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Some men catch a glimpse of what they think is a receding hairline and freak out. Some women are distressed to see a widening centre-part when they look in the mirror. For alopecia totalis and universalis sufferers, dealing with complete baldness is a whole other playing field.

Alopecia totalis and universalis are variations of alopecia areata at its most extreme. Alopecia areata is characterised by patchy hair loss that can, in 70% of cases, correct itself
or if not has a good chance of being reversed with hair loss treatments. Alopecia totalis on the other hand results in the total loss of scalp hair and universalis extends to total body hair loss, and there is no cure.

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

It is not known why a person will suffer just a few bald patches and another experience total hair loss but all three conditions are believed to be the result of the same mechanism. It’s understood that totalis and universalis are forms of an autoimmune disorder which causes the immune system to attack the hair follicles. They may originate from alopecia areata and slowly develop to totalis or universalis, or they might come on suddenly and hair may rapidly be lost over a period of days or weeks.

Hair loss can be embarrassing at best, but to lose your hair so abruptly and without warning can be shocking and frightening. Unlike most types of hair loss, totalis and universalis sufferers don’t have time to register what’s going on and with no other physical symptoms, it can be downright confusing.

According to statistics, about 1 in every 125,000 men and 1 in every 250,000 women have alopecia totalis or universalis. Most sufferers are children and young adults under the age of 40, though it can affect people of all ages.

It’s not that the sufferers’ hair follicles can’t grow hair, it’s that for some unknown reason they choose not to. Sometimes the hair can grow back on its own but recovery rates are lower than that of alopecia areata. In most cases, the chances of recovery are small but there have been some cases of complete restoration as well.

WigThere are ways to treat alopecia areata, although nothing is completely guaranteed work. However, as far as the more advanced forms of alopecia like totalis and universalis are concerned, no treatments have proved effective. There are companies around which claim to be able to be able to treat totalis and universalis, but a high degree of scepticism is cautioned. If they truly worked, the whole world would know about them. Just don’t get your hopes up.

Wigs and permanent makeup can be a good option for people with totalis and universalis. Wigs have been used by chemotherapy patients for years but these days, celebrities and everyday people wear them to change their look. They can be made to measure, cut, thinned and styled to suit you. Permanent makeup is also used by the millions but it can give renewed confidence to those with alopecia totalis or universalis. It’s a smear-free, time-saving means to regain structure, depth and expression and even just a little lash enhancement can define the eyes.

There are support groups, hair loss charities and communities dedicated to those dealing with alopecia totalis and universalis. Sometimes sharing your story and getting things off your chest can be an overwhelming relief. Other times, hearing someone else’s trials and triumphs are motivation to keep living life to the full. It can be hard to believe at first, but there is life after hair and there is always someone willing to lend an ear or shoulder during your pains, struggles and triumphs.

For more information, contact the Belgravia Centre on 020 7730 6666 or send an email.

Useful Sites:
Princess Charlotte Alopecia Foundation
Women’s Hair Loss Project
Bald Girls Do Lunch
Alopecia World
Locks of Love
Alopecia UK


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.


Black hair grows just like any other, but because of its structure it’s more delicate than other hair types. Not only is Afro hair more prone to breakage through lack of moisture, it is also still susceptible to genetic hair loss as well as balding inflicted by damaging hairstyle habits.

Causes of Afro Hair Loss

Androgenetic Alopecia

male pattern hair loss black afro carribeanThis type of hair loss, also referred to as male pattern baldness and female pattern hair loss, is predominantly determined by genetics. A heightened susceptibility to the effects of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) cause the hair follicles to gradually shrink in predisposed persons. The result is the production of shorter, finer hair, giving the appearance of thinning and in time the follicles could eventually close up. The “death” of the hair follicle effectively terminates hair growth, resulting in irreversible baldness.

There are no reliable statistics regarding the prevalence of androgenetic alopecia in people with Afro hair. However, the general consensus is that the highest rates are seen in Caucasians, closely followed by those with Afro hair.

Traction Alopecia

There is no doubt that people of Afro-Caribbean origin can be very creative when it comes to styling their hair. However, most don’t realise just how damaging some of those styles actually are. Unlike genetic hair loss, traction alopecia is purely due to excessive pulling or tension on hair shafts. It is seen more often in women, especially those with natural Afro hair. Braids, cornrows, weaves, hair extensions – all these styles impose tension on the hair follicles and literally pull the hair out from the root.
traction alopecia black afro caribbeanThe pattern of hair loss depends on the way the hair is being pulled, but it generally takes the form of patches of baldness or the appearance of a receding hairline. Prolonged traction alopecia can stop new hair follicles developing and lead to permanent hair loss.

