Yeah, which is so actually–like sounds very complicated, but it's quite simple to do mechanistically when we get down to it. But yeah, that's certainly one of those ways. And that's just my thought paradigm that you're hitting on there, which is I'm going to try to avoid pharmacotherapy in general. I would rather get to the root of the problem and solve it there. That's a really great option for it. It's simple to do, it works well, has good longevity, and it's autologous, 100% from you, just like PRP, right? And again, it helps explain like our scalp has similar hair follicles everywhere. Why, in our occipital scalp on the back of our hair, why do we not get thinning there? And that all gets explained a little bit by this idea of like, okay, well, there's something different about what the DHT is doing at the crown vertex and frontal scalps–
Ben: It's fascinating. Now, a little bit of a rabbit hole on our rabbit hole based on your theory of gravity. What about, don't laugh, like inversion gravity boots? Like if you did a daily gravity boot treatment, wouldn't it be good for your scalp and your hair growth to do that?
Cameron: It's funny that you mentioned that. I think about this, too, because I know you like your yoga swing. I like my yoga swing.
Ben: Yeah, with gravity boots, yeah.
Cameron: Right. I get in there. And I'm not thinking about my scalp when I'm doing it, and I always wonder like, is my eight minutes inverted every day? And yogis everywhere love this. You got to get inverted every day. Well, there may be some truth to that for your hair even, right? Taking some load off that microcirculation, it's not going to hurt. If there's any, like, holding water to that theory, it's not going to hurt to get upside down.
Ben: Honestly, the number one reason I do this is–and this is why I like better than headstands, handstands, or even inversion tables to an extent. I like the yoga trapeze because of the traction. I can get a similar traction what I might get from a chiropractor, tugging on my neck and my hips at the same time. So, stuff pops. I hang from that thing almost every morning, not for the hair, although now I'm going to think about it, but for that traction that I get. It's just amazing. Yeah.
Cameron: The question becomes do you massage your scalp when you're on there for a little bit, too?
Ben: No. Would that be a good idea?
Cameron: Maybe. And stimulate a little microcirculation.
Ben: Well, you know what I do to increase the traction is I have–because my kids love this. As they get older, this might become more impossible for me, but I grabbed one of my kids and cradled them in my hands, and they love it because it's like they're swinging and swinging and snuggling with dad. And I'm hanging upside down, holding on for dear life to one of my kids, but I get like 90 extra pounds of traction on my spine. Maybe I could have them massage my scalp as a trade-off while I'm doing that, all sorts of ideas.
Cameron: Fan you with a fern leaf at the same time.
Ben: Okay. I want to get into–now that we've tackled–gosh, we tackled most of the myths that I wanted–actually, there's one other one I want to get into. And then, if there's any other myths that you want to talk about, we can discuss them. But I was reading this book called “Eye of Revelation–” or is it “Eye of Revelation”? Yeah, “Eye of Revelation.” It was about these Tibetan longevity rites, which I love. I actually am writing an article right now about this morning energy routine that balances your meridians and allows for a lot of energy flow. It's a cool routine. And if you're listening, you could google. It's called the “Five Tibetan Longevity Rites.”
But in this book, which is mostly about these rites, there's a quote, I wrote it down here, it says, “Here's something else which should interest all of you. Only two years ago, I was bald as the baldest man here. When vitality started coming back, one of the llamas,” which is like one of the Tibetan, I guess like monks that lives at this llama, “told me to massage my scalp with a piece of butter twice a week. The butter up there was fresh, not a bit of salt in it. I took his advice and massaged my scalp with butter until it soon loosened up. I did this about one hour after a meal. The food elements in the blood were brought to the scalp by the circulation of the blood. The scalp was so thoroughly massaged that the blood vessels were dilated, the hair roots picked up the necessary nutrition,” I'm assuming from the butter, “and the hair grew as you can plainly see.” Butter on the scalp after a meal followed by massage. Anything to that?
Cameron: I really liked this because this is an incredible story. So, when you sent this to me, I was like, “Oh, that's–“
Ben: Incredible or incredulous, one of the two.
Cameron: Yeah, right. A few things. I was like, “Well, what can I pick out of this that might be of interest?” The massage, we talked about microcirculation a little bit. And this person hits on that a little bit, talking about the vasodilation, picking up the necessary nutrients. The question is, was it really picking up the necessary nutrients, or was it bringing them from somewhere else anyway? Right? I was curious about this part where he said, “It loosened up,” which makes me think like, “Well, what was tight on your scalp in the first place?” Is this arguing for like, well, maybe he has some thinning of his adiposity there? Does he have some sort of inflammation or scarring going on on the scalp? What does he have? There's this very common form of alopecia called alopecia areata, which is an autoimmune phenomenon where our body attacks our own hair cells.
And so, I wondered, maybe there's something to that at all. But I think that maybe what he's sitting on here with the vasodilation, we know the classic minoxidil. That's like the classic, the original topical approved for hair, hair regrowth. It causes vasodilation. It's what it does. And so, we know that things like that work and a lot of the peptides and things that we could go way deep in the weeds, that's a lot of their mechanism, too. They're causing some vasodilation. That's what your sauna is doing. That's what infrared light or near-infrared light or red light is doing. We're getting all those things.
