Ricki Lake hair loss solutions

When actress and presenter Ricki Lake unveiled her new buzz cut to the internet at the end of last year, fans the world over were asking themselves what had caused her to do such a thing. And it didn’t take her long to let us know.

“I’ve been struggling with hair loss for most of my adult life”

Lake wrote a candid Facebook post alongside the picture, explaining how she has spent years battling against hair loss and has suffered from depression as a result. “There have been a few times where I’ve even felt suicidal over it,” she admitted.

Having tried various hair loss solutions over the years, from extensions and hair loss systems to supplements and steroid injections, Lake says this new look is a symbol that she is setting herself free from the struggle. She told her Facebook followers she “never could get used” to wearing extensions or wigs, and that the other treatments were ineffective.

So what caused the hair loss in the first place?

Lake blames a number of things for her hair loss but claims it all stems from her appearance in the film Hairspray when her hair was agonisingly teased into place every day on set.

With what we now know about traction alopecia and the problems caused by over-styling, this does seem like a plausible explanation, and the other factors she lists seem to be likely suspects too: she names pregnancy, birth control and extreme weight fluctuation among the possible causes, and these are all known to contribute to hair loss.

How can you be more like Ricki?

If you, like Lake, are a woman suffering from hair loss, who has tried every treatment under the sun to no avail, why not take a leaf out of her book and shave it all off?

But you don’t have to use the change to announce your hair loss problem to the world – if you’re worried a buzzcut will only exaggerate your bald patches, you could try scalp micropigmentation to fill in the gaps. For more information on SMP and how it works, click here.

prevent hair loss

Scientists from New York’s Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have discovered a new mechanism involved in the hair loss process – one which they think could be used to stop hair loss in its tracks.

According to a study published in the journal Science, the part of the hair which surrounds the outside of the hair follicle, known as the dermal sheath, could play even more of a key role in hair growth than had previously been imagined.

What is the dermal sheath and how is it involved in hair loss?

Up until now, scientists believed that the dermal sheath’s main role in the hair growth cycle was in regenerating the dermal papilla at the base of the follicle.

However, this new study has discovered that the sheath actually works as a kind of smooth muscle, expanding and contracting to push up the hair shaft, taking the dermal papilla cells with it.

Dermal papilla cells are themselves responsible for signalling to the stem cells when the time has come to create a new hair, thus ending the life of the existing one, and beginning the shedding phase of the hair’s life cycle.

So how can this discovery help to prevent hair loss?

Well, according to the research team, one major cause of hair loss is when the communication system between the dermal papilla cells and the stem cells breaks down.

When the scientists examined this phenomenon more closely in mice, they found that the dermal sheath contracts when the hair enters the shedding phase, allowing the hair to fall out. Follow up studies have shown that something very similar happens to human hair, suggesting that if you could find a way to block this muscle and prevent it from contracting, then you could prevent hair loss from happening.

How quickly could we see a hair loss treatment based on this?

As with all scientific research, this could take a long time to come to fruition – further studies will be needed to ascertain that this discovery is indeed correct, and then the scientists would need to develop a drug that would block the dermal sheath muscle, which could also be a lengthy process.

In the meantime though, there are plenty of effective hair loss treatments already on the market – and if your hair loss is already apparent then this might not be the solution for you anyway, as it will serve to prevent hair loss but cannot undo the damage that’s already been done.

If you are concerned about your hair loss, why not call 0121 312 2999 to book an appointment with one of our hair loss experts today.

female pattern hair loss

A new hair loss pill seems to have taken the UK by storm – and it’s made from proteins derived from pea shoots.

According to the Mail Online, women have been sharing photographs of the remarkable success they’ve had in taking these pills to treat female pattern hair loss.

Pea shoot power

The manufacturers of the pills claim the secret is in the pea shoots’ need to survive in difficult circumstances – apparently, young pea shoots are extremely vulnerable to both disease and the sun’s UV rays, so they contain a special nutrient to help protect them from these dangers. And this, says the firm, is what makes these new hair loss pills effective.

Do they really work for female hair loss?

It’s difficult to say – certainly some of the before and after photographs look impressive, but there doesn’t seem to be much scientific explanation behind the claims.

