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What Causes Hair Loss?

Posted Friday 26 June 2020 11:00 by in Hair Loss by Harman Bhamra

Shedding hair is normal. In fact, we shed between 50 to 100 hairs a day. However, if you are losing more hair than usual, then there’s a chance that you are suffering from alopecia or hair loss.

Within this guide, we will be taking you through what causes hair loss and how to prevent it from disrupting your life.

Am I Shedding Hair Or Balding?

While shedding and balding both involve losing some of your hair, there are telltale signs that your hair loss is indeed a greater deal. Below are some of the common signs and symptoms of hair loss:

Gradual thinning on the top of your head

This type of hair loss affects both men and women as they age. For men, the most common sign is a receding hairline from the forehead that looks like the letter “M”. Most women don’t lose their hairline.

Loosening of hair

Some factors like shock can cause your hair to loosen to the point where a handful might come out even by just gently combing or tugging. This type of hair loss leads to the overall thinning of hair. It rarely causes baldness.

Bald spots

Some people suffer from bald spots, usually the size of a coin. This type of condition is usually caused by a problem on the scalp. It can also occur in eyebrows or beards.

Full-body hair loss

A type of hair loss that’s caused by medications or therapy. Usually, the hair grows back after the treatment.

Causes Of Hair Loss

Your hair follows a natural cycle of shedding and growing that’s divided into three phases:

  • Anagen - most active hair growth occurs during this phase. This stage lasts from 2 to 6 years.
  • Catagen - a transitional hair growth stage which typically lasts between 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Telogen - a 2 to 3-month resting phase. After this period, the hair is shed and new hair starts growing again.

You lose, on average, up to 100 hairs a day but this is never too noticeable or distressing. Hair loss occurs when this natural cycle gets disrupted. Below are some of the most common causes of hair loss:

Genetics

The most common types of hair loss (called male-pattern baldness and female-pattern baldness) are usually caused by genetics and age. If your parents suffer from hair loss, there’s a big chance that you will too.

Hormone changes

Some changes in the levels of your body hormones may cause hair loss. For example, women who experience pregnancy, childbirth or are already at menopause experience more defined hair loss than others.

Medical conditions

Certain medical conditions can cause hair loss too. For example, thyroid problems (hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism) can lead to hair loss. Hair usually grows back when the underlying thyroid problem is treated.

Another medical condition that can cause hair loss is alopecia areata which creates bald spots on your head. Scalp problems like ringworm, psoriasis, and dermatitis and disorders like trichotillomania (hair-pulling) can also cause hair loss.

Lupus, an autoimmune disease, can also cause hair loss that is patchy with lesions on the scalp.

Stress and shock

Traumatic or stressful events can lead to general thinning of the hair for several months. Hair loss caused by such events is usually temporary.

Medical treatments

Radiation to the head and chemotherapy also cause hair loss which may be irreversible. Certain medications like those used for high blood pressure, heart problems, gout, depression, and arthritis can also contribute to hair loss.

Hair treatments

Perms and hot oil treatments can damage the hair follicle. This could lead to permanent hair loss if scarring occurs. A tight hairstyle like pigtails and cornrows can also cause hair loss (traction alopecia).

Nutritional deficiencies

Studies show that the lack of iron and zinc may contribute to hair loss. There is also evidence that deficiencies in fats, vitamins D, B-12, C, and A, and minerals like copper and selenium are also to blame.

How To Treat Hair Loss

Now that we’ve talked about the causes of hair loss, let’s look at some of the hair loss treatments available.

Most hair loss can be treated through medication. The most common one is Propecia which you can get from Express Pharmacy. Propecia is a treatment used for male pattern baldness. This type of medication is for men only and should not be used by children and women because it can cause birth defects.

Available as a pill, Propecia can be taken once a day. This drug was first used to treat prostate issues until it was discovered that it can block the formation fo certain male hormones that can cause hair loss.

