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Hair Loss

Taking a Closer Look at Hair Loss for Alopecia Awareness Month

Posted Monday 12 September 2016 16:44 by Tim Deakin in Hair Loss

September is Alopecia Awareness Month. Despite the relatively common nature of the condition, many people are still not familiar with the facts about alopecia. September is therefore an opportune time to explain what alopecia is, who experiences it, how it can be treated and what can be done to support sufferers.

What is alopecia?

Alopecia is the medical term referring to hair loss, of which there are many types. The most common is male-pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, which is likely to affect half of all British men by the time they reach their fiftieth birthday. This is a hereditary condition that typically sees men’s hairlines begin to recede by their thirties, with the hair on the top of the head eventually thinning to leave a horseshoe shape of hair on the back and the sides of the head.

Alopecia areata (AA) is another type of alopecia, which results in patchy hair loss. This can advance into alopecia totalis (AT), where hair is lost from the scalp entirely, and alopecia universalis (AU), where hair is lost from the entire body. Some types of alopecia can be the result of other medical conditions or treatments. Scarring alopecia, where hair follicles are destroyed and replaced with scar tissue, can be the result of a form of lupus or severe rash.

There are also condition known as anagen effluvium, where hair loss is caused by chemicals, and traction alopecia caused by pulling or tension on the hair.

Who experiences alopecia?

Even though alopecia receives most prominence when it affects men, alopecia is actually a condition that is indiscriminate towards gender. Female-pattern baldness reportedly affects almost half of women who are over 65, and some studies suggest this is because hair thinning becomes more apparent after menopause.

Anagen effluvium, the type of alopecia caused by certain chemicals, most commonly effects people being treated for cancer with chemotherapy (and sometimes radiotherapy). Therefore, this type of alopecia can affect anyone of any age. Alopecia areata has been known to affect teenagers and young adults in particular, although the causes of this type of hair loss are not clear.

One form of alopecia where the causes are more salient is traction alopecia, which is most common in women who regularly choose to style their hair in tight braids.

How can it be treated?

As there are many types of alopecia, treating and living with the condition can vary from type to type. Where the cause of the hair loss is clear, the treatment can be very simple – when a sufferer of anagen effluvium ceases chemotherapy they find that their hair grows back, and braiding the hair more loosely or taking a break from braided extension can ease traction alopecia.

At Express Pharmacy, we offer effective treatments for male-pattern baldness such as Propecia and Generic Finasteride. These treatments are not, however, recommended for other forms of alopecia, however.

How can I help?

This September, charity Alopecia UK is offering support to those suffering from the condition and encouraging people to raise money to help with research and treatments for alopecia. This year’s activities include Fun Hat Fridays, where people wear a jazzy hat to work or school every Friday in September and share a photo of themselves on social media.

Participants can simply text HATS44 £3 to 70070, which will donate £3 to the charity. Some people also choose to cut off and donate their hair – sponsorship money can be donated to Alopecia UK, whilst the hair itself can be sent to the Little Princess Trust, which provides wigs for children who experience alopecia as a result of cancer treatment. Visit www.alopeciaonline.org.uk for more information.


Richards on Sunday 02 October 2016 06:40

Hair loss is a serious issue for both men and women. Coping with the problem is bit traumatic


Could a Change in Lifestyle Reduce Signs of Male Pattern Baldness?

Posted Friday 22 July 2016 23:16 by Tim Deakin in Hair Loss

If you are concerned about your receding hairline you are not alone. Male pattern baldness is incredibly common, affecting nearly 70% of men in the UK. That’s around 6.5 million men who will suffer significant hair loss through the course of their adult lives. It almost doesn’t make sense that something so commonplace can hit sufferers so hard, and yet many men find the loss of hair to be a traumatic experience.

Male pattern baldness (MPB) or Androgenetic alopecia can often bring anxiety and self esteem issues with it. The anticipation and oncoming signs of Male Pattern Baldness alone, can often be enough to drastically affect a man’s confidence.

What is male pattern baldness?

Male Pattern Baldness (MPB) is so named because it typically progresses with the thinning of follicles around the hairline and the crown. Hair follicles go through a process known as ‘miniaturisation’ – hair follicles thin and fall out at a faster rate till they eventually stop growing altogether. The common horseshoe pattern of MPB occurs as the hair on the top of the scalp and crown are the most susceptible to this miniaturisation process.

What are the causes?

MPB occurs when the susceptible hair follicles shrink due to the influence of androgenic hormones. While there are many possible reasons for hair loss to occur – including medication, disease and extreme stress – the majority of men who suffer from it do so because they are genetically predisposed to suffer from miniaturisation to some degree.

Hair loss and your lifestyle

While male pattern baldness is often hereditary, there are a number of underlying health issues that are worth taking into account. In many cases, hair loss can be accelerated and amplified by lifestyle.

Doctors have linked excessive and early hair loss – hair loss in 20s and early 30s – to a number of other health concerns such as issues with blood pressure or cholesterol levels. Activities that may reduce the supply of oxygen to the scalp such as smoking and drinking have also been linked to the shrinking of follicles and the onset of baldness.

