Hair Loss

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_tabs][vc_tab title=”Overview” tab_id=”1416401376-1-6″][vc_column_text]Hair loss resulting in thinning is known as alopecia. When it is related to hormones (androgens) and genetics, it is known as androgenetic alopecia, or more commonly balding.

Male pattern alopecia is characterised by a receding hairline and/or hair loss on the top and front of the head. A similar type of hair loss in women, female pattern hair loss, results in thinning hair on the vertex (top) of the scalp and is generally less severe than occurs in males.

Male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia) is the most common form of hair loss in men. For some men it can start in their 20s and occurs in 30% of men by the age of 30, and 50% of men by the age of 50. Over 6.5 million men are losing their hair.

Dr Felix offers an online hair loss consultation to help with this condition. If you are suffering from hair loss, act now and click to start your no obligation hair loss consultation with a UK registered GP.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tab][vc_tab title=”Types of Hair Loss” tab_id=”1416401376-2-45″][vc_column_text]Alopecia is the general medical term for hair loss.

Types of hair loss

There are many types of hair loss with different symptoms and causes. Some of the more common types of hair loss are described below.

Male and female pattern baldness

Male-pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss. As well as affecting men, it can sometimes affect women (female-pattern baldness). It can be particularly difficult for both men and women to cope with.

Male pattern baldness follows a pattern of a receding hairline, followed by thinning of the hair on the crown and temples. During female-pattern baldness, hair usually only thins on top of the head.

Male and female pattern baldness is also called androgenic or androgenetic alopecia. Male pattern baldness is a condition that runs in families, but it is not clear if this is the case with female pattern baldness.

Alopecia areata

Alopecia areata is patches of baldness that may come and go. It can occur at any age, but mostly affects teenagers and young adults. Six out of 10 people affected develop their first bald patch before they are 20 years old.

Alopecia areata is thought to be caused by a problem with the immune system (the body’s natural defence against infection and illness). It is also believed that some people’s genes make them more susceptible to alopecia areata, as one in five people with the condition have a family history of the condition. In many cases the hair grows back after about a year.

Scarring alopecia

Scarring alopecia, also known as cicatricial alopecia, is hair loss that can occur as a result of complications from another condition. In this type of alopecia, the hair follicle (the small hole in your skin that an individual hair grows out of) is completely destroyed. This means your hair will not grow back.

Conditions that can cause scarring alopecia include lichen planus (an itchy rash affecting many areas of the body) and discoid lupus (a mild form of lupus affecting the skin, causing scaly marks and hair loss).

Anagen effluvium

Anagen effluvium is widespread hair loss that can affect your scalp, face and body. One of the most common causes of this type of hair loss is the cancer treatment chemotherapy.

It may be possible to reduce hair loss from chemotherapy by wearing a special cap that keeps the scalp cool. However, scalp cooling is not always effective and not widely available.

In most cases, hair loss in anagen effluvium is temporary. Your hair should start to grow back a few months after chemotherapy has stopped.

Telogen effluvium

Telogen effluvium is a common type of alopecia where there is widespread thinning of the hair, rather than specific bald patches. Hair is shed from the scalp, usually as a reaction to stress or medication. This type of hair loss tends to improve without treatment after a few months.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tab][vc_tab title=”Symptoms” tab_id=”1416401471859-2-7″][vc_column_text]Different types of hair loss have different symptoms. Sometimes, both the head and body can be affected.

Male- and female-pattern baldness

Male-pattern baldness usually starts around the late twenties or early thirties. By their late thirties, most men have some degree of hair loss.

Male-pattern baldness is so called because it generally follows a set pattern. The first stage is usually a receding hairline, followed by thinning of the hair on the crown and temples. This can leave a horseshoe shape of hair around the back and sides of the head. Sometimes it can progress to complete baldness, although this is uncommon.

Women’s hair gradually thins with age, but women generally lose hair from the top of their head only. This is usually more noticeable after the menopause (when a woman’s periods stop at around 52 years of age).

Alopecia areata

Alopecia areata causes patches of baldness about the size of a large coin. They usually appear on the scalp but can occur anywhere on the body.

There are usually no other symptoms, although in around one in 10 people the fingernails may also be affected, and may have a pitted or grooved appearance.
In most cases of alopecia areata, hair will grow back in a few months. At first, hair may grow back fine and white, but over time it should thicken and regain its normal colour.

Some people with alopecia areata go on to develop a more severe form of hair loss, such as:

  • alopecia totalis (no scalp hair)
  • alopecia universalis (no hair on the scalp and body)

Scarring alopecia

As scarring alopecia is caused by another health condition, you will have symptoms relating to this condition besides hair loss. Unlike other forms of hair loss, the skin where the hair has fallen out is likely to be affected in some way.

