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Gail Porter Who Suffers From Alopecia Areata Has Learnt to Live with Hair Loss and Still Looks Beautiful.TV presenter and Alopecia Areata sufferer Gail Porter has recently talked about her experience of life without hair after hearing about Moira Cameron, the Beefeater who went bald after being bullied by work colleagues. Porter, 38, told The Sun that she was diagnosed five years ago while she was going through her divorce. At the time Porter was working in the USA and noticed bald patches on her head. “I’d wake up with mouthfuls of it because so much would fall out overnight and the bathroom plughole would be blocked,” explains Porter.

Hair loss is a difficult thing to face but the sudden shedding that is often involved with Alopecia Areata can be particularly distressing. Porter said she became tearful and cried all the way back from America. She was most concerned about frightening her daughter, Honey, who was 2 at the time. Infact, little Honey thought her mummy’s bald head was cool.

Porter says she chose not to wear a wig because she found them uncomfortable. Life is still not easy for Porter who says lots of kids point at her and people stare. She says some people mistakenly think she has cancer. “Sometimes I held my head up high and other times I just didn’t want to go out. But the support of my friends and family helped build my confidence.  The letters and emails of support from other alopecia sufferers were also amazing.” Porter says Moira Cameron should get in touch with alopecia support groups as “it has helped me enormously” and says the best advice is “to get on with your life and think positively”.

After Losing All Her Hair to Alopecia Areata in 2004, Gail Porter's Eyebrows and Eyelashes Have Regrown as Have Patches of Her Scalp Hair.Alopecia Areata is caused by an auto-immune disorder and causes bald patches. Sometimes this progresses to Alopecia Totalis (total loss of scalp hair) or Alopecia Universalis (total loss of scalp and body hair). Porter developed Alopecia Universalis and lost her eyebrows, eyelashes and body hair. “Losing my eyebrows and eyelashes was pretty upsetting – I felt I looked strange, like someone had just rubbed me out,” reveals Porter.

In 2006 Porter made a documentary for the BBC in which she tried a number of treatments including steroids and laser therapy, but she found nothing worked. Porter said some of the treatments even made her feel worse. Porter didn’t say whether or not she tried using Minoxidil, the only hair loss treatment with sufficient evidence to show it is both safe and effective. Even if Porter did try Minoxidil she may have used it in a formula that was not suited to her condition. The Belgravia Centre has found success treating mild or early stage Alopecia Areata with a number of high strength minoxidil formulations available from our clinics. Often this is paired with hair growth boosters as part of a personalised approach carefully customised to fit each client’s needs and suitability. To see the kind of results a tailored treatment course can produce, take a look at Belgravia’s Alopecia Areata Treatment Success Stories.

Gail Porter in the 1990s, Before She Developed Alopecia Areata.With regards to laser therapy, the Belgravia Centre offers the HairMax LaserComb as a hair growth booster to be used alongside proven treatments (such as Minoxidil). It is not recommended for use as a stand alone hair loss treatment.

While knowledge about Alopecia Areata is still relatively minimal, if it is diagnosed early, it can be treated. In some cases, the hair regrows on its own, however there is no way of telling if or when this will happen. Porter’s eyebrows and lashes recently grew back and three months ago patches of hair began to grow on her head. While Porter says she does not know for sure why her hair has started to re-grow, she says she has made changes to her lifestyle and exercises more, relaxes more and feels more grateful for things in her life.


Circ The Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Treatment for Alopecia AreataThe 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.


In these days of free downloads, pop-stars have to go the extra mile if they want to sell lots of records. Lady GaGa’s fans can now pay £61.25 for a deluxe version of her album, The Fame Monster, paper GaGa dolls, 3D glasses, a book and a strand of her hair. But is the singer, who is known for her fashion statements, risking hair loss by plucking out her hair for the sales?

Lady GaGa is said to be selling her hair, but is she at risk of hair loss?Trichotillomania, also known as Trichotillosis, is an impulse control disorder where a person has the repeated urge to pull out their scalp hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, nose hair, facial hair, pubic hair or any other type of body hair. It can lead to bald patches and those with the condition follow a pattern of addictive, obsessive-compulsive behaviour. The condition is usually triggered by a period of stress or depression.

