Never give up on your hair! Invest in your hair. It is the crown you never take off. Hair loss or thinning is a prevalent problem affecting up to 50% of men and women throughout their lives; it could be a temporary or chronic issue. Hair loss is often distressing and can significantly affect people of all ages. I hope to help you understand the science behind hair loss so you can choose the best treatment for yourself.
Physiology of hair growth
Stages of hair growth can be categorized into the Anagen (growth phase), Catagen (transition phase) and Telogen phases (resting phase). Hair shedding occurs during the telogen or resting phase of the hair cycle – approximately 10-15% of hair is in the telogen phase.
How do you know if your hair loss is abnormal?
Every day, we lose between 50 and 100 hairs from our heads — and it’s completely normal. You may wonder if you have “hair loss” if you’ve noticed more hairs on your pillow or hairbrush than usual, but you could just be shedding more hairs than normal. The American Academy of Dermatology refers to this as “hair shedding” and differentiates it from the more serious term “hair loss,” which occurs when something prevents hair from growing.
Hair loss is commonly categorized into non-scarring or scarring alopecia and can be further sub-divided into focal or diffuse hair loss. Scarring hair loss is due to causes that damage the hair follicle; this type of hair loss is usually irreversible, whereas non-scarring hair loss can be reversible!
Thinning of hair can be caused by several factors, including:
- Drug side effects – certain medications such as lithium, beta-blockers, and levodopa may contribute to hair loss. In addition, many medications used in cancer treatment commonly cause sudden hair loss, medically known as Anagen Effluvium.
- Systemic diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), thyroid disorder, or malnutrition, especially a deficiency of protein, iron, zinc or biotin, can cause hair loss. Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disease, which means the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissues, including the hair follicles. Over time, this disease may lead to Alopecia Totalis or complete hair loss!
- Pre-existing skin condition or Tinea Capitis (fungal infection of the scalp) may disrupt hair growth.
- Our hair is sensitive to stressors. Stress for the hair can refer to physical stress or medically known as Traumatic Alopecia, which may be due to the use of strong chemicals (bleaching, coloring, perming and straightening) or hair exposure to extreme heat and twisting.
- Significant body stress such as prolonged illness, major surgery, excessive exercise, drastic weight loss or a sudden change in hormone levels (post-partum) can contribute to weakened hair strains leading to hair shedding and hair loss. Post-partum hair loss typically occurs a few months after delivery. When a person has excessive hair shedding, it is medically known as Telogen Effluvium.
- Hereditary pattern baldness (Androgenetic Alopecia) or male and female pattern hair loss is the most common form of hair loss disorder in men and women. It is a physiologic variant which can begin at any time in one’s life, even during the teen years. They are gradually progressive and follow a recognizable pattern. Men typically present with receding front hairline and thinning hair at the top of the head. Many men with male pattern hair loss eventually become bald. In women, thinning of hair occurs over the entire top or crown of the scalp, but the hairline usually doesn’t recede.
What treatment options are available?
Individuals with severe hair loss or hair loss from an early age may require active intervention.
Vitamins and hair supplements are fundamental for healthy hair growth and may help prevent hair shedding and thinning. The best vitamins for hair growth include vitamin B, vitamin D, vitamin E, zinc, biotin and iron. These supplements can be taken to prevent hair loss or adjuncts to other hair loss treatments. Here are some hair supplements options available at our clinic:
Miriqa® Hair is an oral supplement formulated to improve hair health for both men and women. It contains Tocotrienol botanical complex (a bio-enhanced natural spectrum Vitamin E complex) and Saw Palmetto Berries (which helps block 5-alpha-reductase, an enzyme that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone or DHT, that contributes to hair thinning by shrinking hair follicles on the scalp). It also contains Tripeptide Collagen, Biotin and Keratin Forte (the structural building block that makes up the hair, skin and nails!).
Aromase Scalp Purifying Liquid Shampoo is an innovative liquid form that allows effective ingredients to cover the scalp for better penetration – formulated with a 6% Glycyrrhetinic acid complex. Lichen ingredients reduce and moisturize the scalp with vitamins B3v and B5, thus promoting healthy hair growth. Pair with Aromase Simply Hydro Shampoo for daily cleansing.
CG210®Hair and Scalp Essence is a clinically tested, unique blend of active botanical essence (Cellium) that protects and strengthens hair from the roots. CG210® can be used as a monotherapy or in combination with existing therapies for synergistic effects to promote healthier and thicker-looking hair. Its safety and efficacy have been demonstrated in more than 400 male and female volunteers with male androgenic alopecia and female pattern hair loss, respectively.
For those seeking medical treatment, initial therapy is usually Topical Minoxidil (Rogaine). Topical Minoxidil has a well-established safety profile; local irritation is the main side effect. Treatment needs to be continued indefinitely; if stopped, clinical regression may occur within six months. Topical steroids may also be used as evidence to support short-term hair growth, but none for long-term growth. Oral treatments such as Minoxidil and Spironolactone (Aldactone) have been used to treat female pattern hair loss. Male pattern hair loss can also be treated with oral Finasteride (Propecia or Proscar) or Dutasteride (Avodart).
Regenera Activa is the latest minimally invasive hair growth treatment for male and female pattern hair loss (Androgenetic Alopecia). Regenera Activa is US FDA and HSA (Singapore) approved and CE-marked device for the purpose of stimulating hair growth. Regenera is a specially developed and manufactured tool for clinical application of regenerative procedures using autologous micrografts. The Regenera Activa treatment utilizes your hair, which contains cells that aid in activating follicles in hair thinning and hair loss.
In the first stage of the treatment, the doctor will take a small section of the patient’s dermis. This tissue is then processed in the Regenera device to extract the progenitor cells containing growth factors with regenerative abilities. The solution is injected into the affected scalp area that suffers from hair loss and hair thinning to initiate and stimulate the hair follicle regeneration process. Regenera Activa is a one-hour treatment that is highly safe as the patient is the donor and receptor of autologous micro-grafts therapy. Clinical studies have proven this treatment efficient at tissue regeneration and pattern hair loss treatment. 4-6weeks after the treatment, hair loss is stopped, and the existing hair follicles begin regenerating new hair. Therefore, it is recommended to repeat the treatment after 15-18 months to maintain the results.
If you are concerned by the amount of hair falling out, don’t suffer in silence. Instead, contact us for further information. Effective treatment options are available for many types of hair loss. The sooner treatment begins, the better the prognosis! Schedule a simple assessment with Dr Pat today to find out more.