Ben: Interesting. Okay.
Cameron: And there's lasers for the scalp. They call them lasers, but it's usually light-based therapy. They're doing the same thing. They're causing vasodilation.
Ben: So, that's like what that hat in the back of the airplane magazines with the laser lights on, those actually work, and it works because of the circulation?
Cameron: There's some truth to them, absolutely some truth to them.
Ben: Okay. Although most monks I've seen are bald as a cucumber. So, not a lot of them know this butter trick, apparently.
Cameron: Or maybe he's just the paradox, the rest of them. Yeah.
Ben: Yeah. But it's interesting. I'm getting this repeat message that a lot of these spendy things that we put in our hair, that we massage into our hair, a lot of that might be because of the massage just as much as the actual product. It's basically what you've alluded to to some extent.
Cameron: I think that's the next one message to take away from the butter story.
Cameron: I've never rubbed this type of butter on my scalp, so I don't really know. It sounds good everywhere.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. And one other that I forgot about that I got an email about yesterday, this idea of rapamycin. It's very popular, off-label prescription drug for managing immunity, for suppressing the immune system, frankly. That is now used as an anti-aging protocol. And this doc, Dr. Alan Bellman (ph), he wrote me, and he wrote me about this article that appeared in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology about suppression of mTOR via the use of rapamycin being something that could be used for alopecia. What are your thoughts on that?
Cameron: So, this JID for us, Journal of Investigative Dermatology, is like our hardcore basic science journal. So, this getting published there is, congratulations, that's a sweet deal. It just goes to show, generally, things in here are going to be the early sort of we'd call like maybe bench phases of looking at them. There's certainly some promise to this down the road, potentially. The problem with this and all of these approaches that are–we're taking a systemic thing to a very focal problem of hair loss, is that mTOR and rapamycin have so many effects in so many parts of our body. And so, this particular disease called tuberous sclerosis, that's actually where the observation for this particular paper came from.
People with tuberous sclerosis that have issues with this have a poliosis, which is light or white hair. And so, they're thinking like, “Maybe this has something to do with hair pigmentation.” And they look into it, and sure enough, it sure does, but it also has a lot to do with tumor formation and things like that. So, people with tuberous sclerosis get a lot of tumors. At the baseline level, it makes total sense that mTOR and rapamycin are going to have effects on especially hair color, but certainly, hair growth as well because they're a regulatory mechanism for stimulating cellular growth. So, I think that's fascinating, and I think that's going to develop over time.
Ben: Theoretically, would suppression of mTOR via other mechanisms such as, say, fasting or the other things that we would do for cellular autophagy be potentially helpful?
Cameron: Oh, I love that. I have no idea. I mean, according to this paper, certainly, there could be some argument to that.
Ben: Jesus fasted a lot and he had a really good hair according to the photos in all the Sunday school posters.
Cameron: And that's what you're shooting for, right?
Cameron: Sandals and the hair, yeah. That is very true. He did fast a lot and there could be some truth to that. And I think that one of my other messages here is if that does have an effect, it would make sense, right? But to what degree is that improving, sort of what the main mechanism is? Because with androgenic alopecia, you're fighting a relatively steep uphill battle, depending on the individual because it's so multi-genetic. If you have a strong genetic predisposition for male pattern baldness and you're dealing with intermittent fasting to try to inhibit that, is that going to work? How much is that going to do?
Ben: Right. And then, the other thing to think about, and this would include the people who might be thinking about smearing butter into their scalp and massaging it for days at a time, usually someone who's doing something that intensive is also at the same time maybe shifting from McDonald's and Burger King and all these oxidized vegetable oils that we know affects cellular oxidation and hair graying, and potential for hair loss, and they're living a healthier lifestyle, and going for walks in the sunshine. There's a lot of confounding so-called healthy user bias variables that could be part of this as well.
Cameron: I love that. And that's so true here. And even when he's talking about this time of meditating and rubbing a scalp, we know, we now know that one of the strongest indicators for hair loss is like what your stress hormone levels are, or you're basically–you hit on this a little bit, too, which is like we know that men with androgenic alopecia tend to have higher test free testosterone levels, higher sex hormone-binding globulin. There's issues that we can look at in the blood and they're like, “Okay. This makes sense. That's what we're seeing.” And so, yeah. Is it the massaging your scalp, or is it having a moment, having an hour every day with yourself where you're doing some self-love, decreasing–
Ben: Well, people are going to make a lot of money telling you to meditate and sleep your way to hair growth, but I get it.
Cameron: I don't know how you sell that.
Ben: Alright. So, we've tackled a lot of myths, and I want to make sure we allow time to get into some of the stuff that works. And obviously, we talk about PRP. We talked about stem cells a little bit. There are some other things I wanted to ask you about. Exosomes, you see these in many cases in the same clinics as like a PRP clinic or a stem cell clinic. What do you think about exosomes like these paracrine signaling, cellular signaling molecules to enhance the effects?
