What is hair loss?
Hair loss may also be referred to as alopecia or baldness. It is simply when the hair is lost from an area on the scalp and very little or no hair continues to grow in that area. Hair loss can affect both males and females, but it does tend to be more common in men.
What causes hair loss?
The causes of hair loss will vary from person to person. They can range from something temporary such as deficiency or stress to something more complex like an underlying health condition.
In most cases hair loss is a result of ageing and predetermined genetic factors that are unavoidable. Other causes can include stress, illness, trauma, diet and hormonal changes such as pregnancy and the menopause in females. Health conditions that can impact hair loss include anaemia and thyroid disease.
Who can treat hair loss?
Your GP may be the first place you visit to get treatment for hair loss. In most cases they may take a look at your medical background and potentially suggest some blood tests to rule out any underlying conditions. Treatment via your GP however may be limited so when it comes to treating hair loss in particular, we would highly recommend visiting a trichologist or dermatologist. A trichologist specialises in scalp issues and hair loss. They can help with hair loss, scalp problems and even hair texture issues and are able to treat any type of hair. During a trichologist consultation they will go through your medical health, lifestyle choices, allergies, nutrition, medications and family history before performing a thorough hair and scalp examination. A trichologist will then be able to determine a diagnosis or cause of hair loss and discuss a treatment plan. At The Private Clinic, we are the first to offer an advanced hair loss DNA test known as the Fagron TrichoTest™. This test helps to support healthcare professionals to personalise their hair loss treatments. It is a genetic test that just requires taking a saliva sample and filling out a questionnaire. The results will then be able to identify the genetic gene mutation that is carried and how any lifestyle factors may be contributing to hair loss. The rest is also able to provide several treatment recommendations to help tackle the gene mutation and protect the existing hair.
Another option is to see a dermatologist who are doctors that specialise in problems with the skin, nails and hair/scalp. A dermatologist will be able to offer a more advanced diagnosis for hair loss compared to a GP and offer patients a more bespoke treatment plan depending on the specific type of hair loss.
What are the different types of hair loss?
When it comes to diagnosing hair loss, there are a lot of different variations and conditions. A scalp examination will show if the hair loss is due to the destruction and loss of hair follicles which usually is categoristic of scarring or cicatricial alopecia. If the scalp appears normal, then this is known as non-scarring hair loss as the hair follicles remain in the area of loss but are just empty.
The next symptom to look for is if the hair loss is patchy and specific to one area or if it is affecting a larger area of the scalp which is known as diffuse hair loss.
Common types of patchy hair loss include;
- Trichotillomania – This occurs when the hair is repeatedly twisted or pulled out.
- Alopecia Areata – This appears as small circular patches on the scalp which are usually temporary.
- Traction Alopecia – This occurs when the hair is repeatedly pulled back into tight ponytails or braids.
- Tinea Capitis – This is caused by a fungal infection.
Common types of diffuse hair loss include;
- Protein Malnutrition – Hair loss that is caused by a lack of protein in the diet.
- Drug-Induced Alopecia – Hair loss that is caused by medication such as beta-blockers, warfarin and antidepressants.
- Pattern Alopecia – Hair loss that follows male pattern hair loss and can be predicted using the Norwood scale. Female pattern hair loss also exists and is classified using the Ludwig scale.
- Systemic Disease-Induced Alopecia – Hair loss that is caused by conditions endocrine disease.
What treatments are available for hair loss?
Treating hair loss can be difficult and there is a big market of products that all claim to help with hair regrowth. At The Private Clinic we recommend a few different variations of medication that have shown to be effective at slowing down hair loss but without surgery, it is unlikely that anything can reverse hair loss.
|Finasteride||Propecia is FDA approved for men with androgenic hair loss to use. More commonly known as Propecia, the medication helps to reduce hair loss by reducing the levels of DHT (dihydrotestosterone) in the body. DHT is a leading cause for male pattern baldness and over time can result in long-term hair loss. Finasteride’s purpose is to maintain the hair that remains rather than restore lost hair and is to be used long-term. Finasteride is not suitable for women as their hair loss is not caused by male hormone testosterone.|
|Minoxidil||Minoxidil is FDA approved to be used for hair loss in both men and women. Also known as Regaine it comes as a liquid or a foam which must be applied the scalp twice a day. Although the scientific mechanism behind Minoxidil is not fully understand, it is known to be effective at increasing the blood flow around hair follicles, reversing the miniaturisation of follicles, stimulating the follicle moment to the growth phase and extending the growth phase. Minoxidil is designed to be used long term and can take several months of use before results are noticed.|
|Hair Transplant||A hair transplant is a great option for those looking to restore their hair loss. Healthy hair follicles are taken from the back of the scalp which is resistant to DHT and they are replaced into the areas of balding including the hairline, temples and crown. Follicular unit extraction (FUE) Hair transplants involve taking each hair follicle individually using a punch device and Follicular unit transplant (FUT) hair transplants involve cutting and removing a strip of the scalp and taking the hair follicles from this section. Hair transplants will not stop hair loss from progressing in other areas and multiple treatments may be required. Hair transplants are more common in males as only a small percentage of women are suitable.|
Other options to help conceal hair loss include a change of hair style, hair-fibre powders or sprays and hair pieces or wigs. These are all temporary measures but for those only experiencing temporary hair loss it is enough to avoid any unwanted attention or feeling uncomfortable with the appearance of hair loss.
Is hair loss different for men and women?
As mentioned above, hair loss can affect both men and women. Female hair loss tends to affect the whole head and is better described as hair thinning. Hair loss in women is more likely to be down to an underlying cause than compared to men. Underlying causes that can affect female hair loss include anaemia, polycystic ovary syndrome and thyroid disease. Female hair loss of thinning can also be a result of hair styles that cause the hair to be pulled back tightly which is less common in men.
Hair Loss treatment at The Private Clinic
At The Private Clinic we pride ourselves in our selection of expert staff, with over 35 years of experience, you can rest assured that you’re in the hands of professionals. Our Trichologists are all qualified members of the Institute of Trichologists;
- Jane Mayhead, MIT in London Harley Street
- Denise Knight, MIT in Leeds
- Dr Simon Connolly, MBChB, MRCGP, BACD, DPD in Glasgow
Our team of Hair Transplant Doctors and Surgeons
- Dr Raghu Reddy, MBBS, MRCGP GMC Number: 6041095 in London Harley Street
- Dr Michael Mouzakis, MD, MBBS, MSc in Aesthetic Medicine GMC Number: 7237640 in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Manchesterand Northampton
- Mr Dorisami MohanB.,B.S., M.S. (General Surgery), M.Ch. (Plastic Surgery), F.R.C.S. (Glasgow), F.R.C.S. (Plast), GMC Number: 4467579 in Birmingham
- Dr Luca De Fazio, MD BSc, MSc, GMC Number: 7095123 in London Harley Street
To find out more about hair loss treatments or to book an appointment, please call 0333 920 2471 or use or hair loss online contact form.