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Hair Loss

What is Hair Loss?

On average, you lose between 50 to 100 hairs a day. With about 150,000 hairs on your scalp, this loss isn’t noticeable. Normally, new hair will grow to replace the lost ones, however with pattern hair loss, this is not always the case.

Male pattern hair loss is a disorder characterized by losing more hair than normal. It occurs on the scalp and typically identifies itself with a receding hairline or excessive thinning of the hair.

Understanding Hair Growth

Hair is made up of keratin, a protein that is produced by hair follicles located in your skin. The hair you see is a string of dead keratin cells that have been pushed out of the follicles as new hair cells begin to grow.

Each follicle in your skin has a life cycle. This is divided into three parts:

  • 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.

A follicle’s life cycle is influenced by several factors including age and various health conditions. Hair growth usually slows down with age.

5 Different Types of Hair Loss

There are many types of hair loss, as to which you can see below:

Involutional Alopecia - this is natural hair loss commonly associated with age. As you become older, more of your follicles enter the resting phase. Hence, the remaining hair appears fewer and shorter.

Alopecia Areata - this sudden type of hair loss is common amongst young adults and children. The severity varies greatly from patchy hair to complete baldness. About 90% of the people with this condition regain their hair after a few years.

Androgenic Alopecia - this is a genetic condition that can affect both men and women. Men with androgenic alopecia can experience male pattern baldness (receding of the hairline) as early as their 20’s. Women, on the other hand, go through female pattern baldness but don’t experience its symptoms until their late 40s.

Alopecia Universalis - a condition where all body hair including eyelashes, eyebrows, and pubic hair fall out.

Scarring Alopecias - permanent hair loss caused by skin conditions like acne, folliculitis, cellulitis and lichen planus, that result in scars. The scars remove the ability of hair follicles to regenerate.

What Causes Hair Loss?

Hair loss is often caused by one or more factors. We’ve listed the most common causes below:

Heredity - a family history of balding is the most common cause of excessive hair loss. It occurs with age and in predictable patterns. Male pattern baldness is often characterized by bald spots and a receding hairline while the main sign of female pattern baldness is thinning of the hair.

Physical or Emotional Shock - several people report thinning of the hair months after a very stressful event. Usually, this episode of hair loss is only temporary.

Hormonal Changes - changes in hormones due to thyroid problems, menopause, childbirth, or pregnancy can also cause temporary or permanent hair loss.

Medical Conditions - scalp infections like ringworm, Alopecia Areata, and a disorder called trichotillomania (hair-pulling) can cause permanent or temporary hair loss. Diabetes and lupus can also contribute.

Radiation Therapy - radiation damage can also affect hair growth.

Medications - certain drugs for cancer, depression, heart problems, high blood pressure, gout, and arthritis may trigger hair loss.

Hair Treatments - some hot oil treatments can cause inflammation of the hair follicles which could lead to hair loss. Hair loss can be permanent if scarring occurs.

Certain Hairstyles - tight hairstyles like cornrows and pigtails can also damage the follicles which could affect hair growth.

What is the Difference Between Hair Loss and Hair Thinning?

Many people confuse hair loss with hair thinning. While they are both related to hair loss to some extent, there’s a distinct difference between them. Knowing which one affects you will not only give you peace of mind but will also enable you to get the right hair loss treatment to combat the problem.

Hair thinning refers to moderate hair loss that doesn’t necessarily lead to baldness. Unlike hair loss, thinning of hair happens gradually. It could be caused by genetics, lifestyle, or both. Some lifestyle-related contributors to hair thinning include:

  • Using harsh products that could damage your hair (i.e. hair colour, gels, and extreme-hold hair sprays).
  • Not getting minerals like iron and folic acid in your diet.
  • Overtreating your hair with perms, relaxers, colour treatments, etc.
  • Uncontrolled stress. Stress releases a hormone called cortisol in the body which could kill off new hair growths.
  • Very tight hairstyles. Tugging and pulling your hair too tight can cause it to break off from the follicles.

