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The hoops that black women have to jump through if they want to achieve the straight hair look are lost on most other races, and when heat or chemicals are involved, it can even lead to hair loss.

Given Afro hair is naturally more brittle than other hair types, it can be easier for the hair to become damaged.

Afro Hair African Threading Straighten Black Hair Without HeatThere are several ways in which this can happen, including extreme heat styling, chemical relaxers and also hair extensions. These can lead to hair breakage, chemical trauma, and also a hair loss condition named Traction Alopecia, something which can also happen when “tight” styles like cornrows are worn for prolonged periods.

Natural hair movement and African Threading

Either through choice or through societal pressure, countless black women straighten their natural kinks and curls, but the price they pay in terms of damaged hair and hairloss is gathering an ever-growing collection of column inches.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, a “natural hair” movement is rapidly gathering steam, with advocates including Beyoncé’s sister Solange Knowles and actresses Lupita Nyong’o and Viola Davis. This has received a massive boost following the record-breaking blockbuster movie Black Panther, which features a largely black cast who all sport natural hair styles. New York magazine has reported that the popularity of salons dedicated to extensions and chemically-treated hair have been experiencing lower sales.

Because of this trend, tutorials are springing up all over the internet aimed at helping women with Afro hair to change up their look with less punishing methods than they have traditionally been used to, and one of the most popular is known as African Threading. This styling method is currently being promoted by Essence magazine, an esteemed US publication aimed at the female African American community, in order to help its readers to better protect their hair. It claims stars including Beyonce and Erykah Badu are fans of African Threading.

In a nutshell, the process begins by taking a section of hair from the head, loosely twisting it and then securing it at the root with a piece of weaving thread, which is knotted. The thread is then spiralled around the hair all the way up to the tip where it is knotted again. This is then repeated around the head until all of the hair is threaded. The twists can be worn as a look in themselves, or the thread can be removed and the now-straighter hair combed through. Continues below…

Whilst the method still applies tension to the hair, it’s certainly preferable to heat or chemical relaxers. It is recommended by hairdressers that it is carried out on damp hair, not wet, as wet hair is more fragile, especially when the hair is damaged. Afro hair is already the most naturally porous of all hair types.

Above is one of the most watched videos on YouTube about African Threading – a semi-tutorial from the vlogger NaturallyPhilo who has been wearing her hair naturally for three years now. YouTuber Tasha Frost also does a good job of explaining the process in a video on her channel entitled “Natural Hair: Stretching Out Shrinkage Without The Heat/Threading Method”, and advocates going to bed with the threads in to allow maximum time for the straightening process. The downside of the video, perhaps, is that it does illustrate how laborious the process is.

Warning over damaging hairstyles

Unfortunately, the risks posed by extreme styling are only too real, prompting researchers at John’s Hopkins University to issue a warning about how dangerous some methods are. Chemical treatments such as relaxers can cause temporary shedding if the strands become brittle and break away from the root or along the shaft. What becomes more alarming is when what is known as chemical trauma becomes an issue: this happens when the follicles become sufficiently damaged by the chemicals that they cause burns to the scalp. When these are severe enough to harm the follicles, hair loss – which may well be permanent – ensues.

Likewise, heat styling is a serious concern – especially when some of today’s straighteners can reach up to 450 degrees, a temperature high enough to melt hair. While the breakage it can cause – whereby the hair snaps in two along the shaft – is not a hair loss condition as such, it can still leave hair looking thin, dull and lifeless.

The hairloss condition most often seen when people repeatedly wear tight hairstyles such as braids or extensions is called Traction Alopecia, and is the result of too much stress being placed on the hair follicles. In simple terms, wearing a very tight style can actually damage the follicles around the areas of increased tension – usually the hairline and any strained areas where the styles are fixed to the scalp. This tends to result in hair loss in these locations, which often presents as a receding hairline or thinning edges, and thinning hair or bald patches around strained areas.

Conditions are usually treatable

In cases of Traction Alopecia – which is fully preventable – the hair loss may be permanent if not caught in time. This is why it is important to be mindful of any changes to the hair or signs such as tension headaches, when using these styling practices.

If it is suspected, the first thing to do is to remove the risky hairstyle and wear the hair naturally so that the follicles can recuperate. In mild cases, given sufficient rest, normal hair growth may resume naturally over time. Belgravia offers clients experiencing this condition personalised Traction Alopecia treatment courses tailored to their level and pattern of shedding. The clinics’ experts have found that using applications of appropriate high strength minoxidil formulations from those available at the clinics’ in-house pharmacies can be beneficial in promoting hair growth in both male and female clients of all races.

