Hair loss in men and women.
Statistics show that men are much more likely to experience hair loss than women. Although hair loss in men and hair loss treatment is common, that does not make it any less embarrassing or disheartening. Losing one’s hair can really knock your confidence and make you depressed.
Hair loss in women is more common than you would think, and virtually all women will experience some kind of significant hair loss at some point in their lives. There are countless causes of female hair loss, and that’s also why you’ll find a whole heap of treatments out there.
Hair loss in women, especially if you are young or at a vulnerable time in your life, can badly affect your confidence. For women, there’s a social stigma attached to going bald. Hair loss can affect your sensuality and how you perceive yourself. Some women question whether their partner will still love them.
On the other hand many men choose to hide their hair loss for as long as possible before looking for a solution. However, hair loss doesn’t need to be a reason to hide away when the solution is a quick and easy procedure which can give you back a full, healthy head of hair.
Whilst both men and women can experience hair loss, it tends to be more noticeable in men. This is due to the fact that men and women lose their hair in very different ways.
How is that you know you have hair loss, when to start worrying about hair loss? To understand this it’s important that we understand the difference between regular hair shedding and hair loss.
Difference between Hair loss and regular Hair shedding.
Whether you are experiencing a period of hair shedding or currently going through the process of hair loss, both can be extremely stressful and need a medical advice, however lets understand the difference.
A normal cycle allows approximately loss of 50 – 100 hairs per day. If you are experiencing more than that; then its excessive hair shedding known as telogen effluvium. Hair sheds at the very end of the third and final phase of the cycle, the telogen phase, to then be replaced with new hair and the cycle starts again. Sometimes the excessive hair shedding is merely temporary and that the normal hair growth cycle tends to revert back but sometimes also may need a medical advice.
On the contrary hair loss, also known as anagen effluvium, occurs when the hair has stopped growing completely.
If you begin to notice patches on your head with noticeably thinner hair than normal or if you have bald spots, you are more likely to be experiencing hair loss then excessive hair shedding.
If you have experienced excessive hair shedding for longer than 6 months then that’s definitely hair loss
How to validate you have hair fall?
- If thinning hair is observed mainly around the crown area.
- A receding hair line
- Thinning hair around the crown and temple area along with family history of baldness
- Bald patches on the scalp
- A significant increase in broken hair
- A significant hair left in the hair brush
- A significant increase of hairs on the bathroom tub or floor
- A significant increase of hairs on the pillow are definitely signs of hair loss
- Sometimes hair loss can also affect other parts of the body such as eyebrows, the beard, eyelashes or even all of the body hair
What are the causes of hair fall?
There can be many reasons for hair loss, let us understand few of the important reasons
Genetic Causes: Hair loss and thinning are affected by genetics. Inherited traits from both or either sides of your family can make you more vulnerable to male or female pattern baldness. Hair thinning happens naturally as you age, but possessing these genes means you have a greater chance of experiencing more substantial, earlier-onset thinning.
Stress and Trauma: When a person is under stress, their body can produce chemicals, which cause the hair follicles to enter the Telogen phase. This means that for the following few months, the hair continues to fall as usual but no new growth takes place. This results in a thinner looking head of hair and eventual hair loss.
Illness: Hair loss can be triggered by any severe illness, for instance pneumonia or a major operation. The stress of the illness causes all hair follicles to go into their resting phase and hair growth temporarily ceases.
Autoimmune disease: An autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system attacks healthy cells in the body, mistaking them as harmful. Autoimmune conditions can cause hair loss in some people. Thyroid hormones T4 and TSH are included in our new Hair Loss Checks to see if an underlying thyroid disorder could be to blame. Alopecia areata is another example of an autoimmune condition that causes hair loss.
Low iron levels : Iron is required in the body to produce haemoglobin – a protein vital for carrying oxygen around in the blood. Hair follicles require haemoglobin to grow and remain healthy, so when an iron deficiency occurs, this often results in slow hair growth and hair loss. Within the body, iron is stored in a protein called ferritin, low ferritin levels in the blood can indicate low iron levels. We have included a test for ferritin within our Hair Loss Checks to allow our customers to check to see if low iron levels are the problem.
