Worried about hair loss?
September is Alopecia Awareness Month, so we asked KH Hair salon director and qualified Trichologist, Maxine Sutcliffe, for her advice on how to tackle hair loss and thinning.
Alopecia is an autoimmune disease where the body’s defence mechanism is acting as if it were defending against invading pathogens and destroying the hair. The word ‘Alopecia’ simply means hair loss, but there are many types. Here are a few of the most common:
- Alopecia Totalis is loss of all hair on the head, eye lashes and eyebrows
- Alopecia Universalis is hair loss all over the body
- Alopecia Areata can be put into either short term or long-term types. The first signs are usually small circular completely bald patches. The hair follicle is visible and can contain fine vellus hairs. This can last anywhere from six months to a year. Sometimes it never returns but occasional relapses are possible. Long term Alopecia Areata starts in the same way, but patches spread and join with each other to form larger, irregular shaped patches. This can improve spontaneously or last for many years, coming and going, sometimes with complete recovery taking place before starting all over again
- Cosmetic Traumatic Alopecia is hair breakage seen at the root area, often worsening towards the ends (if there are any left). This is caused by over processing of colour or perming
- Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia is a relatively new Alopecia (recognised by Kossard 1994). It is a scarring Alopecia, and you will notice the hair loss is only around the front hairline and the area above the ears. The scalp can look scarred and there can be red dots and lone hairs at the edges. Unfortunately, this hair will never grow back
Telogen Effluvium can be caused by many things including stress, illness, anaemia, or deficiencies. Covid has also had an enormous effect on people, either due to the virus itself (not proven) or from the stress and worries we’ve all had during the pandemic and lockdowns.
Pattern hair loss, which can affect both males and females, is caused by genetics, age, and the presence of androgen testosterone. In females, it’s not that there is more testosterone, but rather less oestrogen, allowing the testosterone to be more prevalent.
Nutrition plays a fundamental role directly and indirectly in body health. Many conditions seen may be due to changes in the body that upset the metabolism. Frequently, physical or chemical imbalances occur from poor diets. This can affect the hair, scalp, and skin. Often, supplements are recommended but these should be taken alongside, not instead of, a healthy diet containing the correct proportions of nutrients (carbs, fats, proteins), be as fresh as possible and cooked healthily.
A bit about vitamins:
Vitamins A, D, E and K are absorbed into the body with dietary fats and can be stored in moderate quantities. Vitamins C and B are water soluble and are excreted through urine and sweat. These can also be destroyed through cooking and are not stored in the body, so need to be replaced regularly.
- Vitamin A: Good for the promotion of immunity and defends against infection. This is found in dairy products, egg yolks, green veg and fruit. Deficiency can cause dry skin, acne, plugged follicles and dandruff
- Vitamin B: Maintains a healthy function of the nervous system. It also plays a large role in healthy hair and skin. It is found in liver, kidneys, whole grains, brown rice, and eggs, to name a few
- Vitamin C: This is the most easily destroyed of all the vitamins and should be replaced throughout the day. This can be found in fresh fruits, brussels, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and peppers
- Vitamin D: Essential for the development of bones and teeth. We get 90% of vitamin D from the sun, but most adults spend more time inside than out and will often need to supplement this. Vitamin D3 is found in fish, eggs, and butter
- Vitamin E- Contains antioxidants which helps to protect the body’s constituents (oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon, calcium, and phosphorus) from free radicals. It is found in wheat germ, whole wheat, nuts, sweet potatoes, and brown rice
- Vitamin K: Essential for the clotting of blood. This is found in dark leafy vegetables, tomatoes, celery, and carrots
Depletions in all or some of these vitamins can cause problems with the hair and scalp. Remember, it’s important to talk to your GP before taking any supplements if you have any health conditions. If you’re considering taking and iron supplement, make sure you get a blood test first, as too much iron can be dangerous.
Products to help
Nioxin is a really great product. I always recommend using the 3-point system which is aimed at the scalp. You will get the best results by using all three of the products each time you wash your hair.
I would further recommend using another conditioner (a deep protect density mask) on the ends of the hair if it needs it. I also love Nioxin Diaboost as this gives instant results, making the diameter of each hair thicker, and Nioxin’s Night Density Rescue is a brilliant product to achieve a thicker looking head of hair in just two months. It’s a leave in treatment and should be used every night. The product includes antioxidants, which neutralise all the free radicals on the scalp’s surface.
Nioxin Anti Hair Loss Serum is great too as it improves anchorage of the hair by 20%, leaving hair visibly stronger and thicker from the very first application.
I’d advise anyone to use all the above products together for best results.
When styling, try not to wear your hair in a bobble that’s too tight, as this can cause breakage – as can any metal bits. Also, go gently when brushing wet hair and don’t tie your hair up wet, as it stretches when wet, but shrinks when dry, therefore putting pressure on the hair.
You can also try moving your parting to cover any areas where hair has thinned.
If your hair is fine and brittle, try using a silk scarf to sleep in as the friction is less than on cotton pillowcases.
Wearing weaves or extensions that aren’t fitted properly, can also put tension on the hair, causing it to come out.
The styling range from Nioxin is really great. You cannot overload on product. My favourites are Styling Therm Active Heat Protector, 3D Styling Thickening Spray and Instant Fullness Dry Cleanser.
Can we help?
KH Hair offers a completely free and confidential consultation for anyone concerned about hair loss or thinning. Our trained experts in the salon will be open, honest, and sensitive to your needs and concerns. Please contact your salon for details.
Remember, it’s important to seek professional medical advice from your GP who may refer you for a blood test and proper diagnosis.
For more information about Alopecia, visit: www.alopecia.org.uk