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It is odd how something developed for one purpose can also be used quite successfully for another.  One example is Teflon™ which was originally used to protect components and fittings on military equipment during the Second World War, but is today more commonly thought of as a non-stick coating for cookware.

The world of medicine has also found that many drugs developed for one use had unexpected side effects which made them appropriate for other conditions.  Several drugs originally developed for heart disease and/or hypertension have been found to be useful treatments for other conditions.  These include Viagra, beta blockers (a possible treatment for breast cancer) and Minoxidil – the most commonly used treatment for hair loss.

Minoxidil DropperMinoxidil was first used to treat patients with high blood pressure and was taken as a tablet.  However, patients taking it also started to grow unwanted hair.   This side effect prompted Upjohn, the pharmaceutical company behind the original development of Minoxidil, to begin testing it as a treatment for hair loss.  It found that a topical application to the scalp of a mild solution of Minoxidil could help to prevent hair loss and prompt hair re-growth in some patients.

The drug was the first to be approved by the American Food and Drug Association (FDA) and is available as a non-prescription treatment for hair loss and androgenetic alopecia.   Minoxidil is recommended for both men and women to treat hair loss.

Even though it has been around for more than 20 years, the mechanism by which Minoxidil works as a hair loss treatment is still not fully understood.  One theory suggests that as it is a vasodilator (it dilates blood vessels) Minoxidil may increase the blood supply to the hair follicles, which may boost the supply of nutrients and encourage hair regrowth.  However, Minoxidil has also been found to affect the cellular activity of hair follicles and rate of hair growth.  This has led some researchers to theorise that when Minoxidil is absorbed through the skin it brings about a marked increase in DNA synthesis in hair follicle cells.  Although we may not yet fully understand why it works, it’s clear that Minoxidil can help some patients to prevent further hair loss and promote hair growth.

At the Belgravia Centre there are a number of high strength minoxidil products available. Please contact us for further details.

Whilst not everyone is worried about their hair loss, it does cause concern for some.   If you are uneasy about your hair thinning or loss, you may want to get specialist advice. At the Belgravia Centre our team of hair loss specialists will provide a detailed consultation and recommend the best treatment for your particular needs, as well as offering trichological monitoring and aftercare advice.


Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Clinic Hair Loss Specialist Free ConsultationThe 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.


Hair salons have been donating their clippings in order to help contain the damage from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Since the explosion on BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig on April 20, an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil a day have been pouring out, causing an ecological disaster of mammoth proportions.

While the politicians and oilmen tackle the financial implications, environmental groups are more concerned with containing the massive slick, emanating from a ruptured pipe nearly a mile below the surface. Coastal communities, particularly those that rely on the fishing and tourist industries, are watching the advance of the spill towards their shoreline with great trepidation.

gulf-oil-spillOne solution approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency, and used with some success in previous oil spills, is the creation of booms made from human hair to soak up the oil. The hair is stuffed into nylon stockings, which are tied together to create absorbent floating booms.

Strictly speaking, the oil is not actually absorbed by the hair, but clings to the large surface area of each strand. Fur can also be used, but human hair appears to be most effective. Salons across the world, including from the UK, have been taking part in the coordinated effort to donate hair to make these booms, which will be laid along the shoreline to soak up any oil that washes up.

Of course, not so long ago, shaving all your remaining hair off and donating it to the campaign might have seemed the only viable option for hair loss suffers. However, these days there is a very positive alternative to either going for the radical bald look or suffering gradually thinning hair, a receding hairline or patchy hair loss.

Our specialists at the Belgravia Centre are here to advise you about clinically proven hair loss treatment courses. To find out more, call 020 7730 6666 to book a free consultation with one of our trichologists, or send us a message with any enquiry you might have. If you can’t get to the London centre, you can complete the online diagnostic form for a home-use treatment course and a treatment advisor will be happy to help.

gailporter2Television presenter Gail Porter was a household name when her hair suddenly began to fall out, back in 2005. The feisty Scot refused to hide away, instead embracing her baldness and doing much to increase public awareness of alopecia.

