KarenHarrison"Welcome to the Hair Loss andTrichology page.  Trichology, derived from the Greek word ‘Trichos’ meaning hair, is the study of the hair and scalp.  As a professional trichologist, I’ve treated many hair and scalp disorders which can occur at any stage in life.

 

On these pages, you’ll find an overview of various hair loss and scalp conditions plus advice on how these problems can be treated.  However, the best advice I can give you is that nothing equals a personal consultation to help diagnose your problem.

 

Hair and scalp conditions are often connected to personal factors, stress, poor nutrition and so on.  So, in my experience, an individual assessment of your overall wellbeing is recommended.

 

Browse these pages to find out more – and if you think a personal consultation would suit you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at A&A Studios.  I promise you’ll be looked after and advised on the best way forward to alleviate your concerns.”

 

Best wishes,

 

 

Karen Harrison, L.T.T.S.

 

Hair Loss Conditions

Hair Loss Conditions

In our experience, there is no single explanation for hair loss but reasons can include:

  • Natural ageing process
  • Poor nutrition
  • Nervous disorders
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Serious illness
  • Certain medications
  • Chemotherapy and radiotherapy
  • Hereditary/genetic factors

 

We understand that hair loss can have a devastating effect.  It’s important to know that the earlier a hair loss problem is diagnosed, the better the chances are of treating it.  We always recommend seeing a qualified hair specialist to diagnose conditions.

Common hair loss conditions include:

microscopeAndrogenic Alopecia (‘Pattern Baldness’)

This is one of the most common forms of hair loss.  It affects both men and women and occurs in distinct patterns. In men, this form of hair loss is very obvious.  At the end of the process – which can take from 15-25yrs – the only hair remaining is at the sides and the back of the head. Roughly one third of all women are affected by this type of hair loss normally on the vertex (top of the head) with the front hairline often intact.  The process of shedding is on average 50-100 hairs a day.


Alopecia Areata

This condition manifests itself in patchy hair loss, usually starting with a small spot that can spread.  It is an auto-immune disease where the body attacks itself, killing off the hair. In general, the onset of alopecia can be caused by illness and raised temperature, shock, viruses, inoculations, medication or a period of extreme stress 2-6 months before a bald patch appears. It’s important to remember that early diagnosis and treatment can minimise the effects of the condition.  Following diagnosis, many patients are extremely anxious which can also exacerbate the problem.  It is advisable to seek specialist advice on how relieve stress and help hair growth to resume.

Alopecia Totalis

Alopecia Totalis is condition in which total loss of scalp hair occurs and can follow on from unchecked alopecia areata.

 

Alopecia Universalis

The result is a loss of all body hair including eyebrows and eyelashes.  This form of hair loss is very distressing.

Telogen Effluvium or ‘Diffuse Hair Loss’

 

This condition manifests itself in shedding from all parts of the scalp.  A great deal of hair is shed before the effects become noticeable.  Telogen Effluvium can be caused by high fever, thyroid, postnatal depression, anaemia, surgery, medication, emotional stress, shock, dental treatment, surgery or dieting.  During pregnancy, high levels of female hormones generate healthy hair.  Some women can experience diffuse hair loss after childbirth.

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy hair loss

 

Chemotherapy or radiotherapy drugs work by attacking rapidly-growing cancer cells in the body.  Because hair follicle cells also multiply very quickly - like cancer cells - chemotherapy drugs have difficulty in discerning the difference.  This means that cancer treatment also destroys fast-growing hair cells and the hair falls out.  Damage is not irreparable however and hair usually grows back 6-8 weeks after chemotherapy treatment has ended.

 

Trichotillomania

 

Arare form of Alopecia that is extremely stressful and caused by a patient self-harming i.e. pulling his or her own hair out.  Given the psychology surrounding this condition, sufferers may not initially admit to pulling their hair out.  Although young children can be particularly prone to Trichotillomania, it normally affects adolescent age groups.

Scarring Conditions

 

Several scarring conditions may includeLichen Planus, Lupus Erythematosus, Folliculitis Decalvans and Pseudo Pelade.  These conditions can be slowly progressive and scarring of the scalp causes permanent hair loss.

Traction Alopecia

 

Acondition often caused by hair extensions or hair styles that cause physical trauma to the scalp e.g. cornrows, dreadlocks.

For further help and advice, see our page on Hair Loss Coping Strategies.

