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Hair Loss Related Articles

  1. Afro Hair
  2. Chemotherapy and hair
  3. Dandruff: Whatís It All About
  4. Your Hair Loss Questions Answered

Afro Hair

Due to the unique formation of Afro hair, problems can quickly develop. Along a single shaft of Afro hair many different textures are found, from fine to thick, to curly and straight. This unique combination of textures is what allows Afro hair its great look but the trouble is it is jolly difficult to manage on a day to day basis. Afro hair tangles really easily, becomes frizzy, snaps and breaks easily and always loses moisture.

Most of the time, problems that occur with Afro hair are linked to the techniques that are used to make Afro hair easier to manage. These techniques include the use of chemical relaxers, heated hair straighteners and irons, braids and hair extensions.

Afro Hair and Traction Alopecia

The most common hair loss condition found with Afro hair is traction alopecia. This shows up as a receding front hair line. It is caused by frequently pulling or dragging the hair back into tight pony tails and tight braids and through using harsh brushing and styling techniques. Traction alopecia can be treated easily if caught early on but it is possible for the hair follicles to die if the problem continues, therefore it can potentially cause permanent hair loss.

Afro Hair and Chemical Trauma

Chemical over processing is another common problem found with Afro hair, this happens when chemical relaxers are either used too frequently or are left on too long during processing. Chemical relaxers permanently restructure Afro hair so that all the natural kinks of the hair shaft are permanently removed and smoothed out straight.

If the chemical is frequently applied to previously relaxed Afro hair an overlap problem arises, this results in hair snapping or breaking at the point of chemical over load. If the chemical relaxer is badly applied and left on too long, breaking and snapping of Afro hair occurs. This sort of chemical trauma on Afro hair can be devastating as a lot of hair volume can be lost very quickly.

Afro Hair and Scalp Problems

Chemicals that are used to straighten Afro hair can also cause scalp burns and scalp irritation, these scalp conditions are also detrimental to the growth of Afro hair. Many frequently occurring burns to the scalp experienced through using Afro hair relaxing products can cause allergies to develop, leaving the scalp sensitive even to the use of regular over the counter Afro hair shampoos and Afro hair styling products. Any scalp tenderness, itchiness and scaling must be investigated and treated as soon as possible.

Folliculitis is another common scalp disorder frequently diagnosed. It is a bacterial infection of the hair follicles and causes painful pus filled lumps to appear on the scalp. This can be due to a curly hair growing back into the scalp and infecting the follicle, or it can be caught through the use of unsterilised hair clippers or razors. This infection often causes permanent hair loss in the parts of the scalp it develops. The Hair Clinic can prescribe anti-bacterial treatments for this scalp condition, these products are also safe to use with Afro hair and The Hair Clinic can advise on what sort of hair products to avoid using until folliculitis improves.

Afro Hair and The Hair Clinic

The Hair Clinic specialises in diagnosing and treating all problems associated with Afro hair. The Hair Clinic has a wide range of treatment products designed specifically for Afro hair. We have a range of Afro hair shampoos, Afro hair conditioning treatments, Afro hair leave-on moisturising formulas, Afro hair growth stimulants and scalp treatment creams and solutions.

The registered trichologist here at The Hair Clinic has been specifically trained in the diagnosis and treatment of all problems associated with Afro hair. As with all hair and scalp problems, the first step if you are worried about any aspect of your hair or scalp is to have a trichological consultation and examination. Any suspect problems with Afro hair need to be diagnosed before the best treatment can be recommended.

During the consultation, trichological advice is also given on caring for Afro hair and specific advice is given on long term scalp care to help prevent scalp damage, irritation and infection.


Chemotherapy and Hair

A picture of a women showing hair loss due to chemotherapy

Chemotherapy targets all actively dividing cells of the body whether they are healthy or not. Unhealthy cells get blasted which is of course the aim of this type of therapy, however, healthy dividing cell of the hair follicles will be put out of action in exactly the same way. Once chemotherapy starts hair will fall out within days, although hair loss is not always experienced as it depends on the type of chemotherapy used. Your doctor will warn you on the likelihood of hair loss.

Once hair loss has occurred your scalp may feel a little tender or sore, it is wise to protect it fully from strong sunlight due to itís high sensitivity.

