Whenever we lament our thinning hair or excessive hair loss to our friends, everyone’s response is usually: “Oh, it happens to everybody” or “I have that problem too”. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t worry about it. Here’s what you need to do if it happens to you.
Male & female alike
On average, both men and women lose around 50 to 100 strands each day. Many women also experience post-pregnancy hair fall due to hormone shifts and the stress of pregnancy, and may lose up to 300 hairs a day. Thankfully, this is normally not permanent, and your hair will slowly revert to its fuller pre-pregnant state some months after delivery.
However, some women feel that their hair is considerably thinner long after the pregnancy. “In these cases, we check to make sure that the patient has no underlying condition such as stress or thyroid disorders,” says
Dr Low Chai Ling.
On the other hand, male-pattern balding is usually genetic. It happens when the hair-growth cycle is shortened and the hair follicle shrinks, producing shorter and finer strands.
In addition, men affected by male-pattern balding may experience more hair loss, leading to a sparser head of hair with a receding hairline forming a distinctive “M” shape. “Without treatment, male-pattern balding usually worsens over time,” says Dr Low.
Hair thinning leads to hair loss
Hair thinning, also known as hair miniaturisation, is caused by hormonal changes. It results in the strands shrinking in diameter over time, eventually leading to hair loss and baldness.
The hair-follicle growth cycle consists of three phases – a growth phase, a transitional phase, and a resting phase.
In hair thinning, the growth phase is shortened so that the individual hairs produced are unable to grow to full size, which leads to your hair becoming shorter and thinner over time until it eventually disappears.
When to start treatments
The golden rule is that once you notice hair loss, you should seek help for the condition, advises Dr Low.
“There are many ways to give yourself the best chance of maintaining a full head of hair. For instance, you can watch your diet if you are concerned about your general hair health,” she says. Fad diets that eliminate red meat consumption may result in iron deficiency, and vegetarians or vegans who are low on vitamin B12 and zinc could also be prone to hair loss, so taking supplements may help.
Dr Low says that if you notice hair loss, consider topical scalp serums that contain minoxidil – such as SW1’s Hair Recovery Serum – which has been shown in studies to help in cases of hair loss.
“Revage 670 Laser is a popular treatment for thinning hair for both men and women experiencing hair loss,” says Dr Low.
“It entails 30 laser diodes that rotate to stimulate each hair follicle, stopping the progression of hair loss in some patients. Studies show that almost 40 per cent of patients have an increase in hair density within 16 weeks because of the thickening of the hairs.”
This is a useful treatment for men experiencing male pattern hair loss, as well as women experiencing diffused hair thinning. Those who have undergone this treatment report that it is painless and takes only 30 minutes a session. “After an analysis and consultation with our doctors at SW1, we will be able to prescribe a suitable treatment regime based on your needs,” adds Dr Low.
Dr Low Chai Ling is the founder and medical director of SW1 Clinic, which offers treatments like Revage 670 Laser and Revitascalp to stimulate hair follicles and optimise scalp health respectively. The clinic also offers non-invasive cosmetic dermatology and cutting-edge plastic surgery.
Dr Low's personal hair philosophy is that everyone should invest in their hair because it's the one crown you never take off – a quote she once heard (source unknown) that she feels is apt in the context of our crowning glory.
SW1 Clinic is at #03-01 to 06 Paragon, tel: 6817-8888; and #02-19 OUE Downtown Gallery Tower 2, tel: 6817-8882. Visit www.sw1clinic.com for more information.
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