It may be possible to restore the hair that has been pulled out by using a tailored hair loss treatment programme however this will only be successful if the person is being treated for the obsessive-compulsive behaviour, which usually means some kind of therapy.

As it turns out Lady GaGa is actually giving away strands from her wig collection. She is reported as saying, “I have worn a lot of wigs over the years. I get to wear my real hair now because it is super-healthy – but I have worn a lot of wigs and I just said to the guys, ‘Why don’t you just give away locks of my hair?”

GaGa may have got inspiration for the idea from Elvis and Michael Jackson – who have both had locks of their real hair auctioned to fans for large sums of money.

If you are concerned about hair loss and would like to find out more about hair loss treatments, the Belgravia Centre has a team of specialists who can help. To book a consultation (which is free) just call 020 7730 6666 or message the centre. Alternatively, complete the online diagnostic form and a treatment advisor will contact you.

More Information
Trichotillomania – The Hair Pulling Disorder
Trichotillomania Learning Centre
The UK Trich Support Group

Interesting Articles
New Trichotillomania Treatment Helps More Than Half
Would Elvis Be Bald If He Were Alive Today?
The High Value of Historical Hair

Baldrick the Bald Hedgehog Has No Spines and Was Rejected by His Mother.Following on from bald bears, bald penguins and bald gorillas, there is now news of Baldrick the bald hedgehog. The 4 month old hedgehog was abandoned by his mother and taken to Foxy Lodge Wildlife Rescue Centre in Great Yarmouth by a woman who found him in her back garden.

Wildlife specialists Tonia and John Garner are now caring for Baldrick in the hope he can be released back into the wild. Staff at the animal sanctuary are giving Baldrick a daily massage with baby oil to try and make his spines grow. Baldrick is also being given antiseptic scrubs and receiving treatment for mange, the disease caught by mites. “He would not survive out in the wild,” said Mr Garner, “Hedgehogs rely on their spines for protection. An adult hedgehog has between 5,000 and 7,000 spines so they provide a degree of warmth.”

Spud the Hedgehog Lost His Spines and Was Left Bald Earlier This Year.A hedgehog’s spines are hollow hairs made stiff with keratin. Their spines are not poisonous and, unlike the quills of a porcupine, cannot easily be removed. However, spines normally come out when a hedgehog sheds baby spines and replaces them with adult spines. This is called “quilling.” When stressed or sick, a hedgehog can also lose spines.

Baldrick, named after the Blackadder character, is not the first hedgehog to lose his spikes. Back in March of this year, staff at the Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital appealed for help in the Daily Mail – they had a hedgehog called Spud with no spikes. They tried lotions, potions and massages with baby oil but Spud still had skin problems. But in July Spud’s spikes made a sudden comeback and the little hedgehog is beginning to get his confidence back.

Spud's Spines Are Growing Back and the Hedgehog is More Confident.Hair loss in humans can also be related to stress or illness although the most common cause is genetic. If you are worried about hair loss then the Belgravia Centre has a team of specialists who can help. To book a consultation (which is free), just call 020 7730 6666 or message the centre. Alternatively, complete the online diagnostic form for a consultation via the website and a mail order treatment service.

More Information
Hair Loss in Men
Hair Loss in Women
Hair Loss Products Reviewed
Hair Loss Success Stories

Related Articles
Bears in Zoo Go Bald
Bald Fame for Unique Gorilla
Bald Penguin Ralph Has Suit Made to Measure

Alopecia Areata is an auto-immune condition which causes sudden, patchy hair loss. Some say the word ‘Alopecia’ comes from the Greek word ‘Alopex’ which can be literally translated as ‘Fox’s disease’ as it implies a similar condition to mange in foxes, a condition in which the hair falls out in patches. Others say ‘Alopecia’ derives from the Greek word ‘Alopekia’ which translates as hair loss. ‘Areata’ is Latin and means ‘occurring in patches’. The patches can vary in size. Some people will have patches that about the size of a large coin, for others it can progress to Alopecia Totalis (total loss of scalp hair) to Alopecia Universalis (total loss of scalp and body hair).

