Hair Loss Treatments: Why Natural Isn’t Always Best

Hair loss is an extremely common issue for both men and women. While in many cases it is a natural sign of ageing, it doesn’t stop it from affecting confidence and self-esteem.

Losing your hair can be devastating, with many stating it has had a significant negative impact on their quality of life. Hair loss treatments, particularly hair transplant surgery, can prove expensive, so it’s not uncommon for sufferers to turn to natural methods to treat it.

The trouble is these natural treatments are very rarely successful. Here, we’ll look at why natural isn’t always best when it comes to hair loss treatment.

Majority of natural treatments don’t work

A new study carried out in the US has revealed the majority of natural hair loss treatments don’t work. The University of California looked into the effectiveness of 20 different alternative treatments. These included garlic, rosemary oil, caffeine, vitamin D, massage and turmeric.

While most were found to have no scientific evidence to back up their claims, some did show a little more promise. Rosemary oil, for example, showed initial promise in the study but researchers say further investigation is required. Onion juice was one of the more promising natural treatments and it is thought that sulfur and phenolic compounds cause an irritant contact dermatitis, stimulating hair regrowth through antigenic competition.

Some of the natural treatments that didn’t work include garlic oil, Vitamin D, massage and turmeric. Vitamin D did initially show promise, but further research debunked its claims.

The problem with leaving hair loss untreated

While some natural treatments did show some signs of improvement, larger studies need to be undertaken. The trouble is, if those suffering from hair loss avoid traditional treatments, the problem could simply worsen over time. You could spend a lot of time trying out different natural alternatives only to experience zero results. In the meantime, you continue to experience hair loss.

You’ll also find that many treatments advertised as a natural remedy for hair loss aren’t all that they seem. The products are largely unregulated, which means they may contain ingredients that exacerbate the condition. You simply don’t know what you are applying to the hair.

What effective treatments are available?

Although it may be tempted to try natural treatments, it’s much better to seek proven treatment. If you are suffering from hair loss, there are a lot of different treatment options you can undergo.

For mild to moderate hair loss, medications such as Minoxidil can prove highly effective. The topical treatment slows down hair loss and, in many cases, can encourage new hair growth. However, it is largely designed to be used to slow down the progression of androgenetic hair loss, or to treat temporary forms of hair loss.

Hair transplants are another option for those experiencing more severe hair loss. However, treatment will ultimately be decided based on each patient’s individual needs. You will find out which treatment would be most effective for you during your consultation.

While there are no cures for hair loss, there are effective treatments and it’s essential to seek advice from a hair loss specialist.

Is Your Medication Causing Hair Loss?

Hair loss is a common condition experienced by both men and women. Did you know that there is a wide range of factors that can cause you to start losing your hair?

While genetics and age tend to be the biggest hair loss culprits, it can also be brought on by a change in medication. Some medicines are known to lead to hair loss, such as chemotherapy drugs. However, a wide range of drugs can contribute to excess hair shedding.

Below, you’ll discover how medication could be triggering your hair loss. You will also learn some of the signs to watch out for and why it’s important to seek a consultation.

The types of hair loss triggered by medications

There are two different types of medication-related hair loss you can experience. The first is Anagen effluvium and the second is Telogen effluvium.

With Anagen effluvium, the changes in the hair will begin quite quickly after taking medication. It causes active hair to fall out and it most commonly affects those that are taking chemotherapy drugs.

Telogen effluvium can also be triggered by medication, although it can take months for signs to start showing. In this type of hair loss, the resting hair begins to fall out and it can be caused by a wide range of medications.

Which medications can lead to hair loss?

There are a lot of medications which can lead to hair loss. The majority trigger Telogen effluvium. The main types of drugs which can lead to this form of hair loss include:

  • Beta blockers
  • Proton pump inhibitors
  • Birth control pills
  • Antidepressants
  • Blood thinners
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Steroids

These are just some types of medication with links to Telogen effluvium hair loss. If you are suffering with Anagen effluvium, the main medications which trigger the condition are chemotherapy drugs. However, in rare cases, it can be triggered my medications which contain boric acid, thallium, arsenic and bismuth.

