Love Island contestant Tyla Carr was devastated to discover that she was a postpartum hair loss victim.

 

Postpartum Hair Loss

Familiar to many this is the type of hair loss that affects young mums. It is the body’s reaction to childbirth. A time when hormones, having run wild for nine months, begin to calm down again. The hair can be a highly visible casualty. Having been in full growth mode during the pregnancy it will play catch up with more shedding than usual.

Tyla Carr

Tyla Carr must have felt destined to appear on Love Island. A serial dater she claimed to have exhausted the supply of all the available men within 100 miles of her home in Chipstead, Surrey. She had already appeared on another TV show, First Dates, in an attempt to find love, or maybe fame.

She caused a stir as soon as she walked into the villa during the 2017 series of Love Island. As a newbie, she was allowed to choose any of the boys to go for a drink with, and immediately chose the one most likely to create problems. Johnny had been a partner for Camilla until her arrival, but one drink with Tyla was enough to give him second thoughts. Camilla and Johnny would reunite, but Tyla had made her mark.

Large elements of the show were staged she would later claim. Sharing what she said were rules that the contestants had to follow which were not disclosed to viewers.

Life After Love Island

Tyla began working as a model after leaving the show. On a photo shoot in Mallorca, she reunited with Rossco, who she had originally met on the island nine years earlier. The couple would announce the birth of a son, Archie, a little over a year later. Another seven months after that the couple had separated in the full glare of the tabloid media.

Postpartum Hair Loss

Postpartum sees young mums losing hair a short time after the birth of their child. During pregnancy, the hair goes into growth mode and becomes one of the reasons the mum-to-be will appear healthy. Tyla spoke about her lovely thick hair, her words, becoming even more luscious.

Her problem hair loss began, she told the Daily Mirror, when she stopped breastfeeding and her hair began to fall out in clumps. It is the perfectly normal path for postpartum. All the more likely if you have experienced, as Tyla did, a noticeable improvement during the pregnancy.

The Hair Ambulance

While the postpartum element of the hair loss was entirely predictable, splitting up with Archie’s father, Rossco, when Archie was just seven months old, was not. It is the sort of traumatic emotional event that can also trigger hair loss.

The great news for Tyla is that like the vast majority of postpartum mums she made a full recovery. A temporary condition that usually lasts only as long as it takes the body’s hormones to regulate themselves normally again. Those suffering from hair loss associated with traumatic events are sometimes not so fortunate.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

There has always been a surfeit of received wisdom when it comes to hair loss. In as little as 20 years we have seen, on the back of some amazing science, ever more of these nuggets doing the rounds. The new has blended with the old and served to add yet more confusion, so we set out to bust some of the prevailing myths around as we reality check the causes of hair loss.

 

Old Wives Tales

Itself a misnoma, “old wives tales” are not the exclusive domain of elderly married women… if they were they probably would have died on the vine a very long time ago. When it comes to the myths that have built up around hair loss there are several good reasons for their quantity and longevity. Our search for a cure to hair loss extends all the way back to the beginning of recorded history, ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, all had their theories. Caesar’s famous laurel wreath was worn, it is said, to mask his own receding hairline. The fact is that in all those millennia we have never come close, and only in the last few decades have we even managed to develop an approved medication that can, for some, slow or halt its progress – albeit through a lifetime commitment to a drug with known and potentially unpleasant side-effects.

Little wonder maybe that in the absence of a cure, people sought an explanation for the cause. There would have been an appreciation of hereditary, the bald sons of bald fathers living within communities would have made that much fairly obvious. But they would also have recognised, as we do today, that there could be other causes. Over time, with an improved understanding of the biology, the theories on those other causes have mushroomed. We look at some that have been around for far too long, and a few more that have intruded more recently.

It’s Your Mum’s Dad…

Maternal grandfathers were often pointed at as being responsible for their grandchildren’s inherited hair loss. There would have been plenty of anecdotal evidence walking around to support the theory. But it is only a fraction of the truth because while the androgen receptor is carried on the X chromosome, that boys receive from their mothers, hair loss can be inherited from either side of the family.