The Auto-Immune Disorder, Alopecia Areata, Leads to Sudden Bald Patches.How Alopecia Areata Causes Hair Loss
The hair loss can be extremely sudden, with one or more bald patches appearing overnight or within a couple of days. The patches of baldness make it look like the hair follicles have been destroyed however the follicles are still there but they have become dormant. This is a result of the body’s white blood cells mistakenly attacking the hair follicles. The immune system makes these white blood cells to attack bacteria and viruses, but if you have an auto-immune disease, your immune system mistakes certain parts of your body as foreign. In Alopecia Areata the white blood cells mistakes the hair cells as foreign and surrounds them. This causes mild inflammation which makes the hairs weak and causes them to fall out. Apart from the bald patches, the scalp usually looks healthy. Occasionally there is some redness, mild scaling, mild burning or an itchy feeling on the bald patches.

Who is Affected
The exact number of people who suffer from this condition is unknown. It is estimated that approximately 2 percent of the population worldwide have some kind of Alopecia Areata. The condition can occur at any age but a large number of cases first develop in children and teenagers. In around 6 out of 10 cases the first patch of hair loss develops before the age of 20. Men and women appear to be equally affected.

Why Does Someone Develop Alopecia Areata?
There is still some uncertainty as to why Alopecia Areata or other auto-immune diseases occur. It is thought that something triggers the immune system to react against the body’s own tissues. These triggers can include viruses, infection, medicines, severe stress or other environmental factors. In about 25 per cent of cases there is a genetic link.

Is it Dangerous?
The hair loss itself is not dangerous, however it can be highly distressing for an individual and may lead to anxiety disorders and depression. Stress can exacerbate the hair loss. Those people with Alopecia Areata have a slightly higher than average chance of developing other auto-immune diseases such as thyroid disorders, pernicious anaemia and vitiligo (however most people with Alopecia Areata do not develop any of these other conditions).

Comedian and Actor Matt Lucus Suffers from Alopecia Universalis, the Most Severe Form of Alopecia Areata.Is it Permanent?
As the affected hair follicles are not destroyed, the hair follicles can make hair again if the immune system returns to normal. In some cases there are only one or two small bald patches and these regrow within several months. In others, the patchy baldness may come and go over many months or years. The size of the bald patch(es), and how long they last, varies. For individuals whose immune systems continue to mistake the hair cells as foreign bodies, the hair loss will become more severe and this makes it more likely to be permanent.

Can it be Treated?
The Belgravia Centre has successfully treated early stage or mild Alopecia Areata. A tailored treatment programme will respond best to the individual’s stage of hair loss and will usually include high strength minoxidil alongside a suitable hair growth booster. While doctors will often recommend steroid injections, these are not always effective and involve multiple injections into the scalp. A treatment course based around high strength minoxidil is the most effective treatment for Alopecia Areata although for those with Alopecia Totalis or Alopecia Universalis, regrowth is less likely which is why it helps to seek help as soon as the hair loss starts.

An early diagnosis is important to the effectiveness of treatment so if you have noticed bald patches or any type of hair loss, the best thing to do is see a specialist. Belgravia offers a free consultation, either in one of its Central London-based centres, or via the website. To book an appointment, just call 020 7730 6666 or message thelternatively, complete the online consultation form and a treatment advisor will be in touch over the next two working days.

Alopecia Areata Treatment Successes
“My (bald) patches are almost gone…”
“The regrowth is progressing… Can’t recommend highly enough. Fantastic!”
“The big patch of hair loss has gone and I’ve got my confidence back.”

Interesting Articles
Alopecia Areata – A Summary of Treatment Options
Alopecia Areata Hair Loss Diary in The Times
Shooting Stars’ Matt Lucas on Hair Loss

Useful Websites
Alopecia UK
Help 4 Alopecia
Alopecia Areata Support Community
Bald Girls Do Lunch

Dolores and the Other Female Bears in Leipzig Zoo Have Suffered Sudden Hair Loss, Leaving Them Exposed to the Elements. Vets have been left scratching their heads over the sudden hair loss of all the female bears at Leipzig zoo in Germany, the Daily Mail reported today. Dolores, a bespectacled bear at the zoo, has gone completely bald except for a few tufts of hair around her head. All of the female bears have severe rashes and inflammations on their skin. Some experts are saying it could be the result of a genetic defect although the animals show no other afflictions.

