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Rebecca Brown Trichotillomania The Belgravia Centre20-year-old Rebecca Brown has become a global Internet star after publicising an online video diary discussing a rare hair loss condition that affects her. Rebecca experiences an impulse-control disorder known as trichotillomania, which sees her unable to stop the urge to pull her own hair out.

Rebecca first got the idea for publishing a diary about living with the condition after her own research revealed a lack of good quality information online about the condition. Speaking to the Daily Mail she explained, “I decided to upload my own, no-holds-barred video.”

A long-term issue

In her video diary, Rebecca explains how a fondness for playing with her hair as a young child developed into something far more serious. By the age of 12 she had graduated to pulling her hair out at the roots, leaving her almost completely bald by the age of 16.

During that period doctors incorrectly diagnosed the condition as a bad case of ‘fidgeting’. Rebecca’s classmates at school also continually taunted and teased her about her appearance. Eventually Rebecca became so disillusioned with the bald patches that she had her head shaved.

Regrowth on two fronts

To her surprise, the response to the video diary has been overwhelmingly supportive, with Rebecca even being invited to speak at a hair loss conference in the US. Her videos have received over 12 million views on YouTube and she now has to spend three hours each week responding to fan mail.

The interest in her video diary has had a marked effect on Rebecca’s self-image; she now claims to be far more self-confident. And with the return of her confidence, her hair has also begun growing back.

Trichotillomania remains relatively rare, with just 4 people in 100 affected by it. Trichotillomania is commonly thought of as a female hair loss condition, although some men also experience hair loss as a result of the condition – usually from their beards, moustaches and chest however. Trichotillomaniacs often report that pulling their hair gives some form of psychological release, helping to reduce tension and stress.

Belgravia Centre New Street

As of today, The Belgravia Centre is thrilled to announce the opening of our brand new, purpose built clinic at 8 New Street, just a minute’s walk from Liverpool St Station. We are now taking bookings from those who would like a free consultation to determine the best course of treatment for their hair loss, and also existing clients who find our new clinic more convenient than our Victoria premises, which will continue to operate alongside our new Liverpool Street location.

New phone number: 0207 444 4000

Address: 8-9 New Street, City of London, EC2M 4TP

Directions: From Liverpool Street Station, use the Bishopsgate exit and New Street is right opposite. Cross the road, walk down New Street and you will see us a few hundred yards down on the left.

Click here to book an appointment online, and to find a map and further details about both clinics.

Call or message us to book a free initial consultation, to arrange an appointment with your hair loss specialist to check your progress, or if you just want to come and have a nosy at our brand spanking new clinic!

Below are a few pictures to give you an idea of how great it all looks inside. We hope you’ll visit very soon.

Belgravia Centre New Street Clinic - City of London


Maisie Going for the Chop The Belgravia Centre

Maisie’s ponytail at the ‘chopping moment’

10 year old Maisie Reynolds of Murton, Country Durham, has selflessly donated several inches of her hair to a national hair losscharity.

Schoolgirl Maisie was motivated to make her donation after witnessing her grandmother Christine wearing wigs during her battle with breast cancer, and has now given her twelve inch plait to The Little Princess Trust, an organisation which provides real hair wigs to children undergoing chemotherapy, as well as those experiencing other hair loss conditions such as the auto-immune condition Alopecia Areata.

“I’m really excited because I really want to donate my hair,” Maisie said before her haircut. “My nana had cancer and I want to help others.”

Maisie’s kind gesture has not only helped others but inspired others to follow in her footsteps – her cousin, Jordan Emmerson, is now also planning to donate her own hair to the charity. In addition to this, Tracey Fletcher, the owner of Revive Hair and Beauty, where Maisie’s hair was cut, is offering an incentive for even more people to get involved. “If [customers] are willing to donate at least seven inches, we won’t charge them for the haircut,” she declared. Tracey herself has been involved with the Little Princess Trust’s work since she received a letter at her salon saying that they were struggling to generate donations, and has been promoting the charity on her salon’s Facebook page, where she says it has received “quite a lot of interest.”

Maisie’s hair will undoubtedly be a huge help to the work of the Little Princess Trust. Since the creation of the charity in 2006, they have provided more than 1,200 children throughout the UK and Ireland with bespoke, high quality wigs, and continue to campaign for more volunteers to emulate Maisie’s kind gesture and donate their hair (or their time and efforts) to the cause.