This topical drug is often paired with additional hair growth booster products, which range from low-level laser therapy (LLLT) to highly-targeted food supplements, such as Hair Vitalics for Women. Although LLLT devices, such as the LaserComb and the LaserBand have not been tested on people with darker skin tones, there has been positive feedback from clients with Afro hair and the company explains that the reason for not testing on people with darker skin or pale skin and light hair, is due to the results being easier to monitor during clinical research in people with more of a contrast between their hair and skin colours.

Both of Belgravia’s Central London clinics are stocked with products, shampoos and conditioners suitable for Afro hair, and clients are also often offered the highly-targeted nutritional supplement Hair Vitalics, which – thanks to its proprietary blend of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanical extracts, including selenium, biotin and zinc – can help to maintain healthy hair growth.


Circ - womens hair loss treatment hair growth vitamins supplements hair vitalics belgravia centreThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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A dermatology clinic in the United States is trialling an established psoriasis drug on people with a rare form of hair loss.

At present, those with Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia (FFA) – a condition more common in women than men and which is categorised as a type of Scarring Hair Loss or Cicatricial Alopecia – are not very well served when it comes to treatment. This is because their hair follicles have become severely damaged as a result of inflammation and the net result is usually a wide band of smooth, bald skin around the whole of the frontal hairline.

Example of Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia

An Example of Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia

Currently, people presenting with FFA have no hair loss treatment remedies open to them, however, in some cases a hair transplant may be possible. There are many factors involved in deciding when surgery is an appropriate course of action, however, so cases are always judged on an individual basis by specialised surgeons – there is no general rule.

New uses for existing medications

Research into new uses for existing products is usually initiated by larger organisations and universities, but it is not uncommon for smaller organisations to conduct clinical trials. This appears to be the case with a registration on the clinicaltrials.gov website from Washington State-based Bellevue Dermatology, whose website describes it as a general dermatology practice with experience in diagnosing and treating psoriasis, skin cancer and other skin, hair and nail issues. It is being supported by a New Jersey-based biotech company named Celgene.

Bellevue’s trial listing suggests that the investigation into the psoriasis drug Apremilast for people with Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia is at an advanced stage, as it is recorded as a Phase IV trial, which usually means that the drug has been proven and is available for general use. In fact, a Phase IV trial is often known as “postmarketing surveillance”, with a focus on the long-term monitoring of the drug after it has been released.

This does not really tally with the description of the trial in which the clinic states it is looking to start recruiting 20 individuals with Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia, each of whom will be treated with Apremilast. The clinic says that each enrolled patient will be evaluated by a skin specialist using the Lichen Planopilaris Activity Index and Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia Index.

Apremilast

Writing in its application, the clinic states: “Evidence suggests that timely and effective management can prevent the permanent loss of hair. Unfortunately, most common treatments have been disappointing with poor efficacy or high risk profile. The availability of a safe effective treatment for this disease remains an unmet need.”

Other interest from New York

Bellevue is not the only institute with an eye on using Apremilast on conditions that lead to hair loss; the widely-respected Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York has been working on a trial in which the drug is used on people with Alopecia Areata, the autoimmune disorder which leads to sudden, patchy hair loss anywhere on the scalp. Its goal was to recruit 30 people with Alopecia Areata or one of its more severe sister phenotypes, Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis, to see how Apremilast taken in pill form affected hair growth.

As was noted at the time that trial was announced, no explanation as to why the Icahn School of Medicine thought of trying a psoriasis drug to regrow hair was given, although it seemed likely that they were guided by the findings of several other studies in which a janus kinase inhibitor drug named tofacitinib – brand name: Xeljanz – also used to treat certain types of psoriasis, had led to hair growth as a side effect. For its part, Bellevue says that Apremilast “is a novel phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitor currently FDA approved to treat psoriasis and is under investigation for other auto immune conditions.”

The hair loss experts at the Belgravia Centre diagnose a wide variety of different conditions every day, many of which can be treated, including scalp-only Alopecia Areata. Some are certainly harder to treat, and the ambitions of Bellevue are therefore to be applauded. Given the multitude of different but relatively similar conditions that can lead to hair shedding, it always makes sense to seek expert help, as self-diagnosis can be deeply flawed.


circ - The Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Clinic - For Men and WomenThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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The advent of big data is increasingly helping doctors to find correlations between seemingly unrelated health conditions – and everything from greying hair to hair loss is all part of the mix.