Cameron: We just talked about that a little bit with the stromal vascular fraction, which is the mesenchymal derived stem cells coming from the fat. And I like to just kind of–and honestly in my head, again, I'm a lumper, I like to lump things together. And PRP, amniotic fluid, exosomes, stem cells, those are all going to fall in the same mechanism of this regenerative capacity that they're going to have on the hair follicle. The growth factors contained within them are going to vary slightly, but not that much, honestly.
Ben: So, you don't have to do all of them. You can just choose one, like PRP.
Cameron: Yeah. You can choose this. And so, PRP, it's probably going to be your baseline entry-level because it's–again, a lot of great things about it, it's from you, it's autologous. You can control it like we did with you. We controlled the concentration of your platelets very precisely to what we wanted it to be.
Ben: Safe to put it on your kids.
Cameron: That's beautiful. I don't know, drink it, put it in your eyes. PRP has a history that goes back to like the '70s, and it's been used a lot in ophthalmology, orthopedics as you mentioned. One of the big users was actually the OMFS surgeons, the maxillofacial surgeons, using it like when they were using this stuff in the '70s and '80s, they were like regrowing bone in the jaw, by mashing up bone, putting PRP in this little cradle they call it, and regrowing bones. This stuff's amazing, right?
Ben: Yeah. That's what we do with the hip joints when I was doing orthopod sales for Biomet is they would almost like–when I'd spin down the blood and give it back to the surgeon, they would literally just mash it all up in the acetabulum as they were doing the implants.
Cameron: It's incredible.
Cameron: And this is with PRP, the stuff that we can get as we will show with you today so easily, right? So, there's a ton of power to that. Exosomes are really just signaling molecules coming from these stem cells that we've been talking about. These are how, when I said a paracrine effect, and you filled in what that is, this is what the paracrine signaling is coming from. It's these little packets. And when it's like, “Hey, I want to tell something to do something,” the stem cell is going to send out these little exosomes. And so, they're beautifully packaged, like here, this is a little perfect message to you to grow. Amniotic fluid has a lot of those growth factors in it as well. And then, I'd call the granddaddy being like stem cells, autologous stem cells or allergenic stem cells coming from umbilical cord or some other source. That's where your paracrine effect is going to come from. You're going to get like a renewing supply of exosomes with that.
Ben: And since it's a paracrine effect, and this is probably a super geeked out question that only the cosmetic surgeons are going to care about, could you have someone when you're doing a PRP treatment before or after doing hooked up to like IV exosome?
Cameron: Sure. Absolutely, yeah, because I mean, you're going to–and as you've said when you've done exosomes before, you get that systemic boost with those a little bit, too. I'm again thinking on a local level here, kind of what we're doing with direct access to those hair bulbs that we're after. But systemically, yeah, you're going to get some of those at bulb as well.
Ben: Interesting. So, PRP, stem cells, exosomes, amniotic fluid. One other one I wanted to ask you about was actual hair transplant. How does that work?
Cameron: Yeah. So, hair transplantation is considered this little surgical procedure. And in the grand scheme of surgeries, it's so minimally invasive [01:04:29] _____ you're awake. It's very simple to do. And of all the cosmetic, or let's just call it plastic surgical procedures that you can do, I would argue that this is one of the most restorative and most natural-looking of all of them.
Cameron: It has come a long ways. It used to be like cutting a strip across–well, back in the day, it was like a hair plug. That's what everybody thinks. That's like the stereotypical thing. You take a plug of hair and move it somewhere else. That does not look very good, not very natural. And then, it turned into the strip that they excise off the back of the scalp and excise individual hair follicles. But that left a linear scar on the back of your scalp in that dense area. And what it's advanced to now is this thing we call follicular unit extraction, or F-U-E, where we precisely go after individual hair follicles. Some of which have one hair growing out, some two, three, or four. And we take out each one of those individually with this little teeny-teeny little micro punch, and we take it out, and we can re-implant it in another part of your scalp in a very specific direction, orientation, density. All those things are sort of–it gets a little artistic, but very much a way to recreate the frontal part of your scalp, the crown of your scalp, the vertex, whatever you're valuing, right?
Ben: Where do you take the hair follicles from?
Cameron: From the back of your scalp, from this occipital area, like the prominence on the back part of your head. And again, like we talked about, that area is just a little bit privileged when we talk about the anabolic paradigm.
Ben: What was happening if you took it from the chest or the crutch?
Cameron: Oh, that's such a good question.
Ben: Can I grow pubes on my head?
Cameron: I love this question. Yeah. So, you can use body hair transplanting to the scalp. And it sounds ridiculous, but interestingly, those hairs, once they're transplanted to that local microenvironment of the scalp, tend to take on a little bit of the characteristic there. And so, the anagen phase, which is going to determine a lot of the quality of your hair, changes to be more like your head hair does. And so, the issue with follicular unit extraction or any hair transplantation is that you only have so many donor hairs that you can spare. We're really just rearranging your hair density to be on the front or vertex of your scalp. When we start getting low on that, you can certainly turn to body hairs, and you can get a 50% plus increase in your available donor hairs by taking body hair, which again, makes you chuckle. Sounds ridiculous, but can be a nice little supplement when we're looking for the [01:06:40] _____.
