What is trichology ? - A guide to Hair Loss
Trichology is the medical term for the study of the hair (and scalp) and all problems related to them. A ‘trichologist’ is someone who specialises in hair loss problems such as baldness, hair breakage and itchy/flaking scalp. He or she will also treat all forms of alopecia.
Think of a trichologist as a ‘hair doctor’: as someone you may wish to consult instead of visiting your GP. Many people choose to see a hair specialist rather than their GP as they are either too embarrassed or feel that they would be wasting his/her time.
If you choose to see a trichologist then you will have a thorough consultation – up to an hour long, which is not available at your local GP’s surgery. He or she will discuss all aspects of your lifestyle which includes your diet, stress and any other external factors as well as taking a full medical history.
And he/she will carry out an examination of your hair and/or scalp.
The condition of your hair is an indicator of your general health. Hair which is dull and lifeless can suggest a stressed, unhealthy lifestyle whereas hair which is full and shiny is a sign of being healthy. This is one of several factors considered by a trichologist when deciding upon suitable treatment. If he or she feels that there is an underlying medical cause then he/she will advise you to visit your GP.
You don’t have to have a hair problem to consult a trichologist: many people choose to do so because they want advice on keeping their hair and scalp in tip top condition and so reduce the risk of hair loss.
Prevention is better than cure and doing this can save time and money in the long term.
However, this service has to be paid for which means shopping around until you get the best deal for you. And make sure that your trichologist is a member of The Institute of Trichologists. He or she will have the following letters AIT, FIT or MIT after their name and has to abide by a professional Code of Ethics.
As with any business; most are reputable but there are a few charlatans out there so research this carefully. Draw up a shortlist of possible candidates and visit each of them in turn. Check that the clinic is a member of this institute and ask for a breakdown of the cost of your treatment. If the fees seem too high then obtain another quote.
Do not pay any fees before treatment has taken place.
If you don’t want to go down this route then visit your GP. Even though you will not get an hour long consultation, he/she will still examine your hair and suggest a course of treatment.
Hair loss and ageing questions.
What causes hair loss as we age?
There are many different factors that can contribute to hair loss as we age, such as Androgen Hormones , which is a genetically predisposed condition, it causes prolongation of the resting phase (telogen ) and shortening of the growing phase,( Anagen), which eventually over a period of time causes hair thinning and hair loss.
The 5a reductase enzyme that converts testosterone into the more active dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is the underlying causative factor of Male pattern and some Female pattern hair loss , other causes such as Medical issues , operations, and nutritional deficiency are another causes. Generally there are more than one causative factor for hair shedding and thinning in men and women as we age .
Will everyone suffer from this?
Not every individual will suffer from hair loss as they age.
Are women as prone as men?
Depending on the causative factor, with regards to DHT influence hair loss , men have a higher rate than women, however regarding to other factors , such as nutritional deficiencies and medical issues we are experiencing more females suffering from hair loss.
Can you prevent it?
Depending on the underlying causes some hair loss can be prevented . If we are talking about MPA or FPA this is generally genetically predisposed , so unless the individual acts prior to seeing a thinning of scalp hair with oral and topical medication it is unlikely it can be prevented,
Can you slow it?
Antiandrogens therapy can slow the progression of androgen influence ,and it can reverse hair miniaturisation .
Are there any factors that make you more likely to lose hair as you age?
Factors such as lifestyle,Vegetarians ,medication,pregnancy,contraception, adrenal stress,Thyroid ,low iron store,nutritional deficiencies ,crash dieting , anxiety ,ongoing illnesses ,are all contributing factors of hair shedding and hair loss.
Are there any steps you can take on a daily basis to help?
Maintain a healthy balanced diet , eating three meals a day to include protein, as our hair is a complex chain of amino acids which is protein ,sleep, and if your lifestyle is crazy and fast and you know your skipping meals or feeling a bit and tired, check your iron store and blood levels and taking a good supplement to assist in your hectic daily life can help .
What kind of supplements can help?
Biotin , amino Mar C , B12 & B complex, folic acid, Lysine, zinc, potassium are all beneficial to healthy hair growth .
What is the pattern of female hair loss? - Female Hair Loss Guide
The process is the same for both men and women but the pattern of hair loss differs between the sexes.
Male hair loss follows a distinctive pattern in which hair is lost from the front (around the temples) and gradually recedes over the top of the scalp, reaching the back of the head. This leaves a band of hair above the ears and round the back of the head.
Whereas female hair loss involves the top of the scalp but women tend to retain their hairline. Their hair loss occurs behind their hairline.
Female hair loss generally starts in their thirties and reaches a peak in their fifties when testosterone levels have started to fall. More than 50% of men experience male pattern baldness compared to 30% of women.
Basically female hair loss is less severe than for men. But it is still a good idea for a woman to check if there is a history of baldness in their family –on both the male and female sides to see how this might affect them. This means trying to find out when they first started losing their hair, how it progressed and the type of hair loss. You need to be certain that if you have inherited this tendency that you will have enough hair for a transplant.
There has been an increase in the number of women taking testosterone to boost confidence, assertiveness and self-esteem. This is done often for reasons of getting to the top in one’s chosen career but bear in mind that there are side effects with this hormone which include male pattern baldness.
So if a woman takes large doses of testosterone then she will experience hair loss in exactly the same way as a man would.
If you are a woman who has noticed some hair loss and is considering surgery then the question is: how bald are you?
To find out take a look at the Ludwig scale below.
The Ludwig Scale
This is the only method of classification for female hair loss. Hair loss in women is characterised by a reduction in density of hair and this is confined to the top (crown) of the scalp rather than from front to back of the scalp as seen in men.
This scale is not used to the same extent as the Hamilton-Norwood Scale in men but nevertheless, it is still an important tool to determine the extent of female hair loss.
Three stages of hair loss
There are fewer stages than with the male classification scale: these consist of just the 3 stages with stage 1 being no or little hair through to stage 3 which is advanced hair loss.
These stages are categorised as ‘grades’.
These three stages are:
· Stage 1: the start of female pattern baldness. There is some thinning of the hair on the scalp which is evenly distributed. Hair loss is not noticeable at this stage (grade 1).
· Stage 2: hair loss is becoming more noticeable and the scalp can be seen. Around 50 to 70% of your hair will have become thinner and baldness can be seen (grade 2).
· Stage 3: the most severe form of hair loss. At this point there is more scalp on display than hair and treatment is now needed (grade 3).
Much more research and attention is devoted to male hair loss than female hair loss which means that it is harder for women to obtain treatment. Female pattern baldness can be overlooked or not given the same level of attention which makes things difficult for women in general.