A hormone imbalance: An imbalance in certain hormones in both male and females can lead to hair loss. High levels of testosterone in men can have a negative effect on hair growth and cause hair loss. In women, hormonal imbalances can also negatively affect hair growth. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that affects the way the ovaries work. PCOS can increase the amount of body hair produced but can also decrease the amount of hair on the scalp. Postpartum, many women experience thinning hair or hair loss due to an imbalance in oestrogen levels after giving birth. The menopause causes many hormonal changes in a woman and much experience thinning hair or hair loss. Our Hair Loss Checks include tests for PCOS.
Over styling: Although they may help us achieve beautiful looking hair, excessive use of hair dyes, blow dryers, straighteners and curlers can lead to weak, brittle hair that may fall out more easily. Going a little easier on the styling products, letting your hair air dry and using leave-in conditioners can all help to improve the strength of your hair. The chemicals within hair pastes, wax and gels can react with the hairs natural components and affect the hair’s growth cycle, so make sure you give your hair a break from these every now and again.
Thyroid : Hair loss is a typical symptom of a thyroid disorder. Thyroid disease is a form of hormonal imbalance and, when the thyroid gland isn’t working properly; other hormones in your body are affected as a result. Hair loss due to thyroid problems tends to be quite distinctive: it usually begins with the hair becoming unusually dry, tangled and coarse in texture. An imbalance in the thyroid can also affect bodily and facial hair growth and if you have an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) it is quite common to have thinning in the outer edges of the eyebrows. Our Hair Loss Checks include tests for Thyroid.
Smoking: There have been several studies that show there really is a significant relationship between smoking and the rate at which men affected by pattern hair loss lose their hair. As with most medical conditions, smoking will only make things worse. So, if you’re concerned about hair loss, that’s just one more reason to quit smoking!
Food: There have been several links made between diet and hair loss. For many reasons, a high-fat diet is dangerous for your overall health, but it also will have directly bad effects for hair loss, a fatty diet will result in an increase in your testosterone levels which is known to be a cause of hair loss in men.
Avoid fatty and processed foods generally and aim for a balanced nutritional diet and proper hydration. Your hair is mainly made up of protein so it also makes good sense to eat lots of protein-rich foods like fish, lean meats like chicken, soy, eggs, almonds and beans. Other good foods are yellow, red and orange fruits and vegetables like carrots, and dark-green leafy vegetables, which are a good source of beta-carotene and high in vitamin A and folic acid.
Vitamin deficiency: As a general rule, a balanced diet is the key to having the best overall health. Your body needs to get enough of the essential minerals, vitamins and nutrients for its organs and cells to work the way they should.
Iron, zinc, protein and certain vitamin deficiencies have all been linked to hair loss in men. There is some evidence to show that not getting enough (and also having too much) vitamin A can lead to hair loss. To help prevent hair loss, make sure you get enough protein, vitamin A, B, C, zinc and folic acid in your diet.
Types of Hair Loss.
Hair loss, also called alopecia, is a disorder caused by an interruption in the body’s cycle of hair production. Hair loss can occur anywhere on the body, but most commonly affects the scalp. On average, the scalp has 100,000 hairs that cycle through periods of growing, resting, falling out, and regenerating.
A hair growth cycle consists of three phases. During the anagen phase, hair grows actively. This phase may last for years. During the catagen phase, hair stops growing and separates from its follicle, which is the structure beneath the skin that holds the hair in place. The catagen phase lasts about 10 days. During the telogen phase, the follicle rests for two or three months, and then the hair falls out. The next anagen phase begins as a new hair grows in the same follicle. Most people lose 50 to 100 hairs per day as part of this natural cycle.
If this cycle is disrupted, or if a hair follicle is damaged, hair may begin to fall out more quickly than it is regenerated, leading to symptoms such as a receding hairline, hair falling out in patches, or overall thinning.
Hair loss may be linked to a person’s genetics, although many medical and behavioural conditions may interrupt the growth cycle and cause hair loss.