And while before and after photographs are great, they can be misleading, as tricks of the light and different ways of styling the hair can make a huge difference to its appearance.

So what can be done to treat female pattern hair loss?

By all means give these new pills a try, if that’s something that appeals to you. However, some more tried-and-tested methods of treating hair loss in women include:

  • Scalp microneedling – this technique involves thousands of microinjections all over the scalp. This creates tiny wounds on the scalp, which triggers the body’s wound-healing mechanism, causing a surge of growth factors and stem cells to the area. This can then help to stimulate the hair follicles so that more hair begins to grow.
  • Low level laser therapy (LLLT) – this is a completely non-invasive procedure, which works by emitting red light deep into the scalp, stimulating the hair follicles to work harder. This procedure has been shown to be very effective in some cases, but it is a long-term commitment, with two the three sessions needed every week over the course of several months.
  • Scalp micropigmentation – essentially working as a permanent hair concealer, scalp micropigmentation, or SMP, can be a great option for women suffering from female pattern hair loss. The procedure involves pigment (colour matched to your natural hair) being injected into the scalp to create the appearance of tiny hairs. When used on long, thinning hair, the result is that those thinning areas are almost undetectable to the naked eye.

For more hair loss advice, call 0121 312 2999.

Hair loss treamtment options

The start of a new year is always a time when we think about making changes, whether it be starting something new, or making improvements on what we already have. And as we get older, the focus starts to shift towards things that will help us remain fit and healthy, so we can continue to look and feel our best for as long as possible.

If you’re starting to think about what you can do in 2020 to give you back a bit of youthful vigour, why not consider rejuvenating your hairline? Hair loss is one of the main factors when it comes to men looking older than their years, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are our top three options when it comes to freshening up your look.

Hair loss treatment options: hair transplant surgery

Probably the most famous method for treating hair loss, hair transplant surgery has really moved on in recent years, with new techniques leaving practically no visible scarring. Whilst not cheap, hair transplants are highly effective in restoring your mane to its former glory.

The only catch is that you do need your hair loss to be pretty advanced already – have a hair transplant too early on in the process and you may find that your hairline continues to recede behind the line of transplanted follicles, meaning you need to undergo further surgery in future.

Hair loss treatment options: hair loss concealers/fibres

If you’re not quite ready to seek a permanent solution to hair loss, then concealers/fibres can offer a great interim option. Widely available on the high street, these products work by creating an illusion of fuller hair.

They are usually applied using a shaker and contain fibres – either synthetic or natural – that bond to your existing hair, disguising any bald spots. Alternatively, concealers work by colouring your scalp with as close as possible a match to your hair colour.

Hair loss treatment options: scalp micropigmentation

If your hair loss has gone beyond a bit of concealment here and there, or even if you’re still in the early stages but just want something more permanent, scalp micropigmentation or SMP, can be a great option.

For more hair loss advice, call 0121 312 2999.

female hair loss

A recent study has shown that a drug usually used to treat prostate cancer in men could help in the fight against female hair loss.

Hair loss in women is arguably even more devastating than its male equivalent, as few are the women who feel confident in shaving their heads and embracing the bald look. And up to now, it has always been harder to treat, too – the diffuse nature of female hair thinning means hair transplant is rarely a viable option.

However, there could be a light at the end of the tunnel, as scientists have now discovered that the prostate cancer drug bicalutamide could have a ‘significant’ effect on hair regrowth.

How can a prostate drug treat hair loss?

One of the major causes of hair loss in women is an overproduction of the male hormone testosterone – often during the menopause.

In prostate cancer, if testosterone reaches the cancerous cells it can cause tumours to grow rapidly; if the hormone is blocked, the tumours don’t just stop growing but have been known to shrink. So prostate cancer drugs like bicalutamide work by blocking testosterone production.

It’s early days, but in a recent trial involving seventeen women with hair loss, more than half showed “significant” hair regrowth within a few weeks of using the drug.

How did the study work?

During the trial, seventeen women were given a daily dose of the prostate drug bicalutamide, in pill form, for a minimum of six months. The results were assessed by a team of dermatologists, who agreed that 53% of the women showed “significant” regrowth after using the drug.

