Hair loss is a common problem that almost everyone, women and men, will inevitably suffer from at some point in their lives. Hair loss, regardless of age and gender, may affect one’s confidence and self esteem.
Why do we lose hair?
Let us look at the science of hair in order to understand why we lose hair.
We all grow our hair in cycles and each hair growth cycle goes through 3 stages:
- Growing phase
- Resting phase
- Falling phase
We lose as many as 50 to 100 strands of hair every day. This is considered normal and is part and parcel of a hair growth cycle. This shows up on our comb, on the floor next to our dressing table, on the bed and on the shower floor.
When does it become abnormal?
Theoretically, if you are losing more than 100 strands of hair a day, you are experiencing a hair loss problem. However, most people will agree that it is impossible to count or even estimate the number of strands of hair loss every day. So when is it time to worry about hair loss?
You should seek help when you observe more hair than usual on your bed, your comb and the floor of your living premises. More commonly, people start noticing hair loss by noticing that their shower drain gets clogged up by hair quicker than usual. The other aspect of hair loss that you would notice is a direct observation of your scalp – your hair parting becomes wider and your hairline looks more and more receded.
What are the different types of hair loss?
- Androgenetic Alopecia
This is the most common form of hair loss and hair thinning. It is also commonly known as male pattern hair loss.
It affects both genders, approximately 70% of men and 40% of women. It is usually hereditary and is caused by male hormones.
- Telogen Effluvium
This is usually linked to physical and emotional stress and is more common in women. Common causes are childbirth, major illness and sudden change in diet and lifestyle.
- Alopecia Areata
Alopecia Areata leads to patches of baldness on the scalp. The exact cause is unknown. It usually happens spontaneously without any identified trigger.
- Skin Disease
Skin diseases such as eczema, fungal infection and skin bacteria infection can lead to hair loss.
- Chronic Medical Conditions
Hair loss can be an indicator of another underlying health issue such as iron deficiency, thyroid disease and connective tissue disease.
Some medications such as hormonal pills, cancer drugs and anticoagulants can lead to hair loss.
How does hair loss in women differ from men?
In my experience, most women come in with generalised hair thinning that usually starts after a major life event – most commonly childbirth or a major illness. This is also known as telogen effluvium. It is usually unexpected and sudden, and can worsen very quickly, sometimes in a matter of days. Because of the sudden onset, many of them feel helpless and stressed out by the condition. Pulling out chunks of hair from routine brushing and washing can be extremely frightening. Fortunately, telogen effluvium is usually temporary and most people recover fully after a few months.
I once saw a young woman in my practice who started losing hair right after her childbirth. She worked as a cabin crew and she had a set of long thick hair that she took pride in before this started. This hair thinning condition put her on an emotional roller coaster that drove her into extreme low self esteem and near depression. After a lot of reassurance and some help from hair loss treatment, her condition improved over the next 6 months.
On the other hand, men usually present with male pattern hair loss that has progressed slowly over the years. It is usually not unexpected because they have already seen this condition in their fathers or other male family members.
However, male pattern hair loss is an ongoing condition – meaning it will only get worse with age. Therefore, treatment is usually long term and more complicated.
What should I do if I have hair loss?
Consult a doctor!
Seek help from the professionals if you experience hair loss or hair thinning. Before starting any form of treatment, it is important to find out the type and the cause of hair loss. Treatment of the underlying conditions is often required to address hair loss issues.
If hair loss is due to skin conditions such as eczema and fungal skin infections, you will require prescribed medications such as creams and tablets to treat the skin condition before the hair loss condition can improve.
If hair loss is found to be due to health conditions such as thyroid disease, a referral to a medical specialist may be required to treat the medical condition in order to improve hair loss.
What are some treatments available?
If you have already seen a doctor and got the underlying skin or health condition treated, you can then consider other forms of hair growth treatment to treat your hair loss.
All forms of hair loss treatments need at least 3 months to see improvement.
- Topical and oral hair growth medication and supplement
Topical hair growth spray such as Minoxidil is useful in treating hair loss.
Oral medication such as Finasteride and oral supplement rich in biotin is often prescribed as part of the treatment for hair loss especially for male pattern hair loss.
Hair supplements that contain proteoglycan can promote normal, healthy hair growth by addressing proteoglycan follicular atrophy, which is an underlying cause of almost all cases of hair growth disruption.
- Supplementary Hair Growth Treatment
Non-invasive hair growth treatment that involves application of hair growth ingredients on the scalp to promote hair growth can be useful as a supplementary treatment. Some ingredients that may be useful in hair loss treatments include recombinant insulin-like growth factor 1 and 2 (IGF-1 and IGF-2), hyaluronic acid and stem cell factor (SCF).
- Regenerative Hair Growth Treatment
Regenerative hair treatment can be used to treat hair loss and hair thinning in men and women. It uses capillary regenerative technology targeted at male pattern hair loss. This treatment uses your own hair which contains cells that help activate the follicles around the hair thinning and hair loss area. In other words, it uses your own body’s ability to produce new hair by stimulating a hair regenerative process.
- Hair Transplant
Hair transplantation is the last resort when it comes to hair loss. It is a complex procedure and requires a skilled doctor to perform. Even after hair transplant, treatment such as topical spray, and oral medication will still be required to maintain the hair condition.
For More Information
For more information about our pricing, services or to book an appointment with us, please feel free to get in touch with us at either +65 6235 0338 or this contact form. We are conveniently located at 1 Scotts Road, #03-02, Shaw Centre, Singapore 228208.
* The outcomes and results of this medical procedure may vary from person to person. Outcomes and results may not be guaranteed.
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