Other Causes of Hair Loss

Fungal diseases, scalp conditions and skin disorders can all cause hair loss. Trichophyton tonsurans, for example, is a fungal disease that causes localised hair loss and is most often seen in those with Afro hair. Other aggravating conditions that can lead to hair loss include dermatitis, folliculitis and persistent dandruff. Additionally, product residues can build up on the scalp if not rinsed out properly and this can cause scaling, itchiness and tenderness of the scalp.

Follicular Degeneration Syndrome, which was formally known as ‘hot come alopecia,’ is a type of scarring hair loss that appears as diffuse thinning that generally extends centrifugally from the scalp vertex. Hair can be grown back, though only from follicles that have not yet scarred.

Over manipulation of the hair can lead to thinning through breakage. Excessive use of relaxers and hair colourants can damage the quality of the hair, making it susceptible to breakage along the shaft. This can cause temporary thinning but damage to the root, caused by an allergic reaction to the chemicals or scalp burn, could result in more permanent types of hair loss.

Alopecia areata affects about only 2% of the population but doesn’t exclude people of Afro-Caribbean origin. It is a mysterious condition where the body’s own immune system attacks the hair follicles. The result is patchy bald spots on the scalp that can recover in time without treatment, or could progress to total hair loss on the scalp, or even the body.

The hair growth cycle also reacts to any internal imbalance that can be caused by hormonal or external factors. Medications, illness, childbirth, extreme dieting and emotional trauma can all contribute to diffuse thinning or telogen effluvium.

Hair Loss Treatment for Afro Hair Clients

Most of the time, hair loss in clients with afro hair can be controlled and reversed. There are medical hair loss treatments that can stabilise progressive hair loss and even stop the balding process, and there are treatments which work to re-grow hair that has been lost.

traction alopecia follicular degeneration syndrome black afro carribeanThere are also hair supplements that can improve the hair’s appearance. Nutrition is important for healthy hair maintenance and if you’re not getting the essential vitamins you need through your diet, these supplements can help.

There are no treatments that will make your hair grow faster or longer. However, if it’s growing hair past a certain point that’s your trouble, it’s likely that breakage is the culprit and possibly also causing your hair to thin. The key to getting it to grow again is to stop the damage that’s causing the breakage.

Avoid chemical relaxers and other treatments that can cause your hair quality to deteriorate, as well as tight hair styles that can damage the follicles. Talk to a professional stylist who is skilled in Afro hair to learn how to look after your hair as you style. If you’re having trouble restoring any lost hair as a result of poor styling habits, consult a hair loss specialist for expert treatment.

The root cause of hair loss generally stems from genetics but there are a lot of ways in which people with Afro hair can control or avoid excessive shedding and baldness. Perhaps the best way to understand is to think of your hair as a fine, washable, silk material – the better you treat it, the longer it will last.

To find out more about the causes and treatments for Afro hair loss, contact the Belgravia Centre on 020 7730 6666 or send an email. The UK’s leaders in hair loss prevention have been treating men and women from a variety of backgrounds all over the world for almost 20 years. For those who aren’t able to visit the London centre, the online diagnostic form provides a means of access to expert advice, recommendation and treatments.

Interesting Articles:

The Extent of Hair Styling’s Effect on Hair Loss
The Damage of Hair Extensions Revealed
Naomi Campbell’s Receding Hairline
Hair Loss Success Stories

When you see a woman walking down the street with tattooed eyeliner and eyebrows wearing a headscarf, does your heart go out to them? Some might assume they’ve got cancer or are even dying but alopecia areata is an otherwise harmless condition that’s only notable ailment and symptom is haphazard hair loss.

It’s a very difficult thing for women to deal with but hair loss itself is essentially harmless, which is why the stigma associated with hair loss in women needs to be abolished, particularly as more studies report that the trend is on the increase.

Depending on the type and cause, there are ways in which hair loss can be avoided, managed and even treated effectively. Alopecia areata however is possibly the most mysterious of all hair loss conditions, and while most people that are affected recover in time without treatment, it’s something that a random minority have to live with.

Under the wigs, Pat Law and Ivonna Mroz are dealing with alopecia areataAlopecia areata sufferers Ivonna Mroz and Pat Law from Australia’s Sunshine Coast, told the Sunshine Coast Daily what life as a bald woman is like.

“When I first lost my hair, I scared myself, so I can understand why people get a bit freaked out when they see a bald woman,” Pat said.