The study, which was published in the journal Dermatologic Therapy, was carried out by a research team from Ramon y Cajal University Hospital in Madrid. With the pilot trial showing such promising results, it is hoped that a larger study will be rolled out in the near future. Watch this space!

What if I want a solution for female hair loss now?

If you can’t wait for prostate drugs to become widely available to treat female hair loss, then don’t worry. There are plenty of options already on the market, from hair loss shampoos to hair systems to scalp micropigmentation.

Why not book a consultation with one of our hair loss experts today to find out which of these treatment options could work for you. Call 0121 312 2999 to book your consultation with the experts at The Hair Ambulance.

diet and hair loss

We all know it’s important to eat a well-balanced diet, for all sorts of reasons – it makes us feel better, keeps us in good shape and can even help us live longer. But did you know that what you eat can also have an impact on your hair loss?

There are three main ways that your diet can affect your hair:

  1. Certain key nutrients are necessary for hair growth

If your diet is low in certain nutrients, that can be a major influence on thinning hair. Vitamin C; B vitamins such as biotin and niacin; zinc and iron are some of the most important nutrients for hair growth, so if you’re suffering from hair loss it might be worth examining your diet to see whether any of these elements are lacking.

  1. Crash dieting can lead to hair loss

Again, it’s no secret that crash dieting isn’t good for you – if you’re looking to lose weight, then slow and steady always wins the race, both in terms of long-term success and the effects on your physical health.  And once again, this can cause problems with hair loss too.

This kind of hair loss is, in part, linked to a lack of nutrients as mentioned above: a diet that is heavily calorie-restricted is unlikely to contain enough proteins, vitamins and minerals to keep the body functioning as it should.

But it’s not just about nutrient-deficiency – sudden and major fluctuations in body mass index (BMI) can put the body under extreme stress, which in turn can lead to a condition known as telogen effluvium.

Although temporary, telogen effluvium can be devastating – it causes high numbers of hair follicles to go into “resting” mode at once, which means large patches of hair could fall out quite suddenly.

  1. Overeating can also be associated with hair loss

OK, so there’s not a direct link between overeating and hair loss – you won’t wake up the morning after a pizza binge and find clumps of hair lying on your pillow – but there is a definite association between obesity and alopecia.

Obesity can play havoc with your hormones, and it’s no secret that hormones are the most common culprits when it comes to hair loss. And it’s not just a hormonal problem: if you’re overweight it can put a huge strain on your heart, and hair loss is a major side effect of many blood pressure and cholesterol medications.

So what’s the take-home message? It’s simple really: eat sensibly and healthily. Not too much, not too little, and try to make sure you’re getting enough of the key vitamins and minerals.

For more advice on diet and hair loss, 0121 312 2999 to book your consultation with the experts at The Hair Ambulance.

traction alopecia

Whilst there are many causes of hair loss in women, androgenetic alopecia – or female pattern hair loss – is by far the most common. So it is easy to assume if your hair is thinning that genetic factors are at play.

However, before you resign yourself to thinning hair for life, it is always worth considering other possible causes of the problem. One common – but often overlooked – culprit when it comes to female hair loss is traction alopecia.

What is traction alopecia?

Traction alopecia is a type of hair loss that occurs when hair is pulled tightly from the root – usually from styling choices like weaves, extensions and cornrows, but super-tight ponytails can also be a problem if worn regularly. Although it is more common amongst women, men can suffer from traction alopecia too.

How can I tell if my hair loss is traction alopecia?

An easy way to recognise traction alopecia is by looking at the pattern of your hair loss. Androgenetic alopecia in women (female pattern hair loss) tends to present as a diffuse thinning of the hair across the entire scalp.

Traction alopecia, on the other hand, usually shows most prominently around the hairline. There are other warning signs, however, which could help you to nip the problem in the bud: if you wear your hair in one of the styles above and experience headaches regularly, that could be an early symptom of traction alopecia.

Other signs that should start alarm bells ringing are:

  • A bumpy scalp
  • Sensitivity when releasing hair from the style
  • Itching at the roots of the hair

What can be done to treat traction alopecia?

As traction alopecia affects the actual hair follicles, once the damage has been done it can be difficult to treat.

