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?
Commonly 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 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.
This 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.