Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Young women and diet related hair loss

Growing numbers of young women, many of whom are on self imposed extremely low calorie diets, are seeking help for hair loss. 

According to trichologist, Kate Dawes, IAT, an increasing amount of young women, aged between 15 and 25, are seeking treatment for diet related hair loss. 

Ms Dawes says while genetic reasons, stress and other health issues can play a factor in hair loss, trichologists increasingly see a lot of young women who are affected by the condition due to completely preventable reasons. 

She says while hair loss affects 50 per cent of women at some stage of their lives, women are increasingly seeking treatment at a younger age. 

Ms Dawes says up to 40 per cent of the young women who seek her help for hair loss have a nutritional source to their problem. 

While the women she sees don’t necessarily all have an eating disorder, many of them have an extremely limited calorie intake and are starving themselves of the essential nutrients needed for their hair health. 

The impact of this is seen in hair that is dull, breaks easily and is either thinning or falls out. 

Ms Dawes, the consulting trichologist for Medical Hair Restoration Australia, says hair loss is often one of the first visible signs of the damaging affects of excessive exercise and dieting. 

She says after treating nutritional deficiencies, identified through blood tests, patients often notice a big improvement in their hair health within months. 

Ms Dawes says a lot of women are quite surprised to learn that nutrition plays such an important role in the health of their hair. 

“There are many nutrients that play a role in the hair growth cycle and hair and scalp health,” Ms Dawes says. 

“However, the main nutrients that we find lacking are iron, zinc, protein and vitamin D. 

“While a lot of patients will act on my advice and improve their diets, there are still some who continue to eat sparse and poorly balanced diets and, as a consequence, the health of their hair does not improve.”    

Ms Dawes interest in nutrition and trichology began almost a decade ago, when after being diagnosed with Graves Disease, now in remission, she sought a way of managing her condition. 

“I wanted to find a better way of healing and I became very interested in nutrition and the link with a lot of diseases and hair and skin conditions,” Ms Dawes says. 

“I felt a strong need to work in a field that is healing, and trichology – which treats hair loss, hair shaft breakage and scalp conditions -  enabled me to build on my experience as a hairdresser, was the perfect fit.”   

Medical Hair Restoration Australia is the distributor for the Help Hair Protein Shake – a shake developed to support the complete nutritional needs of hair and nails. 

Developed by United States based hair transplant surgeon and dermatologist Dr Larry Shapiro, Help Hair can be incorporated in a weight loss program and is free of wheat, gluten, soy, eggs, nuts, peanut oil, artificial sweeteners, MSG, artificial colours and flavours, growth hormones and sulphites.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Genetic hair loss in Women

Characterised by thinning of the hair in the front and top area of the scalp, genetic hair loss is understood to be inherited from both parents. While a daughter may inherit the condition from her parent's gene pool, it is still possible for both parents to have thick hair.

Genetic hair loss in women is sometimes associated with oily skin, excessive facial hair and sensitive or 'burning' scalp.

Estrogens (female hormones) are “good” for the hair. Androgens (male hormones) are “bad” for the hair. Women and men produce both types of hormones. In women with genetic thinning, their levels of androgens are usually quite normal.

In younger women, genetic thinning can be triggered by particular oral contraceptives. Progestogens that are not considered to have an adverse effect on the hair include desorgestrol, gestodene and cyproterone acetate (androcur). Androcur is contained in the oral contraceptive Diane 35 ED (see below)

If a sex hormonal imbalance is suspected, blood tests can be run that establish whether the ovaries or adrenal glands are at fault. Once the problem can be pinpointed, corrective action can be taken. Relevant blood tests include SHBG. Total testosterone, free testosterone, DHEAS, FSH, LH and Prolactin.

Inflammation / swelling around the hair follicles are indicative of the stem cells of the hair follicles being attacked by a group of white blood cells. The oral intake of tyrosine usually reduces this inflammation quite quickly. Tyrosine reduces the production of noradrenaline from the sympathetic nerves in the skin. In turn, this reduces the white blood cells.


Such oral contraceptives as Diane 35 ED (Brenda, Estelle, Juliet) or Yasmin or Yaz. The possible side – effects of the therapy include weight gain, nausea, headaches and decreased libido.

The diuretic Aldactone also called spironolactone. Possible side-effects include hyperkalaemia, mood swings, disturbed cycles, and tenderness of the breasts. Because of the hyperkalaemia, patients on spironolactone should not take potassium supplements.

The topical application of Minoxidil 5% (Rogaine etc.)

Finasteride (Propecia or Prosar), 1 to 2.5 mg daily. There have now been several medical studies undertaken with Finasteride which show positive results for women. You or your doctor can review the studies at PubMed on the internet: http://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/ Type in 'androgenetic alopecia in females and Finasteride'.

Herbally, phytoestrogens such as Dong Quai, red clover or Black Cohosh can sometimes stabilise or reverse genetic thinning. Phytoestrogens probably work by blocking androgen – receptor sites. Saw palmetto may also be of benefit.

If treatment helps, it has to be continued for life. It can take at least 6 months before improvement becomes apparent.

Kate Dawes I.A.T Trichologist

Female hair loss no longer on fringe

A woman losing her hair was once considered a shameful experience, but Perth – based trichologist Kate Dawes is turning that perception on its head. 

Mrs Dawes said trichology involved studying microscopic photos of hair follicles to find the cause and treatment of hair loss, shaft breakage and scalp conditions.

“Even though more than 50 per cent of women experience hair loss in their lives, today’s market is focused on male patterns baldness so a lot of women are suffering in silence”, she said.

“For me, it’s very satisfying to help people recover and to see that improvement in their hair and confidence. “When my clients first come in they’re usually in tears, they are embarrassed and devastated by what is happening to the hair.

Mrs Dawes, director of Medical Hair Restoration Australia, said her interest in trichology began after she was diagnosed with Graves Disease, now in remission. “I wanted to find a better way of healing, so I became very interested in nutrition and the link with a lot of diseases and hair and skin conditions,” she said.

For more information about trichology and hair loss visit www.mhra.com.au