[By Carol Ma]
When Samson lost his superhuman strength after his hair got lopped off by Delilah, I think women throughout the centuries could sympathized with him. After all, a woman’s hair is not call her ‘crowning glory’ for nothing. Hair is a potent cultural symbol that represents both femininity and sexuality across different ethnicities. Farah Fawcett is better known for her tousled mane which spawned legions of followers in the 70’s than her actual acting chops. Jennifer Aniston’s career literally had a ‘head start’ in the 90’s when the hairstyle she worn on the sitcom “F-R-I-E-N-D-S” became the most requested cut of all times, and was even christened “The Rachel”, taking on the moniker of her onscreen character. It is therefore not surprising that losing hair can be a devastating experience for most women.As we flipped through pages of magazines and surfed the internet, advertisements for treatment of balding and hair loss in men can’t be missed. These ads might create the false impression that hair loss is only an issue affecting men. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 40% of women have visible hair loss by the age of 40 and more than 50% will notice it by the time they reach their 5th to 6th decade of life. Before you attempt a Sinned O’Connor or pull out a Gaga wig, let us at ReadySetBeauty give you the low down of hair loss in the fairer sex and more importantly, the treatment options available.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, am I losing hair?
It is completely normal to lose up to 100 strands of hair per day. Your hair grows from the base of the hair follicle and it grows at around 1cm per month for about three years, then the hair just sits there until it is pushed out by new hair. When you notice your hair falling out it could quite simply be because new hair is growing in its place, and this isn’t something you should worry about. And if you’ve skipped a shampoo or two? It may appear as though you’ve lost significantly more hair, but this is just hair that was clinging to other hair that finally washed loose. There are however telling signs of abnormal hair loss to watch out for. The hair loss is pretty minor for some and one may simply realize that her ponytail holder needed an extra twist to hold her hair tightly, or she may see a wider part than before. For others, it can be very severe with bald patches or the scalp being glaringly visible through noticeably sparse and thinned out hair especially over the crown. If you run your fingers through your hair and come away with clumps of hair rather than a few individual strands, your hair loss is probably abnormal.
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Rapunzel, Rapunzel, why are you losing hair?
Hair loss in women usually has a strong genetic component that can be inherited from either parents and not just from the father as commonly believed. Medically known as androgenetic alopecia, this type of hair loss can start as early as the late teens. Unlike male-pattern baldness, women do not experience the typical M-shaped receding hairline with hair thinning at the temples and bald spot on top of the scalp. Instead, there is visible thinning over the crown and hairs are miniaturized because of a shortened growth cycle where the hair stays on the head for a shorter period of time. These wispy hairs, which resemble forearm hairs, do not achieve their usual length.
Temporary hair loss can also be brought about by changes in hormone levels during menopause or pregnancy. Known medically as postpartum alopecia, pregnancy hair loss after delivery is simply your hair returning to its normal growth cycle with hair falling off at a faster rate.According to the American Pregnancy Association, 40% to 50% of women will experience hair loss up to 6 months post-delivery. It can be mild and back to normal in good time or can be very dramatic and extremely traumatizing, at times leading to or aggravating symptoms of postpartum depression.
Illnesses such as thyroid disorders, autoimmune diseases and acute stress (including childbirth!) can lead to hair loss too. Other known causes include scalp infection, side effect from medical treatments such as chemotherapy and long term mishandling of hair with harsh products and styling that leads to strong and constant traction.
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Size zero is not your crowning hero
Reducing your calorie intake very quickly and losing weight at a fast pace can result in your hair falling out. What goes into your diet may not put back hair on your head but it can certainly help the hair you have remain healthier longer. Some of the foods recommended include those that are high in protein, low in carbohydrates and have a reduced fat content. Stock up on essential fatty acids sourced from fish and walnuts. Iron rich foods like broccoli and those containing B12 such as meat and poultry are excellent choices too. Similarly, when choosing a hair shampoo, chose one that is fortified with such vitamins.
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Apply a hair tonic
In inherited female pattern baldness where the hair follicles start to shrink, topical treatment is known to encourage healthy hair growth. The active ingredient minoxidil is the only drug that’s FDA approved and it seems to have pretty encouraging results thus far. Minoxidil is commonly found in many hair growth formulas such as shampoos and topical lotions, ranging from 2 to 5% in concentration. SW1 HAIR RECOVERY Strengthening & Rejuvenating Serum is an advanced hair tonic with the follicle stimulating trio of Minoxidil 5%, Ginkgo Biloba and Vitamin B6, aimed to provide total “tricho-juvenation” for both males and females.When used religiously as instructed, it will help to improve fine or thinning hair while helping to prevent hair loss. Hair Rescue & Recovery’s state-of-the-art ingredients help to strengthen damaged hair, build body, help increase diameter of the hair shaft and encourage new hair growth, so that hair is healthy, shiny and thicker to boot.
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Shine Some Light
Over the last few years, laser light therapy has gained recognition as a modality in the effective treatment of hair loss. The FDA approved Revage 670 Laser is widely recognized as the gold standard to your follicular woes, rejuvenating thinning hair back to its former glory. With a total of 30 laser diodes, this state of the art system provides critical coherent beams as a direct source of laser light in a hood that goes over the scalp to ensure maximum laser energy contact over the area(s) to be treated. As such, it’s best suited for ladies with a diffuse pattern of hair loss.
“Revage 670 is a low-level laser energy system that is safe and painless with absolutely no downtime.” Says Dr. Chua Han Boon, senior consultant and hair specialist with the SW1 Clinic. “It works by thickening fine, miniaturized hair and is therefore highly suitable for women with diffuse thinning or general weakening of their crowning glory.”
As a standalone procedure or best done as part of the comprehensive Keramax Scalp Program, studies have shown that Revage produces an 85% success rate in stopping hair loss with an almost 40% of increased fullness reported. In other words, this treatment option besides targeting current hair thinning, is also useful to help prevent further hair loss! For optimal outcome, it is recommended to administer Revage laser therapy twice weekly for the first six weeks followed by weekly sessions for the next 4 months. It is important to note that simultaneous with the laser therapy, patients are encouraged to follow sound medical and nutritional guidelines to enhance hair growth. Once good hair rejuvenation has been observed, periodic touch-ups at regular interval may be require to maintain the benefits reaped, allowing you the empowerment that comes with realizing that your hairy woes are now as distant as the biblical tale of “Samson & Delilah”.