For example, in cases where lichen planus has caused scarring alopecia, the skin may develop an itchy rash and may be inflamed.

In scarring alopecia, the hair follicles (small holes in the skin that contain the roots of each hair) are damaged and replaced with scar tissue. This means that new hair cannot grow, so the hair loss is permanent.

Anagen effluvium

Anagen effluvium, most commonly caused by chemotherapy, usually occurs quickly. In most cases, hair loss is noticeable within a few weeks of chemotherapy starting.

In anagen effluvium, hair loss is widespread, rather than in patches. As well as losing hair from your scalp, you may also lose hair from your body and face.

This type of hair loss is usually temporary. Your hair should stop falling out and start to grow back a few months after chemotherapy has stopped.

Telogen effluvium

In telogen effluvium, there is widespread hair loss from your scalp, rather than specific bald patches. Your hair may feel thinner than before, but you are unlikely to lose it all. Your other body hair will not usually be affected.

In most cases of telogen effluvium, your hair will stop falling out and start to grow back within six months.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tab][vc_tab title=”Causes” tab_id=”1416401497554-3-6″][vc_column_text]Each type of hair loss has different causes, although the causes of some types are poorly understood.

Male- and female-pattern baldness

Male-pattern baldness is hereditary, which means it runs in families. It is not clear if this is the case with female-pattern baldness.

Male-pattern baldness is thought to be caused by oversensitive hair follicles (holes in the skin that contain the roots of each hair). This is linked to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is made from the male hormone testosterone.

If there is too much DHT, the follicles react to it. The hair becomes thinner and grows for a shorter length of time than normal. The balding process is gradual because different follicles are affected at different times.

The causes of female-pattern baldness are less well understood. Women who have been through the menopause may have an increased chance of female-pattern baldness because they have fewer female hormones.

Alopecia areata

Immune system imbalance

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition. The immune system is the body’s natural defence system, which helps protect it from infection by bacteria and viruses.

Usually, the immune system attacks the cause of an infection, but in the case of alopecia areata it damages the hair follicles instead. It is not clear exactly why this happens. Fortunately, the hair follicles are not permanently damaged and in many cases the hair grows back within a few months.

Alopecia areata is more common among people with other autoimmune conditions, such as:

  • thyroid disease – conditions that affect your thyroid gland, such as an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
  • diabetes – a condition caused by too much glucose (sugar) in the blood
  • vitiligo – a condition that produces white patches on the skin

Alopecia areata is also more common among people with Down syndrome, a genetic condition that causes learning difficulties and affects physical development. More than one in 20 people with Down syndrome have alopecia areata.

Genetics

Some people may be genetically more vulnerable to alopecia areata. Certain genes (units of genetic material) may make the condition more likely.

Around one in five people with alopecia areata have a family history of the condition, suggesting that the tendency to develop the condition may be inherited. You may also be at an increased risk of alopecia areata if a member of your family has one of the autoimmune conditions mentioned above.

Scarring alopecia

Scarring alopecia is caused by permanent damage to the hair follicles. In many cases, it is not clear why this happens, although it is sometimes the result of another condition.

Conditions that can cause scarring alopecia include:

  • Scleroderma – a condition that affects the body’s connective (supporting) tissues, resulting in hard, puffy and itchy skin
  • Lichen planus – a non-infectious, itchy rash that can affect many areas of the body
  • Discoid lupus – a mild form of lupus that affects the skin, causing scaly marks and hair loss
  • Folliculitis decalvans – a rare form of alopecia that most commonly affects men, causing baldness and scarring of the affected areas
  • Frontal fibrosing alopecia – a type of alopecia that affects post-menopausal women where the hair follicles are damaged, and the hair falls out and is unable to grow back

Anagen effluvium

Anagen effluvium is usually caused by medical treatments for cancer, most commonly chemotherapy.

However, not all chemotherapy drugs cause hair loss and sometimes the hair loss is so small it is hardly noticeable.

In some cases, other cancer treatments – including immunotherapy and radiotherapy – may also cause hair loss.