As drug-induced hair loss can be triggered by a wide range of medications, it’s important to undergo an assessment to see which of your medications could be causing the problem.

How drug-induced hair loss is diagnosed

In order to diagnose drug-induced hair loss, a full medical assessment will need to be undertaken. They will look into any recent medications you have started which could be triggering the hair loss. They will also assess any changes in doses to medications you are taking, alongside whether you have been ill recently. Your family’s history of hair loss will also be looked into to see if it could be genetic related.

As well as going over your medical history, the doctor may also carry out various tests. These include scalp analysis, the hair pull test, blood tests and a scalp biopsy.

How can you treat the problem?

If your hair loss is caused by medication, if possible, you will be told to stop taking it. You may need to switch to a different medication, or have your dosage altered. In cases where chemotherapy drugs are causing the hair loss, you will need to wait until you have completed treatment. The hair loss should naturally resolve itself once the medication is out of the system, but there are a number of treatments that can help restore hair growth and reverse thinning if required.

If you suspect your hair loss is caused by medication, seeking advice from your doctor is the first step you should take. There are many causes of hair loss so it is important to get to the bottom of the problem prior to seeking treatment.

Dealing with Stress-Related Hair Loss

Have you recently noticed a change in your hair? If so, it could be down to the increased levels of stress due to the coronavirus. Indeed researchers at University College of London have already carried out a large-scale survey of 80,000 adults in England and have found a sharp increase in stress levels.

Stress is known to have a direct impact on the hair, leading to issues with thinning and hair loss.

During these unprecedented times, more people than ever before are suffering from increased levels of chronic stress. So, how does stress impact the hair and how can you deal with it if you do suffer from this type of hair loss?

The link between stress and hair loss

High levels of stress can have a devastating impact on the body. It is known to weaken the immune system, cause the muscles to tense up, and raise blood sugar levels. Stress literally changes the way the body functions, including its cells. Unfortunately, hair cells are not immune to the effects of stress and too much of it can trigger temporary hair loss.

The hair loss caused by stress is known as telogen effluvium. This is a more wide-spread type of hair loss that occurs on the scalp. Stress causes internal disturbances within the body, including forcing more hair into the shedding phase.

When you’re stressed, you also don’t tend to look after yourself as much as usual. Poor diet, lack of sleep and skipping meals altogether can all exasperate the problem. The hair is considered a non-essential part of the body. So, when there are nutritional deficiencies caused by a poor diet, the body sends them to the most essential organs and tissues first.

This leaves the hair lacking in nutrients, increasing hair loss and thinning.

High levels of stress are also known to contribute to alopecia areata. Although the exact cause isn’t known, most sudden cases tend to be triggered by a stressful event such as a bereavement or accident.

Can you prevent stress-related hair loss?

The only way to prevent stress-related hair loss is to avoid increased levels of stress. This isn’t always possible, particularly if the stress is caused by an unforeseen event like an accident. However, if you can get into a routine of adding relaxation techniques to your day, it could potentially limit the severity of stress-related hair loss.

How to deal with hair loss caused by stress

The good news about stress-related hair loss is that it is usually only temporary. However, while it will typically clear up by itself, there are some things you can do to speed the process along.

Ensuring you eat a proper diet and stay hydrated will help to protect the hair during periods of stress. However, the most effective method of speeding up the hair’s recovery is by lowering your stress levels. This includes participating in relaxing activities such as yoga, reading and breathing exercises.

There are also temporary treatments available to help speed up hair recovery. These include topical treatments such as Minoxidil.

If you suspect your hair loss could be down to stress, you should seek advice from a hair loss specialist. There are many different causes of hair loss and each requires its own type of treatment.  Book a consultation today to determine the cause and best treatment to clear up the problem.

Alopecia Areata Treatment Get FDA Breakthrough Therapy Status

Alopecia areata is considered the most severe type of hair loss experienced. At present, there is no cure for the condition which affects millions of people. However, Lilly’s Olumiant has recently been given breakthrough status by the FDA for its potential new alopecia areata drug option.

