[By Nadine Harper]
We fret about our open pores, zits breakout, crinkles around the eyes and a whole slew of other beauty woes, but nothing come close to the horror of a thinning scalp and premature hair loss. Not only can thinning hair be extremely scary and worrying especially if it’s happens all of a sudden, it can also be socially embarrassing. In a recent health survey, 64 per cent of GPs said they had come across more pre-menopausal women patients with hair loss in the past five years.
Common causes of hair loss in women include escalating stress levels, hormonal imbalance, extreme dieting and eating disorders, anaemia, immunological conditions such as alopecia areata or damage to scalp with hair dye, hair extensions and chemical straighteners. Whatever the underlying issue may be, be sure you tend to your thinning hair and don’t simply choose to ignore it. Besides the obvious aesthetics repercussions associated with a balding scalp, you could be missing out on an important health alarm in the process. From simple dietary changes to advanced medical procedures, here are five ways to deal with thinning hair to restore your tresses back to its former glory.
Eat to grow and glow
One of the easiest and most important way to rescue thinning hair is to make sure that your diet isn’t the culprit sabotaging you. In our constant pursuit to shed pounds and drop dress size, our diet may be lacking in important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and proteins that are essential for healthy hair growth, maintenance and strength.
Hair is made of collagen fibers which are derived and made from our dietary intake of absorbable protein. Fish, eggs, grains, beans and Greek yogurt are all excellent choices for those watching their weight without compromising their nutritional intake.
B Vitamins, especially Biotin is another key nutrient greatly appreciated by growing hair follicles so eating a hearty portion of Vitamin B rich foods is essential to prevent thinning and premature hair loss. These include avocados, nuts, hemp seeds and oats, along with fish, eggs and chicken too.
In order to keep your hair growing and help it stay strong and shiny, one should not shun fats like a plague. A small to moderate amount of healthy fats in your diet is necessary to ensure your body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals required for a healthy head of Rapunzel’s locks. The best sources of healthy fats come from raw nuts, raw seeds, coconut oil and fatty fish such as salmon and barramundi.
Don’t forget an extra helping of berries, dark greens and fresh herbs to load on the antioxidants pertinent for healthy skin, nails and hair growth!
Knock, knock doc
If your diet is sound and not lacking in the above mentioned nutrients, make it a point to visit your family physician for a comprehensive medical check-up to look for possible causes behind your hair woes. Procrastination will likely lead to more stress which in turn is a well-known aggravator of hair loss. Thyroid diseases, anaemia and autoimmune disorders such as Lupus can all lead to accelerated hair thinning. Blood tests can be run to verify or determine any underlying issues and early intervention and treatment may prove timely to rescue your crowning glory.
Styling smart with care
Another way to rescue your thinning hair is to watch how you style it. The damage done is usually accumulative over a period of time so it’s best to minimise hair colouring, perming, rebonding, flat ironing and extreme heat.
“One useful tip is to stop pulling on your hair during brushing and avoid excessive combing when your hair is wet,” says Linus Lemar, freelance hairstylist and trichologist. “You hair is more susceptible to damage when it’s wet and traction injury is known to worsen any thinning scalp and pre-existing hair loss.”
Minoxidil is a FDA approved topical medication that can be rubbed into the scalp once or twice daily to grow hair and prevent further loss. Some ladies do experience some hair regrowth or a slower rate of hair loss or both! It may take up to 12 weeks or more for new hair to start growing and is available in 2%, 5% or in combination hair tonics such as Sloane Inc. Hair Recovery serum available online from The Sloane Shop. This advanced follicle-stimulating formulation aims to improve fine, thinning hair while helping to prevent hair loss with ingredients proven to help strengthen damaged hair, build body, increase diameter of the hair shaft and encourage healthy new hair growth for total ‘tricho-juvenation’.
Say no to stress
It is easy to pass this off as an old wife’s myth but studies have shown that too much stress is indeed linked to hair thinning. Stress acts on our adrenal glands to increase the release of cortisol into our circulation which lead to the breakdown of proteins and vitamins, essential components of a healthy hair cycle. This in turn lead to an ugly cycle that’s hard to break with hair loss bringing forth more stress that adds up to our pre-exisitng woes. To make sure you are not stressed to the point of appreciable hair fall, be sure to have a back-up plan to de-stress and unwind. Getting adequate sleep, exercising, practising yoga and meditation are all great ways to keep the cortisol level at bay. Health supplements such as calcium/magnesium complex, gingko and Vitamin B complex can help to combat stress and keep check on mood swings and emotional roller-coaster rides.
Redefining hair restoration
While hair transplants are traditionally associated with men experiencing male pattern baldness, there is a slow but steady rise in its demand amongst the fairer sex in recent years. This is attributed to an increased number of women experiencing hair loss as well as increased publicity around successful transplants stories.
With the introduction of state of the art technology such as the ARTAS® Robotic Hair Transplant System, women can now undergo effective hair restoration without the much dreaded, protracted periods of downtime often unavoidable with traditional manual hair transplantation. Using advanced digital imagery technology, the ARTAS® Robotic system is able to map out and analyse the density, angle and growth direction of each natural grouping of hair, known as follicular units. With the doctor’s guidance, the selected permanent follicular units are then precisely removed using the ARTAS® Robotic System’s image-guided robotics in a random fashion within the existing hair from the back or side of the head, called the “donor site”, so that those areas of the scalp maintain their natural appearance. The hair is then meticulously transplanted into the thinning areas by the doctor, based on the patient’s treatment goals, while leaving a natural-looking donor area behind.
“With the ARTAS® system, there is no cutting and stitching involved which greatly reduces the time required for the donor site to heal,” explains Dr. Chua Han Boon, aesthetics physician and hair specialist with The Sloane Clinic. “I’ve treated successfully many cases with obvious part-lines due to hair thinning, restoring not just the hair volume but the confidence and self- esteem of these ladies too.”
* Selected as Article of the Month Feb 2014*