“We don’t want people to feel sorry for us,” Ivonna added. “We just want to go out and be able to enjoy the day without worrying about our hair falling off, or just be able to go for a swim without losing our hair.”

“If we go out in a scarf, you feel like such a fraud because we’re not sick,” Pat said.

Alopecia areata is a mysterious, chronic inflammatory condition that presents itself as patches of baldness over the scalp. Hair can fall out slowly, progressively worsening over weeks or months, or it can happen suddenly and dramatically.

Ivonna, 29, developed alopecia areata suddenly at age four, after her family moved to Australia from Poland.

“It wasn’t until I was in grade four or five that it got really horrible,” she said. “Kids would single you out because you were different – I really feel for any kids that are different at school.”

Conformity doesn’t end in the classroom though. Women are under constant societal pressure to look a certain way, act a certain way, and as a result, their hair is inextricably bound up with their femininity, sexuality and self-image.

Pat, 59, started losing clumps of hair at 38 and after about nine months, she had lost almost all her hair.

“You don’t realise, until it happens, how much your idea of yourself is all wrapped up in your image,” she said. “I remember once, when I was in the bathroom and looking at myself in the mirror, I thought, ‘What a freak? What is going on here?’”

Specialists aren’t exactly sure about what causes alopecia areata. There is evidence to indicate a genetic tendency – about 20% of sufferers have a family history of the disease – but a number of other triggers have also been linked to the condition, such as local skin injury, viral or bacterial infection, allergies, chemicals and stress.

The ambiguity surrounding the condition makes treatment similarly difficult. There’s a wide range of options available and some are successful, but their effectiveness varies for everyone and nothing is guaranteed to work. In most instances of alopecia areata the hair will grow back on its own, but sometimes complete recovery is not even a guarantee. Pat’s hair started growing back when she was in her mid-40s, but after a couple of years, she lost it again.

“When it started falling out again I thought, ‘I cannot go through this again’.

Pat revealed that she had felt unattractive and “weird looking” at times, but talking about the condition and having the support of her family helped her accept a life with alopecia.

“The second time around, I had the internet and that was such a life-saver for me,” she said. “People just need to break the silence, because it can be quite an isolating thing.”

Ivonna said sufferers needed to work around the obstacles of alopecia but admits that even though her acceptance of the condition has taken nearly 20 years, she still has bad days.

“I still have days where I get frustrated because it feels like such an effort to get up in the morning,” she said. “It would be great to have it back, but I’m not struggling with it anymore, like I used to. It is a part of me now.”

Ivonna said she has even started wearing her scarf to the beach.

“Before, I was like, ‘No, I don’t want to do that’ because I didn’t want to attract any unwanted attention, so I was always wearing my wig. But then, I could never go swimming. So I thought, ‘No, stuff it. I’ll wear my scarf and if people look, they look’.

“People shouldn’t stop their life because of it. I’ve missed out on a lot of things because of alopecia…[but] I just grew up and realised there is more to life.”

Ivonna and Pat encourage any sufferers to talk about their condition, rather than hide it.

More Information:
More Support Needed for Hair Loss Sufferers
Hair Growth Success After Alopecia
Gail Porter’s Alopecia

Men and women suffering from hair loss need access to therapy to deal with the psychological issues associated with it, according to experts.

A recent poll which questioned over 1,400 people in the UK found that a quarter of people with hair loss felt distressed when they looked in the mirror, 33% felt self-conscious, and almost 20% said they lacked confidence in social situations.

According to the report’s author, health psychologist Dr Nigel Hunt, a “significant minority” of people were found to be at risk of serious psychosocial consequences, including depression, anxiety, lower self-esteem and identity change.

“While hair loss affects a quarter of the population, the psychosocial consequences are relatively unknown,” Dr Hunt said. “This report looks beneath the surface to reveal the fundamental reasons why hair loss has such an impact on those who suffer and the extent to which it holds a negative perception in society.”

The results found that the negative implications of hair loss were personally and professionally damaging – those polled said the condition would have a “significant risk” of damaging relationships and worried their sexual attractiveness would decrease as a result of it, and 30% said women with hair loss could be discriminated against at work, whereas only 15% agreed men would be discriminated against.

Around 2% of the population suffers from alopecia areata which has long been associated with stress and other autoimmune disorders, while the majority of people are affected by male pattern baldness or female pattern hair loss.

“This report provides help to develop understanding of the relatively uncharted psychosocial impact of the condition across the UK. It demonstrates that hair loss cannot be dismissed as a one-dimensional problem but is a serious issue that requires emotional support,” Dr Hunt said.

