Hair loss is an extremely commonplace and distressing condition. In the article below, we detail the common causes of hair loss, the different treatments available and what you can do to care for your hair on a daily basis.
COMMON CAUSES OF HAIR LOSS
A genetic cause of hair loss would refer to Androgenetic alopecia, which is another term for male or female pattern baldness. Males tend to lose hair from the temples and crown of the head, as compared to generalised hair thinning all over the head in females. All this is usually from increased androgen activity such as testosterone in both genders.
PREGNANCY RELATED HAIR LOSS
Another hormonal cause of hair loss happens after childbirth, whereby some women may also experience excessive hair loss, and this is usually due to a decrease in estrogen levels. Pregnancy related hair loss is usually temporary and resolves within a year.
Another temporary condition would be Telogen Effluvium, where the hair remains in the telogen, or natural shedding phase of the hair growth cycle. This is manifested in more hair falling out easily, especially in handfuls. Common causes of this can include stress, surgery, rapid weight loss, thyroid issues and certain medications.
An autoimmune cause of hair loss is alopecia areata, which results in hair falling out in small round patches from the scalp. This happens when the body’s immune system attacks the scalp hair follicles, leading to hair loss. Depending on its cause, alopecia areata can be treated with intralesional corticosteroid injections with good effect.
This refers to hair loss caused by repetitive traumatic pulling on one’s hair, over long periods of time. A risk factor for this condition is wearing one’s hair in a tight ponytail, bun or braids for extended durations especially after applying chemical or heat styling on the hair. Avoiding tight hairstyles will usually prevent further damage.
A common chronic, relapsing form of eczema or dermatitis that typically involves the sebaceous (or oil) glands of the scalp, face and body trunk, seborrhoeic dermatitis can cause the affected areas to be reddened, itchy, scaly and flaky. Microorganisms occurring naturally on our skin such as the Malassezia yeast, can contribute to seborrheic dermatitis.
RINGWORM (OR FUNGAL INFECTION) OF THE SCALP
Tinea capitis refers to a fungal infection of the scalp. It is especially prevalent in our humid climate. However it tends to affect children more so than adults, and can be treated easily with topical or oral antifungal medications.
Hair loss can also be caused by extreme diets that are too low in protein and certain vitamins and minerals such as iron, copper and zinc. Blood tests can be done to check for nutritional deficiencies that could be causing hair loss.
TREATMENTS TO REVERSE HAIR LOSS
Firstly, we need to determine the cause of the hair loss problem. A proper hair consultation should include a detailed history- taking, followed by a scalp examination to observe the pattern of hair loss and also to check for signs of inflammation or infection. Blood tests may be ordered to investigate other possible causes of hair loss, including autoimmune conditions, thyroid issues, and iron deficiency. Treatments instituted will then be targeted towards addressing the cause of hair loss.
In our clinic, we carry a wide range of treatments to target hair loss in both males and females. An example of a topical medication which can be used in both genders is Minoxidil, which helps to slow down hair loss or even stimulate hair growth when applied directly to the scalp.
We also carry oral Finasteride, or Propecia as it is widely known, for our male patients. It works by reducing the production of male hormones responsible for hair loss.
A very popular procedure to address hair loss in our clinic is the combination of the LaseMD hair regrowth laser and PDRN (polydeoxyribonucleotide) therapy. Using an advanced Cosmeceutical Delivery System (CDS), the LaseMD Thulium laser creates micro-channels with minimal disruption to the strateum corneum of the scalp, thus resulting in bridges of untouched tissue for improved absorption and faster healing. All this stimulates the hair follicles to produce stronger and thicker hair. The LaseMD laser procedure is usually followed by the application of PDRN onto the scalp. PDRN is known for its regenerative ability in helping to strengthen and thicken the scalp, so as to provide an ideal environment for healthy hair to grow.
Last but not least, we also do Regenera Activa in our clinic, an autologous hair transplant micrografting technique which is a popular alternative for patients looking for a mini hair transplant but without the corresponding downtime needed.
PREVENTIVE MEASURES TO AVOID OR DELAY HAIR LOSS
Our busy stressful lifestyles can be a culprit in inducing, or even worsening, hair loss. Do try instituting changes in your lifestyle to reduce stress, and make an effort to eat a well- balanced and nutritious diet that includes proteins, fats and important vitamins and minerals such as iron, copper and zinc.
Also be sure to avoid tight hairstyles, and limit the use of heat styling instruments that can potentially damage the hair. Try using a lightweight shampoo and conditioner to avoid weighing down the hair.
ALL IN ALL
Hair loss is definitely something that needs early intervention. With proper investigations and medical treatments, hair follicles can be preserved and regenerated. Each person’s hair loss condition can be triggered by different causes and depending on the factors elicited, we will customise a treatment plan suitable for you.