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Ever looked at your parents and thought how lucky you were that they had a full head of hair only to realise that one day your own hair was starting to thin?

You might attribute your receding hairline to anything from stress, the horrible flu you had last month or even from wearing a cap every weekend, but unfortunately it’s still probably related to something a lot less controllable – your genes.

Areas of the scalp that can be affected by genetic hair loss male female pattern baldness men women

Areas of the scalp that can be affected by genetic hair loss in both men and women

Polygenetics of Pattern Hair Loss

Genetic hair loss is known as androgenetic alopecia but is often referred to as male pattern baldness or female pattern hair loss.

The biology of androgenetic alopecia is complex but if we’re talking basics, it involves an inherited sensitisation of genetically predisposed hair follicles to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The affected hair follicles gradually shrink and the hair life-cycle shortens which results in thinning hair. In some cases the follicle eventually ceases to produce hair, shuts down and becomes dormant.

Until fairly recently it was believed the genetic tendency toward hair loss came from a gene on the X chromosome inherited from the mother’s side of the family. However, whilst other studies have shown the propensity is more likely to be inherited from our fathers, androgenetic alopecia is actually a complex condition and most likely the result of effects from several genes.

Scientists confirmed the polygenetic theory with the discovery of two other genetic variants, completely unrelated to the gene on the X chromosome, which increase the risk of hair loss. Since then, additional genes thought to contribute to our likelihood of developing pattern hairloss have been discovered as researchers continue to learn more about human DNA.

The additional genes that have been identified can be inherited from either or both sides of the family; whilst there are no official figures for women, research following the discovery of the first two additional genes showed that one in seven men are at risk of inheriting all three genetic variants, effectively increase their risk of hair loss sevenfold.

Likelihood of developing genetic hair loss can increase with age

Androgenetic alopecia can start any time following puberty and up to half of the male population will be affected by the time they are 50 years of age. This figure jumps to 80% by the time men reach 70.

Almost half of all women will, at some point in their lives, experience some form of hair loss but there is no official figure for female pattern baldness specifically, though it is widely considered that the majority of women affected by androgenic alopecia may not notice any hair loss until menopause. It could be the drop in oestrogen levels at menopause that leave women more susceptible to the effects of testosterone but some scientists have also noted up to 30 different hormones could play a part in female pattern hair loss (as opposed to just DHT).

“The difference in figures is partly because women’s hormones are not as high as men’s,” says Leonora Doclis, senior trichologist at the Belgravia Centre. “But there was also an understanding that a woman would need to inherit the tendency from both sides of the family.”

One study showed that for women with female pattern hair loss, the incidence of androgenetic alopecia in immediate male relatives aged 30 years-old or over, was 54% and in female relatives older than 30, it was 21%.

The difference in the appearance of hair loss due to androgenetic alopecia between men and women is evident but not easily explained. DHT is an androgen (male sex hormone) but is produced by both men and women. Perhaps the fact that generally men produce more testosterone than women could explain the earlier onset and more extreme symptoms.

“This could be partly true but the specifics are unknown so experts have agreed to term them differently because, although they are both hereditary forms of hair loss, the patterns are so different,” Leonora notes.

“Men will notice defined areas are affected – such as a receding hairline, the formation of a bald patch on the top of the scalp and gradual thinning on the crown that could eventually lead to baldness. Women instead notice a gradual thinning all over the top of the scalp and a wider gap where the hair parts, but very rarely experience baldness.”

Luckily, for both men and women with hereditary hair thinning there are non-surgical hair loss treatments available, including MHRA licensed and FDA approved medications. These can be used alongside hair growth supporting products to help stimulate the follicles and encourage the maintenance of normal healthy hair growth.

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

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


Our hair is a pretty powerful indicator of our overall health. Hair loss is not simply a hereditary condition or a condition at all – it can be the symptom of a range of problems and the result of hormonal changes, poor diet and nutritional deficiencies, a variety of medications, surgery, and many medical conditions. When the body is in crisis, the hair cells can shut down to redirect energy elsewhere. One specific cause of severe hair loss is a thyroid condition.

thyroid related hair lossThe thyroid is an endocrine gland and responsible for producing hormones necessary for growth and proper metabolism. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are the result of hormonal dysfunctions and are responsible for causing severe early onset of hair loss in both men and women of all ages, however, it is interesting to note that diseases related to the thyroid are more common in women than in men.

