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Hair Conditions

It’s not until you suffer from hair or scalp problems that you realise just how much your hair is part of your identity. When you first realise that you may have hair loss or thinning, it can be a very frightening time and many factors can influence your hair or scalp, affecting growth and thickness.
 
Water and the chemical additives it contains can injure your hair, as can the wrong shampoo or conditioner. Brushing and combing incorrectly can hurt it. Pollution, drugs, sunlight, disease, genetics, stress, bereavement, diet, age, exercise (or lack of it), colourants, perms, heat treatments, infections, viruses, humidity, pregnancy and birth, menopause, hormones, wigs, and certain hairstyles can all cause harm to your hair.

Genetic Hair Loss
 
Male pattern hair loss and female pattern hair loss is a serious problem for many men and women. There are three important components which are responsible for both female and male balding:

  1. A genetic predisposition for balding to occur.

  2. Receptors in the hair bulb that attract the hormone DHT.

  3. Ageing - enough time for the first two factors to occur


If the problem is treated at the early stages, the results and prognosis are good. If the loss is excessive then it is doubtful whether trichology therapy will help, and you may need to look at other solutions such as hair replacement systems. This can range from hair transplants to non-surgical hair replacement systems.
 
Proper hair care depends not only on shampooing, conditioning and correct care methods, but on informed knowledge and treatment, whether carried out at home or as advised by a qualified hair consultant. 

Male Pattern Hair Loss

Male pattern hair loss usually starts either with a recession to the temples or a diffuse thinning to the crown and can be followed in some cases by a gradual thinning, then a complete denuding of the top. Very rarely is the hair lost on the sides and back although men over seventy can lose hair in the neck area. Both the Hamilton and the Norwood scales classify Androgenetic hair loss in men.

Androgenic hair loss has three causative factors: genetic predisposition, the presence of the hormone dihydrotestosterone and the age of the patient.

Male pattern baldness can be inherited from either the fathers or mothers side of the family.

At puberty, more of the male hormone testosterone circulates around the body causing hairs that are genetically programmed (in the pattern areas) to produce finer and shorter hairs with each new cycle of hair growth. Testosterone reaches the target organ, in this case the hair follicle, where the enzyme 5α-reductase changes testosterone into the highly potent hormone di-hydro testosterone, which causes the above effects.

Female Pattern Hair Loss

Most women suffer excessive hair thinning at some time in their lives. This can be for several reasons:
 

  • Child-birth - Post natal hair loss affects 50% of all women who have given birth. A marked increase in hair fall is experienced between the second and seventh month after the child is born. It can be a frightening and distressing experience and is due to fluctuating hormone levels. Usually the hair loss stops as suddenly as it started and in time all the hair will be replaced. Treatment is not usually given unless the hair loss is excessive or if it continues after month eight.

 

  • Health Problems – If the body is not functioning at 100%, then the hair growth pattern is the first side effect of poor health status. When any health problem occurs then the hair is affected. This can range from the hair becoming lank and straggly to a sizable increase in hair fall. This may not happen until three months after the illness has subsided, so it may not be initially linked with the past health problem.

 

  • Stress - there is reasonable scientific evidence to show that stress can alter the uptake of certain trace elements and amino acids essential for hair growth. This accounts for about 30% of hair loss in women but it can re-grow if the nutritional imbalance is corrected.  Stress can also cause narrowing of the arteries, restricting blood flow to the scalp which can induce a temporary shedding of hair in the short term or a permanent loss if the condition continues. 

 

  • Poor diet - "We are what we eat," as the saying goes and this is true when it comes to our hair and we regularly see the results of poor diets and crash dieting. As hair has no useful function, if the body is short of any nutrient, it will divert these from the hair to nourish the more important body organs. The result can be a Diffuse Hair Loss, which is a general thinning of hair density. The best advice for producing healthy hair is to eat a well-balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates and minerals. Go easy on processed and convenience foods. A Trichologist can help you in this area by making sure there are no specific foods in your diet which are causing problems.

 

  • Genetic Hair Loss - or Female Pattern Hair Loss. It is most likely first noticed in the early twenties through early forties and is particularly likely to be initiated at times of hormonal change. This results in the characteristic thinning on the front and top of the scalp. The scalp begins to grow finer hairs and the scalp becomes more visible. There is usually a general loss of "condition" resulting in the hair becoming lank and difficult to control. This condition can be stabilised with correct treatment.

Alopecia

Alopecia Areata is often the most drastic type of hair loss, Alopecia Areata presents a number of circular completely bald patches.

 

These can sometimes merge with other patches The hair follicles are clearly visible and the earliest patch will often be re-growing fine, often white hairs from the centre of the patch.


It is regarded as an immune system problem. The body thinks that there is infection at the site of the hair follicles and sends white blood cells to the area to fight the non-existent infection.

 

Unfortunately this causes the hair to fall out. Over 90% of sufferers recover but it can take a long time.


​This condition is unpredictable and can last from six months to many years depending on the causative factors. When the hair loss covers the whole scalp it is termed Alopecia Totalis. When the whole body is affected it is called Alopecia Universalis.

Fully Qualified Consultant Trichologists, Greater Manchester

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