Charity manager Monica Glass commented: “On behalf of everyone connected with the Little Princess Trust, I would like to thank Maisie for choosing to support the charity in this way. It is truly heartening to hear of someone so young thinking of others first … I am sure her family and friends are very proud of her and rightly so. This donation will help us to provide even more wigs to children that have sadly lost their own hair.”

The Belgravia Centre sponsors and supports The Little Princess Trust in their endeavours, and we would like to congratulate Maisie on her efforts and encourage others to follow in her footsteps. If you would like to find out more about the charity and how you can show your support, visit the Little Princess Trust website for further details.

Little Princess Trust

Pink Car Rally The Belgravia CentreThe Little Princess Trust, a hair loss charity supported by The Belgravia Centre, is set to benefit from another unusual fund raising effort this August. Having already won a Queens Award earlier in the year, the Little Princess Trust stands to have its profile raised further thanks to a special rally travelling across the length of mainland Great Britain.

For the fifth year running, a convoy of pink cars will travel from John O’Groats, the most northerly tip of Scotland, to Lands End, the most southerly point of England. As the name suggests, the Pink Car Rally will be made up entirely of pink vehicles with drivers obtaining sponsorship from local people and businesses as they pass through.

Among the unusual vehicles taking part is a Steed pick-up made by Chinese car manufacturer Great Wall.

Cars for cash for wigs

The Little Princess Trust provides real-hair wigs to children who have lost hair through cancer treatments or as a result of autoimmune disorders like Alopecia Areata. Since its foundation in 2006, the Little Princess Trust has given away more than 1100 wigs to children.

Real hair wigs are costly, running at around £350 each, but the confidence boost provided by the hairpieces is priceless. Both children and families gain a psychological boost from receiving something as simple as a wig. This year, the Little Princess Trust hopes to give away a record number of 500 wigs to boys and girls and raise £10,000 in charitable donations.

Because of the delicate nature of the wigs’ construction (each strand of real hair is hand sewn onto a membrane base), the hairpieces have a lifespan of just four to six months. As a result, there is a constant need to create new funds in order for the Little Princess Trust to continue donating wigs.

An eye-catching display to raise awareness

Although the Pink Car Rally is intended to raise funds for the Little Princess Trust, participants are also keen to raise awareness of childhood hair loss issues. By drawing attention to conditions like Alopecia Areata, drivers and charity workers hope to reduce the stigma associated with hair loss and prevent those affected from feeling marginalised or self-conscious.

The team at The Belgravia Centre wish the drivers in the Pink Car Rally all the best in their journey and hope they reach their ambitious fund raising target. We also look forward to continuing our support for The Little Princess Trust and the children with whom they work. If you would like to make your own contribution to the work of The Little Princess Trust, please visit their website here.

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Diet food the belgravia centreIf like most people you’ve overdone it with the Christmas food and booze this festive season, you may well be considering a diet to shift those extra holiday pounds and inches.

But if you’re adopting a planned diet that involves cutting out certain foods, or even  a detox plan that requires you to forgo most foods for a set period of time, you should first be aware of the nutrients your hair needs to stay healthy and strong.

Could a fad diet be a risk to your hair?

Because hair is constantly growing and refreshing itself, it requires a steady stream of nutrients, to act as building blocks and to facilitate the actual process of hair growth. If you reduce your dietary intake of certain foods, you may cut off your hair’s supply of these vital nutrients. Over time, this can lead to hair which is brittle and prone to breakage, or may even result in hair loss.

The nutrients that the body needs to fulfil functions such as hair growth can be divided into vitamins and nutrients. As a general rule, a healthy balanced diet which contains lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and other sources of protein should provide all the nutrients your hair needs to stay healthy. But here is a rough guide to the some of the specific nutrients needed for healthy hair, and the foods in which contain them.

Nutrients required for good hair health

Vitamin A – Essential for growth and functioning of cells, such as hair follicles. Common sources include eggs, milk, carrots and potatoes.

Vitamin B6, B12 – Required to keep haemoglobin levels in the blood at normal levels. Haemoglobin is important for hair growth as it carries oxygen in the blood   to where it is needed. Common sources include fish, milk, cheese, eggs, poultry and cereals.