Ben: Okay. So, what about–we've talked about some things we can do for the skin, some things we do for the hair. What about scars? And I get a lot of questions about scars and stretch marks. Do you ever work on anything like that?
Cameron: Oh, man, yes.
Ben: What are some of the things you do for that?
Cameron: So, scars themselves are–and this all boils down to what we just talked about with hair transplantation as well where, okay, we've put these hairs in a new spot and they need to be metabolically babied in a way. And so, that's where we start using these hyperbaric oxygen, this PRP. We'll use those with the hair transplantation, even some stem cells with them to get these hairs to sit and grow because we want to create a comfortable microenvironment for them to live in, right? So, we get to something like a scar, which is where there was an injury, and it's like we were talking about derma rolling earlier, there's an injury to an area that created our bodies need to heal that spot in. And what it does is it lays down a ton of collagen. That is the strength and structure.
And so, that's a wonderful mechanism to get things healed quickly, patch us up relatively functional, but that scar is not the same consistency of our normal skin. It doesn't have the ability to hold water from these glycosaminoglycans like hyaluronic acid. It doesn't have any elastin in it. And that's where the big thing comes where people were like, “I want to make collagen, collagen, collagen.” Well, scar is collagen. You don't want to turn your face into a big scar, right? You want it to be supple and flexible, and that's what the elastin is doing. Scar itself doesn't have that. And so, ways that we can change that microenvironment, right? At a very simple level, the most basic thing to do generally is to use lasers for that.
Lasers can stimulate growth and change in the fibroblasts that made that scar to make more elastin tissue, to make more things that are going to make it behave like normal skin. You're never going to recreate the hair follicles, the sebaceous glands, the little arrector pili muscles that make our skin what it is and unique, and give it that consistency. You can certainly turn things in the direction that way. You can do fat injections like autologous fat into a scar. And again, this happens on the scalp all the time where somebody has like a trauma that leaves them bald. Usually, we'll do fat injections like stem cell-rich fat injections into that scar first, and then the scalp creates more vascularity in that scar.
Ben: [01:08:51] _____ in my head, basically.
Cameron: Yeah, right. But anyway then, it's a better recipient site, but it has more vascularity to take that hair graft that goes in it. And so, I always tell people with scar treatments that we can always, always, always make scars better. If it's raised, you can make it flat. If it's flat, you can raise it up. If it's red, you can make it less red. If it's pigmented, you can take pigment out. You're never going to get it to go away, but you can certainly make it much, much better. And for me, in my practice, this is mostly facial scars usually, and they're especially forgiving because we have so many hair follicles and such a great stem cell density there. The easiest to get improvement in, but they're also the most sensitive in general, like emotionally sensitive. You see them all the time. It's hard to get around them. And so, whether it's acne scarring, traumatic scarring, surgical scarring, it's a big part of trying to make them better.
Ben: You got to get buttheadbeauty.com, by the way. Okay. So, based on what you're saying, not that I want to put you out of business, but if I have one of those red light therapy devices at home, like I have stretch marks on my shoulders, for example, for my bodybuilding days, could I use that topically and get some effect from red and near-infrared light?
Cameron: Yeah, you can. Stretch marks are a little bit of a different. They're definitely good to be lumped with scars, but stretch marks usually form from a weak part of our skin that sort of failed. There's a strong genetic predisposition to this. There's some drug-related connections to this, like somebody who's on a corticosteroid or something for a long time. It weakens their skin and they stretch out.
Ben: I wasn't on corticosteroid, I was on tuna cans, lots of tuna.
Cameron: Yeah. That's similar. There's a little extra stress. So, when the stretch mark comes out, it tends to leave the epidermis intact. Part of the dermis gets separated. So, you get this cigarette paper look, then look to the top where it gets all thinned out. And then, sometimes you have like no substructure under it. And I see stretch marks that range from like pretty mild, let's say just like a surface change to the things where there's fat herniating or muscle herniating through the stretch mark because there's nothing underneath it. And so, again depending on what that is, if you have a herniating stretch mark, your red light is going to do not a lot for it. But if you have that surface change with a little bit of color, yeah, red light it, go for it. You potentially make it better. Taking a laser tooth or something is certainly going to restructure it. Adding something that's going to give it a little bit more resilience and make it behave like normal skin is your best bet, but you can certainly get some improvement in them. And there's some other biostimulants that we can inject in addition to autologous fat to make them better.
Ben: What's a biostimulant?
Cameron: So, biostimulant, a prime example in aesthetics, one that's really commonly used is this product made by this company called Galderma called Sculptra. It's poly-L-lactic acid and it's a collagen-stimulating injection that we use in fat pads of the face a lot. It was originally approved for this thing called HIV lipodystrophy. So, when people were taking their heart therapy, one of those specific parts of it called the proteases were basically melting all their facial fat. And so, it was a little bit of a stigma to have like a very hollowed-out face. This product was approved to revolumize a skeletonized face from this HIV lipodystrophy. Well, it didn't take long for it to catch into cosmetics, and all of a sudden, you've got a product that can help add structure and volume back to an aging face. It took off in cosmetics, basically, and it's just the collagen stimulator. It does a great job. It's very reliable, very subtle. And using it in other areas like–I use a lot in people who've had prior liposuction, who have depressed areas that we're trying to lift back up and change contours for, or stretch marks. It does a good job to restructure the base of the stretch mark.
