In between work, Pilates, social and family commitments, hair problems are the last thing a woman wants to deal. But the info and tips below will help you confront a range of common problems from dryness to hair loss, so you can banish them from interfering with your schedule, not to mention your self-confidence.
There’s a difference between thin hair and thinning hair. Some people are born with smaller hair follicles than others, and subsequently, finer hair. There’s no way to increase the thickness of each hair shaft, but shampoos designed for thin hair can add a temporary boost to naturally fine hair. On the other hand, they won’t do much good for women who, over a period of time, start to notice a decrease in hair density.
Gradual thinning could be due female pattern hair loss, a condition that causes the follicles to shrink and the hair growth cycle to shorten, thus resulting in finer, shorter hair growth. Minoxidil is the most commonly prescribed treatment – and the only clinically proven and medically approved one – for this problem. Although, the results achieved are dependent on the dosage and some women can improve their results and achieve thicker, healthier growth by incorporating appropriate hair growth boosters.
Excessive Hair Fall
There are two main reasons for excess hair loss in women. If you can pinpoint a stressful event that happened about three months ago it’s likely you’re experiencing telogen effluvium. It’s a reactive form of hair loss, particularly common after childbirth, where physical or emotional stress leads to a number of hairs passing from the growing stage to the resting stage, resulting in above average hair fall about three months later. The growth cycle usually returns to normal not long after but if hair does not grow back, there may be other underlying problems and you should consult a hair loss specialist.
Another common problem is diffuse hair loss. It’s a condition triggered by nutritional or hormonal imbalances that could be a result of anything from anaemia to thyroid problems, or bulimia to polycystic ovarian syndrome. The root problem needs to be addressed if the hair is to go back to normal, but hair loss treatments can often help to minimise the damage, particularly if there’s a tendency to female pattern hair loss, while the body recovers from the crisis.
If you’re hair is more straw than silk, you may want to avoid blow-dryers, straighteners, colorants and relaxers. Easier said than done though, right? So, to “help” prevent damage, use thermal protectors when applying heat, use conditioners with UV protectors when in the heat, blow-dry hair on the cool setting and never until completely dry, and use a no ammonia hair colour when dying. You also might want to consider a hair supplementto strengthen and nourish hair from the root. In emergencies, have an intensive conditioning treatment regularly, use glossers to make it “look” sheen, and when styling use a flexible gel and a couple of drops of mineral oil for a healthy and natural “looking” finish.
An oily scalp is often hereditary but overuse of products, or use of the wrong ones for your hair type, can leave it looking slick, limp and stringy. Avoiding this and sticking to products for your hair type will minimise oiliness but for greasy hair types, there are ways to keep it under control.
Perspiration exacerbates oily hair so shower after excising wash hair daily to avoid sebum (oil) build-up. Keep conditioner away from the scalp and concentrated on the ends of the hair. Avoid unnecessary touching or hair brushing which can stimulate sebum production, and wear your hair in an updo to prevent oil migrating from your face and neck. If seborrhoeic dermatitis becomes a problem, contact a hair and scalp specialist for appropriate treatment.
The only white flakes we like to see on our shoulders is snow but dandruff is a common, albeit embarrassing, problem that can cause dryness and itching or greasiness and scaling of the scalp. There is no cure but daily washing with shampoos that contain salicylic acid, selenium sulfide, sulfur, pyrithione zinc and coal-tar, with thorough rinsing is often recommended to control the problem. Avoiding refined carbohydrates and sugars may also help, as well as including silica and B vitamins in your diet. In cases of persistent dandruff, consult a hair and scalp specialist for appropriate treatment.
You’ve got to love Mum and Dad. Like most hair problems, greying is also genetically determined. Although it’s natural for women to grey as they age, excessive stress, smoking, certain medical conditions and nutritional deficiencies can get the ball rolling sooner. While no medicine, diet, herb, supplement or natural product can prevent or reverse greying hair, progressive hair colorants which only affect your grey hair are available to mask its appearance. If there is a sudden and rapid change in the pigment of your hair, it may be an indication that something else is going on, in which case you should consult your doctor for a check-up.
If you’d like more information from the UK’s leading hair loss and scalp care specialists, call us on 020 7730 6666 or send an email. The Belgravia Centre also provides an online diagnostic service for those who can’t visit the London centre, allowing world-wide access to expert advice and mail-order treatment courses.