Aside from lifestyle factors, hair thinning can also be hereditary or caused by an underlying medical condition. Some examples are:

  • Recent childbirth
  • Skin infection
  • Immune system deficiencies
  • Losing more than 9 kilograms in a short time
  • Hormonal changes

Don’t confuse hair thinning with alopecia or widespread hair loss. Remember that it’s normal to shed about 50 to 100 hairs per day. And, at any given time, 90% of your hair is growing. If hair thinning becomes a frequent problem, especially if you start developing bald spots, talk to your doctor or get in touch with Express Pharmacy.

Is Hair Loss a Natural Sign of Ageing?

While hair loss is often associated with age, it’s not necessarily a sign of ageing - hair thinning is. Hair loss can be caused by a lot of factors other than age. This includes:

  • Heredity
  • Physical or emotional trauma
  • Hormonal changes
  • Medical conditions like diabetes
  • Radiation therapy
  • Certain drugs
  • Harsh hair treatments and hairstyles.

What Hair Loss Treatment is Right for Me?

There are a lot of effective hair loss treatments available that can reverse the effects of hair loss, or at least slow it down. Below are common hair loss treatments:

Propecia

Propecia is used for the treatment of male pattern hair loss on the vertex and the anterior mid-scalp area. Male pattern hair loss is a common condition in which men experience thinning of the hair on the scalp. Often, this results in a receding hairline and/or balding on the top of the head. Propecia is for men only and should not be used by children or women because it can cause birth defects.

Propecia was first used to treat prostate problems until it was found that it can block the formation of male hormones that can cause alopecia. It is available as a pill taken once a day and can be purchased through Express Pharmacy.

Finasteride

Finasteride is the generic version of Propecia. It has the same medical composition and active ingredient (finasteride) as its branded equivalent. Finasteride tablets aren’t available through the NHS as they are considered to be a cosmetic treatment, however, you can purchase them directly through Express Pharmacy.

Minoxidil

Minoxidil is a topical (applied to the skin) hair loss treatment. Minoxidil helps reverse the shrinking of hair follicles so it can grow new hair. Studies show that Minoxidil works best on younger people who are just beginning to experience the symptoms of hair loss.

Minoxidil must be used indefinitely. If you stop treatment, hair loss will recur. This hair loss treatment is available over the counter and can be used by men and women. Its known side effect is skin irritation.

Hair Transplantation

Hair transplantation is another option that you can utilise if the above hair loss treatments don’t work. It involves transplanting plugs of skin from the scalp that contain healthy hair follicles to bald areas. The transplant may require several sessions and can be quite costly, depending on your case.

Struggling With Hair Loss? Express Pharmacy Can Help


Bring back your hair. Bring back your confidence! Talk to our experts today on 0208 123 0703 to see which hair loss treatments work best for you. Alternatively, browse our hair loss treatments to make a decision.

Our price promise commitment means that as we match prices nationally, prices will go down (and up) accordingly.

If you see or buy a treatment online and find it cheaper with a high street competitor (whether or not they also sell online), as long as their service conditions are comparable, then we’ll match that price for you or refund the difference. The cost of the treatment must include consultation charges for medication without a prior prescription. Comparable service conditions include factors such as delivery charges and timescales (such as Shutl delivery), and consultation charges.

If you’ve already purchased the treatment online, please make sure you report the price match within 28 days of receiving it. If you’d like to buy the product but want us to price match first, please check that you’re providing the most up to date information you can obtain when you submit your claim.

We’ll be asking you for full details of the treatment, the competitor and their prices, so please do check that you have this information to hand before you contact us.

Please note though, that we won’t refund the difference in price paid if you could have bought the product more cheaply with an online-only retailer: examples of this include chemistdirect.co.uk, who sell only through their websites or mail order and not via high street shops. We also don’t match competitors who are in administration or closing down.

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