According to a new article in Men’s Health, scientists have found that people with premature greying could be more susceptible to heart problems then those who retain their natural hair colour into middle age. It cites a study presented at the 69th Annual Conference of the Cardiological Society of India which found that men under 40 with prematurely grey hair were more than five times as likely to be affected by coronary artery disease than those who showed no signs of greying.

There is no single explanation for why some men go grey earlier than others, although smoking, stress, certain medical conditions and nutritional deficiencies are listed – among other things – as potential contributory factors.

grey-hair-gray-hair-hair-lossHair loss and health concerns

The findings in India bear similarities to the results of a study at the University of Bonn published in 2017 which confirmed a wide number of earlier reports that men with genetic hair loss had an increased risk of everything from high blood pressure to hypertension and an enlarged prostate. Even more alarming was a study in 2014 in which American researchers claimed that men who had advanced Male Pattern Baldness by the age of 45 were more susceptible to an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

However, such is the complexity of the data – which at times can appear to be quite contradictory – that one of the professors involved in the Bonn University study said that men with premature hair loss did not need to be concerned. He said that the risks of illness were only slightly increased.

Understandably, the primary concern of most men when they first find themselves losing hair to Male Pattern Baldness is not that this may be linked to medical issues somewhere down the line, but that they would rather like to get their hair back. The good news on this front is that clinically-proven male hair loss treatments can be used to help men keep their hair and, with on-going use, assist in preventing baldness.

Men with androgenetic alopecia have the option of using one or both of the only two MHRA-licensed and FDA-approved medications. The first is a tablet, taken once daily, named finasteride 1mg: this helps to inhibit a testosterone by-product named DHT.

The second is a topically-applied hair loss solution, high strength minoxidil, which is available in various formulations. It has been shown to encourage hair growth.

These pharmaceutical options can also be used alongside a number of hair growth supporting products. These include low-level laser (LLLT) devices suitable for home-use – such as LaserBands – which use LLLT technology to stimulate the hair follicles – and food supplements which specifically target hair health.

Belgravia often recommends highly-targeted Hair Vitalics For Men food supplements, which comprise a potent blend of hair-friendly vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanicals including biotin, zinc and selenium for the maintenance of normal hair growth.

Links to oxidative stress

Interestingly, the Men’s Health article mentions a 2012 study in which UK researchers put forward the idea that the ageing of melanocytes (which causes hair to grey) could be caused by oxidative stress, something which has also been linked to Male Pattern Baldness. The body is under constant attack from oxidative stress, which happens as a result of too many free radicals (unpaired electrons in the body). Free radicals have been linked to a number of different diseases.

How this all figures into the genetic hair loss equation was put forward by scientists in Turkey who looked at the oxidative stress levels of 33 patients aged between 18 and 30 who all had early-onset Male Pattern Baldness. Their levels of oxidative stress, said the researchers, were significantly higher than the norm.


circ - The Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Clinic ConsultationThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.


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A dramatic new look sported by Hindi film legend Akshay Kumar has prompted many fans to wonder if he is experiencing hair loss and is taking steps to deal with it.

The Bollywood star had been the subject of rumours over the new year when there had been reports that he was going to have hair transplant surgery whilst on holiday with his wife in South Africa. It was suspected that the actor had been struggling with the genetic condition male pattern baldness, a very common complaint that is especially prevalent in men of his age (Kumar is 50).

Akshay Kumar Shaved Head Hair TransplantCompletely shaven head

The rumour-mill went into overdrive when the film star appeared on TV recently sporting a completely shaven head. This look is commonly adopted by men just before they have a hair transplant procedure – and naturally fans assumed that it was confirmation that surgery had taken place.

However, the actor – who was appearing on a show called The Drama Company to promote his new film, PadMan – set the record straight by explaining that he had actually shaved his head because it was necessary for the character he was playing. Sources quoted in the International Business Times also said that having to wear a large turban for some of the movie was proving very uncomfortable and that a hairless head had provided some respite.

The International Business Times claims that Kumar may be no stranger to hair loss, alleging that India TV had said that he has already filled out his existing locks with what they term “bonded hair”. This may refer to either weaves or hair extensions where wefts made from strands of synthetic or real hair is fixed to the scalp using glue – although this cannot be confirmed.

Actors who lose their hair are all-too frequently placed in an extremely perilous condition which can sometimes mean the difference between leading roles and a telephone which suddenly stops ringing. James Nesbitt, who became a household name when he appeared in the hit TV series Cold Feet, has lamented several times that his own thinning locks coincided with an abrupt decline in major job offers. Today, he sports the results of at least two hair restoration procedures and is as busy as ever.

