Beauty: hit­ting back at hair loss

dis­cov­ers the root causes of hair thin­ning and ways to re­gain fuller-look­ing locks.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS -

The last time Sarah Chris­tian lost her hair, she was in the prime of her life. “I was 28, sin­gle and search­ing for Prince Charm­ing. I couldn’t imagine los­ing my hair, let alone the tragic wigs I would be left to wear,” re­veals Sarah.

“Los­ing your hair is one of the hard­est things a woman will ever deal with. We spend hun­dreds, if not thou­sands of dol­lars a year on our hair, so imagine the day when your once long brown hair is no longer on your head, but all over the floor, your bed and hand­fuls come out in the shower.”

Sarah isn’t alone. In fact, one in three women will no­tice hair thin­ning or hair loss af­ter the age of 30 and it can start as early as your 20s. For most women, thin­ning hair, bald spots and a re­ced­ing hair­line are dis­tress­ing be­cause shiny lush locks are of­ten viewed as the ul­ti­mate sign of fem­i­nin­ity.

“Hair is an im­por­tant fea­ture for the ma­jor­ity of women, who iden­tify their sense of self-worth and ‘looks’ based on good hair,” says der­ma­tol­o­gist Dr Eleni Yi­asemides. “So­ci­ety places a great deal of value in peo­ple’s ap­pear­ances and hair is a ma­jor fac­tor. Nor­mal hair loss is around 100 hairs per day. Any­thing over 150 hairs can be sig­nif­i­cant and can re­quire re­view by a doc­tor.”

Sarah, now 32, has been deal­ing with hair loss since she was nine years old. “My once thick, long brown hair was fall­ing out, my pil­low was cov­ered, hand­ful af­ter hand­ful of hair would come out in the shower and my brush was over­flow­ing,” she re­calls. “It wasn’t long af­ter that I was di­ag­nosed with alope­cia, an au­toim­mune con­di­tion which causes sud­den hair loss.” As the bouts of alope­cia con­tin­ued into adult­hood, Sarah felt stripped of her fem­i­nin­ity, sex­u­al­ity and beauty.

Types of treat­ments

Ac­cord­ing to tri­chol­o­gist Si­mone Lee, hair loss is of­ten tem­po­rary, but may be­come more per­ma­nent as a re­sult of age­ing or other fac­tors. “There are many treat­ments for hair loss and thin­ning. How­ever, only a few in­gre­di­ents have proven to be ef­fec­tive or pro­duce re­sults, in­clud­ing hair re­growth,” she says, such as mi­nox­i­dil and aminexil. “Com­mon hair loss treat­ments may ap­pear in the form of spe­cialised hair­care prod­ucts, in­clud­ing topical oint­ments and med­i­ca­tions.”

Although they won’t treat the cause of thin­ning hair, thick­en­ing sham­poos, con­di­tion­ers and styling prod­ucts can help the hair to ap­pear fuller.>>

Did you know? The av­er­age per­son’s head has up to 150,000 hair fol­li­cles.

The causes of hair loss

“Scalp hair grows ap­prox­i­mately one cen­time­tre per month,” ex­plains Si­mone Lee. “The rate of growth can be af­fected by var­i­ous skin dis­or­ders that cause dam­age to the hair fol­li­cles, hor­monal changes, nu­tri­tional de­fi­cien­cies, surgery or pro­longed ill­ness, re­ac­tions to med­i­ca­tions, age and ge­netic pre­dis­po­si­tion.”

Hair­dresser Ken­neth Stod­dart says sev­eral of his fe­male clients dis­play signs of thin­ning hair. “I usu­ally find that hair can thin around six months af­ter some­thing stress­ful has hap­pened and it can take an­other six months for it to come back to nor­mal.

“Child­birth is also a ma­jor cause of thin­ning hair,” Ken­neth con­tin­ues, “par­tic­u­larly around the tem­ples. Again, this can take up to one year for the hair to grow back and, in some cases, the hair doesn’t grow back en­tirely as it was.”

Signs and symp­toms

“Men, women and chil­dren of­ten present dif­fer­ent signs and symp­toms of hair loss,” says Si­mone. “At any age, hair loss found in hair­brushes, on the bath­room floor and in drains may be a vis­i­ble con­cern to the suf­ferer.”

Some women may find that their scalp is more no­tice­able in their part line, while men may ex­pe­ri­ence a re­ced­ing hair­line.

“Other signs may be a sud­den loss of hair in patches, or patches of bro­ken hairs on the scalp,” Si­mone adds.

It’s also com­mon for women to find they’re able to do more loops with their hair elas­tic be­cause their pony­tail has be­come thin­ner. It’s not a cause for panic. In­stead, seek ad­vice from a med­i­cal pro­fes­sional to de­ter­mine the cause and the best treat­ment op­tion for you.

“The key is to start treat­ment early,” says Dr Yi­asemides. “There are lots of in­fomer­cials promis­ing ‘mir­a­cle cures’, which are false and add to a woman’s dis­ap­point­ment and cyn­i­cism about this con­di­tion and its treat­ment.”

Dr Yi­asemides also says it usu­ally takes around six months of topical treat­ments to see a re­sult for male or fe­male pat­tern hair loss and that the pri­mary pur­pose of this form of treat­ment is to stop the con­di­tion wors­en­ing.

“There is no cure or preven­tion – all treat­ment is life­long,” she says.

Did you know? “Hair can thin around six months af­ter some­thing stress­ful and can take an­other six months to come back to nor­mal.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.