“Thyroid hormones are metabolised in all tissues in the body, including the hair follicle,” Dr. Elena Dimitrova at the Belgravia Centre said. “It essentially works to create energy that builds cells in the body.”

Hyperthyroidism is the result of an excessive amount of thyroid hormone in a person’s system. It occurs approximately eight to ten times more often in women than in men, with women in their twenties and thirties the most commonly affected.

“The production of more hormones, or energy, than is required is essentially wasted and can be harmful to the cells, resulting in thinning on top of the scalp,” Dr. Dimitrova said.

Hypothyroidism on the other hand is when not enough hormones are produced. Again, women develop hypothyroidism more frequently than men (15 in every thousand females compared to one in every thousand men), and it is most often diagnosed in people between the ages of thirty and sixty.

“With an underactive thyroid, people may experience a change in all body hair, diffuse thinning and the hair may become thin and brittle.”

Genetic male and female pattern hair loss occurs when dihydrotestosterone (DHT, a chemical derivative of testosterone) shrinks the hair follicles and eventually causes them to disappear completely. Because of their strong association with hormone function, both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism encourage the conversion process of testosterone into DHT which accelerates hair loss in both men and women of all ages.

“Thyroid related hair loss does not make the roots disappear but they do get smaller,” Dr. Dimitrova said.

“Treatment for the thyroid condition will ultimately allow the hair to regrow naturally and gradually but sometimes minoxidil can be beneficial as a second-line treatment.

Minoxidil is a blood circulator and hair growth stimulant so it will promote quick regrowth and minimise the damage the condition can cause to the hair.”

Hyperthyroidism is often accompanied by apathy, depression, weight loss, and irregular heart-beats whilst hypothyroidism is often characterized by lethargy, menstrual imbalance and decreased metabolism. Ask your GP for a blood test immediately if you suspect the condition and consult a trichologist early on for advice about hair loss.

If you’re feeling concerned, contact the Belgravia Centre on 020 7730 6666 or email the centre to arrange a free consultation with a hair loss specialist. Early, monitored treatment can prevent severe hair loss from this condition.

(image courtesy of lepiaf.geo at flickr)

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hypnosis for hair lossHypnosis may play a beneficial role in the outcome of alopecia areata according to a study published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. Hypnotherapy is a holistic form of medicine thought to improve a person’s health from the inside and out.

“Not only is hypnotherapy beneficial for those suffering from hair loss, but it can even improve the patients’ conditions both physically and mentally,” the authors of the study wrote.

The study, which included 28 participants between 15 and 66 years of age with severe alopecia areata, were given hypnotherapy sessions every two to three weeks and asked to practice self-hypnosis exercises at least twice a week. They were monitored over a six month period but during that time seven participants dropped out of the study due to lack of motivation. Along with hypnosis therapy for hair re-growth, the participants were given therapy to help reduce stress.

The results showed a significant decrease in the stress and anxiety levels of all participants however only 12 of the 21 participants showed significant improvement in hair growth. Interestingly though this included four participants who had alopecia totalis.

“Results demonstrate that hypnotic interventions may ameliorate the clinical outcome of patients with alopecia areata and may improve their psychological well-being,” the authors concluded.

Hair loss is more dynamic than you might think. Even the healthiest individual with no evidence of hair loss in the family can be subjected to the devastation it can cause.  Alopecia areata is a highly unpredictable condition but has been linked to the presence of stressful events in the period 6 months up to one year before the outbreak of the disease and appears to be more prevalent in people who are less able to deal with stress.

Alopecia areata, a condition that affects about one person in every thousand, is an organ-specific autoimmune disease which means, for one reason or another, the hair follicles come under attack by the body’s own immune system. The result is sudden, patchy hair loss on the scalp or body, usually starting with one or more, round, smooth bald patches. In extreme cases it can lead to complete baldness of the scalp (alopecia totalis) or even loss of all body hair (alopecia universalis).