The breakthrough status was provided for the JAK inhibitor, Olumiant in the treatment of alopecia areata. The treatment is most commonly used to treat arthritis patients, but it has shown promising results in studies for alopecia areata.

Here, we’ll look at the new potential treatment for the condition and what it could mean for patients.

Why has Lilly’s alopecia areata drug given breakthrough status?

The breakthrough status given to Lilly’s Olumiant was granted after the success of its stage 2 trial. The treatment was first approved for use in patients with rheumatoid arthritis back in 2018 in the US and is currently used in 6 different countries.

However, Olumiant hasn’t achieved the level of success it could have done due to the fact it was only approved in low 2mg doses. There are also warnings on its label for the risk of blood clots, infections and cancer.

The treatment was discovered to have potential benefits to Alopecia Areata patients in its current trials. These were carried out with higher 4mg doses of the drug and have so far revealed promising results.

Understanding the latest studies

The latest ongoing trial is now in its stage 3 process. The FDA granted approval of Olumiant after the stage 2 test results were revealed.

Patients with severe or very severe alopecia areata were given the drug for 36 weeks. There were 725 patients involved in the study. Some were given a 2mg dose, others were given a 4mg dose and then a final group were given placebo treatment.

Interim results reveal that there were no additional safety implications of taking the higher dose. Only a small number of mild side effects were identified, such as acne and upper respiratory tract infections.

Stage 3 has now begun and it includes an additional pivotal study made up of 476 patients. If it turns out to show positive results, the findings will be released in 2021.

What is alopecia areata?

Alopecia areata is an auto-immune condition, caused when the immune system starts attacking its own cells. It tends to start during childhood, though it can occur at any age.

The condition causes patches of hair loss and in severe cases, total baldness. There is no cure for this type of hair loss, though there are some effective treatments to manage it. The majority of cases are treated with strong corticosteroid drugs which are known to have side effects when used in the long term. So, this latest study could prove life-changing if Olumiant proves to be a successful treatment option.

There are different types of hair loss and Alopecia Areata is known to be the most severe. It can cause a lot of distress to patients, so a new potential treatment would prove life-changing.

Scientists Develop Cell Transplant Technique that Could Reverse Balding

Japanese scientists have developed a hair cell transplant technique which could reverse balding. The Tokyo based study looked into the effectiveness of transplanting a patient’s own hair cells into the scalp. It revealed an 8% increase in the amount of hair produced by the patients over a period of one year.

Here, we’ll look at this new research and the technique that’s been developed.

How was the study carried out?

Scientists from the Tokyo Medical University Hospital developed the new hair cell transplant technique which was tested on over 75 patients. The patients included 50 men and 15 women, aged between 33 and 64 years old.

The study ran for a period of one year, and some of the patients were given a placebo injection for comparison results. Tiny samples of the cells found within the dermal sheath cup were taken from the back of the head. They were then treated and multiplied within a lab setting before being injected into the top of the scalp.

The patients were examined every few months to see how the treatment was working.

What did it reveal?

The results of the study have proven promising. It was discovered that on average, there was an 8% increase in hair density. The majority of new hair growth seemed to appear during six-month and nine-month periods.

The only potential negative finding was that hair growth really slowed down after nine months. There was also some evidence to suggest that the treatment works better on older patients.

Interestingly, they also discovered that injecting more cells into the top of the head didn’t increase the results compared to the smaller doses. The scientists have a number of theories as to why this happens. The most common is that cell debris from the samples could have prevented the extra cells from being activated. It could also have been caused by an immune system response.

Who would make a good candidate?

From the results discovered so far, the new transplant technique would largely prove beneficial for older patients. It would also suit those who have minimal baldness at the back of the head.

It’s important for patients to realise that there are lots of different types of hair loss. The new transplant technique is being tested on those who have the most common type of hair loss – male or female pattern baldness. This is a genetic condition which impacts a large portion of the population as they age. Currently, there is no cure available. However, this new treatment could prove promising at reversing hair loss.

Overall, new developments are continuously being made within the hair loss sector. This latest study is certainly promising, but further tests will need to be carried out. It is important for all patients who are experiencing hair loss, to undergo a consultation. There are some effective treatment options already available. However, you need to determine the type of hair loss you are experiencing before the proper treatment can be recommended.

