So­lu­tions for lusher locks

Fashion Quarterly - - Contents -

Re­gard­less of the type of hair you have, or wish you had, there are loads of bot­tles and sprays on the shelves to help you achieve a good hair day. But what if your strands are putting on a dis­ap­pear­ing act? Vo­lu­mis­ing sham­poo isn’t much use when most of yours is go­ing down the drain. Given the long-held per­cep­tion of lush, thick locks as our ‘crown­ing glory’, it’s not sur­pris­ing that a change in vol­ume can cause sig­nif­i­cant distress, and with hair thin­ning and loss a re­al­is­tic re­sult of the age­ing process, we’re be­gin­ning to hear more about the is­sue from a fe­male per­spec­tive.

“Women’s hair loss is def­i­nitely on the rise, with fe­male clients nearly equalling male clients in num­ber,” says Carla Hunt of Clive Hair Clin­ics. “Women are lead­ing busier and more stress­ful life­styles that are hav­ing a di­rect im­pact on their hair.”

It’s help­ful to note the dif­fer­ence be­tween fine hair and hair that’s thin­ning. The fine­ness of hair re­lates to the di­am­e­ter of each strand, whereas if your hair is thin­ning, it means you have fewer strands than av­er­age per square cen­time­tre on your head. If you’ve al­ways had fine hair, you prob­a­bly have your par­ents to thank, and al­though there are plenty of fac­tors that can cause tem­po­rary hair loss, if your hair is be­gin­ning to thin, in many cases it also comes down to ge­net­ics and it can be per­ma­nent.

Fur­ther con­fus­ing matters, sev­eral fac­tors can cause the hair you grow to be weaker, smaller in di­am­e­ter and more prone to break­age (finer), as well as im­pede its abil­ity to re­gen­er­ate, leav­ing you with far fewer strands (thin­ner). “Cur­rently, 30 per­cent of women ex­pe­ri­ence fe­male pat­tern thin­ning [which en­com­passes both of the above] be­fore they reach the age of 30,” says Carla.

Be­cause of the hor­monal changes in­volved in thin­ning hair, the num­ber of women im­pacted in­creases to more than 50 per­cent af­ter menopause or af­ter a hys­terec­tomy, re­gard­less of eth­nic­ity or hair type.

So, other than a hair­brush full of hair, what are the first signs you’re los­ing more than the typ­i­cal 50-100 strands a day? Sud­den loss caused by in­tense stress or ill­ness can be spo­radic. Grad­ual loss in men is usu­ally no­ticed first at the tem­ples and then the crown. In women, hair loss is more gen­er­alised or sig­nalled by a grad­u­ally widen­ing part.

“The age when hair thin­ning starts dif­fers for women as there are many fac­tors that can trig­ger and worsen hair loss,” says Carla. She lists fac­tors such as stress, im­proper diet, nutri­tional de­fi­cien­cies (par­tic­u­larly iron), med­i­ca­tion (in­clud­ing that for de­pres­sion), hor­monal im­bal­ances caused by con­di­tions like poly­cys­tic ovary syn­drome, and too much anaer­o­bic ex­er­cise, which in­creases the male hor­mone testos­terone. The good news is that once they’re iden­ti­fied, many of these causes can be ad­dressed so that loss can be min­imised.

“If these prob­lems aren’t ad­dressed, thin­ning hair will be­come more ob­vi­ous as a woman goes

“Women are lead­ing busier and more stress­ful life­styles that are hav­ing a di­rect im­pact on their hair”

through preg­nancy, and the stress of child­birth, rais­ing a fam­ily and juggling work com­mit­ments,” says Carla. “This can lead to shorter, weaker hair that only grows for 12-24 months [rather than the healthy av­er­age of three to five years] be­fore fall­ing out.”

Hair clin­ics like Clive take into ac­count a wide range of causes and of­fer long-term treat­ment pro­grammes that ad­dress many vari­ables. Af­ter un­der­go­ing a Hair Min­eral Anal­y­sis Test, treat­ment can in­volve cleans­ing and in­vig­o­rat­ing the scalp, strength­en­ing the hair follicles and stim­u­lat­ing stronger hair re­growth. Block­ing a hor­mone called di­hy­drotestos­terone (DHT), which plays a part in ge­netic hair thin­ning, is also key.

Ef­fec­tive treat­ment can take sev­eral months, due to the na­ture of the hair-growth cy­cle.

But Carla says look­ing at the big­ger pic­ture is more use­ful than many of the quick-fix top­i­cal so­lu­tions avail­able.

That said, the mar­ket for at-home treat­ments is ex­plod­ing. Tra­di­tion­ally ef­fec­tive prod­ucts like Women’s Re­gaine con­tain­ing mi­nox­i­dil are be­ing joined by prod­ucts that mix cos­metic and sci­en­tific ap­proaches.

Re­vi­taLash, the US brand that de­vel­oped a treat­ment to en­cour­age longer eye­lashes, has just in­tro­duced a treat­ment foam us­ing the same pep­tide com­plex that’s in its lash-boost­ing serum, but in a more con­cen­trated dose, for hair. If you’ve ex­pe­ri­enced the lash lengths Re­vi­taLash de­liv­ers, it’s likely you’ll be first in line for the new of­fer­ings, which in­clude a sham­poo and con­di­tioner. How­ever, if you’re ex­pe­ri­enc­ing hair loss rather than com­pro­mised strand health, the jury’s out as to whether it’ll make a dif­fer­ence or not.

“The Re­vi­taLash Hair Col­lec­tion doesn’t stim­u­late growth, but rather of­fers key in­gre­di­ents that treat the hair and scalp for op­ti­mum health,” says Lori Ja­cobus, Re­vi­taLash chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer. “The prod­ucts of­fer the ideal en­vi­ron­ment for hair to thrive by hy­drat­ing, nour­ish­ing and restor­ing dam­aged strands. The Vol­ume

En­hanc­ing Foam con­tains key in­gre­di­ents, in­clud­ing pep­tides, bi­otin, lipids and pan­thenol, to help con­di­tion, strengthen and soften hair. Bi­otin, or vi­ta­min B7, con­trib­utes to the pro­duc­tion of healthy hair and nails by pro­vid­ing in­gre­di­ents es­sen­tial to the process of hair en­hance­ment. Pan­thenol, also known as vi­ta­min B5, helps to smooth and strengthen hair. This rich com­bi­na­tion of B vi­ta­mins, along with pep­tides and an­tiox­i­dants, works to for­tify hair and re­duce brit­tle­ness and break­age.”

For those who are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the more ad­vanced stages of hair loss, other in­ten­sive op­tions are be­ing used in New Zealand clin­ics. These in­clude in­jec­tions of your own PRP (platelet rich plasma) into the scalp, and light ther­apy. The lat­ter, some­times called low-level laser ther­apy (LLLT), in­volves di­rect­ing light en­ergy into the hair follicles, which stim­u­lates the cel­lu­lar ac­tiv­ity that’s be­lieved to make age­ing cells more ac­tive.

Al­though ap­proaches to treat­ing thin­ning hair vary, Carla sug­gests tak­ing ac­tion as soon as you no­tice a dif­fer­ence in your locks. “Once hair follicles die, there’s no treat­ment avail­able to get them back that would be a cure for bald­ness, which doesn’t ex­ist.”

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