Hair loss associated with PCOS is distressing and surprisingly common. Here is our guide to the condition and how to deal with PCOS hair loss.

 

What Is PCOS

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) affects up to one in ten women and comes with a range of unwanted symptoms. PCOS hair loss is just one symptom, but it is a type of hair loss that is particularly unwelcome for women.

Men and women all produce androgen type hormones. Men will usually produce many more, with women producing larger amounts of oestrogen type hormones. When women produce too many androgens it leads to a rise in testosterone levels. This, in turn, can lead to the same type of pattern balding usually seen in men. In a nutshell, this is what sets PCOS hair loss apart. It sees women losing hair from the frontal hairline and at the crown. It is why women going through PCOS can find the associated hair loss so distressing.

Hair loss is far from the only unwanted symptom a sufferer might have to go through. It gets its name from the enlarged ovaries and fluid-filled sacs that surround the eggs. Although they are not actually cysts, despite the name.

Insulin resistance and a general issue with inflammation throughout the body is also regularly experienced. Beyond these, you can add acne and weight gain, along with reduced fertility.

Treating PCOS

There is no quick cure for any complex hormone problem. PCOS is no exception. Treatment starts with advice around diet and lifestyle. Eating healthily, exercise, and regular sleep patterns will all improve your own ability to manage the condition. Birth control can be prescribed as this helps to regulate hormone levels, increasing the production of oestrogens.

An important factor regarding treatment options is whether the sufferer is trying to get pregnant. This excludes some of the recovery options available. Particularly, the FDA approved hair loss medications as these have known side-effects that include dangers to babies in the womb.

Treating PCOS Hair Loss

With the exception of those women trying to get pregnant, there are many options available. Procedures like PRP are autologous, meaning they use the patient’s own blood to improve the situation. This means there is zero chance of a reaction by your immune system.

The Hair Ambulance

Catching PCOS early is key. Making those lifestyle changes is essential and will give your hair loss expert the best chance of aiding you to recovery. A trichologist will take a holistic view of your broader health before recommending a personalised programme. For more information on PCOS you can visit the NHS page here. You can also see our recent article about homeopathy and PCOS here.

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.

For decades, topical Minoxidil, marketed primarily as Rogaine, has been the only FDA approved medication to treat hair loss in women. Researchers in Brazil have been looking into an oral version of the drug. So is this a new hair loss treatment for women?

 

Minoxidil For Hair Loss

A new, approved, hair loss treatment for women is much needed. Minoxidil was originally developed as a treatment for high blood pressure in the late 1950s. The version that would later become approved for hair loss was first produced in 1963. When the drug was tested for efficacy on hypertension it was noted that unexpected hair growth was a feature. In fact, that side effect was so common that by the ’80s doctors were regularly prescribing it ‘off label’ for patients suffering from hair loss.

It was approved as a hair loss treatment by the FDA in 1988. They reported that, although the treatment will not work for everyone it has shown moderate to dense growth in the crown area in 39% of men. It would be another three years before the product was made available to women for the first time.

In 1996, the FDA took another step when they approved Minoxidil for over the counter sales. The manufacturers at the time, Upjohn, halved the price to drive sales and simultaneously released a higher dosage for prescription use.

Today, the 5% foam version is by far their most popular. It still only works for some people and it remains the only approved medication for women.

New Hair Loss Treatment

There is only one other FDA approved medication for hair loss, but Finasteride is only available to men. So the reliance of women on Minoxidil, coupled with its efficacy rate, means there are many who go without meaningful help.

Researchers in Brazil have been investigating an oral version of the drug. Comparing the oral version to the efficacy rates of the topical version for the first time.

Over 24 weeks they split the study group, of 52 women, into two groups. One was given the 5% topical version, the other got a 1mg dose of the oral version.

The results were interesting. Total hair density increase measured slightly higher for the oral dose, 12% compared with 7.2%. Other noteworthy items were that 19% of the topical group reported scalp pruritis. Which presents as an itchy sensation on the scalp. Also, 27% of the women in the oral group reported hypertrichosis, where hair grows unexpectedly on the body. But the hypertrichosis was rated as ‘mild and well-tolerated’.

The Hair Ambulance

The research opens a new treatment opportunity. They concluded that the results confirmed efficacy with only those mild and well-tolerated side effects. For the many, many women for whom topical minoxidil simply does not work or the women who do not tolerate it well, this may open a new avenue of treatment.