Other possible causes for hair loss in animals include stress and climate change. There is an ongoing debate between zoos and animal protection groups; the latter arguing that animals find zoos an unnatural environment in which to live and as a result become severely distressed. This distress can cause a physical response in animals such as shedding fur at the wrong time of year. As climate change causes winters to become warmer, animals are adapting to the changes to protect themselves. The bears, which come from South America, normally have soft dark brown fur and would usually be growing a thicker coat in preparation for the winter months. But if the temperatures are changing, the bears may have got confused and their bodies may have responded by shedding their fur. The public are flocking to see the bald bears which look somewhat forlorn in their wrinkly skins.

A Bespectacled Bear with His Normal Fur Coat, and No Signs of Baldness.Hair loss is a common condition in humans and affects 80% of men and over 50% of women. However, while no cure presently exists to help bald bears, men and women can successfully manage the condition with proven hair loss treatments.

If you are concerned about hair loss, don’t want to go all wrinkly and would like to keep your head warm as winter approaches, then the best thing you can do is see a specialist to get an accurate diagnosis and to discuss treatment options. The Belgravia Centre offers clients a free initial consultation. To book an appointment, just call 020 7730 6666 or message the centre. Alternatively, complete the online diagnostic form and a treatment advisor will be in touch shortly.

More Information
Hair Loss in Men
Hair Loss in Women
Hair Loss Success Stories

Interesting Articles
Humans Avoid Baldness for 200,000 Years
Bald Fame for Unique Gorilla
Bald Penguin Ralph Has Suit Made to Measure

A new survey reveals the impact that thinning hair has on women. Lamas Products, a health and beauty company, questioned 500 women in the United States last month and found that 34% are starting to notice thinning hair or wish that their hair was fuller or thicker. Thinning hair is often the early stage of various hair loss conditions.

Wearing Hair in a Ponytail Will Not Prevent Certain Hair Loss Conditions and May Even Lead to a Type of Hair Loss Called Traction Alopecia.Hair loss in women can be highly distressing and 54% of women said they are changing their lifestyles to try and prevent hair loss by doing the following:
Washing their hair less frequently
Wearing hats
Wearing their hair in a ponytail or bun
Using several products daily to give the appearance of fuller, thicker hair

While these might appear to be good ways to protect the hair from damage, actually they will not prevent hair loss. While using less heat (hairdryers / straighteners) will protect the hair’s condition, the number of times the hair is washed will not make a difference to the amount that is shed overall. Ponytails worn too tight can cause excessive tension leading to a hair loss condition called Traction Alopecia and using too many products on the hair can lead to a build up of residue on the scalp which may cause scalp problems.

Diffuse Thinning is a condition that results in a thinning of the hair all over the scalp. It can be the result of a thyroid problem, a blood disorder, a nutritional deficiency or stress.

Telogen Effluvium is caused by a sudden shock to the system such as childbirth, medications, rapid weight loss, severe stress or an illness. While the hair growth cycle usually returns to normal approximately six months after the event, in some cases it can trigger Female Pattern Hair Loss.

Female Pattern (genetic) Hair Loss. Approximately 50% of women will suffer from the effects of Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which attacks the hair follicles causing hair growth to slow down. This results in a thinning across the top of the head. Some women may also experience baldness if left untreated. The condition often starts when a woman is in her 30s, with the thinning becoming noticeable in her 30s or 40s. The menopause can exacerbate the condition, which women often find stressful, and stress can also make the thinning more severe.

Almost twice as many women surveyed said they would turn to their hairstylist for advice about treating thinning hair, as opposed to a doctor. While this is understandable, as doctors are sometimes unsympathetic to hair loss, seeing a hair loss specialist is the best way to preventing hair loss because they will be able to diagnose the condition accurately and find the treatment (be it natural or medical) best suited to a woman’s stage and type of hair loss.

There is only one product that has been shown to be both safe and effective in treating female hair loss conditions. Minoxidil is found in many hair loss products in a 2% concentration, however studies have shown it to be significantly more effective in higher strengths. To see the kind of success Belgravia’s female clients have experienced using high strength minoxidil, take a look at one woman’s video diary of hair loss treatment.

If you would like to discuss hair loss treatments, contact Belgravia for a free consultation with a specialist. To book an appointment, just call 020 7730 6666 or message the centre. Alternatively, complete the online diagnostic form and a treatment advisor will be in touch over the next 2 working days.