Hair Loss and High Blood Pressure Link

High blood pressure is often referred to as an invisible killer. Its harmful effects on our health and wellbeing have been well documented in recent years. Now, a recent study has revealed a surprising link between the condition and hair loss.

Here, we’ll look at what this recent study revealed and the high blood pressure symptoms to look out for.

What did the recent study into hair loss and high blood pressure reveal?

The recent study, led by Dr Tomohide Yamada from the University of Tokyo, discovered that men who suffered from vertex baldness were at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. It revealed that men who were going bald had a 52% higher risk of developing heart disease than those who weren’t. Men suffering from a reclining hairline and baldness on the crown, also saw a 69% increase in their chances of developing heart disease.

Although the true link between hair loss and high blood pressure hasn’t been fully discovered, there is a theory over why it occurs. High blood pressure is said to restrict the supply of blood to the hair’s roots. This, in turn, causes the hair to start falling out.

Now, the researchers from the Tokyo university recommend men who are suffering from hair loss, to follow a heart-healthy lifestyle. This includes limiting stress, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.

What is high blood pressure?

Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure doesn’t always present symptoms. However, if it isn’t treated, it can lead to a number of serious health issues including strokes and heart attacks.

When blood pressure is too high, it places additional pressure onto the blood vessels, organs and heart. Therefore, the sooner the problem is treated, the less risk there is of developing serious complications. Hair loss is just one of the most recent conditions to be linked to high blood pressure.

What other symptoms does it produce?

Although a lot of the time high blood pressure doesn’t present any symptoms, there are some you can watch out for. These include:

  • Fatigue
  • Severe headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Pounding in the ears
  • Vision trouble

If you do notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to visit the doctor. If left untreated, they could develop into a stroke or heart attack.

Seeking treatment for the condition

If your hair loss is related to high blood pressure, seeking treatment for the condition should resolve the problem. However, it’s important to note that the research conducted largely points to an increased risk of heart disease if hair loss occurs. So, it’s more likely the hair loss is contributing to cardiovascular disease and not the other way around.

If you are experiencing hair loss, book an appointment with your GP for a blood pressure test. This will help to establish whether you are at a higher risk of the condition. You can also seek a diagnosis for your hair loss by booking a consultation with a specialist hair loss expert. This will help you to determine the best course of treatment depending upon the type of hair loss being experienced.

Mattel’s Barbie Helping to Normalise Childhood Alopecia

Barbie has remained one of the most popular children’s toys for decades. Now, the company behind the famous doll, Mattel, has created a doll for children suffering from alopecia.

The brand has introduced several new dolls over the past decade to ensure they represent a range of body types and images. This latest doll for those suffering from childhood alopecia is said to be a positive step towards normalising the condition. It is one of many new dolls being introduced in 2020. Here, we’ll look at the new range of Barbie’s and the benefits they provide.

What is the new Barbie range?

The new Barbie range includes two new dolls. One has the Vitiligo skin condition, while the other is bald to represent alopecia sufferers. The brand now has the most diverse range of dolls, with over 170 available in a range of sizes, hair colours and skin tones.

Over half of the dolls sold by the brand last year were diverse dolls. In their top 10 bestsellers, one of the dolls which proved popular was one in a wheelchair. So, it highlights how effective they are at helping a more diverse range of children.

The new bald Barbie will be available later this year, alongside a doll with a prosthetic limb.

Destigmatising childhood alopecia

Barbie was once known for its famous blonde, long-legged dolls. However, they didn’t really represent a large portion of children. Introducing more diverse dolls has helped the brand to relate to a much wider audience.

Children can now find a Barbie which accurately represents them. Whether it’s children of colour, those with a slightly larger build, or those with disabilities. These dolls also encourage conversation over disabilities, raising awareness of conditions that can impact children.

Those suffering from alopecia, for example, will relate to the new bald doll. It helps to raise awareness of the condition, while also making children feel more normal in society.

