alopecia

7 causes of hair loss – plus solutions proven by science

An estimated 8 million women in the UK experience some degree of hair loss or hair thinning at any given time. Here are six proven solutions to help get your hair confidence back

Nobody wants to lose their hair, and for women it can be the very essence of their femininity. It can be heartbreaking to see the loss of confidence and self esteem that women when their hair begins to shed and thin. But you are not alone.

‘One in three women will experience at some point in their lives,’ says Trichologist Sara G. Allison, owner of Hair Today More Tomorrow.

one in three women will experience a form of hair loss at some point in their lives

According to the NHS it is normal for us to lose hair, ‘we can lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day.’

But when does it become a real problem? Do you notice more hair clogging up your shower plug? Or perhaps that ponytail is starting to feel on the thinner side?

Alopecia affects approximately 21 million women and no age is immune. Plus, an estimated 8 million women in the UK experience some degree of hair loss or hair thinning at any given time.

What are the causes?

There are many variables that can cause hair loss, some of them can be preventable, others are just an unfortunate part of aging. Here are just a few of the most common causes, some of them might surprise you.

Hair loss cause #1 Its not just the menopause that can make you bald

Hormones affect just about everything in a woman’s body from mental health to weight gain and even acne. And it seems female ‘hormones play a significant part in hair thinning,’ confirms, trichologist Sally-Ann Tarver from the Cotwold Trichology Centre.

Menopausal women are most affected by hormonal hair thinning as are pregnant women, in fact ‘around 50% of women who have a child experience postpartum hair thinning,’ says Jasmin Julia Gupta, holistic hair loss expert and founder of the charity Cancer hair care.

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Hormones can wreak havoc on women’s bodies and these fluctuations can cause hair thinning in many women

Hormonal fluctuations such as the menopause can trigger androgentic alopecia, also known as female patterned baldness. Telogen effluvium which causes a decrease in hair thickness and increase in hair loss, can also be caused by the hormones but it is easily treated.

The Fix: Regaine (Minoxidil)

Regaine is clinically proven to aid the prevention of further hair loss with its main active ingredient, minoxidil. You can find it as a foam and solution which targets androgenetic alopecia.

The downside is its unsuitable for alopecia areata or any medical conditions that have caused hair loss such as chemotherapy. But, definitely a solution worth trying if you have hereditary hair loss. And once you stop using it the hair loss can return.

Clinical research has shown that minoxidil aided hair regrowth, and it does this by increasing blood flow which stimulates the hair follicles, encouraging hair regrowth.

The Regaine foam has been proven to regrow hair in eight out of ten women.

You can also try: Food supplements and laser phototherapy.

Hair loss cause #2 Being vegan is OK, but don’t forget the protein

Your health can say a lot about your diet, if you’re not getting what you need quite often your body will tell you. And not eating the right things can trigger Telogen Effluvium alopecia.

According to Sally-Ann Tarver ‘people think that they have a healthy diet as they eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, don’t eat takeaways or chocolate but completely lack protein which is potentially the most important food group for hair health.’

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Protein is a very important in keeping your hair healthy and your nails too. Don’t worry if you are a veggie, there are plenty of good supplements out there.

Vegans and Vegetarians are more susceptible to this type of hair loss, but do not fear it is easily rectified by taking food supplements or vitamins that replace what you’re not getting.

The Fix: Food Supplements

Food Supplements can be useful in promoting healthy hair and nails, many of which will include zinc and Biotin. Both are nutrients that target the health of your hair and nails making them stronger and hair fuller. Supplements are more of a long term solution which often requires a minimum of 3 months.

Quite often you can keep healthy hair if you keep to a healthy and balanced diet. But, sometimes other factors may get in the way. But supplements are there to fix that, they nourish from within and are not just suitable for those with hair thinning, or excess shedding, they can be taken by anyone seeking healthier hair.

As well as nutrients such as biotin and zinc, you need to look for a supplement that contains biologically active molecules called proteoglycans, these are essential to how the hair grows.

Proteoglycans are biological molecules consisting of a core protein, present extensively throughout the body and as an essential part of the hair follicle.

look for a supplement that contains biologically active molecules called proteoglycans

One such product is Nourkrin® with Marilex®. Nourkrin is documented in several published clinical papers and is the only clinically proven Proteoglycan Replacement Therapy for hair loss on the market, plus it’s also the only hair growth supplement to be awarded the gold medal by leading experts at the World Trichology Society.