Many people can identify that an increased level of stress can cause a higher chance of experiencing hair loss. For those suffering from alopecia areata, it`s a vicious cycle. Not only can the cause be due to stress, but so can the side effects. Other than the physical loss of hair, alopecia areata doesn`t affect any other part of a person`s health, but it can be socially debilitating which is enough to cause even more severe distress.

Dr. Elena Dimitrova, hair and scalp specialist at the Belgravia Centre says stress management is an important part in the treatment of alopecia areata.

“It has been proven that a couple of sessions with a psychiatrist can be beneficial in the treatment of alopecia areata. Individual therapy can help to pin-point the trigger so that problem can be addressed and the condition can hopefully be reversed,” Dr. Dimitrova said.

“Hypnosis is used to insert some other ideas because when you’re subconscious you can accept ideas you otherwise might not. Hypnosis could possibly be beneficial as part of a treatment course program.”

However, the study revealed treatment was unsuccessful in nine participants and five of the 12 successful participants experienced severe relapses in the four month to four year follow up period.

“Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease. Stress compromises the autoimmune system but controlling stress may not be enough,” Dr. Drimitrova says.

“It is not harmful to try hypnosis but the main treatment for alopecia areata is steroid injections or MINOXIDIL.”

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Prevention is better than a cure they say but some conditions are not yet preventable. In such cases the best thing that can be done is to treat the condition early, that is, as soon as it shows the warning signals, and keep it under control. No one goes bald overnight, hair loss is a gradual condition and it shows the symptoms long before baldness exposes itself. Thinning hair may not seem to present a great concern but it could be a red flag that warns worse is yet to come.

Thinning hair is a precursor to various hair loss conditions, namely male and female pattern hair loss, and without treatment, thinning hair can eventually lead to baldness. Thinning hair is caused by the effects of DHT on the hair follicles but can sometimes be caused by other conditions. Effectively, the hair follicle gradually shrinks so as hair sheds (and 50 to 100 hairs a day is normal), the hair that grows to replace the lost hair is thinner than the hair before it.

Thinning hair can have a different outcome for men and women. Female hair thinning conditions are usually limited to diffuse hair loss where the increased rate of hair fall results in general thinning from all over the scalp. Men’s thinning hair will generally result in baldness without treatment, although this is not always the case and depends on the severity of the condition. Although most women with genetic thinning, diffuse hair loss or telogen effluvium will experience hair loss as well as thinning hair, women will not usually reach the point of complete baldness.

Thinning hair indicates that action to combat further hairloss is required now. A trichologist or hair loss specialist nurse will be able to give an informative diagnosis and let you know if there may be any underlying reasons for the hair loss. Sometimes, especially in women, thinning hair could be a symptom of a reversible hair loss condition. In any case, three FDA approved treatments for hair loss may be prescribed to treat the condition.

The treatments work to stop any further hair loss by blocking the formation of DHT to prevent the follicles from shrinking, increasing blood circulation to the scalp to dilate the hair follicle and allow much needed nutrients in to nourish the follicle and stimulate the follicles to accept the help they’re receiving and promote regrowth. In some cases hair supplements may be recommended. They will not prevent hair loss or make lost hair grow back but they will ensure that hair follicle receives adequate nutritional benefits to produce strong, healthy, and overall good quality hair.

Hair loss is not a condition that anyone needs to live with. If thinning hair is treated early, hair loss and baldness may well be preventable.

Find out about regrowing hair and preventing baldness by selecting the relevant links below…


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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.

If you want a hair loss product that offers a 100 percent proven, money back guaranteed solution, you will find one on the internet. But if you want a hair loss treatment that actually works, that’s another thing entirely.

Knowing which you can’t trust to be both safe and effective can be a minefield. Some may have testimonies from people purporting to be satisfied customers, with claims made of clinical testing and cheap, enticing offers but despite all this, the fact is that a lot of of what is sold on the internet is completely useless.

HairLoss Treatment Men and LasercombAnyone can currently make convincing allegations about fake hair loss products and get away with it on the internet because, unlike TV and print media who have to adhere to the Advertising Standards Authority, at the time of writing (February 2009) there are no strict rules and regulations regarding the advertising of such claims online.