Understanding childhood alopecia

Alopecia areata is a progressive, often extensive type of hair loss and it can impact both children and adults. However, it largely tends to occur during childhood.

For children under the age of five, it doesn’t really impact them psychologically. However, as they grow it can start to cause issues with self-confidence and self-esteem. There is no cure for the condition, although there are treatments available which can lessen the symptoms in some cases.

Seeking emotional support is the most important. The support offered to children with alopecia will differ depending upon their age. How it affects each child will also depend upon the severity of the condition. In severe cases, the entire head of hair can fall out, alongside hair on the rest of the body.

Childhood alopecia areata can be devastating for those affected. However, the introduction of Barbie’s new bald doll later this year is going to help normalise the condition for a lot of children. Seeking the right emotional support, alongside seeing what treatment options are available will also help children better handle the condition.

Winter Warning: Your Hair Loss Could be a Sign of Vitamin D Deficiency

Have you noticed your hair is shedding more than usual this winter? According to experts, it could be down to a vitamin D deficiency.

Public Health England (PHE) has issued new advice telling people to up their vitamin D levels in the winter months. So, how could a vitamin D deficiency contribute towards hair loss and how can you ensure your levels are well topped up throughout winter?

Can vitamin D deficiency lead to hair loss?

There are many factors which can lead to hair loss and vitamin deficiencies are one of them. However, it is actually very rare to suffer from vitamin deficiency hair loss. That being said, in the winter months, it is common to experience more shedding than usual.

The majority of our vitamin D consumption comes directly from the sun. In the UK, winter is the darkest period of the year, with very minimal natural sunlight. Due to how cold it is, we also avoid going out as often as we do in the summer. Therefore, our vitamin D levels tend to drop quite significantly.

Unless you are topping up your levels through a healthy diet, this could lead to a deficiency in vitamin D, in turn causing the hair to become thinner and shed more throughout the season.

How does vitamin D impact the hair?

Vitamin D is just one of 24 macronutrients that play a role in the health of our hair. It is responsible for helping to generate new hair follicles.

The constant regeneration of hair follicles is what helps to keep the hair looking fuller and healthier. So, ensuring you get enough vitamin D in your diet can help to promote new hair growth and keep it looking healthier.

What other impact can vitamin D deficiency have on health?

As well as hair loss and thinning, a vitamin D deficiency in winter can also impact other areas of our health. These include:

  • Depression and low mood
  • Muscle weakness
  • Chronic pain
  • Slow wound healing
  • High blood pressure

Some patients experience no symptoms when they have a vitamin D deficiency, but others can have numerous issues which present throughout the winter.

What is the new advice issued by the PHE?

In order to avoid the most common symptoms associated with vitamin D deficiency in winter, PHE has issued new advice.

The organisation recommends taking vitamin D supplements throughout the winter months. This is because very few foods actually contain this important nutrient. If you do want to gain more vitamin D through your diet, you’ll want to focus on foods such as tuna, eggs and salmon.

It is important to note here that the majority of patients suffer from low vitamin D levels. This isn’t a deficiency and in fact, very few patients are diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency.

So, if you are experiencing hair loss and thinning this winter, topping up your vitamin D levels may help. However, it is important to have your hair assessed by a specialist to ensure any hair loss isn’t caused by any other underlying factors.

Stress and Your Hair

Former footballer Ryan Giggs has recently opened up about his struggle with hair loss. The star is currently undergoing laser hair transplant treatment after he claimed stress caused him to develop male pattern baldness.

So, can stress really cause male pattern baldness? Here, you’ll discover more about male pattern baldness and how stress can potentially impact the hair.

What is male pattern baldness?

There are a lot of different types of hair loss, and male pattern baldness is one of the most common. It relates to both male hormones and genetics and presents in a specific pattern in all men. Hair loss will usually occur on the crown of the head, alongside a receding hairline.

The condition is also referred to as Androgenic alopecia and it is considered the leading cause of hair loss in men. In the US alone, the U.S. National Library of Medicine estimates that 50% of men over the age of fifty, will experience male pattern baldness to some degree.

Does stress cause male pattern baldness?