With this treatment, hair follicles can be induced back into the growth phase by reintroducing specific proteoglycan growing phase components to the body through Proteoglycan Replacement Therapy.

Nourkrin products are scientifically formulated to provide the correct nutrients required to normalise and maintain the Hair Growth Cycle, especially if there is an imbalance.

This proven hair growth supplement is supported by 30 years of research into hair growth disorders and is safe, effective and drug free.

Nourkrin Woman, £50.95, 60 tablets, take 2 tablets each day. This supplement needs to be taken for a minimum of three to six months to have a visible affect.

36 year old Alopecia Areata sufferer, Lilja Reykjavik was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata in October 2017.

Lilja before

Lilja before Nourkrin treatment, May 2018 (left), Lilja during Nourkrin treatment, September 2018 (right)

‘After seeing numerous specialists and trying a plethora of treatments including steriod cream, a skin specialist told me the hair root had ‘fallen asleep’ and advised it might take more than a year to grow again.

‘In frustration, I published my experience on Facebook. My cousin contacted me and I was introduced to Nourkrin’.

The results shown below took five months and her hair continues to improve.

Lilja AFTER

Lilja during Nourkrin treatment, December 2018 (left), Lilja ten months after Nourkrin treatment, March 2019 (right)

You can also try: PRP

Hair loss cause #3 Hair loss: a side affect of your meds

‘There are a lot of medications that cause hair loss,’ says Tarver, ‘unfortunately in many cases they must be continued to prevent serious risk to life.’

Its always good to check the side effects first, but in some cases you have no choice but to take them. The main medications that contribute to hair loss include statins, anti-depressants and even the contraceptive pill.

‘Although stopping, starting or changing contraceptives can cause considerable hair shedding due to the fluctuation in hormone levels, it is best to find one that suits and stick with it,’ says Tarver.

But if you are thinking about switching medications, you may want to think again. According to Trichologist Sara G. Allison ‘pretty much all of the anti-depressants in my experience can cause hair loss as a side effect. So even just switching to another one might not necessarily be any better.’

Medication can cause Telogen Effluvium, so be sure to check with your GP for any medication concerns.

The Fix: Laser Phototherapy – Theradome Laser helmet

The Theradome LH80 PRO helmet uses laser phototherapy ‘to stimulate weak hair follicles and provide them with targeted laser energy, which improves cellular metabolism and protein synthesis required to grow and maintain a healthy head of hair,’ says Bio Optics World.

Sessions only last 20 minutes but don’t bother looking at your watch, the device has its own voice which will tell when the session is over. It will even update you on how many treatments you’ve had and will turn itself off. So no need to worry. It is hands free with only a single button and nothing complicated.

The Theradome helmet costs £749.

Hair loss cause #4 Step away from the hair straighteners

In this day and age many women like to make themselves look good but sometimes beauty comes with a price, the price being traction alopecia, which tends to cause a thinning around the temples and a recession at the sides of your head.

Various types of styling can cause damage to your hair, but heat styling is the biggest culprit whilst very tight hairstyles comes in second.

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Hair styling can cause long lasting damage to your hair is this doesn’t just mean heat styling. Tight up-dos can also cause recession. Once in a while why not let your hair hang loose.

Try to avoid hairstyles that are too tight. The experts at Viviscal have 5 hairstyles to try that won’t damage your hair.

The Fix: Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Hair restoration

If you’re squeamish about blood and don’t like needles this may not be the treatment for you. This procedure’s key ingredient is your own blood. Most people may have heard of the Vampire facial, but now it has shown great progress in restoring and rejuvenating hair follicles.

‘In recent years, we have seen that PRP has much greater potential than initially expected,’ says Dr. Sepi Shahidi from Medicetics Skin Clinic. ‘It is a fantastic treatment used for patients suffering from hair thinning, receding hairline and alopecia, allowing significant improvement in both hair volume and coverage.’

How it works is straightforward. A sample of blood will be taken and then spun in the centrifuge. After the good proteins are separated by the pro-inflammatory components, the end result is a yellow fluid.

This fluid ‘is then effectively injected into the scalp (superficially and painlessly), covering any areas showing signs of hair thinning or recession,’ Dr. Sepi explains. The treatment should be repeated three times with one month apart.