SCALING CONDITIONS

Qualified Trichologists are academically-trained to a high standard to diagnose hair and scalp disorders and treats them where possible.  In addition to hair loss problems, scalp disorders can include:

 

Dandruff (Pityriasis capitis) - This condition is all too familiar and about half of all Caucasians will have had dandruff to some degree before they are 20.  In most people, it disappears after the age of 50 or so. Dandruff is associated with a tiny yeast called pityrosporum ovale, which is normally permanently present on the scalp.  In dandruff, there is an increase in the regular loss of cells from the skin surface and they are lost more quickly.  As more cells are lost, the yeast grows more rapidly.  These cells may clump together to produce the all-too-familiar flakes of dandruff. 

Eczema and Dermatitis

 

Psoriasis – Chronic skin condition affecting 3% of the population.  It appears as raised, inflamed skin topped with silvery white scales.  In severe cases the whole of the scalp may be covered by scales and there may well be some hair loss.  Severe cases are extremely uncomfortable and distressing.

Seborrhoeic Dermatitis – Scaling condition characterised by yellow, branny scales on the scalp and red, irritated skin.  It is sometimes associated by an unusually greasy scalp.  In babies, the condition is known as ‘Cradle Cap’. It can also affect the nose, eyebrows and ears.  In severe cases, Seborrhoeic Dermatitis may lead to hair loss.

Infections

 

Head Lice (Pediculosis Capitis) - Infestation of parasites living off human hosts.  The hosts are 6-legged creatures, 2 - 4 mm in size and grey in colour.  They are found near the hairline, at the nape of the neck and around the ears.  This condition is highly infectious (ova hatch within 5-8 days).  Lice can live off the human scalp for up to 48 hours in scarves, hats, chair backs, combs, brushes etc.

 

Impetigo - Bacterial infection of the skin that results in weeping, crusted sores and produces itching.  It is often seen in young children and is highly contagious.

Ringworm - Fungal infection which appears as pink, scaly patches on the skin.  It is more likely to be caught from animals than from humans.

Reassuringly, many scalp conditions can be prevented or cured and there are a number of treatments available.  It is always advisable to act quickly.  For further in-depth information, visit The Trichological Society at www.hairscientists.org

Treatments

smilingManTREATMENTS

Many hair loss conditions (with the exception of chemotherapy or radiotherapy) can be successfully treated.  It is vital to diagnose the condition first then suggest an appropriate course of action.

Topical hair treatments (external treatments)

Studies have shown that topical hair treatments – treating the problem at its site - can slow hair loss and/or promote hair re-growth.  It some cases, hair loss can be completely stopped.

Both pharmaceutical and natural hair stimulants have their own merit.  They can work by generating energy in the hair follicle to promote growth.  Natural stimulants are preferred for individuals with sensitive scalps or where hair growth is present but fine.

Other forms of external treatments (and the most readily-available) include cover creams and spray products that give existing hair a denser, thicker appearance.  These are suitable for hair thinning problems.

 

Microscopy

Diagnosing the condition often involvesMicroscopy. This is a close examination of a hair sample that provides crucial information on any nutritional deficiencies, hair structure, genetic make-up and stress factors that could have affected the hair shaft.

For instance: polarised light in the hair shaft can indicate nutrition levels; enlarged hair bulbs indicate hormonal influences (the presence of too many male hormones can speed up the hair cycle and cause premature shedding); squeezed hair bulbs indicate stress.

 

La Biosthetique® treatments

labiosthetiqueThese products, as endorsed by The Institute of Trichology, are specially-formulated to treat hair loss.  The treatment protocol varies according to individual hair problems.

 

Massage

Massaging the scalp encourages the blood to deoxygenate (expel toxins) and oxygenate.  This exchange of blood ultimately encourages hair growth.

 

Electrotherapy

High frequency UVA light therapy and infra-red technology are used to aid circulation.  This form of treatment may improve hair growth when combined with topical hair treatments.

 

Hair replacement units

Although some individuals view hair replacement units or wigs as a last resort, there are many types of units available today which mean you don’t always have to go for a full-coverage hairpiece.Thanks to advances in technology, hair replacement units are incredibly sophisticated and look exactly like - if not better than - the real thing.  The type of hair replacement unit also varies.  Individuals can choose from:

  • simple, subtle hair additions
  • volumising hairpieces which complement your own hair
  • lightweight, skin-like base hairpieces to match your colouring
  • full coverage hairpieces made of real or soft synthetic hair

We at A&A Studios are experts in supplying state-of-the-art hair replacement units that are custom-made to suit you.  For more information on how we can help you, visit the Hair Replacement  page on our main site.

Other Useful Resources

Other useful resources

You can find further advice and support on overcoming hair loss at the sites below:

 

If you are at all concerned about your general health, we recommend you consult your G.P.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

Hair loss starts an average 10 years later in women than in men ...

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