Who to talk to about hair loss concerns
Blog by Guest Contributor, Aderans Hair Centre Trichologist Elizabeth
80% of men and 40% of women will experience hair loss in their lifetime.
That is a scary reality, as hair loss can change how an individual lives their life.
Whether the hair loss is deemed to be temporary or permanent, for the sufferer it can be devastating.
Let’s drill down on who may be suffering, why it’s happening and what can be done about it. Are you feeling tired all the time, suffering shortness of breath and your hair shedding more than usual? You may need a blood test to see if you are iron deficient. It is the Ferritin level that is key to hair loss, it needs to read 80 micrograms per litre and above for good hair growth. Your doctor will advise you on what dosage of iron is appropriate and this may be just the thing you need to improve your hair.
Are you suffering from severe dandruff? This is caused by the abnormal shedding of the top layer of the epidermis (skin), or a fungal infection called Malassezia. That can be treated easily with our scalp cleansers and specially formulated shampoos.
Are you a young man who has noticed his hairline receding or a menopausal woman who has noticed the widening of your parting area? It may be the early signs of androgenic alopecia.
A common genetic condition, caused by a chemical in our bodies called Dihydrotestosterone, DHT. Testosterone is converted to DHT by 5 Alpha Reductase Enzyme. DHT attaches to the androgen receptors on the hair follicle causing gradual miniaturisation of the hair follicle resulting in finer and shorter hair being produced until the follicle eventually dies and hair loss occurs.
What do you do when you first have concerns about your hair loss?
When many people start to notice a change in hair density they will try to disguise the problem rather than acknowledge it.
Don’t wait, if you feel you are losing your hair, seek advice!
The first point of call may be a family member. Perhaps other members of your family have hair loss issues that they may not have discussed with you. If they have sought advice, they may be happy to pass on the information. Tell you who they spoke to and what their advice may have been. They may also feel they are in a similar boat to you, and this could be a chance for both of you to seek help. There is always safety in numbers and having a hand to hold through the process can be very reassuring.
Many men, accept it’s happening and don’t seek any solution except to cut their hair very short. However, the earlier you start treatment for hair loss the better the results will be to maintain and regrow your hair.
For others, it will be something they have noticed and they won’t speak about their worries in case they seem vain.
Many people are embarrassed about their hair loss and try to ignore the fact outwardly while struggling inwardly with what to do.
For many, the first point of call may be their hairdresser. Many stylists, but not all by any means, will have a basic understanding of hair loss and be able to suggest a cause. They may have other clients who have had advice from a different professional and point you in their direction for advice. They can also advise on a change of style to help improve the look of your hair. While introducing you to more suitable products that will add volume and help maintain your style between washes.
It is usually when hair loss increases that a trip to the GP will be considered. Unfortunately, the NHS don’t take hair loss terribly seriously and sees it as only a cosmetic complaint. Many doctors have little hair loss experience and will refer you to a dermatologist. All this can take many months of waiting for an answer while the problem worsens.
Stressing about your hair loss can exacerbate the situation if it isn’t the main cause already. When the hair loss has become obvious, especially for women, they may seek a hair prosthesis which may be a full wig, a topper or hair extensions. All of which give the client the confidence to face the world without perceived judgement from others but will only disguise the cause and not identify it.
In addition to all the above most people will ask Google about hair loss and be inundated with information some helpful, some not so helpful.
Asking Google can send you down the road of spending money on many products that can’t help your type of hair loss or products that have no clinically proven benefits.
Hair grows in a cycle of three phases, Anagen, Telogen and Catagen. The whole hair cycle can take between 2-7 years. The length of time your follicle stays in each phase will be determined by genetics and this is why some people can grow they hair very long and others can’t. Genetics also determine the density, colour and shape of your hair. With many characteristics following your ethnicity. Genetics also play a role in how predisposed you may be to hair loss.
So, who should you be asking about hair loss as soon as you notice an issue? A Trichologist is the answer. But what is a trichologist?
A trichologist is a specialist who focuses on diseases or problems related to the hair and scalp. They will look at your situation from a holistic view, examining not only your hair and scalp but also looking at your lifestyle, diet, stress levels and other medical conditions that may be contributing to your hair loss. With the aid of a magnifying scope, they will look at the scalp and follicle to see how well the follicle is performing and detect any other contributing factors.
Once the true cause is known a personalised plan of treatment can be mapped out and the results monitored.
This plan may include topical solutions, different hair care products, dietary advice, low level light therapy treatment or to refer to you a medical professional with prescribing ability or surgical practice.
A trichologist will charge for a consultation but if you weigh up all the wasted time, money, and effort on trying to treat yourself it is well worth the price, as getting to the root of the problem early can only improve the rejuvenation and regrowth of your own hair.