More Information
Hair Loss Products Reviewed
Hair Growth Boosters
Before/During Female Hair Loss Treatment Photos

Paxman Scalp Cooling Cold Cap to Help Prevent Hair Loss During ChemotherapyWhen cancer is diagnosed, there a million and one things that a person will be thinking and feeling. When it comes to treatment and the challenging side effects involved, hair loss is often a worry for many. As recently reported on the Belgravia blog, new cold cap machines are being made available for some cancer patients that will help to prevent hair loss.

Twenty-one scalp cooling machines are to be installed at St James’s Institute of Oncology in Leeds, one of the largest specialist cancer treatment centres in the UK. These machines will help reduce the damage to hair follicles caused by chemotherapy drugs and make hair loss less severe or even prevent it.

How Does Cancer Treatment Cause Hair Loss?

Chemotherapy and radiation are two forms of cancer treatment that can lead to hair loss. Chemotherapy involves pumping powerful drugs through the body to attack the cancer cells. In doing so, these drugs often kill the healthy cells that make up the hair follicle. Radiation involves shining high-energy rays on the cancer cells to destroy them. This only causes hair loss when the treatment is used on the scalp.

The extent of hair loss that results from these treatments varies between patients. The hair loss can occur just on the scalp or over the entire body, it may be just patchy or it may lead to complete baldness. It may happen suddenly or the hair can shed in patches over a number of weeks. Hair loss that is caused by chemotherapy usually appears one to two weeks after treatment has started. Radiation, on the other hand, usually causes immediate hair loss.

Will Hair Regrow After Cancer Treatment?

For about 80 – 90 % of cancer patients who have undergone treatment, the hair will re-grow within a year of finishing therapy. Senior hair loss specialist at The Belgravia Centre, Leonora Doclis, says, “A hair loss treatment programme may benefit some adults but they are not suitable for children. It depends on the state of the hair follicles. Sometimes they are shriveled after cancer treatment and to what extent treatment will help, depends on how shriveled they are.” Doclis advises a consultation with a specialist to discuss how professional regrowth regimes may help but emphasises that any treatment being considered must be discussed with the patient’s doctor beforehand.


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.


Hair Loss Can Severely Affect Women in All Areas of Life However Many Conditions Can Be Successfully Treated.It is estimated that 8 million women in the UK suffer from some form of serious hair loss. Hair loss can be highly traumatic for a woman by making such a marked contrast to her appearance. A study by Hairline International, a support group for hair loss sufferers, found that over 60% of women with hair loss have considered suicide and nearly all feel it is an assault on their femininity. The research also showed that 40% of females have experienced problems in relationships and 63% reported work-related issues.

There are several types of hair loss that can affect women, some are temporary and some permanent.

Telogen Effluvium is a general shedding and thinning of the hair that occurs two to three months after a shock to the system which can be caused by childbirth, rapid weight loss, an illness, severe stress or taking medication. While this condition is usually temporary, with the hair growth returning to normal after 6 months, for some women it can trigger genetic hair loss.

Female Pattern Hair Loss is caused by the genes. Rising levels of Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) lead to the hair follicles being inhibited which slows hair growth resulting in a thinning of the hair on the top area of the head. Some women may go bald. The condition often starts when a woman is in her 30s, with the thinning becoming noticeable in her 40s. The menopause can exacerbate the condition.

Diffuse Thinning is caused by internal factors other than genetics, for example, thyroid problems, blood disorder or a nutritional deficiency. It can also be a result of severe stress.

Alopecia Areata is sudden patchy hair loss that is caused by an immune disorder. It affects 1 in 100 people, including teenagers and young adults. There is a genetic link in about 20% of cases. For some the hair will regrow on its own while for others it will be permanent if left untreated and possibly progress to Alopecia Totalis (total loss of scalp hair) or Alopecia Universalis (total loss of scalp and body hair)

Treatment for Hair Loss
It is possible to treat Telogen Effluvium, Female Pattern Hair Loss, Diffuse Thinning and mild or early stage Alopecia Areata. Minoxidil is the only treatment that has been shown in clinical trials to be effective at combating hair loss in women. It can be prepared in different strengths and formulas to suit various types and stages of hair loss. When combined with the correct hair growth booster, a prescriptive Minoxidil treatment will bring about optimum regrowth.