Hair loss is not a one-dimensional issueIf you’d like to find out more about the different types of conditions and the most effective treatments for hair loss, call the Belgravia Centre on 020 7730 6666 to talk to a hair loss specialist. You’ll find empathetic and sincere experts who can help and guide you in making the best decision about your individual condition and make recommendations based on a personal diagnosis. The online diagnostic form also allows you access to specialist advice and treatment without the need to visit the London centre.

However, many people wish to meet a hair loss specialist in person which is why, as from June 2009, the Belgravia Centre specialists will be holding consultation days throughout the country. For information about locations and dates, call free on 0800 011 4201 or send an email.

Interesting Articles:

Hair Growth Success Story: “It makes me feel sexier and the women love it!”
How Women’s Hair Loss Affects Quality of Life
Men’s Confidence During Hair Loss
Why Men Worry About Hair Loss but do Nothing

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

We used to think hair loss was something only men with generations of baldness had to contend with but these days it seems that there’s more to hair loss than pure genetics.

And there is no definite cure for hair loss. However, thanks to scientific research and improved methods of hair restoration developed over the years, much of the effects of hair loss can be undone as they have been for tens of thousands of people. So, what are some of the most common causes of hair loss and what can be done?

Androgenetic Alopecia
Classic case of male pattern hair lossCommonly coined male pattern baldness or female pattern hair loss, androgenetic alopecia is due to a combination of factors influenced by genes and hormones, namely dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It’s a chemical derivative of the male hormone testosterone that has negative effects on the hair follicles in predisposed persons, causing them to shrink. The hair growth lifecycle goes through phases of growth, transition and shedding over a period of about seven years. However, as the follicle shrinks due to the effects of DHT, the lifecycle gets shorter and shorter and the hair shaft grows thinner and thinner. This is why most people don’t realise they have a hair loss problem until they’ve “lost” about 40% of their hair. Androgenetic alopecia is a progressive condition that causes thinning hair rather than hair shedding and because it’s normal to lose up to 100 hairs a day, it can be hard to notice any change. Men should pay attention to their hairline or widow’s peak and the crown which where thinning and hair loss first tend to occur and women should concentrate on their central part which can get wider as overall thinning of the scalp occurs.

Telogen Effluvium
Telogen effluvium is a reactive form of hair loss, where excessive shedding or thinning hair causes hair loss. It’s mostly temporary and largely due to situational circumstances or the result of some underlying medical cause such as thyroid diseases. The actual causes of hair loss, though, may include stress, emotional trauma, exposure to chemicals, prescription medications, poor nutrition and childbirth.

Alopecia Areata
Alopecia areata affects one person in every hundredThis autoimmune condition which appears as coin-shaped or patchy hair loss is the result of a number of hair follicles entering the shedding (telogen) phase of the hair growth lifecycle at once. Alopecia areata is often stress related but there are a number of other triggers that have been linked to this largely inherited condition such as local skin injury, viral or bacterial infection, allergies and chemicals. You should consult your doctor and a hair loss specialist to try and get to the bottom of the problem and find out which method of treatment is right for you.

How can it be treated?

Determining which treatment is right for you will depend on your age, degree of hair loss and other factors. Not everyone who is experiencing hair loss can seek the same treatment – a hair loss specialist can determine why your hair is falling out and suggest a treatment that will correct the underlying problems.

Hair loss in women is quite often the result of nutritional deficiencies. Your hair is the reflection of your overall physical condition so your diet is important in promoting healthy hair growth. Avoid foods that are high in sugar and fat and concentrate on foods rich in iron, protein, fibre and vitamins and mineral which really benefit your hair.

Male hair loss however is still largely attributable to genetics and while improved diet will benefit the condition of the hair and overall health, proven medical hair loss treatments are the most effective for genetic hair loss – in both men and women.

Surgical methods to help hair loss can be effective for genetic hair loss although medication is highly recommended to try before resorting to surgery. Hair transplants are usually performed for a moderate degree of hair loss or for patients with scars on the scalp, face or body such as the eyebrows, but if hair loss is genetic, ongoing use of medication is necessary afterwards to prevent any further hair loss.

For further information, contact the Belgravia Centre or call 020 7730 6666 for a free hair loss examination with a specialist. Alternatively, fill in the online diagnostic form and a specialist will contact you with information about your condition and recommended treatment.

Related Information

Popular Hair Loss Products and Reviews
The Most Effective Combination of Proven Hair Loss Treatments

Interesting Articles

Male Hair Loss – Causes, Risk and Treatment
When Female Hair Loss is Reversible
Lifestyles Causing Premature Baldness
Hair Loss Treatment – Transplant or Medication?