While some actors – including Bruce Willis and Vin Diesel – effortlessly pull off the bald look, many others go to great lengths to either conceal the fact that they have receding hairlines or thinning crowns, or to take steps to deal with it. A great many actors are believed to use male pattern baldness treatment products on an ongoing basis.

The Belgravia Centre london clinic Mens hairloss treatmentTailored treatment

There are two medications that have been licensed or approved for use on male genetic hair loss by the MHRA and the FDA, respectively. The oral tablet, finasteride 1mg helps to block a testosterone by-product named DHT, which gradually causes follicle shrinkage and hair fall in men with a predisposed sensitivity to it. The second product, minoxidil, is employed topically to encourage new regrowth by opening up the potassium channels in the scalp.

Additional hair growth supporting products can be used alongside these medications; they range from in-clinic therapeutic treatment sessions to home-use LLLT and highly-targeted nutritional support.

Whilst knowing about the options available and choosing which is best for you can be a tough thing to figure out alone, anyone worried about losing their hair who wants to explore what might work for them should consult a hair loss specialist for advice and personalised recommendations.


circ - The Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Clinic ConsultationThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.


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Chemicals used in hair dyes that have been linked to cases of hair loss could soon be weeded out thanks to the pioneering work of scientists in the US.

PhD student Tova Williams and a team of researchers at the North Carolina State University have created what is being hailed as the largest publicly available chemical database of hair dye substances which they have opened up to anyone interested in the field of hair colourants.

Dyes which cause allergic reactions

Hair Dye bleaching overdying PPDThe structure and properties of more than 300 substances that have been used in current and past commercial hair dyes are classified and grouped in the University’s database, with detailed information on those which are most likely to cause allergic reactions, increase cancer risk and cause other health-related problems. The goal is to create a new generation of hair colour products, they say, that are safer for consumers, stylists and the environment.

Not all colourants are created equal – nor is everyone’s scalp and tolerability the same, which explains some of the isolated but alarming cases when people’s reactions to certain chemical formulas are claimed to have been almost fatal.

The wrong combination of potentially problematic dyes and sensitive scalps – coupled in some instances with poor application processes – can spell disaster. Indeed, chemical trauma brought on by hair dyes is not uncommon, and this can cause hair loss when the follicles become sufficiently damaged.

Permanent hair loss from chemical treatments

In extreme cases, when the chemicals – including those used to perm or relax the hair – cause severe burns to the scalp or enough damage to destroy the follicles, a condition known as cicatricial alopecia can ensue. This means that even a personalised hair loss treatment course is futile given the follicles can no longer be stimulated.

In these instances the resulting baldness tends to be permanent, though occasionally a specialised surgeon may be able to resolve it if a hair transplant procedure is deemed suitable. Suitability is decided strictly on a case-by-case basis and involves considering a number of factors, including the extent of any damage to the scalp and amount of usable donor hair.

Most of the time, the kind of hair loss caused by chemical trauma can be less difficult to deal with, especially when it is caught early on and the damaging processes that lead to the issue are not repeated. Belgravia experts have found that topically-applied high-strength minoxidil from the available formulations at each of the hair loss clinics’ in-house pharmacies can be effective. These are applied once or twice a day, as directed by each client’s dedicated treatment advisor, to the affected areas for localised stimulation.

Licensed by the UK’s MHRA and approved by the US’s FDA for use on the genetic conditions male and female pattern baldness, minoxidil is a vasodilator which opens up the potassium channels to better facilitate hair growth. Whilst only recognised by these medical regulatory boards for these specific uses on hereditary hairloss, the drug is widely understood to have a larger scope of application. Indeed, Belgravia’s experts have used appropriate solutions to significant effect when treating other hair loss conditions.

Data and dyes

The new database created by the team in North Carolina is expected to be given more of a boost when the scientists start matching their findings up with the thousands of dyes that have been made available to them via the state’s Max B, Weaver Dye Library, which was donated by the Eastman Chemical Company.

Hair Vitalics Belgravia Centre Hair Growth Supplement Women MenAnything that can be done to reduce the potential danger of people dying their hair is naturally to be celebrated, especially with the prevalence of dye-related hair breakage cases. This happens when chemically-treated hair or hair that is too frequently exposed to high temperatures due to heat-styling, has the moisture and nutrients leached from it by the dye or it becomes dried out. Especially common when hair is bleached, or in cases where over-use of hair straighteners can actually cause the hair to ‘melt’, the hair snaps along the shaft, making it look frizzy and thin.