Alopecia Universalis, the relatively rare condition from which Porter suffers, is the most extreme form of Alopecia Areata and causes total hairloss. Unfortunately there are very few treatments that can help but as in Porter’s case, it is always possible that the hair can spontaneously grow back at any time as the follicles are never dysfunctional, just dormant. Porter put her hair loss down to the pressure of her divorce and post-natal depression.

Porter has been very open about the distress her condition caused her, saying, “People stared. Sometimes I held my head up high and other times I just didn’t want to go out.” Now it seems she is experiencing equally unexpected hair regrowth, which she puts down to a new-found happiness in her life and relationships.

Alopecia Areata in its early and mild form causes sudden, patchy hair loss in both men and women, due to hair follicles prematurely entering the resting phase. The causes are unclear, although there is some suggestion that stress can contribute to its development. There is evidence to suggest that in genetically susceptible individuals, factors such as physical trauma, viral infection or hormonal change can trigger this type of alopecia, which is thought to be a type of autoimmune disorder. Many people with Alopecia Areata find their hair loss is cyclical, with extensive loss in the winter and partial regrowth in the summer.

gail-porter-hair-growing-back1However, rather than being at the mercy of the seasons and external influences, it is possible to take positive action to treat this condition. Alopecia Areata does not cause scarring or permanently damage the hair follicles, so it is possible to help the hair to grow back.

Starting with hair loss treatments early on can be very successful. Belgravia’s trichologists have overlooked hundreds of cases of alopecia areata and in a large percentage of cases they have found Belgravia’s extra-strength formulation of minoxidil to be the most effective. The high strength minoxidil, available from Belgravia’s in-clinic pharmacies, can be applied directly to areas of patchy hair loss. Please visit our Alopecia Areata Treatment Success Stories to view some before/after photos of cases of patchy hair loss that have been cleared up by the use of a Belgravia treatment programme.

If you would like to find out about the treatment programme most suitable for your particular condition and stage of hair loss you can contact the centre on 020 7730 6666 or alternatively send us a message with any enquiry you might have or to arrange a free consultation. Alternatively, if you are unable to get to our London centre please submit an online diagnostic form for a home-use treatment course. A treatment advisor will be in contact soon!

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE or Lupus) is a serious autoimmune disorder that affects many parts of the body. About half of those with Lupus experience hair loss. Lupus affects about 1 in 2,000 people but it’s higher in non-white populations and affects women more than men by a ratio of about 9:1. Incidence increased sevenfold in the US between 1955 and 1974.

The butterfly rash, a common sympton of Lupus

A drug-induced variety of SLE caused by any one of about 400 different medications but most commonly procainamide, hydralazine, quinidine, and phenytoin is reversible, but the more common autoimmune disorder has no cure although nowadays it’s also not life threatening. Treatment aims to minimise symptoms which can come and go unpredictably.

In general, autoimmune systems must be sensitive enough to recognise and deal with foreign material. However, in evolutionary terms, a population must have genetic diversity in order to withstand disease. Lupus may be more likely in someone with a particular set of genes where some part happens to be near the edge of what the human immune system has evolved to deal with. Add in an environmental factor such as stress, medications, hormones or infections, and the body’s immune system starts to create antibodies against itself which ultimately damage blood vessels in critical areas of the body.

Diagnosis is difficult because many symptoms such as fever, malaise, joint or muscle pain, fatigue, temporary loss of cognition and skin complaints may also have other causes so it’s often only when a full list of symptoms is considered that a diagnosis of Lupus can be achieved.

Michael Jackson is reported to have SLE, and Seal’s facial scars are reportedly due to a Lupus variant.