If you’re a woman battling hair loss you’re not alone – 40% of hair loss occurs in women and it affects people in all walks of life. Because of cultural norms and ideas about hair and femininity, women’s hair loss is devastating and even celebrity women will do what they can to keep their personal secret under wraps. Nearly all of them have at least dabbled with hair enhancement systems from wigs and hairpieces to extensions and weaves. It may seem normal to see female celebrities donning a wig or wearing weaves but could they be using such measures to hide a hair loss condition?

Tina Turner, Dolly Parton, and Sinead O’Connor have all been rumoured to suffer from hair loss. Tina’s rarely seen without her wig and rumour has it that she suffers from alopecia universalis.
Gail Porter continues to raise awareness of alopecia areataIt’s a rare condition that usually starts out as alopecia areata(which is reversible in some cases) but if left unattended will progress and result in the loss of all body hair. Unfortunately there is no known cure or treatment for alopecia totalis and hair replacement is the most suitable option for women with this condition.

Another personality who’s suffered the same debilitating form of hair loss is Gail Porter. Going completely bald would break many women but the TV presenter and formal model who has battled depression in the past, opted to maintain her high profile and shun the wigs to raise awareness of the condition.

Dolly Parton can't manage her hair styles with her own thin hair As for Dolly Parton, the down-to-earth country girl admitted she started wearing wigs in 2002 when her hair started to thin. She said it became so fine she that she could no longer work it into the glamorous hairstyles she’s so famous for.

Hair loss in women is almost always stabilised and reversed when proven hair loss treatments are administered in the right dose for each person and are supported by various hair growth boosters, although Dolly had her reasons for opting for a hairpiece.

“It got to be fun for me, a conversational piece,” she said. “But this is how I think I look the best. I’m not a natural beauty, and this is just the look I chose.”

Most women will experience thinning hair at some point in their life. Our hair is an indication of our overall health so it’s very common for women to encounter excessive shedding which can be the result of anything from stress and poor nutrition, to the contraceptive pill and childbirth.

Geena Davis and Debra Messing received a lot of publicity over her post-baby hair loss and it’s highly likely that most Hollywood mums went through the same phase. Even Angelina Jolie and Kate Hudson’s enviable locks probably suffered the typical hormonally induced changes that happen during pregnancy. The good news for most women is that any hair loss after childbirth usually corrects itself within a few months without the need for treatment.

Natalie Portman was a bald bombshellSome women on the other hand choose to bare all. For instance, Sinead O’Connor set a trend when she shaved her head and proved that bald really can be beautiful (but you’ve got to wonder whether she opted to chop before the going got tough), and other female celebs have followed suit for one reason or another. Natalie Portman carried off her bald look with ease in V for Vendettaand Demi Moore sent tongues wagging went she shaved her head for and GI Jane. Then there was Britney Spears who shaved her head just for the heck of it (although the popstress went on to conceal her naked scalp with a vast collection of wigs and hairpieces).

The thing celebrities and ordinary people with hair loss have in common is that they need to be treated before the hair is gone for good and they end up needing an expensive Hollywood makeover. It’s plain to see that hair loss can be just as personal to a celebrity as it is to the girl next door, and while some Hollywood stars will shave their head for a role, very few would actually choose to lose their hair.
Cameron Diaz - scared to go baldCameron Diaz couldn’t even part with her blonde locks for a part in the upcoming film My Sisters Keeper, prefering to take the safe route with a bald cap instead.

But the thing is, women’s hair loss can be effectively reversed with medical hair loss treatments and easily hidden with high quality hair enhancement and replacement systems. So unless the paparazzi get very sneaky or one of these female celebs decides to endorse a hair loss product in an infomercial, we’ll just have to keep guessing about the state of their hair. Not that it’s really any of our business or is something that should define a person – Dolly Parton for one hopes people can see past all that.

“I hope people see the brain underneath the wig and the heart beneath the boobs,” she once said.

If you’re worried about hair loss, contact the Belgravia Centre and talk to a hair loss specialist or fill in the online diagnostic form to find out what’s causing it and what can be done.

Related Information
Most Effective Hair Loss Treatments for Women
Hair Loss Success Stories

Interesting Articles
Pregnancy and Hair Loss
Black Eyed Peas Fergie’s Thinning Hair
Coping with Hair Loss – Gail Porter’s Alopecia
Hair Loss in Women – Common auses and What to Do

Woman Concerned About Thinning hairSerious hair loss affects an estimated eight million women in the UK and many more suffer from more minor hair thinning. Many factors cause hair loss in women but in any situation there are things you can do to cope and proven, reliable treatment options that can help restore hair.

