Q & A with a Hair Loss Specialist
Q. What Is A Hair Loss Specialist?
A Hair Loss Specialist is an expert that deals with the identification and treatment of hair loss problems after years of training and experience.
Q. What kinds of problems does a Hair Loss Specialist manage?
A skilled Hair Loss Specialist deals with many problems related to hair loss that can range from the excessive falling out of hair, thinning hair, hair falling out in patches, dryness or even excess oiliness of hair, scaling and so on. To help identify hair problems, they obtain hair specimens to analyse. Brittle hair and irritated or itchy scalps are likewise treated by Hair Loss specialists. Some of these experts also give advice regarding cosmetic solutions such as the use of wigs, hair weaving and hair colouring.
Q. When should one consult a Hair Loss Specialist?
Hair loss specialists can be consulted on a range of matters including:
- An Extremely oily or dry scalp
- An itchy scalp
- Thinning hair
- Excessive hair breakage particularly after undergoing chemical hair treatments
- Bald spots
- A receding hairline
- Slower hair growth
The Hair Loss Specialist will examine your head and scalp to identify the causes of the problem and the possible solutions available to you. They may use methods such as microscopic exams to recommend what the best possible treatment could be.
Q. Does lifestyle affect hair loss?
Lifestyle does have an effect on hair loss as many factors have an impact on hair loss. These include diet, exercise, sleep, social and psychological stresses, leisure activities and even hair styling techniques. It has been found in many instances that problems in one or two of these areas could be the cause of hair loss.
Q. Does diet cause hair loss?
Unhealthy diets can play a factor in hair loss as well as the overall health of a person. Diets that lack essential nutrients can cause deficiencies that affect the normal growth of the hair particularly if one’s diet lacks protein and iron which are primary nutrients for hair growth. At the same time, sleep deprivation can also aggravate hair loss. Thus it is recommended to get enough rest and avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption which can heighten the problem.
Q. Is frequent hair washing a cause of hair loss?
As a rule, frequent washing does not cause hair loss. More likely, using improper hairstyling products and techniques play a bigger factor in causing hair strands to weaken which leads to breakage and eventually hair loss if not resolved.
Q. Is there a significant difference between male and female hair loss?
Men in general suffer from hair loss known as androgenetic alopecia. Ninety nine percent of hair loss problems suffered by men are due to this genetic factor. This is an inherited trait that causes hair follicles to be highly susceptible to a particular hormone, DHT. It is the main cause of male pattern baldness.
Women suffering from hair loss may have a predisposition to the problem which may also be exacerbated by poor nutrition and other factors such as emotional and physical stresses, inadequate thyroid functions, hormonal imbalances and other medical conditions/medications.
Q. Are there many types of hair loss?
Hair loss can be permanent or temporary.
Q. What is alopecia areata?
Alopecia areata is the type of hair loss where patches appear in several places and can often result in complete baldness. It is thought to be a result of an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to attack its own hair follicles which result in the suppression of hair growth. Women do recover from this type of hair loss and treatment usually helps hair growth.
Q. Is hair loss quite common?
Hair loss is a problem that nearly all people will have to face at a certain stage in their life. People usually have some type of hair loss by the age of 50. While hair loss is common, it is still a major cause for concern for most and it is often considered a ‘taboo’ subject in society. However, hair loss can often be treated so people should not give up on rectifying the issue.
Q. How does hair loss affect people’s life?
Hair loss can affect a person’s life in many ways. People suffering from hair loss may experience the following:
- Low self-esteem – this is particularly evident in people who value their personal appearance especially if they have previously taken pride in their “crown of glory”.
- Bouts of Anxiety/ Depression – the worry over hair loss could lead to emotional and psychological effects to the extent of causing bouts of depression and affecting people’s social life and even sexual confidence and bravado.
- Lack of Moral Support –Some people experience even more stress when they start to lose their hair as they feel that they will drop in favour among their friends and family.
Q. Can young adults suffer from hair loss too?
People often associate hair loss with age. Studies have shown that people lose hair as they get older and this is part of the natural cycle. However, young people can suffer from hair loss too. One such problem is male pattern baldness. Surprisingly, around ¼ of the male population do suffer from this type of hair loss and some men experience male pattern baldness in their teens. As a result, half of all men will have had some type of hair loss by the time they are 50.Nutritional deficiencies often cause hair loss problems in young people such as drug or nicotine abuse. These deficiencies affect the health of hair and thus hair growth. Trichotillomania, a condition where hair pulling occurs due to anxiety is also a reason for hair loss in young people along with alopecia areata.