Due to a lack of internet regulation, there is no law that states clinical evidence is needed to verify any claims made on the internet and even if there was such a law in the UK, websites can operate from anywhere in the world so fraudulent sites could still get away with false advertising.

Hair loss is a problem that needs effective treatment right at the outset to get the best results possible. With hundreds of different hair loss products and remedies floating about online it can be hard to know what or who to trust. Remember this – only products which have been tested over many years by reputable organisations should be considered.

Two medications have been officially recognised by the UK’s and USA’s medical regulatory bodies, being both MHRA licensed and FDA approved for the treatment of genetic hair loss – Male Pattern Baldness and Female Pattern Hair Loss. A low-lever laser therapy hair growth device has also received FDA-clearance.

These organisations are known to be among the strictest and most thorough regulatory authorities in the world and subject anything that is brought before them to testing for safety as well as tolerability and efficacy. Drugs that cannot be proven to work safely for their stated purpose are not allowed to be sold in pharmacies.

However this can be half the problem. A lot of hair loss sufferers would prefer to deal with the problem discreetly rather that discus the problem with a pharmacist at the counter. A confidential consultation with a trichologist or hair loss specialist at a reputable hair clinic will not only provide you with a professional diagnosis of your condition and a greater understanding about what it entails, but also personalised treatment recommendations. Furthermore, it can also give people worried about losing their hair peace of mind, knowing that there are real options out there and people who understand what they are going through. An online diagnosis is even available for those who are not able to travel to London hair loss clinics, following which suitable treatment can be arranged for collection or delivery.

There only two properly established MHRA licensed and FDA approved treatments for male pattern baldness: finasteride 1mg (oral) and minoxidil (topical) which have both demonstrated the necessary clinical trial data to acquire this coveted status. They can be used separately or in tandem by medically-suitable men and have complementary actions; Finasteride 1mg is taken as a one-a-day tablet which inhibits the formation of DHT – the key cause of the follicular miniaturisation which results in hereditary hair thinning and receding; high strength minoxidil is applied directly to the scalp in order to open up the potassium channels and promote blood flow in order to increase the flow of nutrients and oxygen to localised areas, in order to encourage healthy hair growth.

Though finasteride is for men only, minoxidil can also be used to treat women with Female Pattern Hair Loss.

The HairMax LaserBand devices are the most recent addition to the FDA’s recognised treatments for hair loss, having granted these wearable, home-use devices FDA clearance (‘approvals’ are granted to medications, whilst ‘clearance’ relates to devices). Though they may not be as effective at preventing baldness or stopping thinning hair as the clinically-proven medications, this low-level laser therapy product uses medical-grade lasers – 41 in the LaserBand 41 model, and 82 in the LaserBand 82 – to stimulate follicles on a cellular level into accelerated hair growth and inducing stronger, fuller hair. They can also be used alongside the topical and oral hair loss solutions outlined above.

If you use a hair loss product or remedy which has not been subjected to clinical testing by the MHRA and/or FDA there’s a good chance you are wasting your time – and money. Supplements, vitamins and changing your diet will not reverse the effects of genetic hair loss and it is highly unlikely to go away on its own. The sooner you act, the more likely these medically proven treatments will have an effect as the more advanced the hair loss gets, the longer it can take to treat.

The Belgravia Centre Hair Loss ClinicThe 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.

Hair loss can be a traumatic experience for women, but the good news is that in many cases thinning hair or hair loss is temporary.

hair loss womenTemporary conditions of hair loss predominantly affect women and will not usually affect men – one of the most common conditions is telogen effluvium, which is hair loss that can be caused by a number of factors including, illness, stress or shock.

With telogen effluvium, the hair will shed two to three months after the event that caused the hair loss, this is because the hair is passed from the growth (anagen) phase, to the resting (telogen) phase. The telogen phase of a hair’s life lasts for around three months before the hair sheds – explaining why the hair sheds three months later.

It is possible that telogen effluvium can trigger another form of women’s hair loss – female pattern hair loss, which is a permanent condition if left untreated, but there are treatments that can not only help to grow hair back from telogen effluvium, but can also help to prevent and reverse most forms of women’s hair loss including female pattern hair loss.