Androgenetic alopecia is the most common type of hair loss, affecting more than 50 million men and 30 million women in the United States. Commonly known as male pattern hair loss or female pattern hair loss, androgenetic alopecia is hereditary but can be managed with medication or surgery.
Male Pattern Hair Loss.
In men, hair loss can begin any time after puberty and progress over the course of years or decades. It starts above the temples and continues around the perimeter and the top of the head, often leaving a ring of hair along the bottom of the scalp. Many men with male pattern hair loss eventually become bald.
Female Pattern Hair Loss.
In women, hair slowly thins all over the scalp, but the hairline usually doesn’t recede. Many women experience this type of hair loss as a natural part of aging, although hair loss may begin any time after puberty. Female pattern hair loss can cause hair to thin dramatically, but only rarely does it lead to baldness.
Telogen effluvium, a type of hair loss, occurs when large numbers of follicles on the scalp enter the resting phase of the hair growth cycle, called telogen, but the next growth phase doesn’t begin. This causes hair to fall out all over the scalp without new hair growth.
Telogen effluvium does not generally lead to complete baldness, although you may lose 300 to 500 hairs per day, and hair may appear thin, especially at the crown and temples.
A medical event or condition, such as a thyroid imbalance, childbirth, surgery, or a fever, typically triggers this type of hair loss. Telogen effluvium may also occur as a result of a vitamin or mineral deficiency—iron deficiency is a common cause of hair loss in women.
Telogen effluvium usually begins three months after a medical event. If the triggering event is temporary—for example, if you recover from an illness or stop taking the medication causing the hair loss—your hair may grow back after six months. Telogen effluvium is considered chronic if hair loss lasts longer than six months.
For reasons that are unclear to doctors, this type of hair loss may last for years in some people. If hair doesn’t re-grow on its own, our dermatologists can offer medication that can help.
Anagen effluvium is rapid hair loss resulting from medical treatment, such as chemotherapy. These potent and fast-acting medications kill cancer cells, but they may also shut down hair follicle production in the scalp and other parts of the body. After chemotherapy ends, hair usually grows back on its own. Dermatologists can offer medication to help hair grow back more quickly.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition, which means the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissues, including the hair follicles. This causes hair to fall out and prevents new hair from growing.
This condition can affect adults and children, and hair loss can begin suddenly and without warning. Hair from the scalp typically falls out in small patches and is not painful. Hair in other parts of the body, including the eyebrows and eyelashes, may also fall out. Over time, this disease may lead to alopecia totalis, or complete hair loss.
Tinea capitis, also called scalp ringworm, is a fungal infection of the scalp that’s a common cause of hair loss in children. This condition causes hair to fall out in patches, sometimes circular, leading to bald spots that may get bigger over time.
The affected areas often look red or scaly, and the scalp may be itchy. Sores or blisters that ooze pus can also develop on the scalp. A child with the condition may have swollen glands in the back of the neck or a low-grade fever as a result of the immune system fighting the infection.
Dermatologists can prescribe an antifungal medication taken by mouth to eliminate the fungus. If tinea capitis is diagnosed and treated early, most children have excellent hair re-growth.
Cicatricial alopecia, also known as scarring alopecia, is a rare type of hair loss in which inflammation destroys hair follicles and causes scar tissue to form in their place. After scar tissue forms, hair doesn’t re-grow.
Hair loss may begin so slowly that symptoms aren’t noticeable, or hair may start to fall out all at once. Other symptoms include severe itching, swelling, and red or white lesions on the scalp that may resemble a rash. This type of hair loss can occur at any age and affects men and women.
Lichen planopilaris, a type of alopecia, occurs when a common skin condition, called lichen planus, affects the scalp. Lichen planopilaris may cause a dry, flaky rash to appear on the skin that causes hair on the scalp to fall out in clumps. The scalp may also become red, irritated, and covered in small white or red itchy, painful, or burning bumps.
Lichen planopilaris is not common and affects more women than men. Our dermatologist may prescribe medication to stop the hair loss.
Discoid Lupus Erythematosus.