PRP is suitable for everyone because there is no chance of allergic reaction, ‘or any adverse reactions as the product is completely autologous – meaning that it is coming from the patients body itself, therefore you are guaranteed that the body will respond well.’ speaks Dr. Sepi.

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PRP is just great for your skin, but recent research shows it can also aid hair regrowth, and the active ingredient comes straight from your own body.

It is perfect for people suffering from hair thinning, receding, hairline and alopecia.

For those people who are already bald or those who suffer from genetic disorders which prevent normal hair growth, this treatment will not be suitable for you.

Medicetics offer the facial as well as scalp treatments. It costs £1,200 for three sessions.

Hair loss cause #5 Dump the stress

Stress is a biggie. And many of us know how much impact stress can have on our health, but it is also difficult to avoid.

‘Unfortunately for stress related hair loss, there is little treatment but to try and alleviate the stress, which is easier said than done,’ says Tarver.

If the stressful situation was due to a short term event such as moving house, then hair should return to normal in about 3-4 months. But, if it is long-term stress like a relationship or work then the ‘hair loss will not rectify until serious action to resolve the stress causing issue is taken,’ affirms Tarver.

Telogen Effluvium can be caused by stress.

The Fix: Tackle that stress

There are many therapies that have been proven to help such as mindfulness, counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Alternatively you could give a yoga a go, or try meditation, but ultimately exercise helps.

Another fix to try: Toppik

The likes of Viviscal might be a more long-term solution but Toppik offers a quick fix with very little hassle. It is a coloured keratin protein that fills in the gaps and conceals those patchy bald spots. They come in 9 shades and can match all hair colours, as well as a choice of sizes perfect for your bathroom or tucked away in your handbag.

And don’t worry about getting caught in the rain, Toppik is designed to withstand rain, wind and perspiration. And it’ll last until your next hair wash and then you can be ready to reapply.

Toppik hair building fibers are priced at £6.95 (3g) and £19.95 (12g)

Hair loss cause #6 Hair thinning? It could be inherited

Alopecia, such as areata and totalis is thought to be down to the genes. Unfortunately it does not have a simple fix, if its down to your genes there is nothing you can do to prevent it. But, there are plenty of ways solutions that may improve your hair or halt further progression.

The Fix: Microblading/Scalp Micropigmentation

This treatment uses a tattooing technique, but unlike normal tattoos it uses a far more delicate process. The ‘pigments are injected into a much shallower layer of skin, and delivered in a far more precise manner,’ says Sian Dellar, a permanent makeup specialist.

It is suitable for both men and women, and is best for those with thinning around the temples, hairline and parting. It deposits ‘delicate, hair-like strokes that will be indistinguishable from your natural hair,’ says Dellar, ‘For conditions such as alopecia, the pigment can be applied in tiny dots to replicate a buzz cut.’

Scalp micropigmenattion or microblading is semi-permanent and after only several sessions it will last for years with ‘virtually no need for maintenance or upkeep.’

Sian Dellar’s clinic is based in Harley Street, London. Price only given through consultation.

Someone who has had this treatment is 22 year old Natasha Connolly. Since the age of 9, Natasha has had to deal with hair thinning as well as recession and even bald spots.

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Natasha Connolly before having the microblading treatment.

‘When people joke that someone doesn’t have a ‘fourhead’ they have a ‘fivehead’…well I have a ‘sixhead’! I always try and joke about that before anyone beats me to it, and joke that my hairline is ‘receding”. Says Natasha.

After being so self-conscious about her hair she had finally had enough and decided to get treatment from the Tracie Giles Clinic. ‘After the treatment, I have been trying all sorts of hairstyles I have never been able to wear, and it has been a lot of fun!’ She says, ‘It is such a subtle treatment, that no-one has noticed I have had something done.’

Having microblading changed Natasha’s life and she she can feel confident about her hair once again.

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Natasha Connolly after having the microblading. Her confidence was restored and she could finally explore different hair styles she never could.

You can also try: Laser Phototherapy.

Hair loss cause #7 Hyperthyroid and Hypothyroid

Hyperthyroidism (over-active) and Hypothyroidism (under-active) can both cause hair loss. According to Trichologist Sally-Ann Tarver ‘the only answer to this is to keep the thyroid or thyroid medication finely balanced and this can only be done by your GP.’

Seek you GP for advice on your medication.

Relevant Healthista Content:

Hair falling out? This expert advice on hair loss will help

WIN Nourkrin hair growth products worth £380 – and say hello to longer, healthier hair

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