Hats Cause Hair Loss

Strange one this, maybe something to do with the time when all men wore hats. Maybe the age at which they started to wear them coincided with the first significant spike in the incidence of hair loss for some young men, so the two events became falsely linked. There is absolutely no evidence linking the two, nor is there ever likely to be – if you cover the flower the plant will still grow.

There Is A Specific Gene We Need To Identify

The day Crick and Watson announced the structure of DNA some minds would have turned to what that meant for hair loss. The search for a gene that controlled hair loss began, possibly that very day. That research has succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest dreams and a paper published a couple of years ago identified nearly 300 as involved in androgenetic alopecia. In theory, these might serve as predictors… unfortunately as it turns out, things are not that simple.

The research team that published that figure also said that, of the participants in their study with the most hair loss genes, 42% reported no hair loss.  One dermatologist described those genes as equivalent to simply getting the patient a few more lottery tickets, you might increase the likelihood but the outcome is far from guaranteed.

High Testosterone Is The Cause

This theory took hold as the role of testosterone in hair loss was being understood. But it is far more nuanced than simply being correlated to high or low testosterone. It is entirely possible to have high testosterone and extreme hair loss, in fact they can even have low testosterone.

The link is actually around the sensitivity to a particular form of testosterone known as DHT. Increased sensitivity will lead to hair follicles that fail to go into their growth phase, and eventually disappearing.

The Hair Ambulance

There are a handful of things that might have been passed down as wisdom which might carry some benefits for our hair. Poor health and style choices are genuine causes of hair loss, as is postpartum hair loss and any major trauma, physical or emotional.  What has certainly remained true, through time, is that a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and plenty of sleep should be a priority for all of us… long before we start searching for a hair loss solution that actually works.

 

Results for a new breed of hair loss cure have been announced by Aclaris Therapeutics, and the news is encouraging for hair loss sufferers everywhere. We look closer.

 

Aclaris Therapeutics

One of a host of life science companies that have sprung up in recent times, on the back of an ever deeper understanding of the mechanisms involved inside our body. Specifically, the messaging systems our systems use to regulate functions.

Aclaris have focussed their research on the immunologic messaging mechanisms and the results have been more than interesting. They found that by switching on and off certain messages, they have been able to influence a range of health issues. Their product pipeline features treatments aimed at ailments as diverse as common warts and vitiligo to psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. Notably, for us at least, are three so-called “JAK Inhibitors” which, they hope, will become the first new FDA approved treatments for alopecia in decades.

JAK Inhibitors

JAK Inhibitors are a type of drug that acts by interfering with the activity of certain enzymes. Aclaris has developed a drug, ATI-502, that is designed to disrupt signalling which would otherwise see the immune system attack and destroy hair follicles. This is the form of hair loss that affects the vast majority of sufferers and for which there are currently only two FDA approved medications, finasteride, and minoxidil, both of which come with some unwelcome side effects and require continuous use to remain effective (if they work in the first place). So an addition to the list would be extremely welcome.

Results

Aclaris announced that they are halfway through a one year study of 23 patients. Of those patients, 20 are reported to have evaluable hair counts.. of those 20, 14 were men and 6 were women. Investigators said that they rated 73% of subjects as having had increased hair growth. Interestingly, when the investigators asked the patients to evaluate themselves that figure rose to 82%. We are told that they are already planning for 2020 when they will be looking to use higher concentrations following recent formulation work.

The Hair Ambulance

This news will be of particular interest to women, for whom only one of the FDA approved drugs is available. The complete absence of any negative aspects to the Aclaris trial will give hope that a potent addition might be made to their choice of topical treatment.

We will continue to track their progress and report back with news.

 

Claims made by a Californian research team at a medical conference have sent the global news into a frenzy. They say they are on track to offer people the opportunity to grow limitless amounts of new scalp hair. We look closer.