Ben: It's fascinating. One thing that–and we talked about this a little bit, that I was just thinking about with a guy having a job like you have, you obviously get a lot of people in who are admittedly like vain, who are grasping at youth and perhaps not wanting to grow old even if growing old gracefully and just trying to almost from like a transhumanist life extension type of standpoint. Not that everybody has that type of perspective, but kind of like a smaller version of the type of people who are sitting like cutting off their heads and freezing them so that when eventually we're able to restore people's brains to different bodies, that they can just almost like as a rough form of biohacked reincarnation and come back in a new body.
And of course in the biohacking sector, lots of people are saying, “I want to live 'til I'm 150, 160. No, I'm going to make it to 180. Hey, I'm going to be the first person at 200.” Philosophically, when you're in this environment and you're working with a lot of these people who you know are just getting old, does the vanity aspect of this ever bug you? Like people just, I don't know, spending a lot of money just trying not to get old and eventually looking like that. You've seen like–I don't want to stereotype the six-year-old woman who's obviously got the fake boob job and all the hair and face treatments, and she's supposed to be like old plush grandma, but she's trying to pull off the Las Vegas stripper look.
Cameron: Yeah. Overfilled and shiny, and yeah. All those things that like–we have this little alarm in our head that allows variance and symmetry, and all kinds of things. This is a little bit of a social study. We all know when that alarm goes off, whether it's like, something's just off with that person. It just doesn't look right, doesn't look natural. And we may not even know what it is, but just something. You don't want that to happen. You want to avoid that. And so, this in my practice is, yeah, something that comes up all the time. And when I first started practicing in a more cosmetic type of setting, you wrestle with this a little bit like, what am I doing? What's happening here? My office is a place that is very full of joy and happiness, honestly. Like people are jacked to be there. It's not as much of that stereotypical person seeking to never die or to look like they never age. It's more people who are like, “I want to look and feel a little bit better, be a little bit rejuvenated.”
Ben: Confidence. I mean, I know that when I put on my cool clothes, and I do my hair, and I shave, and sometimes I'll even do that if I'm not even going out and I got–unless I'm recording a podcast that day, nobody's even going to see me, I'll shave, and I'll work out, and I'll do my hair, and maybe change out of my underwear for the podcast because I almost feel like I've got more social confidence when I look good and feel good about myself. And you also commented on beauty and symmetry. There's this whole idea, I first discovered it in Cate Shanahan's book, “Deep Nutrition.” And then, I actually addressed it pretty heavily in the beauty and symmetry chapter of my book “Boundless,” which I wish I'd written actually after this discussion with you because there's so much more I would've woven in there.
It's this idea that based on elements such as the Fibonacci sequence and the sacred geometrical shapes that we would see in the things like the pyramids and in nature, especially when you strip things down to almost like their crystalline structure, and in water, which we know–if you look into like homeopathy, which I know is rife with controversy, water being structured or crystallized, or exposed to positive emotion somehow becomes more symmetrical when placed under a microscope. And there have been many studies that have looked at human symmetry, human facial symmetry, and human body symmetry, and found that people, they are more comfortable around people who are more symmetrical. There is, although it doesn't sound fair to a lot of people, but let's just face it, this is the way the world works, beauty and symmetry is often something that people look favorably upon. And it's not necessarily, although it is in some cases, it's not necessarily because they're being judgmental, it is a built-in human reaction to have a desire and love for beauty and symmetry.
And so, in my opinion, and I don't know how you feel about this, if you're maintaining some element of beauty and symmetry, you're not only increasing your element of social success, as well as your internal confidence. But in a way, I think you're almost equipping yourself to be more impactful for whatever purpose that God has put you on the planet for in the same way that lifting weights and having a nice body, you don't have to have that to please God or to fulfill your purpose in life, but it certainly is helpful. Even the Apostle Paul says this in the Bible, like physical training is of some value. He also has a writing I think in Corinthians about temperacy and how he knows that if he cares for his body, he'll be able to better fulfill by engaging his amount of temperancy and self-control, for example, around food. He'll be better able to fulfill whatever purpose that God has placed him on this planet for.
For me personally, because I get this a lot, I'm not grasping at straws. I'm not trying to live forever. I'm not trying to not look like a grandpa for my grandchildren. I just love the confidence, and also the increased comfort that people feel around with me when I've got deodorant on, and I'm dressed nicely, and my hair looks good, and I've shaved, and I show that I'm taking care of myself. And also, although there are some people out there that even though I'd say it isn't right, they will judge you based on your appearance. And many people are very judgy or judgmental in that sense. Well, you know what, if that's the waters that I need to swim in in order to be successful and provide for my family, I'll swallow that pill. I'll look good so that the people who are judgmental are also people who I'm able to speak to and have my message received by.