Belgravia’s hair loss experts always advise that you seek advice as soon as you notice any hair shedding. It is possible that your hair will grow back on its own, and it is also most likely that the correct treatments will assist this process, but it is also possible that the hair thinning could be progressive, resulting in irreversible hair loss without treatment. So the earlier you act the better.

More information: Female Hair Loss Treatments | Contacting The Belgravia Centre

Hair growth and hair shedding is a natural cycle, however, some events can interrupt the cycle and result in a temporary change in hair growth patterns. A lot of women will experience excessive hair loss after pregnancy but, in most cases, it shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

pregnancy-thinning-hairHormonal changes

When a woman becomes pregnant her body begins to undergo some very significant hormonal changes. One of the changes is an increase in oestrogen and progesterone production.

“Higher levels of female hormones will make the hair growth cycle longer but the resting stage will be very short,” says Dr. Elena Dimitrova, a hair and scalp specialist at the Belgravia Centre.

High levels of oestrogen cause some hair follicles to shift into the anagen (growth) phase of the cycle so an above average number of follicles are producing hair during this time. The increased oestrogens will also inhibit some follicles that are in the catagen (intermediary) phase so less hair is lost during this time.

“This is why during pregnancy a women’s hair grows faster and is strong, thick and beautiful,” Dr. Dimitrova says.

After the birth however, hormone levels start to get back to normal again and so does the hair. Because so many hairs are at the same growing phase, they will also enter the resting phase simultaneously which means you’ll notice above average hair thinning.

“The dramatic hormonal changes after birth can result in telogen effluvium up to 25 percent of hair can be lost which is quite significant,” Dr. Dimitrova says. But don’t panic, she adds, because it is a reversible condition which gradually corrects itself. “The hair growth cycle should balance out and return to its right proportion within six months.”

Reversing hair loss following pregnancy

Natural products such as tonics and supplements can improve telogen effluvium but according to Dr. Dimitrova, it is not known for certain whether the supplements speed up the process or if the condition solely corrects itself.

In some cases the temporary hairloss experienced after pregnancy may not right itself without effective treatment.

“If the condition hasn’t improved within six months it could be worth considering high strength minoxidil which has a stimulating effect,” she says. “This can help to accelerate the hair growth cycle.” A number of different formulations are available from Belgravia’s in-clinic pharmacies and can be used in addition to various hair growth boosters.

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Good nutrition is essential for healthy hair growth but unfortunately no one can cheat hair loss by swigging on the latest antioxidant-packed smoothie or snacking on super berries.  There is no single food that prevents hair loss, but it is a complex condition and nutrition can to a certain degree influence hair growth and the quality the hair.

You cannot discount nutritional influences on hair loss,” Leonora Doclis, senior trichologist at the Belgravia Centre says. “If a person’s diet is healthy it shows in the skin and hair.

foods-for-healthy-hair-growth“There is no conclusive evidence that any particular vitamin will prevent hair loss or make hair grow back, but if I had to say one food was beneficial for the hair it would be red meat. This is because it is the easiest absorbable source of iron.”

Hair is made up of long chains of amino acids but is comprised mostly of protein (91 percent in fact) so it makes sense that a diet rich in protein be recommended for healthy hair. The hair grows from follicles within the skin and at the base of the hair root, within the follicle, is the hair bulb where nutrients are received and new cells are formed.

Iron deficiencies can lead to hair loss,” Leonora states. This is because iron plays a key role in manufacturing haemoglobin, the part of the blood that carries oxygen to the body’s organs and tissues. When your scalp is getting a good flow of blood, the follicles are stimulated to allow other nutrients to be absorbed.

Some forms of hairloss that could be directly related to nutrition are telogen effluvium and diffuse hair loss. Thyroid, haemoglobin and hormonal problems are linked to diffuse hair loss and telogen effluvium, mostly seen in women, has been associated with diabetes and anaemia along with child birth, severe emotional stress, birth control pills, dieting drugs and thyroid problems.

Anorexia and extreme dieting where you lose more than two pounds per week is a shock to the system and can lead to diffuse hair loss or telogen effluvium,” Leonora explains. “It could even be a precursor to male or female pattern hair loss.”