There are several causes of male pattern baldness, however, none of them is stress-related. This type of hair loss is actually caused by genetics and male hormones known as androgens.

The role of androgens is varied, though they do contribute towards regulating hair growth. In male pattern baldness cases, the hair follicles shrink, and the growth cycle of the hair weakens. This starts to produce much shorter, finer hair. Eventually, as the condition progresses, new hair stops forming entirely, leading to baldness.

So, while Giggs is indeed suffering from hair loss, if it is male pattern baldness, he is incorrect in thinking it has been caused by stress.

What impact can stress have on the hair?

Although stress doesn’t link to male pattern baldness, it can contribute to some forms of hair loss. Specifically, there are three types of hair loss known to be linked to stress, including:

  • Telogen effluvium
  • Alopecia Areata
  • Trichotillomania

Telogen effluvium occurs when a high level of stress forces the hair follicles to enter the resting phase. After a few months, the hair starts to shed, leaving significant bald or thinning patches behind. This type of hair loss is usually temporary, and the hair will grow back once the stress has subsided.

Alopecia Areata is one of the more severe types of hair loss. There is no cure for the condition, and it is known to be caused by a number of factors, including high levels of stress. It is an auto-immune condition which causes the body’s immune system to start attacking its own cells, including those within the hair.

Trichotillomania is a psychological form of hair loss which causes the patient to pull out their own hair. This condition is often triggered by high levels of stress.

So, while stress cannot cause male pattern baldness, it can link to other hair loss conditions. The good news is, if your hair loss is caused by stress, it will usually be a temporary ad fixable issue. Book a consultation with a hair specialist today to determine the cause of your hair loss and identify the best course of treatment.

Can Seborrheic Dermatitis Cause Hair Loss?

Hair loss is common in both men and women and it can be triggered by a wide range of factors. While the most common type of hair loss is genetic, sometimes it can occur due to other conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis.

Here, we’ll look at what seborrheic dermatitis is and how it can potentially lead to hair loss.

What is seborrheic dermatitis?

Seborrheic dermatitis is a type of skin condition which causes itchy, flaky skin. It can occur anywhere on the body but is more commonly experienced on the scalp.

The cause of the condition isn’t known, but experts believe it occurs due to two factors. These include excessive oil production and a natural fungus known as Malassezia which occurs in the oils of the skin. If there is an excessive amount of the fungus, it can trigger excess oil production, which leads on to seborrheic dermatitis.

It is a long-term condition which will require long-term treatment to keep it under control. So, can seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp lead to hair loss?

Can seborrheic dermatitis cause hair loss?

There is a chance seborrheic dermatitis can lead to temporary hair loss, although it is rare. The condition itself isn’t the actual cause of the hair loss either. Instead, it is often caused by scratching the itchy scalp. Excessive scratching and rubbing can cause the hair follicles to become inflamed, temporarily leading to hair loss.

So, the condition itself isn’t a cause, but its symptoms can contribute to hair loss. Given that it is a long-term condition, it is important to determine whether it is the root cause of the problem so treatment can be started before the condition, and the hair loss worsens.

How to treat the problem

The good news is if you are suffering from hair loss triggered by seborrheic dermatitis, it is only a temporary issue. In order to clear up the problem, you’ll first need to treat the skin condition.

Once you have the seborrheic dermatitis under control, you can then use temporary hair loss treatments such as Minoxidil. This is sold over the counter, or for more noticeable hair loss, it can be prescribed in higher percentages by your GP. It is a topical treatment, applied directly onto the scalp.

The importance of seeking a diagnosis

Although seborrheic dermatitis can lead to temporary hair loss, there are a lot of different types of hair loss you can experience. As it is quite rare to suffer from hair loss caused by the condition, it is important to seek a proper diagnosis before attempting treatment.

A specialist hair loss expert will be able to assess the scalp and determine what type of hair loss you are suffering with. Determining the cause is crucial as each requires a different type of treatment.

So, if you’re suffering from seborrheic dermatitis and think it could be contributing to hair loss, book a consultation with a hair expert today. You can also seek a diagnosis from your GP, then consult with a hair loss specialist once the cause has been determined.