Female Pattern Hair Loss

This type of hair loss normally starts with gradual thinning across the top of the head and is caused by an abnormal reaction to the male hormone testosterone. It’s quite common and affects around one in ten women although after menopause it’s far more common and your risk is higher if it runs in your family.
What to do: The earlier you start treatment, the greater your chances of preventing further hair loss. Talk to a hair loss specialist and find out about the proven hair loss treatments for women. You may be prescribed minoxidil which  stops hair loss in most women and helps hair grow back, but it is a dosage-dependant medication that should be administered at the right strength for each woman. Various hair growth boosters can also improve its effectiveness in treating women’s hair loss.

Pregnancy and Childbirth

You’re hair will probably be about the healthiest it’s ever been during pregnancy. The increased levels of oestrogen affect the hair growth lifecycle and the follicles remain in the growth phase (anagen) longer than usual. Hair appears thick, shiny and full of vitality, but after the birth thinning occurs as all the hair that’s hung around in the anagen stage falls with the rest during the telogen phase. Your hair will temporarily take a back seat as your body’s resources are used to replenish the rest of your system.
What to do: The disruption to the hair growth lifecycle and hair loss after childbirth generally won’t last long. As hormone levels start to return to normal, so does normal hair growth. Hair supplements may be helpful during this time but consult your doctor first.

Steroid TabletsIllnesses and Drug Treatment

Cushing syndrome, coeliac disease, diabetes, thyroid disorders and polycystic ovarian syndrome have all been linked to hair loss. Along with various other symptoms, thinning hair is quite common in people with these conditions. Some drugs can also cause hair loss as a side effect but you should never stop taking prescribed medication without consulting your doctor.
What to do: Hair loss treatments can assist the body to help reproduce hair whilst it’s recovering from a crisis but the underlying cause also needs to be dealt with. Talk to your doctor about your concerns and discuss tests to diagnose or rule out these conditions. They can be controlled and some can even be treated with the right therapy. If you’re concerned that your medication is causing your hair to thin, ask about alternatives.

Stress

Women have always dealt with stress but these days more and more women are taking on two full-time jobs – motherhood and a career. The constant physical stress of leading almost two lives has seen the number of cases of hair loss in women double in the past ten years. Emotional stress also affects the hair whereby increased cortisol levels induce the hormone changes that are responsible for hair loss.
What to do: Stress can be hard to pinpoint as the culprit because often hair loss is delayed by up to three months. If the stress was a one-off event, the situation will generally correct itself but hair supplements could be beneficial to improve the health and quality of the hair. Taking time off work could be helpful in the short term if you’re continually feeling stressed, but you need to start allocating more time to yourself and incorporating stress-reducing activities such as yoga or meditation into your lifestyle.

Junk Food Can Lead To Hair LossPoor Nutrition and Extreme Dieting

A lack of iron is the most common nutritional deficiency, especially in women. Iron deficiency anaemia can lead to thinning hair as can extreme dieting. If you’re losing weight at a rate of more than two pounds per week, it’s not just your body that will be getting thinner and weaker.
What to do: Iron deficiency anaemia can be diagnosed by a simple blood test and if this is the problem, your doctor can prescribe iron tablets while you attempt to replenish your stores naturally. You should aim for two servings a day of foods such as red meat, fish, eggs, bread, fortified cereal and green, leafy vegetables. And if you’re excessive weight loss is causing your hair to thin, consider a more sensible approach of eating five small meals a day which incorporate the foods for healthy hairand regular cardio workouts.

Hair Styling

Certain hairstyles such as ponytails, braids, dreadlocks, hair extensions or even the regular use of tight rollers can cause hair loss. The constant, tight pulling on the hair could be damaging the follicles and where the hair is being pulled is where you’ll notice it starting to disappear.
What to do: The most common mistake people make when experiencing hair loss of this kind is that they cover it with weaves or add hair extensions rather than deal with the problem but it’s the worst thing you can do as sometimes it can stop new hair follicles developing and lead to permanent hair loss. If the pulling is stopped before there is scarring of the scalp and permanent damage to the root, hair usually grows back normally. However minoxidil may be needed to induce hair re-growth and you should consult a stylist to recommend a safe styling regime.