Stress, pollution and poor nutrition are also factors that contribute towards premature hair loss. While there is obviously not much that can be done to reduce pollution, stress and nutrition can be more easily tackled. Reducing your hours at work, getting more sleep, and drinking more water can all work to reduce stress and help keep your hair looking fuller for longer.

Similarly, there is evidence to suggest that a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle can reduce the speed of male pattern baldness and slow down the process of genetic hair loss.

Regularly consuming protein rich foods is also thought to reduce the progression of hair loss among some medical professionals. As hair is made up of the protein, Keratin, supplementing your diet with plenty of healthy proteins can help supply your body and hair with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.

Protein is not the only thing you can consume to help with hair loss. Basic medical advice recommends a healthy quantity of Vitamins B3, B5, B9, and E (found in orange, spinach, chicken, fish, broccoli and soya beans); Zinc (wheat, dairy, oats and egg yolk); Magnesium (milk, tuna, banana, cashews) and Iron (fish, leafy greens, fortified cereals, and beans).

For cases of male pattern baldness where even a good diet plan and close attention to exercise and nutrition are not sufficient, Express Pharmacy offers a number of medications proven to slow the progression of male pattern baldness.

Consult our expert team on the benefits and properties of Finasteride and Propecia today, and we can even have medications with you the very next day.

The Male Hair Loss Crisis: When Lost Confidence Meets a Fear of Vanity

Posted Thursday 16 July 2015 16:40 by Tim Deakin in Hair Loss

hair loss medicationIn the UK, Androgenetic Alopecia, or male pattern baldness affects two thirds of men. And with a quarter of males experiencing hair loss before the age of 30, this issue can have wide ranging consequences.

Male pattern baldness is typically explained as the loss of hair on one’s head, beginning with a receding hairline, followed by hair loss on the crown and temples.

In Europe, British men are thought to be the most concerned about balding, but among the least likely to do anything about it. Due to lack of information, many view male pattern baldness as an unpreventable sign of ageing.

Causes of Male Pattern Baldness

Although not the only cause, genetics are a key factor in male pattern baldness. This genetic disposition can be inherited from either your mother or your father, contrary to popular opinion.

Hair loss is also strongly linked to hormones, which can be affected by lifestyle. The decrease in production of testosterone later in life leads to the production of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which causes hair follicles to shrink and eventually stop working.­­

Hair loss and self esteem

Scientists have found hair loss can lead to feelings of depression, low self-esteem, neuroticism, introversion and feelings of unattractiveness for men of all ages.

New research by the hospital Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, studied the effects of hair loss as more than merely a cosmetic problem. They discovered hair loss patients had decreased self-esteem, feelings of disfigurement, and even depressive and anxiety disorders including social avoidance, impairing their quality of life.

Recently, celebrity hairdresser James Brown spoke out about his own battle with hair loss and the profound impact this had on his confidence and self-esteem following years of wearing his trademark hat.

Hair Restoration

In recent years, the popularity of surgical hair restoration has grown. The number of hair transplants continues to rise year on year worldwide, with over 285,000 now taking place.

Wayne Rooney’s treatment in 2011 thrust hair transplants into the public eye. Many other celebrities have since followed suit, such as Robbie Williams and Declan Donnelly. And while this has perhaps helped to tackle some of the stigma attached to tackling hair loss, the cost of cosmetic surgery - often anywhere between £3,000 and £30,000 – are prohibitive for the man on the street.

Surgical treatments are not a fix-all solution, either. Prescription hair loss treatments need to be used following the transplant, as the hairline and crown will still be susceptible to thinning.

Non-surgical baldness treatments

The NHS recognises the major emotional and psychological effects hair loss can have but does not currently offer treatment for male pattern baldness. Affordable and effective hair loss treatments are, however, available from reputable pharmacists.

Propecia and Generic Finasteride are oral medications proven to combat hair loss. 99% of men have been found notice visible results within 2 years.

If you are embarrassed about seeking treatment for hair loss, Express Pharmacy offers discreet, confidential baldness medications available for next day delivery.

Let’s Talk About Propecia

Posted Monday 27 April 2015 17:30 by Tim Deakin in Hair Loss

For many of us hair and our sense of identity are heavily intertwined. Hair styles can mark the different phases of our lives and allow us to express ourselves.

From teenage grunge years to slicked back 20s, men are every bit as wedded to their hairstyles as women. And yet for 50% of men, baldness will become an issue before they hit retirement age. More worrying still is the fact that hair loss is commonplace for gentlemen in their 20s and 30s.

Perhaps it is no surprise then that an estimated 66% of men have searched for hair loss remedies at some stage.

So, what exactly causes hair loss?

Most commonly, cases of hair loss occur as a consequence of your genetic make-up and it can be inherited from both your mum and your dad. Another cause of hair loss is something we all know a little bit about; stress. Being stressed can cause the production of certain chemicals which impacts negatively on hair follicles, stunting hair growth.
Stress can also result in the development of the mental disorder trichotillomania, which is the pulling out of ones hair under stressful conditions. While stress clearly perpetuates hair loss, it does not however cause male-pattern baldness which is purely genetic.

What is male-pattern baldness?