The best course of action when hair breakage of this type happens is usually to trim the ends, lay off the bleach and/or colourants and give the hair and scalp lots of TLC. Keeping the hair clean without stripping it of good oils, and regularly nourishing it with intensive conditioning treatments designed to strengthen the hair is certainly a wise way to proceed if you colour your hair. Many people are discovering bond re-building products, such as Olaplex, are particularly useful for malnourished or mistreated hair.

Ensuring optimum hair-friendly nutrition can also be beneficial, with targeted supplements for healthy hair growth, such as Belgravia’s Hair Vitalics for Men or Hair Vitalics for Women. These contain a unique blend of key vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanical extracts known to facilitate the normal functioning of the hair growth cycle, provided in optimum doses to ensure the hair is as strong and vibrant as possible.

If you are unsure whether your thinning hair is down to breakage or an actual hair loss condition, the best thing to do is get professional advice in order to put your mind at rest. A consultation with a hair loss specialist, whether in person or online, will offer a diagnosis as well as advice on the best hair loss treatments for your particular condition, level and pattern of shedding, where necessary.


Circle - The Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Clinic - Clinical Therapy TreatmentThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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A mum from Sunderland whose hair loss has been caused by the autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata has been talking to her local newspaper about a national charity designed to help those in a similar situation.

Kay Fisher, from Red House in the north east of the city, wears a wig that has been fitted by a stylist with decade-long links to mynewhair, an initiative set up by celebrity stylist Trevor Sorbie MBE.

Wigs an option when hair loss is extreme

Many people whose shedding is caused by Alopecia Areata will experience it as small bald patches which will clear up in a matter of months in some cases – although it can linger/recur, which is why some seek out specialist Alopecia Areata treatment. However, some people’s hair loss is so extreme that they feel a wig would enable them to better function in everyday life. In fact, two severe forms of the disease – Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis – lead to complete baldness on the head (body hair is also shed in the case of the latter).

wigsFor Fisher, a mother of one, the disease has manifested itself as near total baldness, meaning that she has come to rely immensely on her local hairstylist and the national charity for whom he is a lead educator.

Fisher lost almost all of her hair when she was just nine years old and tells her local newspaper, the Sunderland Echo, that she was made to feel like something of a guinea pig when she was encouraged to try out different medications in her youth. None appear to have been a great success, and for the last decade she has been a regular at East Boldon’s Tribeca Hair Design where Darren Stewart – no relation to Belgravia Male Pattern Hair Loss treatment client Darren Stewart who has featured in our advertising campaigns! – has been styling her wigs.

Not every hairdresser is well equipped to fit a wig or indeed style one, which is something that Sorbie set out to address when he started the charity. There are now hundreds of independent salons and professionals across the country who have been trained to fit wigs to people whose hair loss has been caused by cancer drugs and other medical issues. They are collectively known as “Salons that care”.

It’s fair to say that Fisher feels that mynewhair has been a godsend. “Darren made me feel at home and as though he actually cared about what he was doing,” she said of her stylist. “I can just get on with Darren as though he were a relative or a really good friend. He was able to offer me something that was actually to my style and my standard that I was expecting. It made me feel more confident,” she added.

Some forms of Alopecia can be treated

While breakthroughs in potential new treatment options for extreme cases of Alopecia Areata are being made all the time (new treatment could be on the market in as little as a few years), the current choices for people affected in this way are very limited. Significantly easier to deal with is the mild, scalp-only, patchy form of the disease which Belgravia’s hair loss experts have found in many cases to respond well to formulations of high-strength minoxidil from those available at the clinics’ in-house pharmacies.

Working in tandem with this to help nourish the follicles from within is a highly-targeted food supplement named Hair Vitalics, a blend of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanicals that have been singled out for their hair friendliness by Belgravia’s specialists. They are available in both For Men and For Women formulations.


The Belgravia CentreThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


Related Stories


More details have emerged of a clinical trial in which a topical solution of a new drug will be trialled on people whose hair loss has been caused by extreme forms of the autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata.

Pennsylvania-based Aclaris Therapeutics had already announced its intention to try its new topical drug ATI-50002 on people with Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis, which both lead to total hair loss on the entire head and are currently very difficult to treat. What marks the latter condition out is that that all body hair is shed, too.

Areas of the Head and Body Affected By Alopecia Areata

Areas of the Head and Body Affected By Alopecia Areata, Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis

Topical application for 28 days

Now, in its latest update on the clinicaltrials.gov website, the company says it is recruiting for a Phase 2 clinical trial featuring 12 participants, who will each be given ATI-50002 – applied topically to their scalp – twice-daily, for 28 days. The purpose of the study is to evaluate the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of the new drug.