Discoid lupus erythematosus is a type of cutaneous lupis, an autoimmune disease that affects the skin. It can lead to inflamed sores and scarring on the ears, face, and scalp. Hair loss is one symptom of the disease. When scar tissue forms on the scalp, hair can no longer grow in that area.
Hair loss caused by folliculitis decalvans, an inflammatory disorder that leads to the destruction of hair follicles, is often accompanied by redness, swelling, and lesions on the scalp that may be itchy or contain pus, known as pustules. This type of hair loss is not reversible, but dermatologists can offer medication to control symptoms and, in some instances, stop the progression of hair loss.
Dissecting Cellulitis of the Scalp.
Dissecting cellulitis of the scalp, a rare condition, causes pustules or lumps to form on the scalp. This condition may also cause scar tissue to develop, destroying hair follicles and causing hair loss. Medications may help control symptoms.
Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia.
Frontal fibrosing alopecia typically occurs in a receding hairline pattern and may also result in hair loss in the eyebrows and underarms. Frontal fibrosing alopecia most commonly affects postmenopausal women. Certain medications can manage symptoms and stop the progression of the disease. The cause is unknown.
Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia.
Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia may occur as a result of hair products or styling techniques that damage hair follicles. The use of hair relaxers, blow dryers, curling irons, and hair extensions can cause central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, as can the process of creating a permanent wave, or a “perm.”
The frequent application of oils, gels, or pomades can also cause this condition, which may be reversible if you stop using these hair products or styling techniques. Our dermatologists may recommend taking medication to help hair grow back.
Hair Shaft Abnormalities.
Several types of hair shaft abnormalities can lead to hair loss. These conditions cause strands of hair to thin and weaken, making them vulnerable to breaking. The hair loss doesn’t occur in the follicle but as a result of a break somewhere along the hair shaft, which is the visible part of a hair strand. This can result in overall thinning, as well as in many small, brittle hairs.
Making simple changes to the way you style and treat your hair can reverse some hair shaft abnormalities. Other conditions may require medical intervention. Types of hair shaft abnormalities include:
Loose Anagen Syndrome.
Loose anagen syndrome, which most commonly presents in young children, occurs when hair that is not firmly rooted in the follicle can be pulled out easily. Most of the time, hair falls out after it has reached an arbitrary maximum length. Children with loose anagen syndrome often cannot grow hair beyond a relatively short length. The condition more commonly affects girls with blond or brown hair.
In people who have loose anagen syndrome, hair can fall out easily—even when it’s growing. For example, hair loss may accelerate overnight because of the friction of a pillow. The cause of loose anagen syndrome is unknown, though it may be related to a disorder in the hair growth cycle that prevents hair from staying in the follicle.
There are few reliable treatments, but the condition tends to improve greatly with puberty, and some medications may result in fuller hair.
People with trichotillomania pull their hair out and find it difficult to stop. This results in hair loss on the scalp or elsewhere on the body. Hair often returns if the behavior is stopped, but hair loss can be permanent if the pulling continues for many years.
The best treatment for this condition may be psychotherapy, which might include talking with a counselor about causes of stress and why you feel the urge to pull your hair. Our dermatologist can refer you to a psychotherapist who specializes in this condition.
Some hairstyles, including tight ponytails and braids, pull hair away from the scalp with such force that hair strands are damaged and fall out. Unless the hairstyle is changed, traction alopecia may lead to thinning hair or bald spots. Most of the time, hair re-grows after you alter the hairstyle.
Hypotrichosis is a rare genetic condition in which very little hair grows on the scalp and body. Babies born with this condition may have typical hair growth at first; however, their hair falls out a few months later and is replaced with sparse hair.
Many people with hypotrichosis are bald by age 25. There are few treatment options for this condition, but some medications may help to thicken or regrow hair.
Treatment Available for Hair loss.
Platelet Rich Plasma.
