Thinning hair – causes and treatments:

Hair loss and hair thinning can be caused by an individual or wide range of varying factors, it can be hard to understand the root of the problem without seeking professional help from a trichologist. 

Diagnosis is crucial for any treatment is to be effective. Through in-depth consultation your trichologist will examine your personal/medical history, lifestyle, genetic factors, blood test results (where necessary) and scalp and hair.

However, there is always a reason for hair loss and hair thinning. Hair growth is responsible for the second most active production of cells within the body – and those cells can be the most sensitive to internal imbalances and changes.

Am I losing my hair or is it thinning?

\While both result in volume reduction, hair-diameter thinning occurs over a long period of time, while excessive hair shedding can result in more rapid reduction of volume. A sudden, diffuse loss of hair from all over the scalp or a reduction in your hair’s diameter may be a condition known as  ‘telogen effluvium’ and may be the result of stress, medication, fever, illness, improper nutrition, hormonal imbalance and pregnancy.

Some common causes of thinning hair and hair loss;

Genetic determination: This means you have inherited a sensitivity to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) – which causes the hair to get thinner and shorter (miniaturise). Men may thin or completely lose their hair in the crown and hairline areas (Male Pattern Hair Loss), while women tend to gradually and diffusely thin all over (Female Pattern Hair Loss). 

Thyroid malfunction: Hair loss can also be a sign that your thyroid is not producing the required levels of hormones to maintain the body’s metabolism. Not enough hormone  may cause dry, brittle hair and excessive shedding, while an excess of hormones can cause hair loss and an oily scalp.

Inadequate protein: This is sometimes present in those choosing a vegan diet due to a lack of vitamin B12, which predominately comes from animal sources. Conversely – eating too much protein and not enough carbs can also cause hair to thin or shed. However, those with anaemia and ferritin deficiency are also protein deficient and may need to seek  expert medical advice.

Autoimmune disorders: Inflammation is a common link between a number of disorders that can cause the hair to thin or fall out. Common examples are diabetes Type 2 (in which the body can no longer manage blood sugar levels), lupus (in which the body attacks its own tissue and organs) and polycystic ovary syndrome (in which certain elevated hormones are causing an imbalance). 

The most widely known autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss is alopecia areata, a condition that causes inflammation in the hair follicle as the body attacks the hair cells. This usually presents as circular patches of hair loss, which may only be temporary, reoccurring or may become more chronic, leading to alopecia totalis (loss of head and facial hair) and universalis (total loss of all body hair).

Other hair and scalp specific causes of inflammation are conditions such as: seborrhoea, psoriasis, pityriasis amianticea and folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicle).

Treatment plan options:

Genetic/DNA testing for personalised medication:

If you are one of the 80% of men or 40% of women who will experience genetic hair loss – then we would recommend our genetic testing option which analyses DNA and relevant patient characteristics in order to produce ‘personalised’ medication, designed specifically to work with your individual genetic functioning – resulting in improved hair regrowth and retention that is far superior to the generic ‘over the counter’ remedies. Even if you are considering hair transplant surgery (either now or in the future), then maintaining and optimising the hair in both the transplant and donor areas is vital.

Cosmetic enhancement:

If your hair loss goes beyond the normal level of shedding and your scalp is exposed – cosmetic options or even surgery are available.

From simple hair ‘fibres’ that adhere to your own hair to make each strand thicker to (in more pronounced cases) hairpieces and wigs that can be made to replicate natural hairlines and perfect colour blends. 

The ultimate ‘cosmetic’ hair enhancement is now considered to be Scalp Micropigmentation – a procedure in which pigments are applied to the scalp via specialist micro needles, replicating the appearance of hundreds or thousands of hair follicles, resulting in a gradual build up of hair density and a natural recreation of the hairline. 

This mat not be suitable for everyone – but your Trichologist or Scalp Micropigmentation Technician at the èlan clinic can advise you on the best options.

Hair transplant surgery 

Surgery is often an option for men, but some women might have certain conditions that mean this option is impractical for them – for example, they might not have enough hair, or it is too weak and fine to transplant. Responding to advertisements for hair transplant surgery can be a lottery, you may or may not have success, but the results of an unsuccessful procedure will remain with you for a long time – and may be extremely costly to put right, if indeed it is possible at all?

The èlan clinic offers a personalised hair transplant referral service. Having worked with some of the countrys’ leading hair transplant surgeons, we are ideally qualified to select the best surgeon for your specific needs.

Adjusting your diet

While some conditions require more aggressive treatment, such as therapies, medical intervention or prescription medication, there are ways to lessen your chances of hair thinning through simple lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy diet.

The gut is considered to be the seat of about 70% of our immunity, so eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods, such as probiotics, vegetables and healthy fats to help populate the gut with good microbes and reducing sugar and processed foods is key to optimal health and healthy hair growth. 

Also the daily use of a specific supplement containing the right balance of vitamins and essential minerals, such as B12 and Vit D (which many people are low in) along with zinc and magnesium.

Adjusting your lifestyle 

A good night’s sleep (7 to 8 hours) does wonders for the body overall, including healthy hair growth. Also, going for a walk, listening to music, reading, or watching your favourite TV show are all ways of de-stressing.

Adjusting your hair care routine

Your hair is less likely to break, shed and thin if you’re simply gentler with it. Give it a rest from extensions, tight ponytails, braids or weaves – or even stop styling your hair this way completely. If you’re consistently applying pressure on your hair – the chances of  hair loss become greater.

You should shampoo at least more than once a week – as the scalp’s microbiome can become imbalanced – and that is when we start seeing more scalp disorders. “I see far, far more problems caused by not washing hair enough…. than ever from washing it too often”.

“We know how important your hair is – your appearance can directly effect your confidence and how you feel in so many ways………….        It is our aim to help you, with our expert advice, advanced products, scalp micropigmentation and medications  – you don’t always have to settle for what your not happy with “

Gill Harrison, Neil Harvey  MIT  – consultant trichologist



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