The race towards novel clinically-proven, safe new treatment options for the most severe forms of autoimmune alopecia is driven in part by the fact that people with these conditions have no compelling solutions as yet.

This is not the case when people present with Alopecia Areata, which involves sudden, patchy bald spots or rounded patches to the scalp only and is the second most common cause of hair loss worldwide, behind male and female pattern baldness.

Not only does the hair grow back naturally within around 12 months in many cases, but Alopecia Areata treatment can often be effective in helping to accelerate this hair regrowth.

Hair loss solutions for Alopecia Areata phenotypes

A Belgravia, success has been seen when treating scalp-only Alopecia Areata with formulations of high-strength minoxidil from those available at the hairloss clinics’ in-house pharmacies. This is often used in tandem with appropriate hair growth boosters, based on each client’s individual needs.

Aclaris has been working closely with one of the most respected names in the field of hair loss research: Dr Angela Christiano of Columbia University in New York. Cristiano and her colleagues have been investigating several JAK inhibitor drugs as potential new treatments for various hair loss conditions, and have grabbed multiple headlines in the process as these medications were originally developed to treat certain cancers, rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions.

The fact that they have so far shown great promise in relation to hair regrowth for people with total baldness from Alopecia Totalis and Universalis is a hugely encouraging prospect. Not to mention an exciting one for those affected who, until now, were often only offered counselling and/or wigs as a coping mechanism.

Aclaris has acquired various patents for some of the Columbia team’s proposed new treatment options and has also obtained other license agreements pertaining to JAK inhibitors and autoimmune hair loss.

The small-scale ATI-50002 trial proposed by the company will take place in New York and will be a randomised, double blind study. It is thought that the company’s long term plan may be to offer this topically-applied drug alongside an oral drug with what could well be similar properties that is currently known as ATI-50001.

Whilst drug trials do tend to take many years in order to fully determine a medication’s safety, efficacy and tolerability, the Columbia research has been on-going for a number of years already. As such, and assuming everything goes to plan, it is currently estimated that – should they receive the proper medical regulatory boards’ approval – these drugs may be ready to release for prescription use by 2021.


The Belgravia CentreThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


Related Stories


People whose hair loss is seen as thinning from all over their scalp, known as Telogen Effluvium, usually turn to a specialist for advice on why exactly this is happening.

The answer could be anything from stress to medications that the client is taking to their diet. In fact, pinning down the precise cause of the problem when diagnosing Telogen Effluvium can be quite an undertaking and one which requires specialist knowledge of the multitude of potential causes.

Lipid profile iron levels blood testFinding the root cause

In many cases, hair will start to regrow once the problem has been removed; sometimes this happens quite naturally, for example when a stressful incident becomes a thing of the past. However, when hair keeps shedding for a prolonged period, it is likely that the underlying cause has not been rectified – and one possible factor could be a genetic disease that leaves people unable to process vitamin B12.

A rare condition known as cblC is one such disease that can stop people processing vitamin B12, and it can lead to severe health problems. Now, researchers in France and Canada have made some discoveries about the disease that challenges what was previously held to be true. The 2017 study was first published in the Nature journal in January 2018.

Until recently, people with cblC were assumed to have inherited genetic mutations in the causal gene from both parents. However, an international research team led by scientists at the University of Lorraine in France and McGill University in Canada have discovered a new cause of the condition that they have named epi-cblC. In these cases, they say, the disease actually results from a single copy of the gene (i.e. it was inherited from just one parent) which then silences the second copy of the gene in a process named epimutation.

Vitamin B12 is not something that the body can produce itself and needs to be ingested via milk, fish, chicken, red meat or supplements. As people with cblC quickly learn, even if you are getting the correct amount of B12, you can still have a deficiency – and the medical problems that ensue – if the body is unable to process or absorb it. This can happen as the result of an underlying health issue, for example it can occur in un-diagnosed cases of the autoimmune disorder, coeliac disease, where B12 anaemia – also known as pernicious anaemia – can develop due to the inability to absorb what you’re taking in.

Because of this, anyone who notices excessive hair loss that comes on suddenly and/or lasts for a significant period of time should be assessed by a specialist who can then work with them to discover the potential causes. They can recommend which blood tests a client should request from their doctor too, where necessary.

Womens-hair-loss-consultation-belgravia-centre-hairloss-treatment-regrowthTreatment for thinning hair

All is not necessarily lost when a B12 deficiency leads to thinning hair, as Telogen Effluvium treatment at Belgravia has led to many happy clients – as the Success Stories gallery illustrates. The clinics’ hair loss specialists typically recommend appropriate formulations of high-strength minoxidil from those available at the in-house pharmacies. These help to open up potassium channels in the scalp to promote hair regrowth.