However, luckily the problem is easy to prevent. Experts recommend giving your hair regular breaks from styling – ideally with a one to one ratio – so if you wear braids for a month, you then take a month off.

If you think you might have traction alopecia, why not book a consultation with one of our hair loss experts, who can assess the extent of the damage and advise you on potential treatment options. Call 0121 312 2999 to book your consultation with the experts at The Hair Ambulance.

New FDA Approved Hair Loss Treatment On Horizon

The results of some recent testing have just been announced. The results tease the possibility of the first new FDA approved hair loss treatment in decades. That might be exciting enough for many, especially women who cannot use one of the two existing approved treatments. But the real excitement is around the efficacy demonstrated in their results. We look closer.


Follica and The University of Pennsylvania

Follica is a Boston based biotech. Part of the much larger Pure Tech Health group, which boasts within its stable of companies, one FDA approved product along with another 14 at the clinical stage. This week they announced some outstanding test results with puts a new FDA approved hair loss treatment on horizon.

Follica themselves have signed a global marketing deal with the University of Pennsylvania. It allows them to develop and market a breakthrough in hair loss science discovered in one of the University laboratories. That research centred around using an established technique and testing its effect on hair loss. The technique itself requires the skin to be intentionally disrupted or damaged. This disruption sees the body send healing cells to the site of the damage. On arrival at the site of the damage, those cells need to make a decision on exactly what type of cell they should become. It is this ‘decision making’ process that the team at Pennsylvania was investigating. The hope was that they might influence the outcome of that decision. For their work on hair follicles, they were hoping to encourage the cells to choose to become hair cells rather than skin cells.

Their work and results were sufficient to convince Follica to take on the research and go through to clinical trials. With the aim, ultimately, of coming to market with a product. With the support of solid trial results, it could mean the introduction of only the third FDA approved hair loss treatment and the first for decades.

FDA Approved Hair Loss Treatments

Of the two existing hair loss treatments that have FDA approval only one is considered safe for women. This is due to side-effects that could potentially damage an unborn baby. Both existing treatments come with side-effects that make a decision to use them challenging for some. Both treatments require a lifetime commitment so the threat of a lost libido, for example, is too much for many young men.

When we factor in the efficacy rates on the existing treatments the decision does not get any easier. Bear in mind that anyone embarking on a course of treatment might need to wait 6 months to see any improvement. That glacial rate of improvement might not happen at all, a significant minority will not experience any. Testing has set the benchmark for improvement at around 12% to be deemed worthy of approval. It may not sound like much, and to be honest, it isn’t, but it does mean the progress of hair loss has been halted and to some degree reversed. A miracle that has taken humanity thousands of years to achieve.

Hair Loss – A New Hope

So just in time for Christmas, Follica has finally announced details of their testing on the new treatment. Their trial involved 48 subjects, all with hair loss at Grade 3 or 4 on the Norwood Scale, with some taking differing levels of the medication and others taking a placebo. The skin was damaged during a 5-minute session using a device the Follica team has developed for the task. They then treat the area with a soup of growth factors.

Measuring the success was done using the accepted method of counting new non-vellus hairs. As previously mentioned, for the existing treatments that benchmark is set at 12%. Even the least effective dosage using the Follica method was found to produce a 29% improvement. The most effective dosage actually achieved an incredible 44%. This is not just an improvement, this is the difference between a treatment that barely does what it claims, and one that delivers visible improvement to the naked eye. It seems to us almost certain that a new FDA approved hair loss treatment is on horizon.

The Hair Ambulance

To be clear. These results signalled the end of a highly successful Phase II clinical trial in which all endpoints were reached. We can look forward to large scale Phase III clinical trials in 2020 and will be waiting, with bated breath, for more news. This really could be a game-changer for the hair loss market, one that finally consigns the underwhelming offers currently available to the history books.

The Hair Ambulance brings world-leading hair loss solutions to your door. Hair loss is no longer inevitable. Use the contact form here to either arrange a home visit or book a consultation at one of our private hair loss clinics. Early intervention is a necessity. Do not delay if you are concerned about your hair loss.


thinning hair

A recent article in Salon Prive, written by celebrity hairstylist Joe Mills, looked at the trendiest haircuts for men this winter. But what if you’re suffering from hair loss – can you still rock a cool hairstyle?