Folic Acid (B9) – another crucial nutrient for red blood cell production. Found in beans, leafy vegetables, rice and cereals.

Iron– Low levels of Iron in the body have been linked to hair loss and poor hair health. Iron is also involved in haemoglobin production. Good sources for hair health include red meat and some fish.

Vitamin C – Needed for collagen production, a vital substance in the body which keeps tissues healthy and supple.

While not a comprehensive list, this should demonstrate the negative effect that crash diets or a lengthy detox can have on the hair.

Eat smart for healthy hair

When the body detects that it is running short of certain nutrients, it will do whatever it can to keep vital processes running and maintain the internal organs. In order to do this, it may redirect resources from less crucial parts of the body… such as the hair. This is why your hair may suffer the most if you deprive your body of certain food groups.

If you’ve suffered hair loss which you think may be related to your diet, The Belgravia Centre can help. We have effective pharmaceutical treatments which can help to re-grow hair, and our own Hair Vitalics nutritional supplement which contains many of the vitamins and minerals needed for optimal hair health. View our large collection of regularly updated hair loss success stories to see the levels of regrowth that so many men and women see.

To find out more, contact us for a consultation or fill in our online diagnostic form for a convenient home treatment course which can be sent anywhere in the world.

Interesting articles

Rapid Weight Loss in Men – Can it Cause Hair Loss?

Celebrity Popstars Suffer Hairloss as a Result of Extreme Dieting

Renee Zellweger at Risk of Hair Loss?

Anyone looking for proof that hair loss can affect individuals from all walks of life need look no further than Miss Delaware 2010.

Kayla Martell has been in the news in America a lot recently, and was this month nominated as one of news network CNN’s ‘Breakthrough Women’. Since winning the Miss Delaware beauty pageant in June of this year, Ms. Martell has used her position and new found fame to highlight the issue of alopecia and female hair loss.

Kayla Martell Alopecia AreataBeauty queen shuns wig to highlight Alopecia Areata

At the age of 10, the beauty queen began losing her hair due to Alopecia Areata, a form of hair loss which is thought to be caused by a defect in the human immune system, and by the age of 18 she had lost virtually all her hair and began wearing a wig.

But this did not deter her from competing in the Miss Delaware Pageant five times, twice without a wig.  In her most recent pageant Ms. Martell wore a blonde wig, which it seems was a hit with the judges. But since winning the pageant she has shed the wig once more for interviews and public appearances, to raise awareness of Alopecia and the people it affects.

In January 2011 she will compete in the Miss America competition against fellow beauty queens from throughout the United States, and a victory would make her the first ever bald Miss America.

Speaking to Fox News, the 22 year old said, “I hope to show people that beauty comes in all different kinds of packages. No beauty queen should fit into a box and look like a Barbie every time they wake up and none of us do, as you know. So I hope to show people that you are beautiful and whatever makes you different, you should embrace it.

Alopecia Areata: Causes and Treatments

The precise causes of Alopecia Areata remain unknown, but it has been hypothesised that it is the result of the individual’s own immune system attacking healthy hair follicles. It often affects children and young adults, and according to NHS statistics it is present in roughly two percent of the population. In some cases it can develop into other forms of Alopecia, such as Alopecia Totalis, in which all hair is lost from the scalp, and Alopecia Universalis, the complete loss of all head and body hair.

It is possible to treat Alopecia Areata, but this is only usually effective if caught early and before extensive hair loss has taken place.

The Belgravia Centre’s treatment for the condition utilises a number of formulas and techniques to promote hair re-growth. A high strength minoxidil is often used to increase blood flow to the scalp and open up potassium channels. This is then combined with other hair growth boosters such as ‘Hair Vitalics’, Belgravia’s daily herbal supplement, and clinical treatments to maximise hair regrowth.

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.

TrichotillomaniaTrichotillomania is psychological condition which it is estimated affects roughly 1% of the UK population. It describes the repetitive and habitual pulling out and plucking of hair on the head, eyelashes, eyebrows and other areas of the body. Sufferers of trichotillomania are often secretive about their condition, and will sometimes go to great lengths to conceal areas of hair loss.

Many are unaware that they are doing it at the time, and are often unable to control or stop the habit without professional help. Due to the highly noticeable nature of bald spots and on the scalp and bare eyelashes, many sufferers feel embarrassed and may even avoid social contact for fear of humiliation. Furthermore, long-term regular bouts of hair-pulling can result in permanent follicle damage that is irreversible.