Four to six weeks following your last dose of chemotherapy, hair re-growth will start. Trichological advice at The Hair Clinic is available at this stage as gentle hair handling tips will be imperative. For instance, if you are used to colouring your hair and want to get back to it as soon as you see your hair growing back, it would indeed be wise to wait a further six months before doing so. This is due to the fact that when your hair first starts to grow back it can be rather dry and brittle so resist the temptation to dry it out any further or you may find hair breakage will occur.

It is also important not to brush the hair harshly while it is growing back, donít be tempted to massage the scalp vigorously with a brush or any other such instrument in pursuit of boosting hair growth while it is only a few inches in length as it could easily break off. It is best to shampoo and gently massage your scalp regularly once it starts to grow and always avoid aggressive detangling or styling techniques once it reaches a longer length. Individual advice on post chemo hair care can be obtained with the trichologist Vanessa Bailey at The Hair Clinic.

Your hair texture may change following chemotherapy, it may grow back wavier than usual but often grows back in healthier shape than before chemotherapy was administered. However, it is at least a year before the hair starts to feel stronger and healthier again. Always bear in mind that trichological advice and non-surgical hair replacement is available at The Hair Clinic throughout the stages of chemotherapy linked hair loss and hair re-growth.


Dandruff: Whatís It All About?

A common belief is that dandruff is a dry scalp complaint when in fact the opposite is true! Dandruff thrives on grease. Fungi spores that are found naturally in normal scalp secretions cause all the fuss. Some of us donít get dandruff, but a lot of us do, if you do get dandruff this means your scalp is hyper-sensitive to these fungi spores and will react to them as if they are something quite alien!

A scene depicting a women brushing dandruff from a mans shoulder

The white ďflakesĒ that are noticed amongst your hair and on your shoulders during an outbreak are little collections of oil, wax and dead skin cells. They manage to adhere themselves to hair and cling onto clothes quite happily due to their consistency. Susceptibility to this condition is derived from our genetic make up but some outside influences can make things worse.

Stress, not shampooing every day, using the wrong type of shampoo and applying conditioners or greasy hair products on your scalp will all exacerbate dandruff. Always seek the advice of a registered trichologist as treatments can be prepared for you based on your own individual needs; you will be surprised how easy it is to control dandruff when you use the correct products.

Trichological products and therapies work by reducing scalp fungi levels and fungi sensitivity so that the problem can be cleared initially and then with regular treatment use prevented from re-appearing. Due to the persistent nature of dandruff, trichological products are prepared with plant based ingredients to make them easier to use in the long term and are also prepared with the health of the hair in mind-therefore managing to maintain healthy shiny hair at the same time as treating the scalp.

With dandruff or any other scalp concern, always have the problem diagnosed by a trichologist and follow their advice.


Your Hair Loss Questions Answered

We put your hair loss questions to Vanessa Bailey, a member of The Institute of Trichologists, author of The Good Hair Guide: All Your Questions Answered and Consultant Trichologist at The Hair Clinic.

Q I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and have been experiencing hair loss. Is there anything I can do to prevent this?

A Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) results in an increase in testosterone, or male hormone levels. Unfortunately, testosterone is a hormone that scalp hair follicles often do not like, especially if you have a history of hereditary pattern hair loss (baldness) in your family. Ensuring the PCOS is under control should help to prevent hair loss and improve hair growth. Most commonly, anti-androgen medication can be medically prescribed to help treat this condition. These are usually oral contraceptives that contain an anti-androgen such as cyproterone acetate. Anti-androgens aim to inhibit the action of androgens or male hormones, so they can be of benefit. Usually, and especially if you have a tendency for hereditary hair loss, a topical treatment would also be necessary. These are scalp-applied treatments that contain an anti-androgen to help block androgens away from the hair follicles, acting directly at scalp level and so should help prevent hair loss and improve hair health. A registered trichologist would be able to organise this for you.

Q Iíve been diagnosed with alopecia areata. Can laser treatment or a hair transplant help me get back a full head of hair again?