One classic Lupus symptom experienced by about 40% of those with Lupus is the ‘butterfly rash’, a photosensitive red skin rash across the bridge of the nose and over each cheek. Sunlight makes Lupus symptoms worse. This combination of avoidance of light with skin lesions is thought to have inspired vampire stories.

Skin rashes appear in the majority of patients with Lupus. Besides the butterfly rash, similar rashes, bruising, hives, blisters or ulcers may be present in other areas. Diffuse hair loss caused by Lupus can temporarily recover or it may come and go, however hair loss caused by Lupus is often permanent and the best treatment is often either hair transplants for small patches of scarring alopecia or hair replacement which will undetectably cover up the appearance of the hair loss.

Related pages:

Belgravia’s page on Lupus

When hair loss can be dangerous

More on Michael Jackson

Second only to excessive tanning, hair plugs are the ‘ultimate turnoffs’ for North American women according to the Harlequin Romance Report 2009.

hair-loss-and-dating-relationshipsToronto based Harlequin is the world’s leading publisher of series romance and women’s fiction with over 120 new titles each month. Each year they undertake a survey about an aspect of romantic love which they publish. This years is called the Harlequin Romance Report 2009: Perfect Love? Fantasy meets reality.

So, besides avoiding surgery for hair loss and heading for more natural looks, what can men learn from the survey to improve their love lives? Quick tips include: try harder at birthdays .. most women feel let down by what their partners do. Give up smoking, get fitter, and don’t be afraid to wear your well-tailored suit. Buy a GPS .. navigating coolly with that is much sexier than arguing over directions. And don’t try snogging in public .. holding hands is a much better bet.

Is it all true? Well 44% of American woman get turned on more by their men doing the chores than by foreplay. A likely story.

Related pages:

Confidence and hair loss

Only 1 in 3 women would be upset if their partner lost his hair

Bald ChimpThe unexpected death of Cinder the hairless chimpanzee at the St. Louis Zoo, Missouri, USA is being investigated by Zoo officials.

Cinder was 14 years old and suffered from alopecia universalis. The death is likely to be unrelated to that condition. She had recently recovered from a cold.

“Cinder’s unusual appearance never affected her relationships with the other chimps” said Curator of Primates Ingrid Porton.

The full story and photograph is reported in STLToday.com.

Related pages:
Belgravia on Alopecia
Experiences of women with Alopecia
Alopecia prognosis and treatment

If you’re a man, going grey or going bald adds gravitas to your look. It shows your seniority and your experience and commands respect. But not if you’re 18 years old. So when is it right to go bald, and when is too early?

The Norwood Scale The consensus view is interesting and appears to centre around being attractive to women, so from an anthropological point of view perhaps significant balding before 40 is undesirable. Most people would say that losing your hair at 20 years old would class as premature balding, but some balding and hair loss at 40 would be expected.

Baldness is measured using the Norwood Scale (pictured right), with hair loss stages being referred to as, for instance, an NW3 (in the diagram that’s shown on the second line, under I, with some receding at the temples, a characteristic ‘M’ shaped hairline and possible hair loss at the crown).

That’s clearly not the whole story. Norwood is a baldness scale, not a ‘thinning hair‘ scale. So some will have thick hair, others hair thin enough that the scalp is visible. Also, hair loss doesn’t necessarily follow a linear decline to baldness. Progress can be in a stop-start fashion with hair loss seeming to happen in bursts.

So, is there a professional view about what is premature balding? Not really, no-one will write ‘premature balding’ in your notes. But here’s something interesting. Looking back at the records for people who attend The Belgravia Centre and graphing their ages… where do you think the peak age would be?

I can tell you, the graph falls away evenly either side of this peak age. The most common age of a man coming to the Belgravia Centre to try to prevent hair loss is… wait for it… 29 years old. And given that the graph falls away symmetrically either side of that, that tells you there are plenty of men in their early twenties and even late teens coming to us to seek hair loss treatment. They clearly think they have premature baldness.

