A new type of hair loss!

There is a lot of press at the moment regarding scientists finding ‘another’ reason for hair loss; There seems to be a mechanism that turns age damaged stem cells in hair follicles into skin. The hair follicles shrink and eventually disappear — leaving you with miniaturized/microscopic hairs. Although theorised for many years, this the first time such a mechanism has been identified with direct ageing. Unlike stem cells elsewhere in the body, hair follicle cells regenerate on a cyclical basis, as the hair follicle shrinks it ‘collects’ stem cells from the hair bulge (found half way up the follicle), this then kick starts the growth phase again. There is noted to be reduction in something called ‘Collagen17A1’ which seems to trigger the miniaturization of the hair. To complicate matters, this new hair loss problem seems to be a separate issue to good old fashioned Genetic ‘pattern’ hair loss (what is usually termed genetic thinning) …but if getting older and hair thinning through this different process is built into our DNA, this could also be called ‘genetic hair loss’!..(this could get confusing!)     The other part of the equation is always the issue of “what can be done to prevent this from happening?” Can we just eat/drink more collagen to replenish our stores? Dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting was asked the same thing “collagen is a complicated protein. It is the scaffolding of all major organs. And yes, as we age we lose it. Exposure to sunshine and smoking hasten its demise. But we can’t lazily hope to replenish it with drinks, pills and creams”. So adding more collagen to...

Hair loss supplement advice

Hair loss is distressing and upsetting especially for women, up to 1:3 women will suffer from some form of hair loss in their life, after all it is a woman’s ‘crowning glory and has a devastating effect on the sufferer. The main types of hair loss can be categorized into diffuse or patchy (for want of a better words). Alopecia is the ‘patchy’ hair loss we think of and is simply a term meaning ‘hair loss’ in ancient Greek when people say alopecia they usually think of Alopecia Areata, which is an autoimmune disorder (the body is fighting against itself) and usually rectifies itself without medical intervention over several months. Diffuse hair loss is more common; usually women initially notice their hair becoming fine and fly away, this can be the start of thinning hair and can be many the reasons; Diet, Medication: Certain underlying illness and severe stress: can all lead to thinning hair. Genetic thinning comes under this banner too, just as men suffer from ‘male pattern baldness’ there is a female version too and it affects just as many women as it does men, the difference being the type of ‘pattern’ it takes and it is more likely to happen after menopause.   Hair loss Supplements have their part to play in hair health, When I am consulting with a patient, one piece of advice I cannot stress enough is “A health balanced diet is essential for good hair growth”…Why is it so important? Because, what ever the underlying issue is, it will always be exacerbated by a poor diet! A good, healthy diet is the...

How can I grow my hair longer?

I was recently asked how do you get your hair grow longer?  Hmm…this is not a straightforward question as it largely depends on two factors   The length of your hair cycle: Your hair grows in a continuous growing/shedding phase which can be anywhere between 5 and 8 years…basically the longer your hair cycle the longer your hair! This is largely determined by genetics…if you haven’t got the ‘long hair gene’ you wont grow hair down to your waist! The other variable is…the speed that your hair grows, which can vary between 0.7mm and 12mm per month. One times by the other gives you the optimum length that your hair could potentially grow too of the growing phase of your hair cycle that determines the length of your hair.   E.g.: Person ‘a’ hair grows at 1cm per month and has a growth phase of 5 years = 60cm Person ‘b’ hair grows at 1.2 cm per month and has a growth phase of 7 years = 100.8 cm Certain genetic types have longer hair growth phases (Asian people have generally longer growth phases) But…health problems and the aging process could affect both of these factors in general. Lack of certain vitamins, minerals or amino acids may cause the hair cycle to shrink, and so not grow for as long.   The hair is the 2nd fastest growing cell in the body and so needs a lot of nutrition for it to function correctly, unfortunately the body classes hair as ‘non-essential’ and so will always be at the back of the queue when it comes to getting the essential...

The only animal with long hair??

Why do we have elongated scalp hair?  The theory goes that we (as humans) developed around rivers and the coast; we required water to survive and flourish. Whilst this proved a valuable source of food (shellfish, fish…etc) the toxins and the heavy metals in that particular diet prove too much for our body to handle. So our bodies developed an amazing way of getting rid of those heavy metal toxins…by using the hair!  Hair is pigmented by melanocytes (dendritic cells which make colour and ‘inject’ it into the keratinised cells of the hair); the melanocytes also have the fantastic quality of being able to taking the heavy toxins washing around our blood processing them into the pigment. This means the Melanocytes safely deposits the toxin into the dead material of the hair where it is slowly grown (excreted) out of the body!  Our hair developed a long growing phase to help with this excreting process!  So once again the simple hair proves that it is (or at least used to be) necessary for our development and not just simple ornamentation!  A good trichologist needs to understand why we have hair and how it works, Trichology simply means the science of hair; the more we understand about it the better we can treat it when it goes wrong! Thanks...

Oscars hair

The biggest film event has been and gone once again leaving us to pour over the dresses and outfits the stars were wearing. Hair also provides huge speculation on whats been done and by whom?…a patient did point out to me last week that (quite rightly) if there is so many people loosing their hair (either genetically or due to other conditions) why are their so little ‘A’ listers who seem not to have hair problems? The answer is of course that they suffer as much as anyone else to genetic thinning as well as many other things…they simply are better at prevention, maintaining and hiding the thinning hair! The people who you see on the red carpet are under a huge amount of scrutiny, and are also in a career where ‘looks are everything’ and a receeding hair line would not do much for your next prospective role. This unfortunately has a de-morilising effect on the ‘normal’ people who look on in envy wondering why ‘Mr/Mrs X’ is so luck that they are a film star AND doesn’t suffer from hair loss. Through ‘secret’ operations, preventative medication and early detection of any illnesses which may bode ill for their hair, the Hollywood starlets do keep this illusion of being almost immune to hair loss….of course they have the money to do so and for the majority of us taking the same actions does require a long term look on finances before leaping into surgery/long term medication. But they do have one thing right…which is prevention is better than cure and once they see some sort of hair thinning,...