The first step to knowing which treatment is required is to get an accurate diagnosis. The Belgravia Centre has a team of highly qualified experts who can assess the condition and prescribe a treatment course suited to the individual. For more information and to book a free consultation, just call 020 7730 6666 or message the centre. If you are unable to visit the London-based clinic, just complete the online diagnostic form for a consultation via the website and a mail order treatment service.

More Information:
Hair Loss Product Reviews
Hair Loss Before/During Treatment Photos

Interesting Articles:
Women’s Hair Loss Facts
Women’s Lifestyles Lead to Hair Loss at a Younger Age
Dr Andrew Messenger on Hair Loss – Daily Mail

Some Women Don't Mind a Date with a Bald Man But Other Women Prefer He Has Hair.Although this blog has previously pointed out studies which suggest that younger women are attracted to graying, balding men (as it can indicate, in evolution terms, chiefdom or that men are less likely to sow their oats elsewhere due to their ‘unattractiveness’), there is also evidence that some British women find hair loss a major turn-off. However, it seems that where a woman is located in the British Isles strongly affects her opinion on baldness.

According to a 2008 study of 6,500 British women by the online matchmaking company PARSHIP.co.uk, only 11% said they wouldn’t date a man suffering from hair loss (compared to 17% of French women and 16% of Italian women).

Dr Victoria Lukats, psychiatrist and dating expert for PARSHIP.co.uk, said, “The interesting finding from this survey was that women in the UK, compared to other countries in Europe, are the most embracing of men with either body hair (including hair on the back) and of male-pattern baldness.”

However, before baldness becomes the new must-have accessory, a closer look at the statistics shows how women feel about baldness depends upon where she comes from. In the South of England and Scotland, bald men can rejoice as only 2% and 4% of women (respectively) would not date a follicly challenged man. But in other parts of England and Wales the news is not so good.  In the Midlands and Wales, 12% of women would not date a bald man, which rises to 15% of women in the north of England. And for the men of London, a massive 27% of women said ‘no’ to male pattern baldness in their date.

Maybe London women are more image conscious than other ladies but if you don’t fancy relocating to the South or Scotland to increase your chances in the romance steaks, then you may wish to consider hair loss treatments. The vast majority of men will develop Male Pattern Baldness if they do not seek treatment. The Belgravia Centre has been helping male clients for several years and if you want to prevent baldness, there is a team of experts who can help.

For examples of the kind of results that Belgravia clients achieve, take a look at the hair loss success stories and read their comments. An early diagnosis and a individualized treatment programme is key to stabilising the condition and restoring lost hair. For a free consultation at Belgravia, just call 020 7730 6666 or message the centre. Alternatively, complete the online diagnostic form which will be instantly reviewed in the clinic and a Treatment Advisor will contact you to give you details of your diagnosis and discuss the best treatment options.

More Information:
The Norwood Scale – How Bald Are You?
Hair Loss Products Reviewed

Interesting Articles:
Women Five Times More Likely to Date Men with Hair
Want to Marry Madonna? Don’t Go Bald
Baldness and Grey Hair Attracts Younger Women

There are many possible reasons why hair falls out. It can be due to genes, scalp problems, nutritional deficiencies, pregnancy and underlying health issues such as a weakened immune system or thyroid problems. But can recreational drug use cause hair loss? There is some debate over this matter as to date there have been no large scale studies specifically on hair loss as a direct result of human drug use. However, there is a link. Taking recreational drugs causes a significant rise in adrenalin levels and this can affect the body and subsequently the hair growth cycle.

smoking-cannabis-marijuana-weed-drug-use-and-hair-lossWhat are Recreational Drugs?

A recreational drug is described as a drug that is used non-medically for enjoyment purposes. The most commonly used recreational drugs are cocaine, MDMA (ecstasy), cannabis and Diacetylmorphine (heroin). However recent studies show that other drugs, such as Ketamine and gammahydroxybutrate (GHB), are being used more and mixed with other drugs. While these are both class C drugs, they can be powerful and dangerous, especially when used alongside other drugs.