Augmenting this are several hair growth booster products including the FDA-cleared HairMax LaserComb and LaserBand devices which help to stimulate the scalp using low-level laser therapy. Alongside these are Belgravia’s premium hair growth supplements, Hair Vitalics, a proprietary blend of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanicals which have been carefully selected for their hair-friendly properties. These are taken in a handy once-a-day supplement form and available in for Men and for Women formulations in order to ensure they are as highly-targeted as possible.

When people shed hair they occasionally adopt something of a “so what?” attitude, figuring that nature is simply taking its course – something that is not entirely unjustified given the global propensity for the genetic hairloss conditions Male Pattern Baldness and Female Pattern Hair Loss. However, anyone already showing signs of these hereditary conditions may find they are exacerbated by Telogen Effluvium, whilst it may trigger their premature onset in those with an underlying genetic predisposition. As such, making a timely diagnosis – and, if desired, starting a tailored treatment course – is generally a good idea.


circ - Belgravia Centre hair loss clinic London pharmacy hairloss treatmentsThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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Now that former Westlife singer Brian McFadden is nudging 40, he is entering a period of his life in which it wouldn’t be at all uncommon for a man to start experiencing hair loss.

Brian McFaddenIn fact, around half of men will lose hair to Male Pattern Baldness before their 50th birthday, meaning that those in their 40s who still have all their locks can count themselves amongst the lucky ones. Especially as men’s hair loss can technically begin any time following puberty and is becoming increasingly common in twenty-somethings, with stress and lifestyle issues known to accelerate its onset.

McFadden, who at 37 has publicly admitted that he has been losing his hair for several years, explains in an Instagram post that his hairline was thinning and receding due to his lifestyle and the “general stresses that we go through in life.”

The twice-divorced father of two adds that this has caused him to become very self-conscious and uncomfortable. So he decided to do something about it.

Follicular miniaturisation

Millions of men in their 30s and 40s (and sometimes even younger) find themselves in a similar predicament; initial shedding caused by Male Pattern Baldness typically takes place over a period of several years and men often find their appearance is depressingly different to what it once was.

One way to deal with genetic hair thinning is to try and address the biological reasons behind it.

Androgenetic alopecia – the medical term for male and female pattern baldness – occurs in individuals with an inherited sensitivity to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and only affects the top of the scalp, from crown to hairline. Contrary to popular myths, the relevant ‘balding genes’ can be passed on from either the maternal or paternal side of the family, or even both despite recent research suggesting they may actually be more likely to come from the father.

The Belgravia Centre london clinic Mens hairloss treatmentDHT binds to the follicles in the susceptible areas, shrinking and gradually destroying them. This process – known as follicular miniaturisation – leads to increasingly finer hairs being produced, as well as causing hair loss. This is why the outwardly visible sign of male pattern hairloss is thinning hair and, eventually, can lead to baldness.

There are currently only two clinically-proven, pharmaceutical treatments for male pattern baldness licensed by the UK’s, and approved by the USA’s medical regulatory boards, the MHRA and FDA respectively: finasteride 1mg and minoxidil.

The first of these, finasteride 1mg – a one-a-day tablet – is a DHT blocker which is only available to medically-suitable men aged 18 years and over. It inhibits the formation of this testosterone-byproduct, allowing hair to grow relatively unhindered.

In addition, various formulations of high strength minoxidil which are applied topically to the scalp, can help to accelerate hair growth. This has been found to be of particular benefit when treating stubborn areas of hairloss, such as a receding hairline given the temple areas are the slowest to regrow hair.

Brian McFadden Hair TransplantFurther hair growth supporting products can be used in tandem with either or both of these oral and topical remedies. They include a range of options from low-level light therapy (LLLT) to nutritional support food supplements.

Belgravia’s hair experts have, in fact, developed a premium food supplement called Hair Vitalics which is available to both clients and non-clients.

This contains a highly-targeted proprietary blend of key vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanicals which, whilst not intended to replace a balanced diet, can be a convenient way to top up, and includes biotin, zinc and selenium for the maintenance of normal healthy hair growth.

Six-hour procedure

McFadden, however, chose an alternative route by having a hair transplant procedure which, it turns out, was performed by an old school friend of his named Simon.

In a six-hour procedure, thousands of hairs were taken from the back of the singer’s shaved scalp and re-implanted in his frontal hairline. Photographs the Irishman posted to Instagram paint a painfully vivid picture of just what goes on during this type of operation.