Telogen effluvium

Telogen effluvium is a type of temporary hair loss that can be caused by your body reacting to:

  • hormonal changes, such as those that take place when a woman is pregnant
  • intense emotional stress
  • intense physical stress, such as childbirth
  • a short-term illness, such as a severe infection or an operation
  • a long-term illness, such as cancer or liver disease
  • changes in your diet, such as crash dieting
  • some medications, such as anticoagulants (medicines that reduce the ability of your blood to clot) or beta-blockers (used to treat a number of conditions, such as high blood pressure)
[/vc_column_text][/vc_tab][vc_tab title=”Treatment” tab_id=”1416401536401-4-6″][vc_column_text]

Dr K offers the most effective treatments for hair loss:

1. Propecia 1mg (Finasteride) Tablets
2. Regaine Foam Extra Strength 5% Minoxidil
3. Regaine Solution Extra Strength 5% Minoxidil

Propecia tablets contain finasteride 1mg per tablet. They are only available with a doctor’s prescription and only for use in men. It is the only licensed prescription treatment for male pattern baldness in the UK. They are convenient to use, as a once-daily oral tablet.

  • Propecia has been shown in trials to prevent further hair loss or promote new hair growth in 9 out of 10 men
  • It can take at least 3 months for any visible results to be noticeable
  • Propecia and Regaine can be used at the same time if necessary, as they work in different ways

Regaine Extra Strength contains a 5% concentration of the active ingredient Minoxidil. It has been specifically designed for men who want fast results when compared to Regaine Regular Strength and is more suitable for men looking for regrowth.

  • Regaine Extra Strength works for 4 out of 5 men to help prevent further hair loss
  • It has been shown to re-grow some hair in 3 out of 5 men
  • Results may become noticeable in just eight weeks
  • In clinical trials, men experienced 20% more regrowth than those using Regular Strength
  • Regaine Extra Strength is available without a prescription.

If you are suffering from hair loss, act now and click to start your no obligation hair loss consultation approved by an NHS doctor today..[/vc_column_text][/vc_tab][vc_tab title=”FAQ” tab_id=”1416401583302-5-0″][vc_column_text]

1. What is the hair growth cycle?

Normal hair growth happens in a cycle of 3 oddly named phases: Anagen, Catagen and Telogen. Every single hair goes through these phases, each relating to different states of activity. Read on to find out what they mean:

Phase 1 – Anagen – The growing phase, lasting approximately 1,000 days

The anagen phase is the growing, or the ‘on’ phase. In humans, this lasts for approximately 1,000 days, but can range from 2 to 6 years. During the anagen phase, hair cells grow rapidly, producing the hair shaft from the follicle, which itself grows deeper into the scalp. The length of your anagen phase determines the maximum length of your hair. So, the longer your anagen phase, the longer your hair will grow.

Phase 2 – Catagen – Hair stops growing

The catagen phase only lasts for one to two weeks. It is the transitional or regressive phase. Essentially, it is when the hair stops growing. During this period, the hair follicle shrinks and part of it starts to die.

Phase 3 – Telogen – Resting phase

The telogen phase is the final resting stage, or ‘off’ phase. When the old hair is in this phase, the hair follicle becomes active again and a new hair in the anagen phase develops, forcing the old telogen hair out. This is when you might notice hairs in the bath or in your brush or comb.

At any one time, around 90% of most people’s hair follicles are in the ‘growing’ anagen phase and approximately 10% are in the ‘resting’, or telogen, phase.

In the case of common baldness, male pattern baldness, or what is commonly called hereditary hair loss, genes and hormones cause the miniaturisation or ‘shrinking’ of the hair follicles. This results in a shorter Anagen phase and a particularly long Telogen phase so the hairs then become short and thin. They are soon barely visible to the naked eye and eventually the hair follicles shut down completely.

2. What is the role of 5-alpha reductase in the body?

5-alpha reductase is an enzyme that regulates production of DHT. An enzyme is a protein that acts as a catalyst to speed up a chemical reaction. 5-alpha reductase can be inhibited by specially synthesised drugs (see below).

3. What role does heredity/genetics play in the male pattern hair loss?

Male pattern hair loss occurs in men who are genetically predisposed to be more sensitive to the effects of DHT. Researchers now believe that the condition can be inherited from either side of the family.

4. Where is DHT found in the body?

DHT is found in several tissues in the body including the scalp.

5. What is the role of 5-alpha reductase in the body?

5-alpha reductase is an enzyme that regulates production of DHT. An enzyme is a protein that acts as a catalyst to speed up a chemical reaction. 5-alpha reductase can be inhibited by specially synthesised drugs (see below).

6. How common is male pattern hair loss?

Male pattern hair loss affects at least 50% of men at some point in their lives, and possibly as many as 80% by the age of 70 years. It affects different populations at different rates, probably because of genetics. Up to half of male Caucasians will experience some degree of hair loss by age 50, while other population groups such as Japanese and Chinese men are far less affected.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tab][/vc_tabs][/vc_column][/vc_row]