Yet trichotillomania is still not widely understood by GP’s and psychologists, the general attitude by GPs to their patients tends to be insensitive, expecting sufferers to be able to stop on their own. This blunt approach usually does nothing to help the patient’s condition, or their self confidence, and reveals a general ignorance in the medical profession. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a technique that can help trichotillomania, but the NHS is generally against recommending such treatments. CBT is a psychological therapeutic technique used to change behaviour and engrained emotional disorders.

Trichotillomania cartoonTreatments for Trichotillomania

A range of treatments for trichotillomania are available, including medication in the form of anti-depressants and psychological treatment, but none are effectively medically proven to work.

As well as tackling the root psychological and behavioural causes of Trichotillomania, it is necessary to take steps to reverse the damage already done and restore the affected areas of hair to normal health. Even after the condition has ceased, bald spots and uneven patches of hair can remain. However it is important to note that until the habit itself is cured, conventional hair loss treatments will be of little use. This would be akin to throwing wood onto a fire in an attempt to put it out.

There are various techniques used that can help to kick the habit of trichotillomania. For more information please visit our trichotillomania page.

Hair loss can affect anyone at any time, including those in the public eye. Here we look at some of our favourite celebrities who’ve suffered hair loss, and how they’ve dealt with the situation.

Following a series of personal traumas, TV presenter Gail Porter developed Alopecia Universalis, a severe form of hair loss, in 2005. Just four weeks after noticing clumps of hair beginning to fall out, Porter found herself completely bald, and lost her eyebrows and eyelashes; a difficult situation for anyone, let alone a known beauty who was famous for having her full length picture projected across the Houses of Parliament.

Porter used her condition to raise awareness of female hair loss, refusing to wear a hat or wig and maintaining her public profile. She also worked with several charities (including the Little Princess Trust) which help sufferers of hair loss from childhood onwards. Her hair began to re-grow around late 2009, and she now has around 80% hair growth on her scalp, which is styled into a cute crop.

Porter was nominated for a bravery award for her work promoting awareness of Alopecia and female hair loss, but refused saying ‘“I’m not being ungrateful, but I’ve not got cancer, I’ve not saved anyone’s life. My hair’s fallen out. I’ve just gone out without a hat on. It’s no big deal.”

Tennis legend Andre Agassi had a much harder time dealing with hair loss, at one stage, wearing a disintegrating wig in a Grand Slam final to hide his condition. The star, famous in his early years for a luscious mullet hairstyle, developed male pattern baldness in his early 20s, a condition possibly aggravated by his admitted drug use throughout those years.

In his recent auto-biography ‘Open’ he describes how losing his hair affected him saying “Every morning I would get up and find another piece of my identity on the pillow, in the wash basin, down the plughole.”  Following his defeat in his first Grand Slam final at the French Open in 1990, which he partly attributed to fear that his damaged wig would fall off on court, Agassi’s then-wife Brooke Shields suggested he shave his head, which he did three days later.

Agassi has gone on record stating that he did look into ways of retaining his hair, but surgery was not suitable, and the French Open defeat had highlighted the risks of living with a hairpiece.

The effective hair loss treatments available today were not yet discovered at that time, otherwise hair loss may not have been a problem for Agassi. Proven treatments are now available that, if used correctly and combined with the optimum hair growth boosters and close monitoring, will result in hair regrowth for the majority of users. To get a better idea you can view hundreds of ‘hair loss success stories‘ to see the kind of results that so many people experience.

Agassi went on to become the only male player of the modern era to win a career super slam, taking all four open titles, the Olympic gold and World Championships in one year, but unfortunately one thing he couldn’t win back was his hair.

Lindsay Lohan Hair Popular hair straightening salon treatment Brazilian Blowout became the centre of a lawsuit last week after stylist Kimberley Ryley filed a civil action against the company in America. Her decision was sparked by a recent Health Canada warning that was issued against the product after it was found to contain 12 per cent formaldehyde, 60 times the legal limit for cosmetics, and a potential trigger for hair loss.