Whilst male and female pattern hair loss are genetic conditions, any number of the factors listed above could act as a trigger to bring about the condition earlier than it might have. A blood test can be taken to determine if nutrition is an initiating factor in hair loss.

Even if there is a hereditary tendency toward hereditary hair loss I would recommend a blood test for certain people,” advises Leonora. “Particularly vegetarians, vegans, people who feel weak, teenagers, people in their early twenties and women.”

Belgravia Centre Hair Vitalics Food Supplements for Healthy HairOther vitamins that have been linked to healthy hair growth are biotin, sulphur, silica, zinc and B12. “They are all involved in the formation of hair growth so of course any deficiencies could affect hair growth,” confirms Leonora. “Studies have proven that protein and iron are beneficial to the hair’s quality. The rest is hearsay but you cannot discount it.

“If a blood test shows that a woman experiencing hair loss is anaemic, even if she has a tendency toward female pattern hair loss, they are most likely to solely blame the hair loss on an iron deficiency.” However, Leonora says a two-pronged approach is best if hairloss is associated with nutritional deficiencies.

Minoxidil and the LaserComb are FDA approved and cleared treatments for hair loss which stimulate blood flow so when combined with a new dietary approach or the use of supplements, the patient can receive maximum benefits.

If you’re not as healthy as you think you should be, or are concerned that your lifestyle may be contributing to your gradually thinning hair, consult an expert and get a proper diagnosis from a certified trichologist to determine what type of hair loss you’re experiencing.

Leonora cautions, “Don’t just blame the diet because it may be only one factor contributing to the bigger picture.”

circ - Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Clinic Laser TherapyThe Belgravia Centre

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

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If you were told a cheek swab could tell you whether or not you carry a baldness gene, would you take the test? More importantly, what would you do if it said you did carry the gene? A new product called “HairDX” claims to identify people that will experience androgenetic alopecia, before the symptoms arise.

This new genetic test kit, according to HairDX, can identify a genetic variant found in more than 95 percent of bald men. If the gene is present it would indicate a 60 percent chance of going bald by the age of 40. If it is not present, it would indicate an 85 percent chance of not going bald by the age of 40. It claims to effectively identify the absence or presence of an androgenic receptor gene.

woman-looking-in-miror for hair lossFor men, HairDX claims to identify the presence of the androgen receptor (AR) gene found on the X chromosome but not the two unrelated genetic variants on chromosome 20 that studies have also identified to increase the risk of male pattern baldness sevenfold. Research has shown that one in seven men will have all three genetic variants.

But the test says it is not just for men. For women it provides a CAG score which supposedly helps to analyse the risk of developing female pattern hair loss. A larger CAG score indicates a low occurrence and risk of female pattern hair loss. A smaller CAG score will indicate a greater likelihood of significant hair loss.

If you want to know what your odds are like, the test will set you back US$249. Someone will take a swab of the inside of your cheek and send the swab off to a lab to be analysed.

cotton-bud1Androgenetic alopecia, also known as male and female pattern hair loss, is a progressive condition. Generally, one third of men with this hereditary form of hair loss will experience thinning hair by the time they’re 40, but thinning can start anywhere from puberty. Current statistics show that up to 80 percent of men will be affected by androgenetic alopecia whilst roughly 40 percent of women will experience female pattern hair loss. However, because androgenetic alopecia is a multi-factorial condition (as in the gene is present but may not generate any symptoms until something, such as hormones, sets it off), most women won’t notice any hair loss until they reach menopause.

There are a few ancient methods of diagnosing hairloss such as a scalp biopsy, where a piece of scalp is taken to be analysed, or a unit area trichogram, where 50 to 100 hairs are plucked from different parts of the scalp and the follicles examined to determine the percentage of hair in anagen (growth), catagen (transitional) and telogen (resting) stages of hair growth. “Ten percent should be on the resting stage,” says Leonora Doclis, senior trichologist at the Belgravia Centre. “Any higher than that and it would indicate telogen effluvium.”

“A scalp biopsy is sometimes used to see if the follicles are scarred or degenerating,” Leonora says. “Trichograms are not very popular as most people worried about hair loss don’t want to part with any extra hair.”