Cameron: Right. And that affinity for beauty and symmetry is not unique to humans even. That exists in all types of different species. And I think that there's two levels to this sort of like affinity and judgment as you said. There's the one that we all feel subconsciously that just happens, like, “Oh, that's an attractive person.” You notice that, right? And then, there's the sort of–which I think is much more socially determined as to what's acceptable. I trained in Los Angeles. The social norm of what's acceptable and desirable there is different than it is in Portland, Seattle, Courtland, Spokane where we live. It's a little bit different.
And so, you want to respect that with somebody and you want to know where they're at, and you want to–my practice is built off of rejuvenation, not transforming. We're never going to turn somebody into something that they weren't. And that looks unnatural anyway. We're going to maybe just make your skin look like it had less sun damage, or put that fat pad back where it came from, or something along those lines. And that tends to be like subtle, small, incremental harmonious ways to pump the brakes on the process. You're not putting it in reverse. That's the 200-year thing, like you're going to live to be 200. You're trying to put it in reverse a little bit, right? We don't want to do that. We just want to slow things down a little bit and make people look very appropriate and pleasant and happy for where they're at. And part of it is that, like you just feel the happiness when it's like–that's some little thing. A lot of times, it's something only you notice. Other people aren't even paying attention to it. But you having it fixed, as you just mentioned, gives you that confidence, the glow, whatever you want to call it. It's like, “I'm ready for this and take the world we're on.”
Ben: Hey, if we go out to dinner tonight, which I think we're planning on taking our ladies out if we can rip them out of the hyperbaric chamber, am I allowed to have a cocktail with dinner?
Ben: Is that going to destroy [01:19:38] _____?
Cameron: Strongly encouraged.
Ben: Alright, just don't spill it on my face.
Cameron: You might sting a little.
Ben: Alright, cool. Cameron, I have a hunch you'll probably get a lot of questions in the comments section for this particular podcast. There's probably some stuff we didn't even cover. I'm going to put all this at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/cameron. If you guys want to go check it out, I'll link to his clinic and you can read up more on some of the treatments that he does. Leave your questions, leave your comments, your thoughts, your feedback on there. I know this really seems like a hot topic to a lot of people.
Cameron: Yeah. People dive really deep into this and get to know a ton about narrow things, which is really fun.
Ben: I know so much more now before we started. I'm not going to derma roll anymore, and I'm going to hang upside down, and I'm going to definitely do the butter in the hair massage for sure.
Cameron: That'll go great. You should put it in your beard–
Ben: [01:20:26] _____ as the podcast sponsors when we do. Alright. Cameron, dude, thank you so much. That was amazing, bro.
Cameron: That's fun.
Ben: Alright, folks. I'm Ben Greenfield along with the great Dr. Cameron Chestnut signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Again, the shownotes will be at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/cameron. Have an amazing week.
Well, thanks for listening to today's show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I've ever recommended for hormone, sleep, digestion, fat loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also, know that all the links, all the promo codes, that I mentioned during this and every episode, helped to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. When you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that I generate, because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.
I get a ton of questions about hair growth, grey hair, male and female pattern baldness (alopecia), skin beauty treatments, scar and stretch mark fixes, beauty “biohacks,” and beyond.
So I figured it was high time to get an expert on the show to unpack all of this. His name is Dr. Cameron Chesnut.
Dr. Chesnut (who is also available for telemedicine consults here) and I have quite a history.
We've known each other since way back in our Ironman triathlon competition days, grew up in the same general region of Northern Idaho/Eastern Washington, and have recently reconnected as brothers with similar interests in fitness, health, nutrition, spirituality, biohacking, beauty, and beyond. Dr. Chesnut recently opened a brand-spankin' new biohacking facility in Spokane, WA called “ÔPTIM,” which is a fully comprehensive health optimization practice, combining a revolutionary blend of functional medicine and regenerative modalities in a way that offers you unparalleled wellness. (For 25% off ÔPTIM modalities, go here and use code Greenfield.)
Recently at a dinner, Dr. Chesnut was enlightening me on common myths and tips regarding hair growth (based on my recent project of growing out my hair, and potentially, magically sprouting a beard), and also showing me all the other cool toys they have at ÔPTIM, such as hormone optimization, cryotherapy, laser, and other photobiomodulation treatments, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatments, hyperbaric oxygen, IV's stem cells, and beyond—so I figured we could geek out on a podcast.
So who is he, exactly?
Dr. Chesnut is recognized worldwide as a key opinion leader and innovator in both minimally invasive and non-surgical cosmetic procedures. He was fellowship-trained in cosmetic surgery, reconstructive plastic surgery, laser surgery, and Mohs micrographic surgery at UCLA, training in the most demanding cosmetic and surgical environments of Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and Los Angeles.
His fellowship at UCLA featured a rigorous, full integration of plastic surgery, facial plastic surgery, oculoplastic surgery, and dermatologic surgery. Through this one-of-a-kind integration, Dr. Chesnut is a well-rounded and cross-pollinated surgeon. He has an unparalleled foundation of knowledge in skin cancer treatment, plastic reconstruction, and cosmetic surgery, as well as laser and aesthetic dermatology.
