Amino acids are the building blocks of life. They create proteins, help our bodies turn nutrients into energy, and act as neurotransmitters (enabling the brain to function). But the human body can’t produce every amino acid it needs — we need to get some of them from our diets.
Such is the case with valine.
Your body uses valine to process and synthesize proteins, and you ingest it whenever you eat protein-rich foods (not only meat and dairy, but soy and other legumes). Using topical skin and hair care products containing valine can help prevent and treat many forms of hair loss. In this article, the Divi team discusses valine’s benefits for treating hair loss and how this essential amino acid can help keep your scalp healthy.
What Does Valine Do Inside the Human Body?
Valine is an essential amino acid, meaning our bodies cannot produce it. We must get it externally from our environment.
Each one of our hair follicles uses three of essential amino acids to produce new hair: isoleucine, L-leucine, and valine. Scientists call these the branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs.
When we ingest these BCAAs or apply them to our skin topically for absorption, our bodies use them to produce keratin, among other things, which is the protein our hair and nails are made of. In addition, our bodies use BCAAs to help create the white blood cells (or lymphocytes) that form the basis of our immune system.
Valine’s Benefits for Your Scalp and Hair Health
One of the key proteins that valine helps synthesize is called collagen. This connective tissue makes our skin elastic, and the collagen levels in our bodies tend to diminish with age. With less collagen in our systems, our bodies’ rates of replenishing hair and skin also slows down. One 2022 study showed that ingesting alpha amino acids (including valine) promotes healthy remodeling of the skin and hair.
Another study in 2007 demonstrated that applying amino acids directly to hair follicles as part of a hair care product (such as conditioner) was by far the most effective method of delivering them to the scalp. This is because hair conditioners contain a variety of surfactants that enhance their ability to deliver amino acids to where the body needs them.
Put simply, without a steady supply of valine, your body cannot produce keratin. This means less hair on your head, thinner hair shafts and more brittle hair.
Does Valine Slow Down Male- and Female-Pattern Hair Loss?
Androgenetic alopecia (AGA), also called male- and female-pattern hair loss, is one of the leading hair loss conditions. It affects more than 50% of Caucasian men over the age of 50, and about 25% of women. Although the root cause of pattern hair loss is genetic and hormonal (due to an overproduction of the hormone dihydrotestosterone, or DHT), one 2017 study showed that valine deficiency often goes hand-in-hand with this form of hair loss. In fact, more than 95% of the study’s participants had a deficiency of at least one essential amino acid. Replenishing the levels of valine in the scalp is a critical component of reversing hair loss.
Valine also helps stimulate and restore activity in your body’s potassium ion channels. For decades, scientists have understood that opening these channels may help to reverse pattern hair loss. This is one of the primary ways in which prescription drugs for hair loss (including Minoxidil and Finasteride) work.
How Valine Improves Your Hair Follicle Health
The growth of your hair is split into three distinct phases, and each hair follicle is in one of these at any given moment. About 90% of your hairs are in the anagen (or growth) phase. This stage is when your follicles put their resources into producing longer, thicker hair shafts, and it lasts 3-5 years. The shorter catagen (transitional) and telogen (shedding) phases follow. A 2019 study in the Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications demonstrated that applying valine (along with other amino acids) directly to the scalp lengthened the anagen phase, allowing for improved hair growth and thickness.
How To Apply Valine to Your Scalp Using Divi’s Scalp Serum
If you’re losing hair due to androgenetic alopecia, telogen effluvium or general aging, then adding valine to your hair care regimen may help reverse this loss. Scientists have combined valine with other amino acids and ingredients promoting healthy hair growth, which is what the scientific researchers at Divi have done in creating our Scalp Serum formula.
When you use valine in Divi’s Scalp Serum, you’ll get its benefits combined with those of all the other scientifically backed ingredients. These components not only stimulate hair growth but reduce the buildup of hair products and increase the flow of blood to your hair follicles. Divi’s Scalp Serum provides your scalp and hair follicles with a synergy of the best ingredients.
Using our Scalp Serum is straightforward: Simply massage three-quarters of a dropper into your scalp once a day. You can leave it in and let it work as your skin and hair follicles absorb it.
What Are the Side Effects of Valine?
As one of the essential amino acids, valine is among the safest ingredients for topical application. In fact, the only reports of valine overconsumption have come from people who have taken it as an oral supplement (for instance, in a protein supplement or shake).
Applying valine topically to the scalp is a safe, effective method of promoting hair growth.