When people choose a surgical hair restoration route they usually find that the transplanted hair does not grow back straight away; it typically falls out initially before growing back healthier, with results typically being seen after around 12 to 18 months.

Whilst the visible lumpy redness that goes hand-in-hand with the operation should not last much longer than a week or so, a significant downside of a transplant is that unless you can hide yourself away for this period there is no getting around the fact that everybody will know you have had it done. Especially when it is necessary for all or part of the head to be shaven in order to harvest the donor hairs from areas of the scalp – typically around the back and/or sides of the scalp – which are not sensitive to the effects of DHT. Non-surgical hair loss treatment, however, bears more gradual fruit, and can be undertaken without having to shout about it.


circ - The Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Clinic ConsultationThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.


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Believing you can stave off hair loss by staying healthy is a little like thinking you can avoid a cold in the winter by topping up on vitamin C: there may be a grain of truth in it, but the number of factors at play make this a complete uncertainty.

However, a growing body of evidence which is starting to turn heads in medical circles suggests that we can all go above and beyond healthy eating and keeping fit by ingesting a group of foods known as adaptogens – which may actually rival any number of gym sessions and leafy green dinners.

Could these reduce the chances of somebody experiencing a hair loss condition? It certainly seems a remote possibility… in some cases.

Turmeric - Spice - Hair LossIncrease mental attention

An article in the Daily Telegraph delved into the world of adaptogen foods and reported on findings published in the science journal Pharmaceuticals, which noted that a number of clinical trials had demonstrated that adaptogens could increase mental attention, endurance and work capacity against a background of stress.

It is the word “stress” here that is relevant, as several hair loss conditions list stress as a key trigger. The most common of these is a temporary hair thinning condition called telogen effluvium, which mostly affects women but can also present in men, and happens as the result of an incident which somehow causes upheaval to the body. Stress – either emotional or physical – is suspected in many cases.

Most of the time, the hairloss that telogen effluvium causes will only last a few months and normal service will be resumed once the disruption has passed; telogen effluvium treatment is available when this does not happen. At Belgravia, treatment for the condition – as well as diffuse hair loss treatment, which describes telogen effluvium after it persists for a year or more – can be effective and primarily makes use of topically-applied high strength minoxidil from the formulations available at the clinics’ in-house pharmacies.

What is especially interesting about the Telegraph article is that many of the adaptogens listed also crop up regularly in discussions about natural hair loss remedies – none of which have been clinically proven to be effective, but whose repute as potential cures continues to linger.

Among them are turmeric, a favourite of many an Indian restaurant, and ginseng, which is mentioned in countless Chinese herbal recipes. Blindly reaching for the spice rack in the hope of cheating hair loss, however, is not to be recommended – especially when certain plants are potentially dangerous to some people. St Johns wort, for example, renders the contraceptive pill ineffective. More alarmingly still was the case in which a man died after taking up to 3kg of Chinese knotweed, a traditional medicine sometimes used in the far east to treat male pattern hair loss. As this is a genetic condition – pre-ordained by a person’s DNA – few western doctors would entertain the notion that it can be avoided without proven pharmaceutical intervention, known as male pattern baldness treatment. That said, scientists in Korea think that Chinese Mallow, long known for its anti-inflammatory properties, may turn out to be some kind of “miracle cure”.

Belgravia Centre Hair Vitalics for Men Women Hair Growth Food SupplementsFeeding hair from within

The notion of feeding hair from within is certainly a sound one, but no studies have yet proven that foods of any kind can either stop hair loss or make new ones grow. Indeed, hair loss treatment courses devised by the experts at Belgravia are generally built upon clinically-proven medications – although it is equally true to say that these are bolstered by hair growth boosters which are designed to maximise the chances of regrowth by either stimulating the follicles or nourishing them.

Hair Vitalics, for example, is a premium food supplement for healthy hair growth developed exclusively for The Belgravia Centre by the clinics’ hair experts. Following research, they identified crucial vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanical extracts that were beneficial to the hair’s health. In addition to key nutrients including biotin, zinc and selenium, both the Hair Vitalics For Men and Hair Vitalics For Women formulations of these one-a-day tablets also feature elements unlikely to feature in a normal diet. In the former, Saw Palmetto was chosen as it has been shown to reduce levels of DHT in the bloodstream; in the women’s formulation, the soy isoflavones genistein and daidzein were selected for the same reason.


circ Male Pattern Hair Loss Treatment Results - Belgravia Centre LondonThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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