How Do Drugs Cause Hair Loss – The Expert View

Senior hair loss specialist at the Belgravia Centre in London, Leonora Doclis, says, “All recreational drugs have the potential to cause a type of hair loss called Telogen Effluvium because taking drugs causes a shock to the system. As a result, certain hair follicles will prematurely stop growing and enter the resting (Telogen) phase, where they remain for three months, after which time they are shed. If the person stops taking drugs and the body is able to rebalance itself naturally, then the hair should return to a normal growth cycle approximately six months after taking the drugs.”

Doclis points out that taking drugs can also lead to another condition, Diffuse Thinning. “Sometimes the hair loss is a secondary effect of drug intake, particularly Cocaine, due to malnutrition as most regular users do not tend to have the appetite to eat healthily,” says Doclis. It is difficult to say who will be affected by this condition. As Doclis explains, “Tolerance for the quantity of drug intake or frequency of intake varies between individuals. This means one person may be affected by just one or two drug binges yet we know of many celebrity addicts who have a lot of hair and regularly take drugs.”

Regular use of recreational drugs will also generally lead to ill-health and feeling ‘run-down’ which can affect sleep patterns and lower a person’s immune system. Again, these factors can contribute to a weaker hair growth cycle and exacerbate other hair loss conditions such as Male Pattern Baldness and Female Pattern Hair Loss.

Can Drug Use Trigger Permanent Hair Loss?

While it is possible that hairloss that is caused by drug use is temporary, Doclis says, “for some people with Telogen Effluvium or Diffuse Thinning, their hair loss can trigger Androgenetic Alopecia, or Male Pattern Baldness / Female Pattern Hair Loss”.

This condition is caused by an inherited sensitivity to Dihysrotestosterone (DHT – the hormone that attacks the hair follicles causing slower growth and eventually stopping all growth at the top of the scalp from hairline to crown) and, if left untreated, can lead to eventual baldness in men and significant thinning of the hair in women. Approximately 80 per cent of men and 50 per cent of women will develop this condition at some point in their lives, whether or not they take recreational drugs, however using illegal drugs can make this condition worse or make it start earlier than it would normally.

cocaine-drug-use-and-hair-lossHow to Prevent Hair Loss from Drug Use

The first and most important step would obviously be to stop your drug use. This will have benefits on the hair as well as your physical and mental health and well-being as a whole. If drug use is extensive then seek advice from a physician as going ‘cold turkey’ may need to be medically guided.

If you have already noticed thinner hair or hair loss, then it may be possible to restore lost hair using a tailored hair loss treatment programme. Initially it needs to be determined whether the hair loss is a progressive, permanent condition (genetic) or a temporary one in order to decide which treatments, if any, are necessary.

The Celebrity Story

We all know that drugs are rife in the world of rock n roll, movies and fashion. For every healthy, clean-living, yoga-loving star (ie Coldplay’s Chris Martin) there will be ten free-wheeling, thrill-seeking celebrities high on life in more ways than one (Eddie Van Halen, Liam Gallagher, Kate Moss, Robert Downey Jr, Whitney Houston, Nick Nolte… the list goes ).

In 2008, British model Paul Sculfor revealed he stopped taking cocaine because it made his hair fall out. Sculfor, who was dating Cameron Diaz at the time, said drug abuse was affecting his looks and his hair, “My hair started falling out in my partying years, because excessive cocaine abuse affects the adrenal system and halts hair growth. I’m lucky it grew back. I’m not vain, but I am obsessed with my hair.”

Further Studies That Show Drugs Cause Hair Loss

Cocaine

In one study, researchers injected cocaine under the skin of rats. Within 2 days patches of hair loss developed around the injection areas and later the cells and living tissue around the area died. The study clearly indicated that cocaine is cytotoxic (toxic) to proliferating cells. Hair follicle cells are the most active of any in the body, dividing once every 13 hours. The study concluded that cocaine, injected or inhaled, has a cytotoxicity (toxicity) high enough to reduce cell division in hair follicles and consequently may cause telogen effluvium.

Drugs Mixed with Other Substances

Hair loss may be connected to adulterated drugs. Powder sold as cocaine is often found to be adulterated with thallium salts (rat poison). One study showed that, after using such adulterated cocaine, individuals developed extensive hair loss. Thallium is known to cause thinning hair due to telogen effluvium at low doses and will kill people at higher doses.


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.