If medication doesn’t work, hair transplant surgery may be performed. During this procedure, small plugs of skin with some hair are moved to bald spots of your scalp.


Hereditary, Hormones or Hair Dryers: What’s Causing Your Hair Loss?

Posted Thursday 16 May 2019 14:04 by in Hair Loss by Tim Deakin

hair loss treatment

Hair loss is rarely something to worry about from a medical standpoint. Losing hair to some degree is normal for everybody. We tend to lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day without noticing.[1]

But for many people, the onset of balding can be emotionally distressing. High levels of hair loss can take its toll on your confidence and overall wellbeing, and you may be left feeling powerless and confused.

Understanding what’s behind your hair loss is the first step to overcoming these feelings. We’re going to take a closer look at this condition, including many of the myths that surround it and the possible treatments available.

What is hair loss?

Hair loss can often be a distressing experience, and in many instances it has a significant detrimental effect on the sufferer’s quality of life[2] with people suggesting that it contributes to low self-esteem. The most common form of hair loss is male pattern baldness, or male pattern hair loss.

In the case of male pattern hair loss, high levels of androgens, including DHT, can shrink your hair follicles and shorten the growth cycle, which can cause hair to appear thinner and more brittle.[3] DHT (dihydrotestosterone) is a by-product of testosterone.

What causes hair loss?

Hair loss can be the result of many different factors, from stress and family history to nutrition and diet.[4] In certain situations, hair loss can be the sign of a larger health concern, such as iron deficiency, extreme weight loss or cancer treatment.[5]

But with so many factors involved in hair loss, a great deal of misinformation gets spread about the condition. This makes it even more confusing to work out exactly what is behind your symptoms. Let’s explore some of the widely regarded facts and myths surrounding hair loss.

Swimming?

For a long time, people have held the belief that continuously exposing your hair to pool-water can lead to baldness. This is largely based on the course, dry feeling of your hair after using a pool treated with chlorine.

However, evidence suggests that in order for swimming to be the sole cause of hair loss, the swimmer would have to be allergic to the pool’s chemicals, or the chlorine levels would need to be dangerously high.[6]

Hats?

Another common untruth surrounding hair loss is that wearing a hat can make it more likely. However, while it is true that frequent hat wearing can lead to the loss of hairs, these hairs would have to be vulnerable to shedding already in order to be affected. In other words, you need to already be at risk of hair loss in order to lose your hair as a result of wearing a hat, meaning your hat isn’t to be held responsible.[7]

Hair dryers?

Similarly, drying your hair with a hair dryer is unlikely to be the sole cause of significant hair loss. However, hair loss can occur as a result of overtreating your hair.

This form of hair loss, known as traumatic alopecia, is caused by potentially damaging hairdressing techniques. These include pulling the hair into tight braids, twisting the hair, exposing the hair to extreme heat or bleaching the hair with strong chemicals.[8]

Stress?

Anxiety can lead to hair loss. This connection may present itself in several different ways. For example, stress may cause you to pull at your hair as a nervous habit, or your diet may suffer meaning your hair becomes weaker and more susceptible to falling out.

Telogen effluvium is a specific form of hair loss which occurs following a major body stress, such as major surgery, serious infection or a prolonged illness. It can also happen after a significant change in hormones, such as for women after giving birth.[9]

Hormones?

It is thought that, overall, hormones do have a role to play in hair loss. In the past, the level of testosterone itself has been thought to have an impact on male baldness. However, more recent studies appear to contradict this theory. One German study found that total testosterone was not significantly associated with general hair loss in male participants.[10]

In fact, as outlined earlier, it is a particular by-product of testosterone – DHT – which is at the root of much male pattern baldness.

Female pattern hair loss (FPHL) can occur at any age, although it is most common during the menopause. This does not necessarily mean that hormones are solely responsible, but oestrogen may have a protective role. Genetics are thought to be an important factor in FPHL.[11]

Genes?