The treatment, popular with celebrities including Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Richie and Lindsay Lohan, de-frizzes hair making it easier to straighten and minimising the need for blow drying or styling over the 12 week period that follows treatment. To achieve this ‘wash and wear’ hair, a treatment of up to 90 minutes is necessary, where hair is washed, treated with the Brazilian Blowout solution and then flat-ironed. The treatment is only available in salons.

However, following a series of complaints from users of Brazilian Blowout, with symptoms including runny nose, burning eyes, and hair loss; Health Canada launched a full investigation into the reputedly formaldehyde-free product. Following a series of laboratory tests, which appeared to show exceptionally high formaldehyde levels, they issued a full warning on 7th October.

This was quickly followed by the Oregon Health and Science University’s Centre for Research on Occupational and Environment Toxicology’s (Oregon OSHA) release the following day recommending all stylists administering the treatment wear protective clothing and ensure clients are fully informed about the risks.

The news attracted the eye of Kimberley Ryley, a hair-stylist who frequently applies Brazilian Blowout to clients’ hair, and has a history of ill-effects following each treatment. Upon hearing the news, she launched a class action lawsuit against the company which has since received emails from over 200 stylists and product users who wish to be included in the suit.

Nicole Richie HairIt’s quite a blow for the ‘formaldehyde-free’ product; although it is unclear whether the potentially toxic levels of formaldehyde are permanently present in the solution or created when heat is applied, through straightening or blow drying. As both of these steps are necessary to use the product, if either claim is found to be true, Brazilian Blowout could also find itself facing a lawsuit for international deceit.

Brazilian Blowout’s response so far has been vehement denial. When the news first broke, they suggested that Health Canada had perhaps mislabelled a chemical present in the solution as the hair-loss culprit formaldehyde. They have also commissioned an air monitoring study in a typical salon environment. This took place on 9th October and appeared to show safe levels of formaldehyde in the atmosphere when treatments were performed. A press statement of the results followed soon afterwards. Interestingly, the company does not deny formaldehyde is created during use, only that the levels emitted are not toxic.

This debate looks to be ongoing for a while, and will require extensive research on both sides of the case to prove or disprove the potential dangers of the treatment. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see if our favourite poker-locked stars start sporting a curlier look to avoid the threat of hair loss.

A Channel 4 documentary series featuring provocative work from up-and-coming directors has followed three women living with trichotillomania, an impulse control disorder that causes people to pull out their own hair, often to the point of baldness.

‘First Cut: Girls on the Pull’ is available to view online on Channel 4’s on demand service at http://www.channel4.com/programmes/4od

Trichotillomania affects up to 3% of people suffering from hair loss, and is ten times more common in women. It frequently starts around the onset of puberty, although it can affect any age group. Individuals will tug, twist or pull out their hair unconsciously or habitually, and stress, boredom or anxiety can act as triggers. Many will also chew or eat the hair, a condition known as trichophagia, and this can lead to digestive problems.

It is thought that hair pulling may come from a desire to exert control over one area of life. Hypnotherapy or cognitive behavioural therapy may help sufferers to learn how to interrupt the impulse and thereby overcome the condition.

Some people find that stimulants such as sugar, alcohol and caffeine increase the urge to hair pull, and reducing intake of these can make the physical urge more manageable. There is also anecdotal evidence to suggest that the amino acid NAC (N-acetylcysteine), which occurs naturally in foods such as chicken, eggs and broccoli, may help alleviate the condition, although more research is needed.

There is some evidence to suggest that there may be a genetic component to trichotillomania, as research has discovered that it is often found in families where members have other impulse control disorders such as OCD, addictions or Tourette’s syndrome.

People living with trichotillomania may choose to combine therapy with hair restoration treatment, to improve the appearance and boost self-confidence. If the hair follicles are still functional it is possible to promote regrowth, using clinically proven medications. At the Belgravia Centre we also find non-surgical hair replacement to be a very successful treatment for the condition, as it not only covers up the appearance of any bald patches but stops the sufferer from picking at the area, which can help to get the habit under control.

If you have any concerns about trichotillomania, or any other hair loss condition, we recommend you discuss it with one of our experienced specialists, who can assess your condition and recommend a suitable treatment programme. To book a free consultation, call 020 7730 6666 or send us a message with any enquiry you might have. Alternatively, if you can’t get to the London centre, you can complete the online diagnostic form and an advisor will be happy to contact you to discuss treatment options.