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How-to combat hair loss and achieve healthy hair growth thanks to expert advice

People, hair loss is a real thing and it occurs more commonly than we think. I reeled in one of South Africa's leading skincare scientists and Founder of BioMedical Emporium Dr. Judey Pretorius to share with us, all we need to know on how-to combat hair loss and stimulate our hair follicles for optimal hair health.

GLAMOUR: What are the most common causes of hair loss?

Dr. Judey Pretorius: Common balding (androgenetic alopecia) occurs in men and women and is due to the effect of testosterone metabolites in genetically susceptible hair follicles. These are also common causes of hair loss:

  1. Hereditary
  2. Age
  3. Alopecia areata (a disease that develops when the body’s immune system attacks hair follicles)
  4. Cancer treatment
  5. Childbirth (Telogen effluvium)
  6. Illness or disease
  7. Environmental stressors such as pollution
  8. Hormonal imbalances
  9. Scalp infection or scalp inflammation
  10. Medication
  11. Hair pulling
  12. Friction
  13. Drug abuse

G: Are there different causes in men and women?

Dr. JP: “Alopecia” or baldness is more common amongst men than women. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is an androgen. An androgen is a sex hormone that contributes to the development of what are thought of as “male” sex characteristics, such as body hair. But it can also make you lose your hair faster and earlier. There are treatments meant to slow the onset of male pattern baldness by specifically targeting DHT.

More and more women are presented with bald patches due to social and environmental extremities.

G: Can Covid-19 be a cause of hair loss?

Dr. JP: Many people experience a general thinning of hair several months after a physical or emotional shock, I.E. a traumatic experience. Covid causes severe stress and anxiety and therefore more cases of alopecia have presented itself during Covid. This type of hair loss is temporary.

G: What impact does the way you wear your hair - especially women have on your hairline?

Dr. JP: Lifestyle habits, such as wearing hairstyles that are too tight, over long periods of time can cause a hairline to recede, and may cause permanent damage. This is also known as traction alopecia.

G: What about genetics - if you are genetically predisposed to thin hair, is there anything you can do?

Dr. JP: Unfortunately, this is also commonly referred to as “destined alopecia”. It is thus embedded in your DNA. There are however very plausible remedial actions available to manage the severity of hair loss.

G: What new treatments and products are available to combat hair loss?

Dr. JP: There are respective home care and professional care treatments available. Professional treatments include prescribed medication, scalp treatments such as massaging, microneedling, infusion of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and hair transplants. Home care treatments includes the use of specialised shampoos and conditions as well as scalp serums that contain ingredients to calm the scalp from any inflammation, stimulate static hair follicles and also to enhance endothelial skin cell proliferation on the scalp.

G: When should you seek medical help in terms of hair loss?

Dr. JP: See your doctor if you are distressed by persistent hair loss. Talk to your doctor if you notice sudden or patchy hair loss or more than usual hair loss when combing or washing your hair. Sudden hair loss can signal an underlying medical condition that requires treatment. There is some scripted medication available to address hair loss.

G: When starting with treatment/products, how soon can you expect results?

Dr. JP: Realistically speaking – after one has started with some professional treatments such as microneedling and also the use of good quality home care, you will see a result after one month. It is advised to at least continue with treatments and home care for up to five months.

G: Can hair loss be turned around permanently, or is it something you would have to manage for the rest of your life?

Dr. JP: Every single individual must pursue a healthy lifestyle if possible. Diet, emotions and social and environmental extremities are some of the contributing factors that may cause hair loss. Prevention is always better than cure.

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