A family history of hair loss can increase your risk of suffering from hair loss, particularly male pattern baldness. Male pattern baldness or male pattern hair loss (MPHL) is the most common type of hair loss among men, affecting as many as half of men over the age of 50.[12] It is also known as androgenetic alopecia. It is thought that men are more susceptible to the symptoms of MPHL if they have a family history of the condition.

How to prevent or reverse hair loss

There are many different factors which have been suggested as ways to avoid hair loss, from changing your hair products to investing in technology like a laser comb.[13] Sometimes, studies occur which seem to offer hope to sufferers of hair loss. For example, a 2016 Japanese study found that scalp massages increased hair thickness in 24 weeks.[14] While encouraging, results like these do not necessarily mean that such treatments will work in all cases of hair loss.

Some of the more extreme treatments for hair loss include hair transplantation, scalp expansion or reduction, flap surgery and skin lifts and grafts.[15]

Medications like Propecia and its generic equivalent, Finasteride, have been proven to effectively slow and even reverse the symptoms of male pattern baldness. After two years of treatment, 99% of men had visible results – 66% had hair growth and 33% had no further hair loss.[16]

As such, many men suffering from hair loss find medication to be the safest and most effective way to treat their symptoms.

Discover effective hair loss treatment at Express Pharmacy. If you have any queries about your health, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Contact our NHS-approved pharmacists today by calling 0208 123 07 03 or leave your enquiry by using our discreet online Live Chat service.

[1] NHS UK. Hair Loss. 2018.

[2] Phillips, TG., Slomiany, WP., Allison, R. Hair Loss: Common Causes and Treatments. American Family Physician. 2017.

[3] Healthline. What You Need to Know About DHT and Hair Loss. 2019.

[4] MedicinePlus. Hair Loss. U.S. National Library of Medicine. 2019.

[5] NHS UK. Hair Loss. 2018.

[6] Belgravia Centre. Can Swimming Pools Cause Hair Loss? 2013.

[7] LiveStrong. How Do Hats Cause Thinning Hair? 2017.

[8] Harvard Health Publishing. Hair Loss: What is it? 2018.

[9] Harvard Health Publishing. Hair Loss: What is it? 2018.

[10] Kische, H. Arnold, A., Gross, S., Wallaschofski, H., Volzke, H., Matthias, N., Haring, R. Sex Hormones and Hair Loss in Men from the General Population of North-Eastern Germany. JAMA Dermatology. 2017.

[11] Women’s Health Concern. Menopausal Hair Loss. 2018.

[12] British Association of Dermatologists. Male Pattern Hair Loss (Androgenetic Alopecia). 2012 [Reviewed 2019]

[13] The Guardian. Seven ways… to avoid hair loss. 2018.

[14] Koyama, T., Kobayashi, K., Hama, T., Murakami, K., Ogawa, R. Standardized Scalp Massage Results in Increased Hair Thickness by Inducing Stretching Forces to Dermal Papilla Cells in the Subcutaneous Tissue. Eplasty. 2016.

[15] UCLA Health. Hair Loss. UCLA Dermatology. 2018.

[16] Kaufman, K. et al. Finasteride in the treatment of men with androgenetic alopecia. Finasteride Male Pattern Hair Loss Study Group. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 1998.


5 Hair Loss Myths and Partial Truths Put Under the Microscope

Posted Tuesday 28 August 2018 21:58 by in Hair Loss by Tim Deakin

Misinformation can prevent you from treating hair loss effectively, so let’s establish the facts surrounding the condition.

Hair loss is a common condition. In fact, it’s a natural part of life, as both men and women lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day, and 80% of this is due to washing or brushing the hair. However, for some people hair loss can occur at a highly increased rate. This can cause both distress and a lack of confidence.

You should know that you do not suffer alone. Around 40% of men will experience significant hair loss by the age of 35, and around half of women over 65 experience balding. But despite how common the condition is, there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding hair loss.

To combat that, we are going to take 5 common statements regarding hair loss and put them under the microscope.