American Actress Jackie Nguyen Talks Frankly About Her Battle With Alopecia Areata and DepressionAlopecia Areata

This is an autoimmune disease that affects around one in 100 people but it tends to run in families and can be triggered by stress. It presents as small patches of hair loss on the scalp when your immune system goes into overdrive and starts attacking the hair follicles. In very rare instances it can lead to complete loss of hair on the head (alopecia totalis) as is the case with Gail Porter, or even the body (alopecia universalis).
What to do: Inform your doctor and talk to a hair loss specialist. In majority of cases the hair grows back itself within a year, but if hair hasn’t started to grow back after six months it may be worth considering treatment. There’s a wide range of treatments that include steroids, transplant surgery and medical hair loss treatments but it’s always advised to try the medical treatments first before resorting to steroids or surgery.

Contact the Belgravia Centre for more information about women’s hair loss or call 020 7730 6666 to book an appointment with a hair loss specialist.

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The King of Pop once wore a very different crown and almost had it taken away. It’s hard to believe that Michael Jackson once sported a full afro and everyone’s probably also forgotten that he nearly went bald at 25 after a freak fire accident.

Michael JacksonWhile filming a Pepsi commercial in 1984, pyrotechnics accidentally set Jackson’s hair on fire. He was rushed to hospital and treated for second degree burns to the back of his head which scarred his hair follicles and left him with a major bald patch.

When hair-bearing skin is badly burnt, the hair follicles are destroyed and replaced by scar tissue. The hair loss is permanent and known as cicatricial (or scarring) alopecia.

Pyrotechnics burnt scalp

Jackson was singing his hit “Billie Jean” in a simulated concert scene when the special effects went wrong. Three thousand fans saw a firework display erupt behind the superstar, showering him in sparks and setting light to his hair. Jackson covered his burning hair with his jacket but some audience members thought it was part of the act.

Jackson later underwent 80 minutes of laser surgery to repair his scalp. His surgeon Dr. Steven Hoefflin, famously known as “Doc Hollywood” who Jackson formed quite an attachment to over the years, said he was able to stitch the wound without having to implant or transplant hair from other parts of Jackson’s head.

*Update July 2009 – Since Jackson’s death in June 2009 video footage of the accident has been released showing the superstar’s hair catching alight for more than 5 seconds before his entouage and security surrounded him to put out the flames.*

According to Leonora Doclis, senior trichologist at the Belgravia Centre, while laser surgery can make the scar smaller, it won’t help in generating hair growth from the scar.

“Apparently the laser treatment reduced the scar to palm-size, but that is huge,” Leonora says. “If the follicles are damaged they will not produce hair. It is very unlikely that his hair grew back after this treatment.”

This begs the question then – what happened to Michael Jackson’s bald spot? Interestingly, the same surgeon who treated Jackson’s hair loss is responsible for Donald Trump’s combover. He performed scalp reduction surgery to reduce the size of the business mogul’s bald spot which he now covers with the rest of his hair.

Cicatricial alopecia – scarring hair loss

Leonora says treating cicatricial alopecia is challenging. “The best they can do without wearing a wig is if they can hide the scarred bald patch with their own hair.”

Cicatricial alopecia is a broad term that includes all forms of hair loss concerning inflammation directed at the hair follicle.

“There are several reasons for scarring hair loss. Scalding is just one and there is an autoimmune factor,” Leonora says. In addition to burns and other injuries, cicatricial alopecia can be caused by certain types of infections like granulomas, lupus erythematosus, recurring bacterial or fungal infections, a skin disease called lichen planus, and scalp ringworm.

“Therefore there is no point in transplanting hair from one side of the scalp to another when it can still be subject to an autoimmune attack.”

The progression of cicatricial alopecia as the result of an internal problem is unpredictable but hair loss is irreversible once the follicle is destroyed. Leonora says autoimmune suppressant steroids could be injected but they won’t prevent or treat hair loss.

Minoxidil, a vasodilator, may be helpful to stimulate any small, remaining, unscarred follicles but the effectiveness vastly relies on the strength of the medication required by the individual and the damage done to the hair follicles.

Despite Dr. Hoefflin’s claims that Jackson’s scalp would be completely healed within several months, Leonora has her doubts over the authenticity of Jackson’s hair.

“I think he may be covering certain areas with a hair system (hairpiece),” she says. “Some of it could be natural and he could have hair grafts which are a form of non-surgical hair replacement.”

As for his dramatic transformation from typical afro hair to the sleek style he now brandishes, Leonora says chemical straightening could be responsible, if it is indeed his real hair.