 

Sanford Burnham Prebys

Faced with the prospect of retirement, Dr. William Fishman and his career partner wife Dr. Lillian Fishman, decided they would rather continue to work. He left the Tufts Cancer Research Center in Boston, where he had been founder, professor, and director, to pursue his work in onco-developmental biology. The pair took a modest $ 180,000 grant from the National Cancer Institute and went on to establish a world-class medical research institute.

Over the years their focus widened to take in neuroscience, stem cell research, immunology, and drug discovery techniques. Donations, not least from the three men whose name now appears as the institute’s name, have seen them grow to live on a huge 5-acre site and become recognised as global leaders in their field.

Breakthrough Discoveries

The glacial advance of new hair loss treatments is understandable given the layers of approval drugs are required to undergo. These can take years and cost millions… with no guarantee of success for the manufacturer. It means that by the time a product makes it to market we have been aware of its existence for a long time. More than that, we will have seen the trial results and have a clear indication as to its efficacy.

So when Antonella Pinto Ph.D. turned up at the International Society for Stem Cell Research’s annual conference, with something to say about the work of Sanford Burnham Prebys on a hair loss treatment, it is fair to say nobody would have been too excited… but that was before they heard what she had to tell them.

She described their work, first on using pluripotent stem cells – those remarkable biological engines which can transform into any type of human cell. This still left a major technical hurdle to overcome before the techniques for turning these cells into a human dermal papilla cell, in itself a true breakthrough, might be considered a viable treatment.

The critical breakthrough came when they developed a technique, using the same material used for dissolvable stitches, to create a scaffold. This scaffold provides a structure through which the new hairs can grow, along with crucially being directed to grow in a specific direction… to this day one of the principal challenges in a successful hair transplant.

The Future

The team is already working on a human version after successful trials using human follicles grown on hairless mice. Their aim is to produce an “allogeneic” version of the treatment. The current method only requires some blood to be taken from the patient but an allogenic version would mean that cells from another person could be used. Which opens the possibility of being able to walk into a clinic and receiving treatment on the spot.

The Hair Ambulance

The conference was blown away by Dr. Pinto’s presentation and awarded her team a Merit Award. Their own confidence in the treatment is evidenced by their setting up a firm to commercialise it. Stemson Therapeutics has been established by the inventors and has major industry partners as well as some of the most senior individuals in the world of stem cell research.

We see plenty of this type of news story… one we have been following for two years was suddenly reported as a very expensive dead end only this week.  But there is something particularly interesting about this one, the nature of the treatment, the quality of the research team, the size of their partners… it all adds up to give it a great shot at success. Rest assured, we will be watching and reporting back.

 

 

PCOS is a huge issue for a surprising number of women, we offer our top three tips on changes that can be made to improve the condition.

 

PCOS

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome as it is medically known, PCOS affects women of childbearing age, lots and lots of them. It is estimated that between 5 and 10 percent of that group will experience this hormonal endocrine disorder.

If you are not familiar with the symptoms the diagnosis and explanation can come as a bit of a shock. The range of symptoms is pretty intimidating for anyone, hair loss is just for starters, though some grow unwanted hair. Weight gain, infertility, acne, and heavy or irregular periods also feature, and there are more.

Treatment

Today, there is no cure for PCOS. Women are invited to treat the various symptoms, most of which can be treated using modern and available FDA approved medicines. For some women, this can involve something of a cocktail but the principal treatment is usually in the form of a birth control pill. While this can help by regulating their out of balance endocrine, or hormone, system, it is not for everyone.

Fortunately, there is a natural approach to taking care of yourself which can give great results in managing the condition.

Three Top TIps

You are what you eat.  By removing preservatives, hormones, and sweeteners from your diet you can go a long way towards improving your condition. All of these appear in processed foods and will interfere with the normal functions of the endocrine system. By removing them from your diet you will give your system its best chance of managing itself.