“You will definitely lose your hair if your parents did”

It is generally considered factual that if hair loss is common in your family, you will be more likely to deal with it at some point in your life. This is true, but it is not the only factor which plays a part in the balding process.

There is no single ‘hair loss gene’ which is passed down through family members. Hair loss is a polygenetic condition, which means it is determined by an assortment of genes from your immediate and extended family. Therefore, your father losing his hair does not guarantee that you will lose yours.

“Hair thinning only occurs with age”

Many people believe that you only start to lose your hair after a certain age, but the harsh reality is that you’re never too young to start losing your hair. The age at which your hair loss begins is largely due to genetics, though the condition does become more common as you get older.

However, the good news is that the reverse is also true: hair loss in old age isn’t a guarantee, and you could end up keeping a full head of hair well into old age.

“Only men can suffer genetic hair loss”

While it is true that hair loss is much more common in men (as 80% of men will experience male pattern baldness by the age of 80), this doesn’t mean that it is impossible for women to suffer with hair loss. On the contrary, up to 40% of women have visible hair loss by the age of 40. However, women are also much more likely to seek medical advice regarding their hair loss (53% compared to 26% of men).

“Wearing a hat will encourage baldness”

Some people blame hat wearing for their hair loss, claiming that a hat stops their scalp from ‘breathing’. However, your hair follicles actually receive their oxygen supply from the blood stream, so blocking off outside air will not make any difference to your chances of experiencing hair loss. Dirty hats however can lead to scalp infections, which may accelerate hair loss.

“Shampooing your hair frequently will make it fall out”

As we mentioned earlier, we lose around 50-100 hairs a day, and many of these are due to washing. However, washing your hair less is not the key to beating hair loss. This level of hair loss is perfectly normal, and the average adult will grow more hairs than they lose. By delaying your shampooing session, you’re only delaying the loss of these hairs until your next wash.

You may think that hair loss is an inevitable condition, but there is effective treatment available. Finasteride and Propecia are both available from Express Pharmacy. Get in touch today by calling 0208 123 07 03 or using our discreet online Live Chat service.


How Do You Stop Hair Loss?

Posted Thursday 16 August 2018 15:06 by in Hair Loss by Tim Deakin

British men are the most likely in Europe to become anxious about balding, but the least likely to do anything about it. In fact, 60% of hair loss sufferers say they would rather have more hair than money or friends.

For many men, hair loss can affect their confidence and their overall happiness. It can leave you feeling powerless and unable to do anything about it. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. There are certain measures and treatments you can take to reduce your symptoms and even encourage regrowth.

Explore prescription medications

75% of men believe their hair loss cannot be prevented, and 87% do not know that there are scientifically proven and medically approved hair loss treatments. Once the discovery is made, it can really add a sense of hope to men struggling with male pattern baldness.

Finasteride is a clinically proven hair loss medication. It works by inhibiting the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which causes the hair follicles to shrink and fall out. This allows Finasteride to not only slow the loss of hair, but to actually encourage regrowth too.

Try a laser comb

Aside from medication like Finasteride, the only hair loss treatment to receive FDA approval is the laser comb. Although the exact way the comb works has not yet been fully understood, it is believed that it uses low power lasers to create an antioxidant effect on hair follicles. In one study of over one hundred men, 26 weeks of using the laser comb three times a week resulted in significant hair growth and strength in participants.

Switch your shampoo

The main culprit of hair loss is DHT, so you may see some positive results by switching to an anti-DHT shampoo. These are becoming more and more common, so it shouldn’t be difficult to track down. Seek out products which contain 1-2% ketoconazole — a drug which blocks the conversion of testosterone to DHT in a similar way to Finasteride.

Change your hair products

There is some evidence relating hair products with hair loss, though this link hasn’t been proven causal so take it with a pinch of salt. However, using hair care products such as tough gels with lots of chemicals can make the products difficult to remove completely from the scalp. This may lead to the products becoming trapped in the follicles, making it more difficult for hair to come through to the surface. Try swapping out your hair products for more natural alternatives.

