Los­ing it

Few sub­jects re­main taboo in to­day’s over-shar­ing world: one of them is hair loss. Remy Rip­pon un­cov­ers what most of us would rather hide.

VOGUE Australia - - Beauty -

What­ever your thoughts on over-shar­ing on so­cial me­dia, there’s one univer­sal truth we can’t re­fute, par­tic­u­larly when it comes to our beauty reg­i­men: ev­ery prod­uct, tool and tech­nique is laid bare for the world to see. As a re­sult, there are few re­main­ing beauty taboos. If we’re en­dur­ing it, chances are we’re talk­ing about it. But there’s one ex­cep­tion to the rule, a very real phe­nom­e­non that’s omit­ted from the con­ver­sa­tion – hair loss.

It may be un­sexy, but it’s hap­pen­ing. “Fifty per cent of all men and women are af­fected by hair thin­ning and/or hair loss at some point in their lives,” says Gina Thomas, ed­u­ca­tional di­rec­tor for Wella and Coty Pro­fes­sional Beauty. And the causes are plen­ti­ful: stress; hor­mones; preg­nancy (dur­ing and after); ge­net­ics; diet (calo­rie-re­stricted or low-carb in par­tic­u­lar); life stage (pu­berty, menopause); med­i­ca­tions; and en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors (sun­light, pol­lu­tion, even wa­ter qual­ity) can all con­trib­ute to changes in hair tex­ture and loss.

“It’s usu­ally a con­se­quence of some­thing else hap­pen­ing,” says der­ma­tol­o­gist and Dyson Su­per­sonic spokesper­son Pro­fes­sor Rod­ney Sin­clair, adding that hair loss can

be a glar­ingly ob­vi­ous warn­ing of iron de­fi­ciency, thy­roid prob­lems or hor­mone im­bal­ances. It gen­er­ally falls into one of two camps: hair shed­ding, which is hair fall­ing out from the scalp or break­ing (you might no­tice more strands in your brush or on your pil­low­case), and bald­ing, which is hair dis­ap­pear­ing, re­sult­ing in vis­i­ble patches of scalp. It can range from se­vere cases of alope­cia (patchy hair loss due to au­toim­mune fac­tors) to less se­vere hor­mone or stress-re­lated hair loss, and di­ag­no­sis is usu­ally car­ried out by a der­ma­tol­o­gist via a blood test and phys­i­cal as­sess­ment.

“I ask [hair-loss pa­tients] if any health or life­style changes have oc­curred six to 16 weeks be­fore notic­ing hair loss,” says tri­chol­o­gist Dr David Kings­ley, adding that it can take a few months for the hair to fall out once it ac­tu­ally stops grow­ing.

Any form of hair loss, how­ever, af­fects self-con­fi­dence. A study by Nioxin, a leader in hair-loss prod­ucts, in part­ner­ship with a Yale Univer­sity psy­chol­o­gist, found that a quar­ter of the 4,000 peo­ple sur­veyed would avoid so­cial in­ter­ac­tions if they ex­pe­ri­enced hair loss or thin­ning. Six in 10 re­spon­dents agreed to feel­ing con­cerned about hair thin­ning, with 25- to 34-year-olds be­ing the most con­cerned. It’s no won­der, then, that the beauty mar­ket is flooded with prod­ucts to treat hair loss, with vary­ing de­grees of ef­fi­cacy.

Sin­clair says there’s no one-size-fits-all ap­proach, and the right treat­ment is largely based on the type of hair loss. “If it’s hair shed­ding, it’s im­por­tant to find out what the cause is,” he says, “and if it’s short-lived, you might not ac­tu­ally need to do any­thing.” Sin­clair adds that for more con­cern­ing hair loss, top­i­cally ap­plied mi­nox­i­dil may be pre­scribed. Over-the-counter prod­ucts, such as Nioxin’s 3D Care Sys­tem, can also com­ple­ment pre­scribed treat­ments.

Like­wise, some at-home tweaks can be ben­e­fi­cial. “Wear your pony­tail loose,” says Thomas. “This min­imises stress along the hair­line, which con­trib­utes to break­age.” The styling de­vices you use can have an im­pact, too. Choose a heat-con­trolled hair dryer; the Dyson Su­per­sonic reg­u­lates the exit tem­per­a­ture by mea­sur­ing it up to 20 times per sec­ond to avoid fry­ing fol­li­cles, which causes break­age. And Kings­ley ad­vises wash­ing hair reg­u­larly. “It stops grow­ing an av­er­age three months prior [to fall­ing out], so not wash­ing it will cause the hair to ac­cu­mu­late and in­crease the amount seen when wash­ing.”

Christophe Robin Cleans­ing 3 More Inches Cash­mere Pro­tein UV

Phyto Phy­toPolleine Botan­i­cal Scalp Treat­ment, $40. Pu­ri­fy­ing Scrub with Sea Salt, $41. Bio Ionic Sil­ver Nanoionic Con­di­tion­ing Brush, Ex­tra Large, $45. Pro­tec­tive Sham­poo, and Con­di­tioner, $35 each.

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