If, at the same time as ridding your diet of processed food, you can increase your intake of healthy foods, so much the better. Organic fruit and vegetables along with grains, foods high in proteins and healthy fats will all contribute to your wellbeing.

Get your (inner) beauty sleep. We are all aware of the importance of getting enough sleep, but this is even more important for PCOS sufferers. For women with PCOS, there can be dire consequences from sleep deprivation. Increased risks of mental issues and insulin resistance among them. Missing out on sleep will increase the level of cortisol in your system and this stress hormone can aggravate the symptoms of PCOS, for some of those symptoms this can be extremely serious.

Buck Up Your Beauty Game. Many of us swathe our bodies in products every day, paying little or no attention to the number of toxic ingredients that can further disrupt the endocrine system and aggravate the PCOS.

By switching to products that use only natural ingredients you will instantly begin to treat your body’s largest organ, the skin, with much more respect.. and again give your system its best chance to work properly.

The Hair Ambulance

The scale of the problem is immense. Making these changes to lifestyle could save literally millions of women from the worst effects of a truly miserable, and potentially life-threatening, condition.

An American court rejected a lawsuit against L’Oreal filed by a disgruntled customer who claimed a defective product they manufacture was responsible for her hair loss.

 

Hair Relaxer

We will write again soon about this popular styling asset, typically used mainly by women with curly or very curly hair. The chemicals in the product straighten the hair by “relaxing” the curls, which is another story for another day.

L’Oreal is one of the world’s largest brands of any kind and with a turnover of $30B they a monster beauty brand. Among their hair care range is a relaxer. Their Optimum Salon Care Defy Breakage No-Lye Relaxer is applied in a six-stage process and makes a great range of claims about its benefits. But it also comes with a warning, that before you start the process you should do a “strand test” on a single hair to test for breakage and irritation, a warning which just saved them a substantial sum of money.

Kim E. Chandler

Kim Chandler is a resident of Pennsylvania, USA. In March 2017 she applied the L’Oreal relaxer to her hair and watched in horror when she rinsed it off. A lot of hair rinsed right off with it. She was forced to seek immediate medical attention and launched a lawsuit against L’Oreal for $50K, accusing them of selling her a defective product. On the face of it, she might have had a case, you might not expect a product that claims to prevent breakage to relax your hair to the point where it falls out.

What The Judge Said

Judge Thomas M. Hardiman presided over the case in the U.S Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit. He ruled against Chandler and told her she would not be able to put the case before a jury. In his written opinion he explained that she had not followed the advice to perform a “strand test” prior to application. He rejected the argument made that a “hypothetical reasonable customer” would not understand the importance of that test. On the contrary, the judge told them: “A reasonable consumer reads and heeds the warnings and expects exactly what they state.” Indeed, the warnings on the label included the risk of permanent hair loss.

The Hair Ambulance

It should serve as a salutary lesson to us all. that to ignore the warning labels on beauty products is done at our peril. In this case, the product includes the word “salon” in its name. You wouldn’t seriously expect a professional salon to apply any product without a patch or strand test first.

Kim Chandler’s story is terribly sad, and we feel for her. We can only hope her lawyers were engaged on a no win no fee basis. We send our best wishes whether she chooses to come to terms with her new condition, or embarks on a search for hair loss solutions that work for her.

 

 

Stories have been coming out of China for a while pointing to a huge increase in the number of young people experiencing hair loss. We look closer.

 

Hair Loss in China

Statistics can be misleading when it comes to China. The sheer size of the country makes for some extraordinary outcomes when you start to count anything. Trying to get a fix in the scale of hair loss among the under ’30s is a challenge, there are hundreds of millions of them, to begin with. A good example might be a hospital at Sichuan University which put up a Weibo notice inviting people to volunteer for a new hair-growth treatment and received 200,000 applications in just 4 days.That said, some good work has recently been done to attempt to get a grip on the problem.