Try to avoid overly hot showers

Although there is no evidence to directly link hot showers with hair loss, it is true that overly hot showers can strip the scalp of its essential oils, causing dryness, flakiness and irritation. Some experts believe that this irritation can cause the hair follicles to shrink, leading to thinning hair.

Try a scalp massage

One Japanese study by researchers Koyama et al found that a scalp massage has the potential to improve blood circulation to the follicles, and in turn increase hair density. Massages are also an effective way of reducing stress levels, which is another factor relating to hair loss.

Have a transplant

Hair transplants are one of the more extreme hair loss treatment options, but may be the right course of action if your hair loss is significant and you want fast results. Men are more likely than women to look into hair restoration surgery (20% vs. 12%), but be sure to research around the subject fully so you know exactly what to expect.

Safe and effective medication for hair loss, such as Finasteride and Propecia, is available from Express Pharmacy. Get in touch today for further information by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet online live chat service.


7 Early Signs of Male Pattern Baldness

Posted Friday 16 March 2018 15:23 by in Hair Loss by Tim Deakin

With around 40% of men experiencing hair loss before the age of 35, here are the warning signs you need to look out for

Men are highly unlikely to go through their whole lives without experiencing some level of hair loss. By the age of 60, around 65% of men will have noticeable hair loss, and this number jumps to 80% by the age of 80.

But despite male pattern baldness being an extremely common condition, many men are still self conscious about it. Thankfully, there are effective treatments available (more on that below) but spotting the signs early will give you a greater chance of delaying, preventing and even reversing hair loss with the right treatment in place. With that in mind, here are 7 early warning signs of male pattern baldness to look out for.

You can see the difference in photos

When changes happen over the course of months or years, it can be difficult to see them. Comparing your current hair thickness to old photographs will give you a clearer idea of whether hair loss is becoming an issue.

You wake up to hairs on your pillow

A small amount of hair shedding is perfectly normal, but if your pillow is particularly hairy first thing in the morning it can be a sign that male pattern baldness is underway. The same is also true of finding hairs on your shirt shoulders, or on your desk at work.

You notice a change in your hairline

Male pattern baldness usually starts at the hairline, so this is likely to be where the first signs occur. You may notice your hairline forming an ‘M’ shape which overtime recedes further to a ‘U’ shape. Keep an eye on your reflection to see if you spot any changes.

You spot thinning hair on your crown

After the hairline, the crown is the most common area for male pattern baldness to develop. Hair loss will spread outwards from the top of your head, which can be trickier to spot so you may need a handheld mirror.

You find a lot of hair in your comb

If every time you comb your hair you pull away a significant clump of strays, this is a clear sign that hair loss is on the cards. This simple action could be making your hair loss worse by causing unnecessary friction, so be sure to comb gently and avoid tugging on tangles.

The texture of your hair has changed

If styling your hair has become more difficult and it feels different to run your fingers through it, there’s a good chance that it’s thinning. It may appear wispier with more flyaways.

Your family members are balding

Male pattern baldness is a genetic condition, so if you notice other male relatives going bald then you need to keep a close eye on your own head of hair. Finding out when exactly older relatives started to lose their hair can give you an idea of what kind of timescale to expect.

What can you do about it?

If you notice any of these early signs of male pattern baldness, it’s important that you seek treatment as soon as possible. Propecia and Finasteride (Propecia’s unbranded medical equivalent) are two safe treatment options available from Express Pharmacy, both of which have been proven in their effectiveness at treating male pattern baldness.

In both medications, 99% of men had visible results after two years of treatment — 66% experienced hair regrowth and a further 33% had no further hair loss. When using either of these medications, you should start to see results within three to six months.

Find further information and support for a variety of health concerns by contacting the Express Pharmacy team. You can call us on 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet Live Chat service.

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