Hair restoration treatments
Hair is made of keratin and the visualised part of the hair is called the shaft. Within the skin the hair follicle is located which ends in the bulb (or root) which contains the cells that divide to produce the hair shaft, along with melanocytes responsible for its pigmentation.
Damage to the bulb is required for permanent hair removal. Blood vessels are found in the hair bulb that not only provide nourishment, but also deliver the hormones that modify hair growth. The hair follicle is surrounded by an inner sheath that ends just before the opening of the sebaceous gland and follows the hair shaft. The outer sheath continues all the way up to the sebaceous gland. There are small bundles of muscle fibres which are attached to the outer sheath called erector pili muscles. When these muscle contracts, the hair stands up on end. The sebaceous gland secretes sebum which conditions the hair.
Stages of hair growth
There are three phases of hair growth; anagen (growth phase), catagen (transitional phase) and telogen (resting phase). Each hair will spend several years in the anagen phase but he catagen phase can be as little as a few weeks and results in hair growth slowing and the hair follicle shrinking. During the resting phase (telogen), a new hair will begin to grow again and push the old hair out, which detaches from the hair follicle.
Reasons for hair loss
There are a number of different factors involved with hair loss. This will need an individual assessment so that all possible causes are dealt with. In some cases, this may involve seeing your GP, being referred to a dermatologist or having tests such as blood tests, to check for vitamin deficiencies and hormone levels.
There are many different reasons for hair loss
Age is another reason we start to lose hair as hair growth slows. The hair follicles stop growing hair resulting in thin hair, and also the hair starts to lose its colour. Again, caught early treatment can help to regrow hair.
Medications are another key area to review if you are experiencing hair loss. Ask the doctor who has prescribed the medication if hair loss is a possible side effect. It is very important that you don’t stop taking a medication before talking to your doctor. Abruptly stopping some medications can lead to serious health issues. Regrowth is possible if alternatives can be found to the medication and with treatments.
Hair care such as colourings, perming or relaxing hair could damage it. Over time this may lead to hair loss. Unfortunately, once you have damaged a hair follicle, hair cannot grow from that follicle and you may end up with permanent small bald spots. Changing your hair care is the best way to prevent this from worsening.
Hormones are a driver for hair loss. Those with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) for example can cause a hormonal imbalance leading to hair loss. Sometimes stopping some types of birth control pills can also cause temporary hormonal imbalance. Treatment may be able to help here as you haven’t damaged the hair follicle.
Scalp infection can lead to inflamed and scaly areas on the scalp. There can also be small black dots on the scalp which are stubs of hair. Some will develop a bald spot. The good news is if you get rid of the infection, then hair tends to grow back.
Thyroid disease is very common and people can see thinning hair. Clumps can come our whilst brushing. If the thyroid disease is reversed, then often the hair loss will also be.
Nutritional causes are another key issue with hair growth. It is important to have enough zinc, biotin, iron, and protein in your diet to support hair growth. If you replace these in your diet then the hair should grow back.