Youth.cn, a website affiliated to the Communist Party in China, conducted a survey of students at 643 colleges from around the country. The staggering result was that over half of the undergraduates reported thinning hair. Previously, a government report had estimated that over 200 million people suffer from some degree of balding. Their report suggested that 24% of that 200 million, or 46 million, were women, many between the ages of 20 and 40. There seems to be a suggestion that hair loss is affecting this new generation of Chinese anything up to two decades earlier than previously.

21st Century Signs

Beyond the university surveys and government reports are some pieces of real-world anecdotal evidence. Evidence that points clearly towards a real and growing problem among the young.

One postgraduate described there being a range of balding emoticons she and her friends can use in communication. This type of emoticon is popular and found on all three of China’s main social networking platforms.

Another entirely anecdotal piece of information highlights the level of concern among young Chinese. The best wish a schoolchild can offer another has become “may you grow thick hair.” While “May you lose your hair faster” has taken over as the most damning of curses.

The Hair Ambulance

There seems little doubt the problem in China is real with the anecdotal evidence, in many ways, being more powerful than the officially published documents.  Local professionals point to the transition to a modern lifestyle, with its stresses and pollution, as a likely culprit. This may turn out to be a double-edged sword given the scale of resources at China’s disposal, so we might anticipate new treatments being produced at a rate never seen before as local pharmaceuticals firms gear up to service their own market.

Today we are witnessing an exploding market for hair loss treatments up to and including transplantation there. It is entirely possible they will be leading the way for new treatments in a short time, we will be watching closely.

Dry shampoo has become an essential part of equipment for busy women everywhere. But are the negative rumours surrounding its use to be taken seriously? We look closer.

 

Dry Shampoo

Far from a new phenomenon, dry shampoo has been around for a very long time. Clay powder was used in Asia to clean hair over 500 years ago. While in the English court of Queen Elizabeth clay powders were used to remove oil and dirt from wigs.

In fact, according to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, since 1790 there have been no less than 71 patents filed for products labelled as a dry shampoo.

A typical dry shampoo contains a carrier agent containing the active ingredient, usually starch. Sprayed onto hair the carrier agent will evaporate away leaving just the starch. At least, that is the theory, but is it the whole story?

What’s Left Behind?

As is often the case with topical applications, it is important to understand how the product behaves over time. As the original composition breaks down how do the remaining ingredients react with the skin and hair?

Let’s start with the propellant because that is essential when you are working with aerosols. It will normally use butane or propane and this will represent up to 90% of the contents. When the dry shampoo is applied the molecules will bond with water and oil droplets. These contained droplets are then easily removed. The process can result in calcium salts being left behind, these are alkaline and the residue may cause irritation.

What To Guard Against

Keeping the scalp clean is essential, especially if using dry shampoo regularly.  Hair follicles are a long way beneath the surface area of the scalp and as such well away from any possible direct negative effects from the shampoo. But a build-up of that alkaline residue can cause problems. Skin irritations from the blocking up of pores are not uncommon and there is a possibility of fungal growths triggered by the accumulated powders.

The Hair Ambulance

Dry shampoo plays an important role in the lives of many women. Pressures on time and societal demands can combine to make it an essential ally. Used sensibly it represents no danger to the vast majority of us. Maintaining a sensible hygiene routine for your scalp and hair, around your use of dry shampoo, will keep you perfectly safe.

The remarkable story of a woman in labour worrying that her partner of two years might spot her hair loss highlights just how traumatic the condition can be. We take a closer look.

 

Tanya Hughes

Tanya is a young mum from Wales in the UK. Her story is not uncommon, it is just the sort of thing many people find difficult to discuss.

Shortly after the birth of her second child, ten years ago, she noticed her thair beginning to get thinner. This is not unusual and for many new mums losing hair is just a part of the process. During pregnancy, unusually high levels of hormones can trigger some exuberant growth of hair and fingernails. After birth, those hormone levels return to their normal levels. Many hair follicles which have been stuck in a growth phase for a while will enter a rest phase, which sees the old hair get shed to make room for a new one to grow. In some cases, like the unfortunate Tanya, this does not happen and the shedding can be as permanent as it is unwelcome and extensive.