Q. Why does hair loss occur with aging?
As one ages, the hair thins out. Proteins form the foundation of human hair and these are made up of around 20 amino acids. Nearly all the amino acids are derived from food in our diet. As people grow older, the digestive system becomes more inefficient in absorbing the essential proteins needed. This can cause a decrease in the thickness of a hair strand resulting in hair appearing thinner. Likewise, hair loses pigmentation and becomes lighter in colour as one ages.
Q. Why would one experience sudden or excessive hair loss?
There are many causes of sudden hair loss. It depends on a number of factors. However, in general, they can be categorized into two causes:
- Psychological : stress, fatigue, anxiety are just some of the causes of sudden hair loss. These can play a crucial role in the emotional stability of a person and this imbalance can often result in hair loss. This condition is often temporary and can be reversed once the stress ends.
- Psychological : Severe infections or illnesses as well as physical trauma can cause hair loss. Conditions such as thyroid disorders, nutrient deficiencies, severe weight loss and even certain medications can play a crucial role in affecting hair loss.
Q. Is hair loss permanent?
Except for a certain condition known as Cicatricial alopecia (or scarring alopecia), hair loss is hardly ever permanent. Scarring alopecia is rare and causes permanent damage to hair follicles. The cause of this is often too tight braiding of hair or wearing of very tight turbans. Women in their 60s may suffer from this type of alopecia and in some cases men too.
Q. Does stress cause hair loss or hair thinning?
Too much stress can cause hair thinning as well as hair loss. When the body does not have sufficient time to recover from stress, cortisol can cause hormonal changes. Learn to manage stress to allow the body to recover and renew itself.
Q. Does frequent or daily use of shampoo and conditioner prevent hair loss?
Daily use of shampoos and conditioners will not cause hair loss unless Alkaline shampoos are used frequently on dry and brittle hair.
Q. What product is most effective for curing hair loss?
Because many factors are involved in hair loss, there is no single product that can be said to be the most effective. Each case is different and that is why one should see a Hair Loss Specialist – to properly address the problem.
Q. How does one know what hair loss treatment is the right one?
Everyone is unique and this is why one should consult a professional to find the right treatment method. What works for one person may not work for another particularly when it comes to over the counter products or home remedies.
Q. Does one need more than one type of treatment?
A number of factors can cause hair loss and thus a prolific diagnosis is needed. When the cause of one’s hair loss has been identified, one or more treatment methods may be suggested. At the same time, the choice is also a personal one.
When hair loss is hereditary, this can be treated by surgical means such as hair transplant surgery or through a range of various medications. Some people may opt to use hair pieces such as wigs. If hair loss is caused by factors that are controllable, e.g. stress or medicines, an effective treatment is to rid oneself of that cause.
When considering treatment, these questions should be asked when consulting a hair loss expert:
- Which treatment would work best?
- How long will the treatment take?
- How long will it last?
- Are there side effects and other risks involved?
Q. Should one be wary of complications or risks in hair loss treatments?
As with any type of new treatment or even food, reactions may occur although these are very rare. It is thus important to mention any allergies/one’s medical history to the hair loss consultant prior to beginning a new treatment.
Q. Does one need to undergo any kind of test?
Hair Loss Specialists may require tests to analyse your thyroid function, hormone profile, nutritional deficiencies and any other tests to obtain a complete profile before commencing treatment.
Q. Is it possible to regain original hair density with treatment?
This will depend on the cause, extent and type of hair loss and will be discussed during the consultation with the Hair Loss Specialist.
Q. How long will it take after treatment to see results?
In general, results become visible after four to six months of treatment.
Q. What steps can one take to prevent hair loss?
- It is essential to eat a well-balanced diet, including a combination of complex carbohydrates, protein and low fats. Abstain from high sugar snacks and junk foods.
- Lose excess weight whenever possible but do not make use of fast crash diets as this can often aggravate hair loss. DO NOT USE stimulants.
- Multivitamin supplements can help prevent hair loss.
- It is crucial to learn to control stress. Consider meditation, yoga and exercise.
- Avoid harsh hair care practices which damages your hair roots such as frequent pulling back of hair into tight buns, braids, hot iron and straighteners, blow drying on very hot settings, hot curlers, and prolonged use of perms or chemical straighteners.
- When using hair colour, let the professionals do it and limit the use of products that contain peroxide and ammonia.
- For those using oral contraceptives, check that it does not exacerbate hair loss. If hair is naturally thin, discuss your options with your health professional.
- Check your family history of hair loss
- Professional stylists know the signs of hair problems. They can be one’s best friends in helping detect the slightest change and it is thus important to have your hair styled and treated by them.
- Get an annual check-up to insure that you don’t have a hormonal imbalance, diabetes, iron deficiency or any other medical condition that could affect the health of your hair.