Watch this video below of Belgravia client, Joe, who started losing his hair whilst at university, to hear about his journey from accepting his hairloss to getting help to regrow his hair.



Circ - Hair Loss Treatments Regrow hair Belgravia Centre Clinic 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.


According to Candace Hoffmann’s Breaking the Silence on Women’s Hair Loss one in four women in the US are coping with hair loss. That’s not “will get hair loss sometime in their lives” .. it’s “are currently coping”.

That’s just short of 30 million people (Wikipedia) at any one time in the US, and about 5 million in the UK.

“For every five men with hereditary hair loss, there are three women who are also losing their hair”.

Some treatments for hair loss in women and here’s a blog on women’s hair loss.

If you happen to be in Arizona or Pennsylvania and undertaking whole-brain radiotherapy (gulp), you might be eligible and willing to help with the trial of a hair loss gel intended to prevent hair loss. Contact the company directly.

Results are due mid next year and we will, of course, keep an eye out for the results and for any possible wider uses of Tempol, the active ingredient.

No idle pub claim, that’s the cold assessment of Ronald Noble, the Secretary General of Interpol who says that 40 years of terrorism has killed about 65,000 people, while 200,000 people died from the use of counterfeit drugs last year alone, and that’s just in China.

It’s a growing problem in the UK too. UK customs seized 500,000 counterfeit pills last year… but they only check 0.1% of the pharmaceuticals entering the country. It doesn’t take much to estimate that for every man, woman and child in this country there are eight counterfeit pills entering the country every year. Your chance of encountering one is probably higher than you think.

Counterfeit Drugs More Deadly Than TerrorismWhy are counterfeit drugs a problem?

– They may contain very little or no active ingredient. So you won’t be getting the medication you need or paid for, leaving you vulnerable to the illness you’re trying to cure
– They may contain harmful chemicals by design
– They are not made to the same standards, so may contain impurities. Recent findings include anti-freeze and lead-based road paint.

When you pay money for counterfeit drugs, you’re supporting criminality and undermining society.

A research project conducted by Pfizer in September 2008 in UK cities concluded that 10% of men admitted to buying prescription-only medicines from unregulated sources such as the Internet. It is estimated that between 50-90 per cent of medicines sold on the Internet have proven to be counterfeit which means they are taking a real gamble with their health. This led Pfizer to work with other agencies to produce a hard hitting cinema ad showing a man regurgitating a dead rat after taking medicines purchased online that contained rat-poison. This was only suitable for viewers over 15 years of age.

The MHRA also launched a #FakeMeds campaign to help raise awareness of the fact that ‘more than half of all medications bought online are fake’. Its dedicated website advises people on how to report suspected fake drugs, their vendors and how to check whether an online pharmacy is genuine.

Recognising genuine pharmacies

It’s perfectly legal in the UK for a pharmacy to trade online. All UK pharmacies (including online ones) have to register with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. Each should have a registration number which you can check here. The Belgravia Centre houses a specialist trichological pharmacy at each of its Central London and City of London hair loss clinics, registration numbers 1085323 and 1115610, respectively.

A reputable online pharmacy will insist on a doctor’s prescription and confirm your order online. Alternatively, the Belgravia Centre has its own doctor working in the centre who can raise prescriptions as required. Disreputable pharmacies will allow you simply to buy.

How can you tell if an online pharmacy is registered in the UK? Online pharmacies that wish to evade regulation can do so easily by setting up in a country with lax laws and enforcement. Nothing stops someone in the UK viewing that company’s website, which they may have designed to make it look like they are in the UK. At least check for a UK address, and if you happen to know there’s a physical presence here in the UK, that’s even better.

