Today we are witnessing more cases of celebrity hair loss than ever before. Over-styling, the use of extensions and a market of heat-emitting products bursting at the seams, have led to the emergence of a most unwelcome celebrity beauty trend….bald patches, receding hairlines and serious thinning.
Here, Dr Raghu Reddy, hair transplant specialist at The Private Clinic of Harley Street, puts to bed some of the most common hair misconceptions and talks us through the steps we should be taking to avoid those dreaded bald patches….
Rule out any underlying medical conditions: If you are suffering with hair loss or thinning, first and foremost you should ensure you don’t have any underlying medical conditions. There are certain conditions and hormonal disorders which can lead to patterned baldness, so it is important that these are addressed as soon as possible. Always consult your doctor or a hair loss specialist at first instance. It is also worth noting that a common cause of the thinning of the hair is the menopause. Unlike men, women are protected from hair loss by oestrogen and after the menopause, oestrogen level drop, meaning many of us will go on to experience some degree of thinning.
Know your family history: genetics can have a big part to play in hair loss. Just like men, women can inherit genes from the maternal or paternal side, which leave them predisposed to hair loss.
Keep calm: sustained periods of stress can lead to a change in hormonal balances, which can pave the way for hair thinning or patterned baldness. Stress also leads to the build-up of acid free radicals and this contributes to gradual loss of hair.
Avoid the ‘celebrity extension’ craze: The prolonged use of extensions has famously led to hair loss for the likes of Kim Kardashian, Naomi Campbell, Britney Spears and TOWIE’s Jessica Wright. The use of extensions over long periods of time puts a lot of traction on the existing hair on the head, and glue, which is often applied to the roots, starves the hair of vital nutrients. Both of these factors can cause gradual thinning as the hair is weighed down and weakened. To avoid these damaging effects, always seek advice from a reputable salon before applying hair extensions and try to limit how much you use them. Or, best of all, avoid them altogether.
Take care of your roots: Avoid putting products, such as conditioner or gel, directly onto the roots of your hair. This will clog the pores and hair follicles, making it difficult for hair to grow.
Keep it clean: Many people believe that washing your hair daily is a bad idea. However, quite the opposite is true; washing hair regularly rids the scalp of sweat and dirt, which can have the same starving effect as hair gel. Opting to use a good conditioner daily will keep the hair soft and strong.
Protein pick-me-up: Hair is made up of Keratin, a protein, so embarking on a protein high diet can keep hair shiny and strong. Incorporate meat, fish and eggs into your diet where possible.
Keep it natural: There is evidence to suggest that straighteners and curlers can also contribute to hair loss. Over a long period, if you continue to straighten or curl your hair regularly you will make the hair brittle and prone to breakage, contributing to the overall weakening of each individual hair. Avoid restricting the hair by wearing it in very tight braids, as this will also curtail its natural growth. Exercise caution when using hair dyes too. Some dying in moderation will not damage the hair permanently but frequent dying and opting not to follow colouring guidelines could be seriously damaging in the long run.
Be product-wise: If your hair loss is noticeable, there are certain products which can increase hair density. Topical minoxidil, most commonly known as the product Regaine, can be applied in certain cases where the hair is thinning and they have a formula specifically for women. However you should seek expert advice before using any hair loss product.
The root of the problem: If hair loss has reached the point of no return, where the hair has been pulled from the roots and permanently damaged, and where no underlying medical condition has been diagnosed, then a hair transplant may be your only option. The 3G FUE hair transplant process involves taking individual hairs from the back of the head, where the hair is strong and plentiful, and replanting them in the thinning area to restore the natural looking, fuller head of hair. The treatment is carried out under local anaesthetic and once the hair is transplanted it will grow as normal, permanently.
Dr Raghu Reddy is a hair transplant specialist at The Private Clinic of Harley Street. www.theprivateclinic.co.uk/treatments/hair-loss/
Femalefirst Taryn Davies