Male pattern baldness info

Hello! Instead of writing about hair loss, today I though I would put a link on my page for you to follow regarding lots of info on ‘Male pattern hair loss’! Enjoy! http://uk.askmen.com/video/sports/913-better-man-advice-what-men-should-know-about-hair-loss-video.html Thanks...

National hair loss awareness week!

Hair loss awareness week is between the 31st of Jan and the 6th of Feb is being highlighted by the Institute of Trichologists as the time to raise awareness of all types of hair loss problems. Excessive hair loss problems blight the lives of both men and women causing incredible psychological suffering and in many cases may be the first outward signs of a serious underlying condition. Hair loss is distressing and upsetting especially for women, up to 1:3 women will suffer from some form of hair loss in their life, after all it is a woman’s ‘crowning glory and has a devastating effect on the sufferer. The main types of hair loss fall into two categories diffuse hair loss or patchy (for want of a better word) which the word ‘Alopecia’ is all to commonly used. Diffuse hair loss is very common; usually women initially notice their hair becoming fine and fly away, this can be the start of thinning hair and can be many the reasons; Diet, Medication: Certain underlying illness and severe stress: can all lead to thinning hair. Genetic thinning comes under this banner too, just as men suffer from ‘male pattern baldness’ there is a female version too and it affects just as many women as it does men, the difference being the type of ‘pattern’ it takes and it is more likely to happen after menopause. Alopecia is simply a term meaning ‘hair loss’, when people say alopecia they usually think of Alopecia Areata, which is an auto-immune disorder (the body is fighting against itself) and usually rectifies itself without medical intervention. Most hair...

Why do we have hair anyway?

Why do we have hair? Sounds a simple question, but this dead material which sprouts out of the top of our heads holds more fascination to us than how our hearts work or even how our brains work! There is no definitive answer but there are very solid theories as to why we have it and why we lost it; When we were primates we did not have language and so needed a way in communicating with each other, hair along with facial expressions and gestures made up a primitive sign language which we can still see (and feel) when cats and dogs become aggressive they show their hackles (a ridge of hair which runs down their spine)  today, goose bumps are the remnants of that indicator, everyone must have said at some point that the hairs have gone up at the back of their neck! Protection must have been the initial reason though…protection from the cold and from U.V light. So why did we lose it?…we are called the hairless ape, if it was so important to keep warm why loose most of our fur coat? Scientists believe now that it was down to the way we hunted (rather than the story of humans inventing clothes and so loosing hair after that). We are not the fastest of hunters, but we can travel great distances because of 2 things, our up-right stance and our cooling system. We have specially adapted sweat glands called ‘eccrine’ glands which allow us to sweat whilst running, walking (doing any strenuous thing really), apart from horses (who can sweat allot whilst they run)...

Propecia scare

Hi! Just heard Newsbeat on radio 1 talking about the ‘cons’ of taking ‘Propecia’…stating new research that shows long term impotency in users. I will firstly point out that ‘Finasteride’ to give it it’s licenced name, is a very safe drug, one of few which does not have very many interactions with other medical compounds. There has always been a warning that approx 2% of men using this may suffer from erectile dysfunction or loss of libido. As this is a ‘temporary’ DHT blocker, there is no reason why after stoping the medication it would still have an effect?There is a very, very small risk that the side-effects of this medication may induce an underlying condition, but to say this medication causes permanant impotence is extreme and ‘scare-mongering’ You must always keep in mind that there is no such thing as a 100% safe medication; paracetamol, asprin..all the household medicines will have ‘some’ side effects on a minority of people. This medication is still a very safe and effective way of preventing and helping hair loss…so please don’t worry! If you have any specific questions about this or any other hair related topic please contact me at info@hairmedic.co.uk Merry Christmas and a happy new year...

The difference between fine hair and Thinning hair?

Whats the difference between fine hair and thinning hair?… fine hair is simply the texture of someone’s hair, it does not imply a disorder, where as thinning hair usually is thinning due to an underlying condition….heres some regular questions I get asked regarding the difference between the two.   What causes hair to be fine? The diameter of the actual hair cuticle determines how thick or fine your hair is, coupled with the amount of hairs you have per square centimetre make up the feeling if you have thick hair, fine (but a lot of it) or simply fine hair, this in effect is simply genetic. How can you tell if you have fine hair? This is a subjective question as one person ‘thick’ is another’s ‘fine’ it’s down to the individual really! Is fine hair something that affects both men and women? Yes, both men and women have fine hair [but to imply that they are ‘affected’ means that there is something wrong with having fine hair…see title above] What are the main disadvantages to having fine hair? Are there any advantages? Fine hair falls limp quickly, volume is always a problem with fine hair, as for advantages….it dries quicker! Can environmental factors affect the thickness of hair or is it all down to genetics? Hair is a dead appendage, so external factors cannot affect the hair growth, genetics does hold the key to fine hair, though there are internal factors which cause the narrowing and miniaturisation of hairs which lead to hair loss and thinning. How would you recommend caring for fine hair, i.e. products,appliances,brushes? Don’t use...