PRP is a leading non-surgical hair loss treatment for both men and women
PRP treatment is a new and innovative hair loss treatment that requires no surgery but can help stimulate hair growth. It requires taking a small blood sample, less than what you’d normally give when donating blood. This blood sample is harvested using the latest, most advanced technology and then injected back into your scalp where hair is thinning. A few short treatment sessions are required but PRP may prevent the need for a hair transplant and there is no aftercare needed for this procedure.
Platelets within blood plasma contain a large number of growth factors. These growth factors stimulate dormant hair follicles and also produce an increased amount of collagen. This in turn thickens the hair resulting in an attractive full-head of hair.
PRP therapy involves taking a blood sample and using a machine to separate the platelets from the blood. The platelets are then injected into the scalp where hair thinning and balding is occurring.
Breakthrough clinical trials and research conducted in 2018 on the benefits of platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP) for patients with Alopecia and other dermatological conditions, were able to evidence positive outcomes; adding further weight to the excellent first-hand results we witness each week in patients choosing to undertake PRP treatment with us.
How does a PRP hair loss treatment work?
PRP hair loss treatment is a simple 3-step procedure,
Firstly blood is collected from the patient. Platelets are separated in a centrifuge and then they are injected into the scalp. It’s as quick and simple as that. To ensure that you do not feel any pain or discomfort, we use a very fine needle, called the invisible needle to carry out the treatment. Once treatment is done, you can return to work immediately as no sedation is required.
Your blood sample will be in the centrifuge for a matter of minutes. Once it’s ready, a series of syringes will be prepared for reinsertion into your scalp. We use an invisible needle so you should barely feel a thing
The centrifuge and separation technique produces a high-quality concentration of PRP enriched with maximum growth factors. These are the key to producing the best outcome. The growth factors allow the anagen phase of hair growth to be prolonged, minimizing the damage caused during the catagen phase, hence allowing for maximum effect when the growth cycle is restarted.
The process is very straightforward and goes a little something like this. First, we would begin with consultations so we can decide whether PRP therapy is the best thing for you. If we think it’ll be a good option for you, we can move onto the procedure.
PRP therapy is recommended for people who are experiencing mild or moderate hair loss. We have a separate article on when PRP might be recommended and it also discusses who may typically be the best candidate for PRP therapy. A consultation with the dermatologist is always recommended to determine the most effective hair loss treatment for your hair loss situation however.
You can keep going with PRP therapy treatment for as long as you are happy with the results. PRP is only effective to a certain extent. If you’ve lost most of your hair and you want thick, shiny hair again then you may want to look into other procedures like a hair transplant.
PRP therapy recipients tend to be male or females who have started to notice hair loss and want to try and manage the effects, or hair transplant patients. A typical PRP therapy patient might already be trying some topical products, caffeine shampoos etc. They still have a head of hair but have noticed their hair has started thinning. PRP therapy can be a great way of slowing down the hair loss process and because it’s low maintenance, the convenience of it is a big plus.
It is also a recommended procedure for antenatal hair loss. Because it isn’t disruptive and isn’t an invasive procedure, a new mum can receive PRP therapy with ease and with next to no pain and no recovery time.
PRP therapy can’t be administered to pregnant women, though. There is nothing that suggests it would be harmful to you or your baby, it is just taking and re-injecting a sample of your own blood after all, but as it’s a new hair loss procedure there have been no clinical trials conducted.
PRP therapy doesn’t resolve the causes of hair loss, it simply helps with keeping your hair thick and healthy. So it’s not a comprehensive measure to stop or reverse hair loss, it’s just one tool in our repertoire for fighting it.
What are the Side Effects?
As a non-surgical procedure, this is very low-risk and the side effects are very low risk. You face the same risks of infection, calcification and damage to blood vessels as when you get a normal injection like a flu jab.
You may experience a tender scalp afterwards. There have been reports of some patients getting a headache after the session. Essentially, there are no adverse or worrying side effects to speak of.
Is PRP Therapy for Hair Loss Safe?
PRP therapy for hair loss is very safe, and one of the most straightforward services we offer. That being said the FDA has approved the equipment used in the procedure so you can be assured that the process is completely safe.
Can PRP be used simultaneously with other Hair Loss Treatments?
