MEDICAL PROCEDURES > HAIR CARE
About your hair
Hair grows according to body location, genetic background, age, and hormonal influences. Hair is approximately 91% proteins, with at least 85% of all hairs on the scalp growing at the same time, amounting to about half an inch per month. Between 50 to 100 hairs normally fall out each day. It may seem excessive, but it is rather modest, considering there is an average of 80,000 to 140,000 hairs on the scalp of a healthy individual.
Hair loss prevention
Whilst baldness is progressive and unpredictable, early diagnosis of its cause and the prevention of further loss is the most important factor in slowing down the progression of hair loss. There are several treatment options available for thinning hair based on the extent of hair loss and the goals, age, and sex of the patient. The most significant medical options to prevent hair loss are oral Finasteride and topical Minoxidil. When used together, they help to prevent the progression of androgenic alopecia. Although results are highly variable, there are cases with very acceptable hair re-growth after baldness as a result of the regular use of these treatments. Other compounds and technologies such as the use of 633 and 800 nm lasers are also effective options for hair loss.
Hair loss causes
The most common causes of hair loss are hereditary and genetic (androgenic alopecia). However, there are more specific causes when we look at hair loss in men, women, and children separately. For everyone, diet is a factor in healthy hair growth and damage prevention. Eating a very low protein diet may make the hair thin and fragile. Contributing factors to hair loss may include chemical straighteners, hair dyes and products, thyroid problems, and ageing. Alopecia areata is an auto-immune disease where the body mistakenly forms antibodies against its own hair follicles, resulting in the sudden loss of circular patches of hair from the scalp, eyebrows, or beard area. Women, and especially women of colour, may suffer from scars on the scalp which results in permanent hair loss. Amongst these problems, traction alopecia may occur in women as a result of having their hair tightly braided from early on in life.
Hair loss in men
Male pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss in men and is caused by a genetic disposition to lose hair at the front, centre, and crown areas of the head. This is usually a progressive condition. Men with androgenic alopecia inherit hair follicles with a genetic sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). These hair follicles get smaller and have shorter lifespans, until they stop producing hairs all together. As indicated, the most common baldness pattern in men is a receding hairline or thinning crown, as these areas are most commonly sensitive to DHT. Other reasons for hair loss in men are reactions to medication, diseases, severe illness, or stressful events. Sometimes, men prefer to ignore their baldness and accept their genetics. However, there are many ways in which a dermatologist can help, whether it be by medical prescription, injections into the scalp (with hair growth factors, organic silica, Japanese mulberry, vitamins, dexpanthenol), 630 and 800 nm lasers, or surgery.
Oral Finasteride may induce a 30-40% hair re-growth or even a greater percentage in patients experiencing a drop in their hair loss rates. Therefore the most important use of Finasteride is to limit the effects of DHT and stop hair loss. It is common for 80% of patients to experience hair loss coming to a halt. The effects increase when these medications are combined with Minoxidil solutions. One of the problems of using Minoxidil is that, not only does it encourage hair regrowth in the desired areas, but also on the side of the face and forehead. Fortunately, this excessive hair growth disappears once the use of the product stops or decreases, or when the concentration of the solution is reduced. Signs of re-growth may be expected after six to twelve months of consistent daily use. It is more effective in those who have just started to lose their hair as it slows down the balding process.
These side effects are usually mild-moderate and temporary.
Hair loss in women
Instead of just talking to their hairdresser, it is important that women who feel they are losing their hair see a dermatologist to determine the actual cause of it by having a physical examination, and possibly a biopsy and laboratory analysis. In the last few decades, the amount of female patients suffering from hair loss has tripled. Hair loss in women could also be due to hormonal changes, an on-going illness, anaemia, sometimes due to an iron deficiency, rapid weight loss, and certain medication, including birth control pills. Topical medication may now be used with women in child-bearing age, but it must be discontinued if they become pregnant. Some women may need oral medication that reduces the levels of DHT (Cyproterone, Spironolactone). Other women may be treated with Minoxidil, placenta extracts, or oestrogen lotions. Blood tests may help to determine if other hormones, such as thyroid hormones, are causing a problem with re-growth that needs to be treated.
Hair loss in children
Just as with hair loss causes in men and women, the causes of hair loss in children are also difficult to immediately identify. Possible reasons for hair loss in children include trauma as a result of accidents, birth defects, scarring due to surgery for correcting birth defects, and alopecia areata. Most characteristic of alopecia areata is the sudden appearance of round bald patches which respond to medication and in general have a good prognosis. Sometimes, this type of alopecia reappears during puberty but it can also appear at any moment in life. Lice infestations may occur in small children, but in general this does not cause hair loss, whilst a fungus infection may cause hair loss that is sometimes permanent. Treatments for hair loss in children include cortisone injections, topical treatments such as Minoxidil, and UVA light treatment combined with a topical photosensitising medication.
Hair loss FAQs
What causes hair loss?
As we get older, our hair naturally starts to thin. The most common cause of hair loss (alopecia) in both men and women is hereditary, as your chances of experiencing hair loss increase if other family members have suffered it too. Other contributing factors may include underlying medical or hormonal conditions, medication, excessive weight loss, stress, chemotherapy, or radiation. Signs of hair loss vary from one person to another and symptoms may include the sudden loss of patches of hair, a significant thinning of the scalp or crown, and a receding forehead.
What can I do if I notice signs of hair loss?
The key to successfully prevent and treat hair loss is to first understand the type of hair loss you are experiencing and its cause. In general, as soon as you suspect you have androgenic baldness (male or female pattern baldness) you should start a preventative treatment. As there is no “one size fits all” approach for all patients, a consultation is important so that one can be informed of the available options (medical or surgical).
Minoxidil is not working, what is the next step?
The key to properly treating hair loss is to consult a dermatologist who is experienced in diagnosing hair loss. Many people buy topical medication without a proper consultation, hoping for success. Re-growth is a slow process that may take 6-12 months of consistent daily use in order to see the results. Minoxidil is more effective in those who have just started to lose their hair as it actually slows down the balding process. As Minoxidil helps to maintain existing hair, it is most effective as preventative hair loss treatment and not a solution for regenerating hair. Once it has been determined that Minoxidil or any other topical treatment is not enough to stop the progression of hair loss, your dermatologist will discuss other preventative options such as scalp injections (growth factors, silica, vitamins, dexpanthenol etc.), low-level laser treatment, as well as the latest surgical techniques for hair restoration.
Useful products for hair loss:
- Kavel hair density capsules
- Kavel plus capsules
- Sebovalis capsules
- Primuvit capsules
- Primuvit plus capsules
- Ses Kavel anti hair loss lotion
- Ses Kavel anti hair loss ampoules
- Ses-Kavel Mulberry foam
- Placenses hair lotion
- Ses Kavel anti hair loss shampoo
- Ses Kavel frequency shampoo
- Ses-kavel oily hair anti-dandruff shampoo
- Ses kavel anti-dandruff shampoo
- Sebovalis shampoo
• Dr. Gabriel Serrano Sanmiguel