Dr. Chesnut is an international expert on both the art and science of facial aging, taking an approach that relies not just on surgery but addresses all aspects of aging. He loves to utilize this knowledge and skill of cosmetic surgery to improve the results of his skin cancer patients during their plastic reconstructions.
A leader in the fields of dermatologic and cosmetic surgery, Dr. Chesnut is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning speaker and has been invited by his peers to present throughout the world on numerous cosmetic and reconstructive topics. He is a regular contributor to the surgical literature, continues to author numerous book chapters, and has been recognized for his research and innovation in cosmetic surgery, lasers, and noninvasive treatments.
A native of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Dr. Chesnut has returned home to the Inland Northwest. He graduated with Honors from the University of Washington School of Medicine as a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. He completed his dermatology residency at UCLA where he was selected as the Chief Resident and subsequently was selected for the integrated Procedural Dermatology Fellowship, also at UCLA.
Outside of surgery, Dr. Chesnut enjoys active time with his wife, Aubree, and his children Torin, Tatum, and Callum. He is an avid surfer, passionate skier, loves beach volleyball, tennis, and playing on the river.
During this discussion, you'll discover:
-The fringe microneedling treatment Cameron did on Ben before their recording…4:30
- Chesnut did a hyper-concentrated treatment matrix of enhanced platelet-rich plasma(PRP)
- Special 25% discount on PRP treatment and other modalities, including a telemedicine consult with Cameron, when you use code Greenfield here
- Quinton from Water and Wellness
- Cameron Instagram: nitty-gritty photo of Ben's face
- What are the growth factors doing?
- Targeting stem cells in the scalp
- Fibroblasts in the face
- Elastinis more important than collagen
- Elastin = elasticity, Collagen = structure
-What to expect after Cameron's PRP treatment…9:25
- The modality is dependent on the nature of the injury
- 12-14 hours red
- After 72 hours, life as usual
- Building collagen and elastin takes weeks to months
- Undergrad at Washington State University
- D. from the University of Washington
- Specialty in cosmetic surgery
- 25% Reconstructive, 75% Cosmetic/Aesthetic
- Ben and Cameron were the guys to chase in Ironman in Central Idaho/Eastern Washington
- Ben put a lot of Cameron's theories into practice
- Residency and fellowship in L.A.
- Medical practice in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
- ÔPTIM—a mashup of biohacking and anti-aging (For 25% off ÔPTIM modalities, go hereand use code Greenfield.)
-All the cool gadgets inside Cameron's ÔPTIM Clinic…18:25
- Hyperbaric chamber(the birth of the ÔPTIM Clinic)
- Cameron is a pioneer in his region for utilizing the hyperbaric chamber for post-treatment healing
- Infrared light therapy
- Kettlebells(use code GREENFIELD to save 15%)
- Full body LED Saunato calm down inflammation post-laser treatments/post needling
- (Hyperbaric, infrared light therapy, cryotherapy at ÔPTIM Clinic25% off with code Greenfield)
-The pros and cons of dermarolling…21:20
- Deer Placenta Smoothies, Smearing Colostrum On Your Face, How To Use A Clay Mask & Much More, with Andy Hnilo.
- Alitura Clay Mask(use code GREENFIELD to save 20%)
- Alitura Derma Roller(use code GREENFIELD to save 20%)
- Dermarolling is the DIY version of Cameron's microneedling treatment
- GHK-CU Peptide(use code BEN15 to save 15%)
- Dermarolling can cause more harm than good, use with caution
- Microneedling similar to a tattoo, dermarolling rips skin open
- Positive results may be superficial, more swelling than repairing
- Edema is a short-lived tradeoff to look a little bit better, but doing long-term damage
- Coffee or apricot scrubs may not be as effective
- How can you enhance the delivery of home exfoliating treatments without dermarolling
- Similar to how you would use a soft-bristle toothbrush to effectively clean teeth without damage to gums
- The same principle applies to your face
- After treatment
- Infrared increases vasodilation, but not sunlight (because of UVA and UVB)
- Nitric oxide session
-The role of supplements…33:15
- Myth: collagen gets absorbed into our skin after ingestion
- You don't eat hair to grow more hair
- Same principle
- Vape Pens, Hair Growth Serums, Fixing The Pineal Gland & C60 (The Next Great Longevity Molecule), with Ian Mitchell.