The easiest and still effective option is a visual examination and consultation with a trichologist who can generate a diagnosis based on medical knowledge and non-intrusive methods. “Pattern hair loss is a multi-factorial condition but it is relatively easy to determine the genetic tendencies,” Leonora says.

man checking for hair lossIn majority of cases, people tend to notice hair loss when there is thinning of about 20 percent of hair. “Some people are in denial,” Leonora says. “They realise they’re losing hair long before they decide to do anything about it.”

Perhaps the genetic tool kit would shorten the phase of denial if it were in fact a 100 percent guaranteed crystal ball. Still, if hair loss is not occurring, there is not much point taking drugs and treatment to prevent it, even if the genetic tendency is present.

There are plenty of supplements that attest to being able to prevent baldness and regrow hair which would, essentially, be relatively safe to use. Most are simply herbal remedies that will make the hair stronger and healthier but will in no way interfere with the genetic mechanisms of hair growth. There are only three hair loss treatments that actually work, that is, they have been approved by the FDA and scientifically proven to prevent hair loss and regrow hair.

“It’s a case of ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’,” Leonora says. “Even preventative treatment is not beneficial if there is no evidence of receding or thinning.”

The best option remains – if you start to notice thinning, seek professional trichological advice and be assured that you’re getting the best advice and the best treatment possible. Even if you do wallow around in the denial phase for some time you’re likely to see some good results.

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What Are the Causes of Hair Loss in Women?If you had the power to stop and reverse your hair loss, would you? Hair loss is a common issue that can hold a different meaning for every individual.

There are lots of men who will be happy to tell you that baldness is a sign of virility or even that, “Bald is beautiful!” Very few women however are not distressed if they experience excessive hair loss and many cover it up with hairstyles, makeup, hats or scarves.

Others choose medications – particularly in the case of female pattern hair loss which is a permanent condition but can usually be easily be managed with on-going treatment– or hair replacement systems, or sometimes even surgical procedures to deal with the problem.

However not all forms of hair loss are permanent. So how do you know when and if you should do something about it?

Let’s take a look at some of the temporary conditions and what can be done to correct them.

Temporary Hair Loss:

Chronic Telogen Effluvium / Diffuse Thinning

Diffuse thinning is frequently seen in women. It is not the type of hair loss where you wake up in the morning and your hair is gone. Rather it is the kind that sees extra hairs in your comb, a few more in the sink and will eventually cause your hair to become noticeably thinner each time you look in the mirror.

Chronic Telogen Effluvium, as diffuse hair loss is also known, results in a general thinning all over the scalp and a detailed clinical history must be taken as there are a number of factors that could be linked to the condition. Diet should be checked for adequate intake of nutrients, clinical investigations should be made for thyroid, haemoglobin and hormonal problems; stress may also be a contributing factor.

Treatment for Diffuse Thinning once the underlying cause has been identified and dealt with, has produced many encouraging regrowth results as can be seen in our Success Stories.

Telogen effluvium

Telogen effluvium is a form of diffuse hair loss many women experience, especially after giving birth. It can be brought on by emotional distress, such as a death in the family, or after a physical stress, such as a high fever, sudden or excessive weight loss, nutritional deficiencies, surgery, or serious illness. It causes thinning hair all over the whole scalp.

Normally, the hair goes through cycles of growth (lasting about two or three years) and rest (lasting about three or four months). During anagen (growth), hair grows about half an inch each month and when it reaches telogen (rest), the hair strand falls out and a new one grows in its place. Most people shed 50 to 100 hairs per day and this amount of hair loss is considered normal and does not cause noticeable thinning of the scalp hair.

However telogen effluvium causes the timing of the resting (telogen) phase to be reset. A couple of months later, too many strands fall out at the same time resulting in overall hair thinning and the sufferer who by this stage, may find it difficult to pin-point a cause, is left in a panic. Hair typically grows back once the condition that caused the hair loss corrects itself, but it can takes months.

If the stress was a one-off, then telogen effluvium will often correct itself,Leonora Doclis, senior hair loss specialist at The Belgravia Centre’s flagship clinic notes. “However, treatment for the loss of hair can help to minimize the damage, particularly if there is a tendency toward female pattern hair loss, whilst the body is dealing with the crisis.”

