Hair is made from protein and grows from follicles in the skin. On average, a single hair follicle produces hair for 2 to 8 years and then suddenly stops. The root of the hair hardens and eventually over a few months the dead hair falls out. It is normal to shed between 50-100 dead hairs every day.
What is male pattern baldness?
Hereditary hair loss or "male pattern baldness" is a genetic condition where as we age, hair becomes thinner, weaker and may stop growing altogether. Hereditary hair loss is caused by Testosterone (DHT) which is found in the scalp and is absorbed by the hair follicles. This testosterone weakens the hair root and prematurely ends the hair follicles' growth cycle, leaving it dormant. The typical balding pattern in men usually starts with a receding hair line from the forehead. The top of the head then may produce fewer hairs. This leads to partial or full balding on the crown or the entire head. This condition may begin in men from their early 20's.
What is a DHT?
DHT is short for dihydrotestosterone, a male hormone. It is naturally found in the scalp and over time, hair follicles are bombarded with testosterone which shortens the life of the hair root and it eventually dies. On average a single hair follicle can grow hair for up to 8 years but DHTs reduce this time scale. DHT can also affect women in the same way during the menopause as female hormones decrease.
Is there such a thing as 'female pattern baldness'?
Losing hair occurs in some women who are sensitive to testosterone in the scalp (DHT); most commonly during and after the menopause when female hormones decrease leaving testosterone levels higher. The testosterone in the scalp effects the hair follicles in the same way as it does in men. Women who lose their hair do not recede in the same way as men do and usually it is not as severe. Partial hair loss may be experienced and quality of the hair becomes finer and sometimes brittle across the whole head. However, women rarely go completely bald due to the effect of testosterone. Other hormonal changes can also effect hair loss. Pregnancy causes the levels of progesterone to increase and sometimes forces the hair follicles into a resting phase. This can cause hair loss up to 3 months after the baby's been delivered. However, the hair loss is not permanent and is usually a sign of new hair starting to grow underneath the old hair.
Another reason for female hair loss can be due to diet change. Dieting and eating less meat can cause an iron deficiency in some cases. This iron deficiency or Anaemia, may cause excessive hair loss. If you want to supplement your diet, try Lamberts Florisene. If you think you might be anaemic you must seek advice from a doctor before taking an Iron supplement.
To view all our products for hair loss in women, please visit our female hair loss page.
What is Alopecia?
Alopecia is a condition where hair loss is sudden and random. Men, women and even children can be affected. This type of hair loss is not like the hereditary condition caused by testosterone but do note, hereditary hair loss (aka male pattern baldness) is also known as Androgenetic Alopecia.
There are many variants of alopecia, the most common includes: Alopecia Areata (hair loss occurring in patches), Alopecia Totalis (Total loss of the hair on the scalp), Alopecia Universalis (Total loss of all hair on the body), Alopecia Barbae (Loss of facial hair), Alopecia Mucinosa (A type of alopecia which results in scaly patches and Scarring Alopecia (A form of alopecia scars the area of hair loss).
How do I cure baldness?
Unfortunately you cannot cure baldness. Hair loss due to stress or chemotherapy and in some cases of alopecia, should naturally regrow in time. With hereditary hair loss, you can improve the quality of existing hair and prevent further loss depending on what stage your hair loss is at. If you have started gradually losing hair then you stand a greater chance at re-growing it then if you are completely or nearly bald.
Types of treatment include:
Medicines: There are specialist drugs and treatments available on prescription that can help hair to grow. Minoxidil is an ingredient that helps to induce hair growth. Regaine contains this active ingredient and is the only medicated treatment available from Express Chemist without prescription.
DHT Blocking: There are products that contain certain ingredients which stop testosterone from penetrating the hair. These products come in different varieties including serums and shampoos. For example; Alpecin comes as a shampoo and hair tonic. It contains caffeine as the active ingredient. These DHT blocking treatments prevent further hair loss. These methods are even suitable for those of you who still have a full head of hair but know hair loss runs in the family.
Other treatments: There are major treatments available that involve surgical procedures such as hair transplants. However, these methods may not be effective as a long term solution and can be very costly.
Alternatively, hair pieces are favoured by many men, as are cosmetic concealers. These are sprays and powders that contain tiny particles that cling on to fine downy hair on the head making the hair appear fuller.
Can you prevent hereditary hair loss?
It is possible to prevent or at least slow down the loss of hair with products designed to stop Testosterone from entering the hair. A shampoo such as Alpecin can be used each day instead of your usual shampoo. This could be your first step to fighting hairloss.
How can I improve the condition of my hair?
As time goes by, our hair can get damaged by regular hair-dying, heating, styling and brushing. Other elements such as central heating, chlorine, and natural elements like sun damage all stress the hair out. It may become weak, dull and brittle. Hormonal changes too have an effect on the hair and also those who use a topical treatment for hair loss every day may find it dries out their hair. There are complimentary hair products you can use along side a hair loss treatment such as:
- Plantur conditioners offer a pleasantly scented solution, primarily for women that conditions and adds volume to the hair.
- Supplements offer essential vitamins and nutrients to the hair, scalp and skin that the diet may lack. There are special formulations designed to help promote hair growth such as; Nourkrin, Florisene for Women and WellMan Tricologic. Some supplements improve the shine and strength of hair but are also good for the skin. These include Fish Oils or GLA rich oils , Perfectil and Silicea Capsules.
To view all hair and skin supplements, please click here...
If there is anything you need us to elaborate on, please don't hesitate to call us on 0800 5421203.