It is the most common type of hair loss and it tends to develop according to a strict pattern. First, a receding hairline. This is then followed by the thinning of the hair on the crown of the head creating a balding patch on the top of the head with hair remaining around the back and sides. While it is possible, it is rare that male-pattern baldness will progress to complete baldness.

Given its ties to genetics and its common nature, there is sense of inevitability surrounding male-pattern baldness. However, there are treatments available.

What is the best treatment for you?

While male-pattern baldness is a natural process, posing no risk to your physical health, it can be distressing and pose risks to the self-esteem of some men. Treatment is available for aesthetic purposes and is recommended for the alleviation of this loss of confidence.

The only permanent way of solving hair loss is through a hair transplant. However, whether or not you undergo this measure, it is important to continue treatment for hair loss on the un-transplanted areas of your head through medications such as Propecia (Finasteride) and Minoxidil, which inhibit the thinning process.


This is the most common medication for the cosmetic treatment of male-pattern baldness. It is available as a private prescription form your GP or pharmacist and consists of orally self-administered pills. Its history offers insight into exactly how this medication works.

Propecia was originally used as a form of treatment for men with an enlarged prostate. A common side effect of this use of Propecia was hair growth. Business savvy distributors realised its potential as a treatment for hair loss, creating the popular drug we have today. It works by preventing the conversion of testosterone to a hormone named dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is responsible for the shrinking of hair follicles.

An added benefit of Propecia is that it is renowned for its lack of common side effects. Incidences of erectile dysfunction have been documented in relation to the use of Propecia. However, the likelihood of erectile dysfunction is deemed to be very small.

While posing no threat to your health, Propecia does have an effect on your levels of prostate specific antigens (PSA). The level of these in your blood is commonly used as a base line by your GP in the screening process for prostate cancer. It is important therefore to consult a health professional before before taking Propecia and always order medications from a reputable and regulated provider.

Propecia’s Patent Expiry: What Does it Mean for Men Suffering from Hair Loss?

Posted Sunday 07 December 2014 09:20 by Tim Deakin in Hair Loss

propecia patent expiry

October saw the expiration of the patent on Propecia, a hair loss treatment commonly used by men suffering from male pattern baldness. But what does this mean for pharmacies and, more importantly, those who require this form of medication.

You may be familiar with Propecia already. In the same way that the brand Viagra became synonymous with treating erectile dysfunction through the early part of the 21st century, so Propecia has become the name most commonly associated with treating male pattern baldness.

As of the 11th October 2014, however, Propecia’s patent on this medication expired and an opportunity opened up for rival pharmaceutical firms to promote a different name – that of the active ingredient finasteride 1mg.

Finasteride, also known as ‘generic Propecia’ is now readily available in UK pharmacies alongside the familiar face of Propecia. And as with generic sildenafil – the active ingredient in Viagra – generic finasteride is noticeably cheaper than its more famous alternative.

As Head Pharmacist, Daman Bhamra, says:

“The expiry of Propecia’s patent can be good news to many men suffering distress as a result of male pattern hair loss. As is usually the case when a drug patent expires, the price of Generic Propecia will likely fall over the coming months as more UK pharmaceutical companies start producing Finasteride medications.”

MrBhamra continues,

“But as we have seen with Viagra, the expiration of a patent does not mean an end to brand loyalty. Even though a number different pharmaceutical companies can produce drugs that are medically the same, it is not uncommon for patients to continue to use a branded medication at a higher price point simply because their trust in that product has been built over the months or years.”


What is Finasteride 1mghair loss treatments

Finasteride tablets should be taken daily as a hair loss treatment. The drug can promote the regrowth of thinning hair.

Finasteride is used to counteract the effects of the male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which acts on genetically susceptible hair follicles found in the front, top and crown of the scalp. In practice, DHT shortens the growth phase of the hair cycle and causes hair to become increasingly fine until eventually it disappears.

Put simply, finasteride blocks the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. It is currently produced in tablet form to be ingested orally.

Currently, two other pharmaceutical companies have released finasteride medications since the expiration of the patent – Trent and Actavis. As Daman Bhamra suggests it is often a case personal choice, which product a patient chooses to use, and at Express Pharmacy we are able to deliver both hair loss treatments direct to a patient’s door.

What should I expect to pay for Finasteride?

The cost of both branded Propecia and Generic Finasteride may decrease over the coming months. This will largely be due to the number of drug companies who choose to produce the medication and the flexibility of the market.

Currently, finasteride is selling roughly 10% cheaper than branded Propecia, but when Viagra came off patent in 2013 the price continued to drop steadily for some months as an increasing number of companies came into the market. Today, sildenafil can cost as little as a sixth of the price of branded Viagra.


Are Propecia alternatives safe?

Yes. If you continue to source your Finasteride 1mg medication through a reputable and registered pharmacy, the quality of the drug is assured regardless of the manufacturer.

It is, however, important to avoid ordering hair loss medication from a questionable source. As with any medication made or distributed without the correct precautions, buying illegal drugs opens up the possibility of questionable ingredients, contamination or incorrect usage guidelines.

Always look for the GPhC logo when ordering Propecia or any other medication.