Tanya went from having the sort of hair people commented on for its thickness, to finding it in clumps all over her home. It began to fall out leaving bald patches, occasionally these patches would grow over only to fall out again. She even began to lose eyelashes. A divorce in 2013 exacerbated the problem; “I was like a moulting dog. I wondered if anyone would find me attractive again…” she said to the Sun newspaper in the UK.

Coping Mechanisms

When she met her new partner, Algirdas, she adopted a series of strategies designed to keep her secret. A complicated set of 5 hair extensions were used to mask her hair loss, which she would sleep in. Washing her hair was, of course, a time-consuming business requiring careful removal of the extensions.

The longer she left it the harder it became to broach the subject. So that even when she became pregnant it had still not been discussed… and this remained the situation right up to the point where Tanya was delivering their baby. She describes lying in the delivery room and the hair extensions being a serious concern. She recognised the ridiculous position she had created for herself and took to forums for support and advice. There she found others who had been through the same problems, who all urged her to share with Algirdas.

When she did she found he was totally supportive, comparing her to the Amber Rose and urging her to, like the famous pop star, shave her head. Which she promptly did in a move she described as strange but liberating.

The Hair Ambulance

We recognise Tanya’s story as one we have heard many times before. Young women carrying the stress of living with their hair loss every day and lacking in support or advice. Strangely liberating is a great way for Tanya to describe shaving her head. It is going to feel strange exposing a scalp that you have spent the last decade desperately trying to hide.

But there is nothing more liberating than taking ownership of the problem, which for Tanya was about accessing the range of alternatives to extensions that a shaved head provides.

According to the BBC, there are demands for more support to be given to those undergoing the mental trauma of hair loss. We look closer.

 

Traumatic Hair Loss

Whether or not your hair loss might be considered traumatic is very much a subjective question. Each of us will go through the experience in our own way. For the majority this will mean embracing the hand fate has dealt us, our own genes predestined at birth with the point at which we would begin to lose hair. For others, however, hair loss is an unwelcome surprise because it has come at an incredibly young age, or as part of another condition.

We take a closer look at two women featured by the BBC with very different hair loss stories.

Charlie McGory

Charlie (pictured above) is a typical 17-year-old girl in almost every respect. Except that Charlie began losing her hair when she was just 3 and by the time she reached 8 she was wearing a wig.

She told the BBC that she had been subjected to some cruel comments, though most were kind. But it clearly helped shape the character of this remarkable girl who is currently in the middle of her exams, she went on to say: “Most of my friends have accepted it. In earlier years there were some smaller incidents, but you can’t let it get to you, you can’t let it get you down.”

Linda McIlrath

Linda lost her hair during chemotherapy, as so many do. For Linda the experience was devastating, she lost all the hair on her scalp along with her eyelashes and eyebrows in the space of just a week.

She said to the BBC “I felt so vulnerable. It stripped me of all my confidence and I just wanted to hide away. I saw a person, I didn’t see a woman.”

Hair Support

The NHS provides a level of service for victims of hair loss who might be being treated for a range of conditions. Oncology is one, but so are haematology, transgender, and dermatology. The trouble is that demand for their help is huge and waiting times for appointments can take months.

This is where the work of cancer support groups, like the one Charlie and Linda belong to, perform important work. For many of the women in the group, finding the right wig was a hugely positive step forward. Many of the women expressed frustration that the NHS service restricted them to a single choice of vendor, so providing support and information to one another, including practical help like answers on how and where to buy their first wig, can be crucial support.

The Hair Ambulance

Given the stresses on today’s NHS, it seems unlikely that we are going to see any improvement to the service they provide any time soon. As much as we would welcome it there are countless other worthy candidates for their cash. So the work of local support groups, helping women as diverse as Linda and Charlie, will continue to plug a large and important gap in provision.

 

 

 

 

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

© Copyright The Hair Ambulance