You may feel that having drugs shipped from China is a good thing, providing lower prices and a way to escape from the hegemony of big pharma. The problem is, you do get what you pay for. If the price you see seems too good to be true, it probably is. The World Health Organisation says that of online pharmacies that don’t give an address, 50% of the drugs they sell are fake. No-one knows how many deaths have occurred in the UK as a result of either impurities in the fake drugs, or because of people not getting the medication they need (but thinking they are).

Of course, you should always check any website provides a clear postal address and contact details before making a payment. A site that doesn’t is in breach of the Distance Selling Regulations and should be reported to your local Trading Standards office.

In 2007 the Daily Mail reported on the ‘biggest counterfeit medicine scam ever uncovered in Britain‘. The scam involved sales of the hair loss medicine Propecia, as well as other well-known medicines such as Viagra and Cialis.

Even officials who work full time in this area can no longer tell if a drug is fake just by looking at it or its packaging. Recently the manufacturer of an anti-malarial drug added a hologram to its blisterfoil pack to beat the counterfeiters. It was copied within a month.

Men are a particular target. With a tendency to wait until things are bad before turning up to their GPs, men are more likely to avoid embarrassment by self diagnosing and self medicating. According to Scotland on Sunday, detectives say this is ‘pushing people into the hands of Internet dealers linked to organised crime’. UK men are contributing as much as £10.2m per year to the counterfeit medicines market.

Criminal gangs are moving from producing lifestyle drugs such as Viagra to copying lifesaving drugs such as the fake Zyprexa (a treatment for Schizophrenia) that found its way into the NHS last year. Doing so targets people at their most vulnerable. Many youngsters in Haiti died last year from being given a fake cough syrup.

ChristinaSome warn not only of the problems of funding crime, but of the links between criminal gangs and terrorist groups, and of the possible vulnerability of the UK to an unconventional terrorist attack using fake pharmaceuticals. Buying fake drugs, then, becomes an issue of social responsibility. It’s about what sort of society you want to live in.

The fightback has begun. UK Customs has set the search for counterfeit drugs on a level with the search for hard drugs such as heroin. People who campaign on road safety issues often say something like “it’ll take someone being killed before they lower the speed limit here”. Wrong as that may sound, if true, at least that means the authorities are watching and assessing the risks and allocating their resources accordingly.

Officialdom has to be able to justify its actions. After Thalidomide, when a drug prescribed to pregnant women was found to produce severe birth defects (typically, very short limbs), new rules were introduced to ensure drugs were tested for safety during pregnancy.

The cost of developing a new drug is about $800m, and those costs have to be recouped within 20 years of the drug’s invention. Pharmaceutical companies would surely like to reduce these costs, but the drug safety and efficacy testing regime represents the sum of our experience in how to develop, manufacture and deploy drugs safely. In other words, when something goes wrong, action is taken to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

That, plus the work of the police, customs and everyone else involved gives us confidence generally that the drugs we are prescribed and buy from reputable pharmacies are effective, worth the money, and safe to use.

Always buy medication from a reputable source

As we mentioned, both Belgravia’s City of London and Central London hair loss clinics have their own dedicated pharmacies on-site. This enables clients who visit the centres to collect their medication, safe in the knowledge it has come from a reputable source.

For those based outside London, or abroad, hair loss treatment course components – whether medication, shampoo or hair growth supporting products such as Hair Vitalics – can be sent from our pharmacies to anywhere in the UK as well as to most countries worldwide. Anyone interested in this service should first complete an online consultation in order to receive a diagnosis and personalised hair loss treatment recommendations from one of our specialists. From there, you can discuss these options and decide which solution is best for you before having them dispatched by post or courier.

References: http://www.realdanger.co.uk/  http://www.guardian.co.uk  https://www.belgraviacentre.com/bewarearticle.htm
http://www.mhra.gov.uk  http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thalidomide
http://www.scripnews.com/  http://www.guardian.co.uk/  http://www.ngrguardiannews.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drug_development

Circ - Male Pattern Baldness hair loss treatment Belgravia Centre clinic LondonThe 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.