We at The Hair Ambulance say you can, so we’ve examined these hairstyles and come up with some ways you can adapt them for thinning hair.

  1. ‘The Modern Mullet’

Less bouffant than the mullets we all loved to hate in the eighties, this is a relatively easy style to pull off for those with mild to moderate hair thinning.

A longer, layered cut with a fringe at the front and the back curling down around the collar, the “modern mullet” is brushed forward around the face, so a mildly receding hairline can be disguised – the 2019 equivalent of a combover.

  1. The Buzzcut

This is the style for those of us whose hair loss has gone beyond the point where a bit of nifty styling can hide it.

Go bold by shaving it all off – and if you can’t bear the thought of any regrowth making your bald spots more prominent, consider scalp micropigmentation to disguise them.

  1. Longer Layers

Essentially a shorter version of the modern mullet, this is another one that you might be able to get away with if your hairline is only just beginning to recede.

For those whose hair loss is more advanced, however, you might need to consider hair loss treatment options before going down this route. A hair transplant would be effective, but would take so long to take effect that you might have gone off the hairstyle by the time you’re able to wear it!

Another option here could be scalp micropigmentation – whilst usually considered a treatment for those wishing to shave their heads (see above), SMP can be used very effectively to disguise thinner areas in longer hair.

  1. The Quiff

As Joe Mills says, a quiff never goes out of fashion. And in fact, if a receding hairline is your main hair loss problem, a quiff could be the hairstyle for you. You do need to have a full crown of hair, however, as the style relies on hair being brushed forward from the crown and back at the sides.

So if you are worried that hair loss could prevent you from keeping up with the latest trends, think again. Just make sure you see a hairstylist you trust and discuss your hair loss concerns with them from the start.

Call 0121 312 2999 to book your consultation with the experts at The Hair Ambulance.

hair wellness

Hair loss affects up to fifty per cent of men and can have a devastating impact on self-esteem and emotional wellbeing. And a huge industry has built up to try and solve the problem – analysts predict the global alopecia market to be worth US$4.8billion by 2026.

But some marketing people have taken matters into their own hands in an attempt to take the negativity out of the industry, rebranding ‘hair loss’ as ‘hair wellness’.

What’s in a name?

According to those in the know, replacing the word ‘loss’ with ‘wellness’ takes the fear out of the industry, encompassing all the hair-related issues that women’s hair products promote, from volumising to conditioning and everything in between.

What’s wrong with saying hair loss?

Whilst there’s no real problem with the term ‘hair loss’ per se, it does suggest treating the problem after it has started. Whereas with ‘hair wellness’ products, you might well be nipping it in the bud by looking after your hair before any hair loss has begun to occur.

One brand promoting the idea of hair wellness is Hims – a US company offering virtual consultations with doctors, thus providing users with access to generic versions of FDA approved hair loss drugs.

Hims founder and CEO Andrew Dudum spoke to the New York Times about the wellness revolution:

“It’s been a fear-based industry. This new wave of energy around being the best version of yourself is what we’re trying to capitalise on.”

Hidden dangers of hair wellness

But some experts think brands like Hims take the ‘wellness’ trend too far. Many of the prescription-only medications accessed via the site have some serious side effects, and some say a face-to-face consultation with a trusted hair loss expert is the best route to having those drugs prescribed.

And medications aren’t the only way to treat alopecia – here at The Hair Ambulance, we recommend consulting with a qualified hair loss expert to ascertain the best treatment for you, whether or not you have started to lose your hair already… whilst hair transplants are really only suitable for more advanced hair loss cases, treatments such as SMP or hair loss shampoos can provide an effective preventative measure.

If you’re ready to take charge of your hair loss, contact us on 0121 312 2999 to book a consultation with one of our hair loss experts.

Get in touch

    The Hair Ambulance is our mobile service where you can be seen by one of our experts but if you prefer you can attend one of our private hair loss clinics. Fill in the contact form and one of our team will be in touch to find out how best we can help.

    Alternatively, call us on the number below or drop us a line.

    0121 312 2999

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