- The cause of the hair loss will determine the correct treatment
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapyand BFR training can contribute to hair growth
- Ketoconazole shampoo indicated for fungal infection, dandruff, and antigenic effects
- Don't use concentrated oil of oreganoon your skin
- Supplements from ÔPTIM (BGF listeners get 15% off with any package purchase hereby using code Greenfield)
– How iron and copper contribute to grey hair…41:30
- Ray Peat
- Balance iron-to-copper ratios
- Using Methylene Blue(and topical DHEA) to reduce Ferric Iron that causes greying
- Topical DHEArestores hair follicles
- Androgen paradox: hair follicles all over our bodies are exclusively sensitive to testosterone
- People with scarring alopecia have higher levels of testosterone
- Gravity plays a role in hair loss
- Theory—hair loss occurs where the gravitational pull is the greatest
- Treatments for hair loss may result in loss of drive
- Stem cell-rich fat transfer allows growth factor to hair plus extra volume for youthful scalp
- High testosterone = high DHT = baldness
- Possible gravity boots or inversions may help reduce hair loss
- Yoga Trapezefor traction with inversions
– If butter on the scalp can bring back hair…53:00
- The Eye of Revelationby Peter Kelder
- 5 Tibetan Longevity Rites
- Importance of scalp massage and incorporating specific nutrients for regrowth
- Minoxidil and peptides cause vasodilation
- The massage itself may be more beneficial than the actual hair massage product
– How rapamycin affects hair loss…56:40
- Rapamycin as anti-aging protocol
- mTOR and Rapamycinhave effects on hair color and hair growth
- Can fasting affect hair growth?
- It's not just massaging, but being conscious of having an overall healthy lifestyle
- One of the strongest indicators of hair loss are stress hormones
-How exosomes enhance the effects of hair growth…1:00:50
- PRP, stem cells, amniotic fluid, exosomes all play a role in hair growth
- PRP is a baseline hair growth stimulant
- Exosomes are signaling molecules that tell your hair to grow
-The way hair transplants work…1:03:50
- Minimally invasive cosmetic hair surgery
- One of the most restorative and natural-looking modalities
- Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)from the back of the head to transplant in different areas of the scalp
- Body hair can grow as scalp hair and will take on the characteristics of scalp hair in time
-How Cameron treats scars and stretch marks…1:06:15
- Scars and stretch marks are created from an overload of collagen, but don't have any elastin
- Laser treatment to make skin more smooth and supple
- You can always change the appearance of a scar
- Red light therapy may reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks
- Joovv Light
- Sculptra, a collagen-stimulating injection used to add volume and structure to aging skin
-How much therapy is too much…1:13:00
- Cameron's practice strives for natural appearances
- Deep Nutritionby Cate Shanahan
- Boundlessby Ben Greenfield
- The affinity between beauty and symmetry in people and in nature
- If you're maintaining an element of beauty and symmetry in your practice, you're equipping yourself to be more impactful
- Social norms of acceptance and desirability vs. personal feelings of self-confidence
- Cameron's practice is built on rejuvenation, not deformity
-And much more!
Resources from this episode:
– Dr. Cameron Chesnut:
– Podcasts And Articles::
- Deer Placenta Smoothies, Smearing Colostrum On Your Face, How To Use A Clay Mask & Much More, With Andy Hnilo.
- Vape Pens, Hair Growth Serums, Fixing The Pineal Gland & C60 (The Next Great Longevity Molecule), With Ian Mitchell.
- A New Treatment For Blasting Tissues With Oxygen, Growing New Blood Vessels, Recovering Faster, Killing Bacteria, Building Stem Cells & Much More, With Dr. Jason Sonners.
- 1 Cheap & Easy Underground Training Method For Growth Hormone Release, 5 Biohacks to Increase Strength in 60 Seconds, 7 Exercises for the Eyes to Radically Enhance Stamina & Speed, With Kusha Karvandi.
- How To Build New Blood Vessels, Regenerate Muscle Tissue Fibers, Increase New Cell Growth & More With Something Called “TB-500”.
- Lightning Speed Healing Hack or Overpriced Fad? What You Need To Know About Stem Cells.
- What’s The Deal With Fancy Red Light Devices? Your Go-To Guide On How To Use Red Light To Enhance Testosterone, Skin, Recovery, Cognition, Sleep & Beyond!
– Gear And Supplements:
- Kettlebells(use code GREENFIELD to save 15%)
- Alitura Derma Roller(use code GREENFIELD to save 20%)
- Alitura Clay Mask(use code GREENFIELD to save 20%)
- Yoga Trapeze
- Joovv Light
- Auxano Grow
- GHK-CU Peptide(use code BEN15 to save 15%)
- Methylene Blue
- ÔPTIM Clinic supplements (use code Greenfield to save 15%)
– Other Resources:
- Ray Peat
- Oil Of Oregano
- Auxano Grow
- Topical DHEA
- Collagen: The Fibrous Proteins of the Matrix
- Hair follicle: Anagen And Catogen
- Follicular Unit Extraction Hair Transplant
- 5 Tibetan Longevity Rites
- Chemical Agents And Peptides Affect Hair Growth
- Rapamycin For Longevity: Opinion Article
- Stimulation Of Hair Growth By Small Molecules That Activate Autophagy
–Kion Clean Energy Bars: Satisfying, nutrient-dense, real-food energy bars with a delicious chocolate coconut flavor! BGF listeners save 10% off your order with code BEN10.
–Ra Optics: Purchase a pair of Ra Optics Day and Night Lenses to optimize sleep quality, energy, levels, and health in the modern, electrically-lit world. Receive 10% off your order when you order through my link.
–Butcher Box: Delivers healthy 100% grass-fed and finished beef, free-range organic chicken, and heritage breed pork directly to your door on a monthly basis. All their products are humanely raised and NEVER given antibiotics or hormones.