PRP therapy for hair loss is often used in conjunction with a hair transplant to help ensure good results. Hair transplants are a comprehensive solution to hair loss. Results vary from patient to patient, but generally a hair transplant can completely overhaul hair loss.
If you are having a hair transplant with us, we always recommend taking a course of PRP therapy alongside it. It’s easy enough to administer alongside a hair transplant. It won’t extend your recovery time and the main thing is, it can help to improve results. It will help to make your new hair thick, healthy and strong.
PRP therapy helps to promote tissue repair and also helps the viability of your transplanted hair follicles. The platelets act upon the hair follicle stem cells and can be handy both during and after the hair transplant process. For example, if your scalp hasn’t taken to the transplant as well you had hoped, PRP therapy could bring it to a level you’re happy with.
What to Expect After PRP for Hair Loss.
PRP therapy is a relatively non-invasive process and requires little maintenance post procedure.
After you’ve had a session, you aren’t able to wash your hair for 24 hours, and you need to leave it alone for 48 hours – e.g. no wearing hats or going for head massages. There are some reported side effects:
- Potential swelling
- Tender scalp
These are standard symptoms however but shouldn’t cause too much discomfort or affect your day to day activities. You can return to work immediately after the procedure.
Compared to other hair loss treatments PRP is quite straightforward.
In regards to the procedure and what happens next. The platelets will enrich your hair follicles and boost collagen production in your existing hair follicles. Dormant hair follicles will be revitalised and natural, healthy hair will be encouraged to grow. It also aids conditions like psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis and discoid lupus.
PRP therapy should make your hair look healthy, thick and natural. It won’t do as much in the way of restoring a hairline. It will revive some dormant hair follicles, but for restoring a hairline, a transplant would be more effective. And PRP therapy is encouraged to be taken alongside a hair transplant too, to ensure you are happy with the results.
How many PRP treatments are required?
Unfortunately, PRP therapy isn’t a one-off procedure. It’s something that you will need to do a few sessions of. It’s recommended that you do about 6 to 8 sessions of PRP therapy for the best results. You then go for top-ups after that as suggested by the dermatologist.
There’s next to zero recovery time other than the 48 hours where basically the only thing you can’t do is get a head massage, so it’s not disruptive at all.
Is PRP for Hair Loss Effective?
We can confidently say that PRP therapy is an effective treatment.
Pros and Cons of PRP Treatment for Hair Loss.
There are some big benefits to PRP therapy for hair loss:
- Straightforward procedure
- Minimal disruption to your life
- Works fast
- Easy to maintain
- Very negligible side effects
- Very effective alongside hair transplants
- Great results
- Good value
On the flip side, be aware of the following:
- Not everyone will benefit from PRP therapy
- Only suitable for mild to moderate hair loss
- Doesn’t treat the conditions that lead to hair loss, so needs to be topped up
Benefits of Platelet Rich Plasma therapy for dealing with hair loss:
- PRP can be used as a standalone treatment to tackle hair loss or it can be used alongside other treatments for maximum results.
- Enriches hair follicles and retain your existing hair
- PRP helps to boost the production of collagen for existing hair follicles
- Revitalises dormant hair follicles and boost hair growth
- PRP helps to revitalise your dormant hair follicles, stimulating new hair growth.
- Enhances the results of your hair transplant procedure
- PRP works synergistically for an improved end-result and an even fuller head of hair from hair transplant
- Can be using in conjunction with micro needling
- PRP also works synergistically with micro needling treatments
- Aids hair growth in the post-natal period
- Pregnancy leads to post-natal hair loss for some women; PRP is a popular and effective treatment. Especially due to its natural and organic process, this has no notable side effects.
- Aids conditions inc. Discoid Lupus, Psoriasis and Seborrheic Dermatitis.
Precautions to prevent hair loss.
- Try to use only purified water to wash your hair
- Avoid chlorinated swimming pools
- Have a healthy diet and take vitamin B supplements
- Chemical products leave residue which if built up leads to hair loss
- Cater to your skin type; for example, do not use oils if you have a greasy scalp susceptible to dandruff