Cicatricial alopecia, whether internally or externally provoked, is a frightening and distressing condition. Diagnosis and treatment is often challenging so a consultation with a hair loss specialist is absolutely essential. Treatment for other forms of hair loss such as male or female pattern (genetic) hair loss, and alopecia can be very successful. For more information contact the Belgravia Centre, the UK’s leading hair loss clinic, on 020 7730 6666 or send an email.

And just so you know…
Back then, hair wasn’t Michael Jackson’s only concern – he’d already had two nose jobs by the time he was 25 and went for his third rhinoplasty shortly after the hair loss incident. From then on his visits with Doc. Hollywood became ever more frequent.


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.


Gail Porter's Alopecia AreataA lot of women who suffer from hair loss will contend with their condition rather than seek help but Gail Porter, who once described herself as “bald but not afraid”, has continued to raise awareness about alopecia areata which has rendered her completely bald but not stripped her of her confidence.

Hair loss in women is still very much a mysterious condition and despite upwards of 40 percent of the female population being affected, many suffer in silence. Women will rarely experience baldness, instead hair loss tends to be limited to overall thinning but the psychological effects are no less devastating.

For Gail Porter however, the chirpy British TV presenter went completely bald in a matter of four weeks. In 2005, at the age of 34, Gail had to face up to the probability that she would never have hair again.

Female hair loss can be treated effectively in most cases. FDA-approved hair loss treatments have been proven to generate hair growth but results are vastly improved when administered in the right dose for the individual. Especially when the possible contributing factors are being dealt with and treatment is being complemented with the appropriate hair growth boosters, even alopecia areata sufferers see results.

Alopecia areata is thought to be an autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system mistakenly turns on itself. The chronic inflammatory disease affects the hair follicles and presents itself in patches of hair loss over the scalp, but it can affect other hair-bearing skin. In some cases, alopecia areata develops into complete baldness (alopecia totalis) and in rare cases people may lose all body hair (alopecia universalis). The progression of hair loss can happen slowly, developing over weeks or months or, as in Gail’s case, it can be sudden and dramatic.

Gail, Britain’s second favourite bald celebrity after Little Britain’s Matt Lucas, has been hailed for her bravery throughout her ordeal. Refusing to wear a hat or a wig, Gail has maintained a public profile and continued to raise awareness of the condition.

Although it took some time for Gail to come to terms with what was happening, a friend revealed to the Daily Mail. “At first she went into denial and hid herself at home – she didn’t want to go out or see anyone,” the source said. “Initially she cancelled all her appearances… But [she] decided to face her demons and she’s determined not to let this beat her.”

No one is exactly sure about what causes alopecia areata but there is evidence to indicate a genetic predisposition. According to the British Journal of Dermatology, about 20% of people with alopecia areata have a family history of the disease. Stress has also been proven to be a contributory factor and Gail has had no shortage of that in her life.

Gail PorterThe bubbly, once blonde, presenter suffers from bipolar disorder, has been anorexic and when pregnant with her now seven year-old daughter Honey, was border-line obsessive compulsive. She later suffered post-natal depression and discovered she had a thyroid condition. Gail thought her hair loss was a “wind-up”.

“The funny thing was I was in a really good place. I was in America, working, I was with my then-boyfriend James, and I was generally happy,” Gail said. “I had a bit of stress because of the messy divorce, but nothing compared to what I had been through. I have no idea why it happened then. It just did.”

In 2007, Gail published her autobiography Laid Bare: My Story of Love, Fame and Survival, in which she discusses her very public experience of alopecia areata.

“It’s very personal but it has helped me see things in perspective and taught me not to stress about the things that don’t matter,” she said. “I also met other people with alopecia, which was very important to me. I think it’s good to talk to people to let them know that they’re not alone.”

Alopecia areata affects about one in 100 people and although it can be initially quite distressing, hair can spontaneously grow again without any treatment. However because of the unpredictable nature of the condition, specifically tailored hair loss treatment programs can help to deal with the only notable symptom.

Gail Porter is at Peace with her Hair LossGail Porter’s hair loss is an extreme example of alopecia in women but she has come to terms with it. “It was easier than I thought to deal with – I thought it’s just another thing, get on with it, it’s just another part of the journey,” she said.

But you don’t have to live with hair loss and you certainly don’t have to deal with it alone. For more information, contact the Belgravia Centre on 020 7730 6666 or send an email. The UK’s leading hair loss clinic has been treating hair loss including alopecia areata successfully for 15 years. Consultations and diagnosis are free and their expert trichological advice is also available online via the online diagnostic form.

In the meantime, take heed from Gail who says: “It is a big thing not having hair. But I’m still here, I’ve still got my health.”

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