A I wouldnít advise a hair transplant here at all. If hair follicles were removed from a region of scalp with thicker hair growth and transplanted into a patch of alopecia areata they wouldnít stay in this area for long, they could easily be ejected from the patch, especially if the autoimmune system was going through an attack phase. As with most cases of alopecia areata, the hair follicles remain alive, even if they are dormant for a while and without hair. This means that these follicles could regrow a hair anyway and making an incision into an area of existing hair follicles during surgery would destroy them. Also, more than one alopecia patch could appear during an attack. This would make it difficult to Ďkeep up demandí by continually transplanting follicles from a thick area of hair growth to a patch. Once a fair follicle is removed from an area of scalp it canít re-form; hair canít regrow from a donor site. Laser treatment could be of benefit as it can help stimulate hair follicle cells so this may help boost hair regrowth.

Q What hair products would you recommend if Iím experiencing hair loss? Can anything help me?

A With all cases of hair loss it is always best to find out what is causing it before recommending any hair products that could help. There are plenty of treatment options for most cases of hair loss, but it is essentioal to diagnose the type of hair loss first, then the most appropriate treatment can be recommended. If via blood tests it turns out you gave a vitamin and/or mineral deficiency, and if this is the sole cause for your hair loss, then correcting this via supplementation would be successful. If and underlying thyroid disorder or any other hormone imbalance is discovered through a blood test, then once your doctor has stabilised this, your hair would benefit, therefore Ďhair productsí wouldnít be necessary. In the case of genetic hair thinning there happens to be specific hair products medically licensed to help (such as Minoxidil) and registered trichologists can add to this regime with other hormone-acting formulations. If your hair loss is due to a scalp condition, such as psoriasis, a registered trichologist would prescribe specific scalp and hair products for this condition and this in turn would help your hair. Itís all about finding the cause.

Q My hair has just started to thin at the front and Iíve been diagnosed with telogen effluvium. What can I do to prevent it from getting worse?

A This is an interruption of the hair growth cycle. Usually a hair will grow uninterrupted for between 5 and 7 years. It then rests for around a week and then enters the telogen phase; where the hair is shed and replaced by a new hair soon after, without us noticing a reduction in hair density. This normal phenomenon results in the usual 80 hairs or so that fall out on a daily basis. During telogen effluvium, up to four times the normal amount of hair is shed daily for up to three months. Depending on the cause of the hair loss, the shedding halts at three months and then gradually normal growth resumes. The cause of telogen effluvium traces back three months prior to the hair loss starting. The most common cause are emotional shock, childbirth, illness and surgery. Therefore, there isnít anything you can do if one of these factors has caused the hair loss, as the follicle is already reacting to what has happened, but usually, once three to six months have passed, hair regrowth occurs. Iron deficiency is a common cause of telogen effluvium in women and unless this is treated with iron supplements, telogen effluvium will continue. Itís therefore advised you have a blood test now to see if you have an iron deficiency, if so, staring treatment now will ensure your hair loss stops and regrows.

Q I have alopecia areata. Will my hair ever grow back?

A Itís commonly thought that alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder. Due to possible underlying hereditary factors, the autoimmune system does not recognise the bodyís own Ďselfí components and will attack healthy hair follicle cells as it would an invading bacteria or virus. Once this attack occurs the hair follicle will automatically shed hair in a patchy formation. During this attack, the hair follicles usually stay alive and once the immune attack has settled, hair regrowth is possible. It would be advised that you have the patches examined by a registered trichologist who would be able to see if your hair follicles are still alive and therefore capable of growing hair again. There are some autoimmune disorders that can cause permanent patches of hair loss; an experienced registered trichologist can differentiate between all these possible conditions. But typically, hair regrowth is possible even if alopecia areata has occurred.

Q Are there any supplements I can take that will help my hair grow / make it thicker?

A How long our hair can get, or thick it is, is all governed by our genetics; supplements canít change that. However, if your hair isnít what it was and isnít as thick or growing as well, then some vitamins/supplements can help this, but only if yu actually have a vitamin or mineral deficiency diagnosed and that this is the sole cause of your hair loss condition. A blood test would confirm this, only then the correct supplement can be dispensed. Check for an iron deficiency, vitamin B6 deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency and folic acid deficiency. In any suspect case of reduced hair growth or hair thinning, always have a consultation and a hair and scalp examination with a registered trichologist. This will determine whether a problem with your hair actually exists and, if required, the correct blood test referrals and any subsequent vitamin supplements can be dispensed.

All wording by Vanessa Bailey MIT FRSPH author of The Good Hair Guide: All Your Questions Answered.

www.amazon.co.uk/Good-Hair-Guide


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