Other Ingredients of Divi’s Scalp Serum That Promote Hair Growth and Scalp Health
Valine is a powerful tool of nature for fighting hair loss and promoting the health of your scalp. However, if you want to maximize its effectiveness, you need to use it in combination with other scientifically proven ingredients. Ideally, this means not just other amino acids, but a combination of vitamins, essential oils and plant extracts. Using multiple ingredients together can:
- Increase the flow of blood to the scalp
- Lengthen your hair’s anagen phase (growth cycle)
- Add moisture, sleekness and shine to your hair
- Reduce itchiness and inflammation of the scalp
Divi’s Scalp Serum uses a proprietary suite of clean, vegan ingredients to promote healthy hair growth and thicker hair shafts. Some of the most effective ingredients for treating hair loss include the following.
Copper Tripeptide-1 (GHK-Cu)
Copper tripeptide is a group of three amino acids combined with copper that your body uses to promote healing and stimulate new tissue growth. Many skin products market it as a “facelift in a bottle” because of its ability to speed up the creation of new collagen. Divi’s Scalp Serum, meanwhile, uses copper tripeptide to help enlarge your hair follicles and increase the growth rate of your hair.
You are probably already familiar with caffeine thanks to coffee, tea and soft drinks. But did you know your skin and hair follicles can absorb it directly? When you apply caffeine to your scalp topically, it can also help prevent your hair follicles from miniaturizing due to the effects of androgenetic alopecia. Applying this alkaloid compound topically,ets you reap its many benefits without the jittery side effects of consuming it orally — so you can still sleep at night!
Green Tea Leaf Extract
In addition to its caffeine content, green tea leaf extract contains a catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (also called EGCG). Many studies show that applying green tea extract topically can help block the effects of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in causing pattern hair loss. Moreover, EGCG comes with fewer side effects than prescription drugs for hair loss (such as Minoxidil).
One of the first things people notice about Divi’s Scalp Serum is its amazing scent. After they apply it, the next thing they tend to notice is the cooling, tingling sensation it provides. Both are due in part to peppermint (Mentha arvensis) oil and other fragrant botanicals. A 2014 study in South Korea proves that applying peppermint oil to your scalp can induce rapid growth of new hair. Not only does it stimulate healthy blood flow to hair follicles, but peppermint oil can help increase the activity of alkaline phosphatase (ALP), which is one of the critical biomarkers for measuring hair growth.
Tea Tree Oil
The tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) is native to Australia. For centuries, people have prized the oil of this tree for its medicinal properties. Not only does tea tree oil have various antifungal, antimicrobial and antiseptic properties, but it reduces your scalp’s inflammation level. Inflammation is one of the leading direct causes of hair loss.
Studies also show that tea tree oil is useful in combination with Minoxidil therapy, as it enhances the effects of the prescription drug.
Rosemary Leaf Extract
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) isn’t just useful in the kitchen! In fact, this fragrant evergreen herb is at least as effective as Minoxidil in reversing and preventing the effects of male- or female-pattern hair loss. In one study, the group of people who applied rosemary oil to their skin experienced less scalp itching and flakiness than the members who used Minoxidil.
When you apply it topically to your scalp, menthol (a mint plant product) helps prevent and reverse hair loss in a few ways. The most obvious way is the cooling, soothing sensation menthol provides to an irritated, itchy scalp. The less you scratch your head, the more hair you get to keep! Menthol’s benefits to the hair go far beyond that, though.
Menthol is also a powerful vasodilator, which widens the blood vessels in the areas where you apply it. Using it in a hair product like Divi’s Scalp Serum can improve the flow of blood to your hair follicles, improving your rate of hair growth.
Finally, menthol has various antifungal and antimicrobial properties, addressing some of the root causes of hair loss.
The eucalyptus tree (Eucalyptus globulus) is another Australian native, and its anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties make it a prized ingredient in many skin and hair care products. It suppresses the degranulation of mast cells in your scalp, leading to irritation, inflammation and long-term hair loss.
Applying eucalyptus oil to your scalp can also lengthen the anagen phase, leading to longer, thicker hair.
How Divi’s Scalp Serum Containing Valine Can Optimize Your Hair Health
Valine’s benefits for hair loss are numerous and well-documented. As one of the essential amino acids, valine is critical not only for hair growth, but for the healthy functioning of the rest of your body.
The best way to use this branched-chain amino acid topically is to combine it with other, equally proven ingredients in a product like Divi’s Scalp Serum so you can effectively fight hair loss on multiple fronts: from reducing the buildup of haircare products on the scalp to increasing the flow of oxygenated blood to your hair follicles. In addition, our completely vegan Divi’s Scalp Serum is easy to apply to your hair and scalp every day.
Divi’s Scalp Serum is available for purchase. Additionally, valine is an ingredient in our other hair products: Divi’s Shampoo and Divi’s Conditioner. Look at our full list of products to decide which is the best addition to your hair care routine.