Other Causes of Hair Loss in Women

There are a number of things that can prompt increased shedding and affect the condition of the hair, such as having inadequate protein or iron in your diet. This is often seen with fad diets, crash diets, and illnesses, such as eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia.

Illnesses like diabetes and lupus can also cause hair loss as a side effect, as can some prescription medications used to treat a number of unrelated health issues including gout, arthritis, depression, heart problems and high blood pressure. Taking birth control pills also may result in hair loss for some women.

Causes of Baldness

Instead of thinning, some people develop bald patches.

Traction Alopecia

This can occur if you regularly wear certain hairstyles, such as ponytails, braids, dreadlocks or if you use tight rollers. Hair loss typically occurs where hair is pulled tightly but if the pulling is stopped before there is scarring of your scalp and permanent damage to the root, hair usually grows back normally. The problem is that when the hair starts to thin, most people cover it with weaves or add hair extensions until the condition gets so bad that very little can be done.

If the hair starts to thin and becomes an issue for the person, instead of adding artificial coverage they should consult a professional,” Leonora recommends. “At least that way they can be educated on hair styling if that is what the problem is.”

The hair loss may also be linked to female pattern hair loss in which case it’s best to catch as early as possible. “If the follicles have shriveled and the area has gone smooth, then it’s very unlikely the condition can be reversed,” Leonora explains. Treatment for Traction Alopecia is available and a personalised plan can be formulated to address simultaneous hair loss conditions should two, or more, be present at the same time.

Traction alopecia should not be confused with trichotillomania, which is a obsessive condition in which people have an irresistible urge to pull out their hair, from their scalp, their eyebrows or other areas of their body. Hair pulling from the scalp often leaves them with patchy bald spots on their head, which they may go to great lengths to disguise. No specific cause has been found for trichotillomania but psychiatrists regard trichotillomania as a psychological disorder and treatment will usually involve therapy. Trichotillomania sufferers have also been known to eat the hair that they pull out – this is a condition called Trichophagia.

Alopecia Areata

In alopecia areata, hair loss usually occurs in small, round, smooth patches on the scalp, but hair loss can crop up on any area that has hair, including the eyebrows, eyelashes and beard. It is a condition that might cure itself or might progress, possibly even leading to complete baldness over the head (alopecia totalis) or even over the whole body (alopecia universalis), however both of these cases are extremely rare. No-one knows much about what causes alopecia areata but it is classified as an autoimmune condition and can be triggered by stress.  People who develop the condition are generally in good health but some may have other autoimmune disorders such as a thyroid condition.

They are of similar nature, so the genetic tendency is always there,” Leonora says. “For instance, psoriasis is a condition where the immune system attacks the skin, but in alopecia it’s the hair.”

The hair will frequently grow back by itself with no treatment or if not there are effective Alopecia Areata treatments that help to regrow hair lost from moderate cases of patchy hair loss.

The rule of thumb is that if it hasn’t grown back in six months, then it’s time to consider treatment,” Leonora advises.

Effective Treatment for Hair Loss

Minoxidil DropperMost of the time, in the conditions mentioned above, the situation will correct itself and the hair loss will stop. Unfortunately however, this is not always the case and the problem won’t go away by simply combing and pinning the hair to hide the loss or wearing a headscarf.

There are plenty of miracle cures on the shelves to choose from but there only two options (for women) that are clinically proven, and approved by the FDA, to be the best hair loss treatment products. These are of course minoxidil and the HairMax LaserComb.

Whilst not a proven treatment for hair loss, it is usually recommended that women use a herbal supplement to complement one or more of the proven treatments. A supplement will supply the body with a number of vitamins, minerals and nutrients to ensure healthy hair growth. No supplement has been proven to effectively stop hair loss or generate new growth but they work to improve the strength and quality of the hair.

The effective treatment of female hair loss requires a combined approach that tackles all possible causes. A professional treatment course aimed at halting the shedding and encouraging regrowth should start with a diagnosis of the problem by a hair loss specialist nurse along with a discussion and a search for contributory lifestyle and health factors. On-going monitoring and advice is important so that progress can be checked and the treatment can be adjusted if necessary. With a combined, professional programme, women’s hair loss can often be stopped and often reversed.

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.

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