It is hoped that the low-dose oral Minoxidil might provide an option where the topical version has not helped. Or where the patient has developed unwanted adverse effects. Given that this represents a significant minority of all women using Minoxidil this is welcome news. Though maybe not quite as welcome as a genuinely new approved treatment. You read the study in detail, published in The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, here.

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.

When the A-List TV celebrity discovered a bald patch she moved quickly to deal with it. So we take a closer look at why Kourtney Kardashian and Platelet Rich Therapy (PRP) have been in the news.

The Kardashians

There are a couple of reasons why a news story about Kourtney Kardashian and platelet rich therapy (PRP)  is an important one.

Kourtney is the daughter of the late Robert Kardashian, who shot to fame as one of the lawyers for OJ Simpson. Along with her sisters and mother, she would shoot to fame courtesy of a reality tv show. The show simply followed them around as they lived their extraordinary lives.

Her big sister led the way. Kim Kardashian was a natural celebrity. She got noticed by TV producers when she was hanging out with socialite Paris Hilton. A sex tape in 2002, made with her boyfriend at the time, bought huge notoriety.  It all led to a reality show called ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians (KUWTK) that started in 2007 and is with us till this day.’ Since then she and the rest of her family have lived their lives in the full glare of the media spotlight. In doing so they have become vastly wealthy and are among the most important influencers on social media.

Hairstyle Choice And Hair Loss

Kourtney’s CV has her described as a businesswoman, model, and author. Her appearance has always been a priority.

Big sister Kim is seen, in a clip for upcoming series 17 of KUWTK, shocked by Kourtney’s hair loss. Kourtney blamed a bald patch in the middle of her head on a specific occasion and the hairstyle she wore. She had attended a gala in New York and chose to wear her hair in an ‘insanely tight ponytail.’

We have written before about the dangers of traction alopecia. But it is unusual to hear a sufferer blaming a single incident for the problem. Nevertheless, Kourtney did the right thing and went for professional advice.

Kourtney Kardashian and Platelet Rich Therapy (PRP)

Traction alopecia, unless seriously advanced, is generally treatable. Simply stopping the style that triggered the problem will see the hair return to its normal condition.

That glacial rate of recovery can be helped with treatment. In Kourtney’s case, she was recommended to try PRP.

The process starts with blood being taken. A centrifuge is used to separate the platelets, so they can be put back into the blood at higher concentrations. This platelet-rich blood is then injected back into the scalp. Similar in process to the so-called ‘vampire facelift.’

The Hair Ambulance

It is a positive story, where a young woman who influences millions takes care of herself. She identifies a hair loss issue and immediately took action. PRP is far from her only option, no doubt consideration was given to her medical history, lifestyle, and personal preferences, to arrive at PRP as the choice. It also serves as a stark warning to women, young and old, of the dangers lurking in our choices on style.

See the clip where Kim sees the bald spot for the first time here

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.

 

 

 

 

black female hair loss

This year marked the 25th anniversary of Essence Festival, held in New Orleans, Louisiana, and black women the world over rejoiced to see that an expert panel at the Beauty Carnival aimed at black female hair loss and entitled ‘Why Black Women are Losing Their Hair’.

So why ARE black women losing their hair?

There are plenty of reasons why any woman could be losing her hair, from hormonal changes like the menopause to extreme weight loss, to female pattern baldness. However, according to the panel, there are some causes of hair loss that are more prevalent among black women:

  • Traction alopecia – this form of hair loss occurs when the hair is pulled so tightly away from the scalp that it breaks off. Although not unique to black women – the problem has also been seen in ballerinas, who wear their hair in tight buns – traction alopecia is often caused by hairstyles such as weaves, dreadlocks and cornrows, which tend to be more commonly performed on Afro hair.
  • Scarring alopecia – scarring alopecia occurs when the hair follicle is destroyed and replaced with scar tissue. Like traction alopecia, it is often caused by the hairstyles mentioned above, as well as by the glue used for wigs and extensions. Unfortunately, unlike traction alopecia, in this case, the hair loss is permanent.

How can black female hair loss be avoided?

Celebrity hair stylist Kiyah Wright suggested that the solution lies in prioritising scalp care.

“All of us are out here wearing these wigs and protect styles, but nobody is focusing on the scalp. And the scalp is really dealing with some serious challenges: dryness, broken off hair, balding edges, and we really need to address this,” she said.

It is also hugely important to ensure that – if you do want to wear a weave or a wig – you visit a reputable stylist who understands about the potential damage these styles can do and how to avoid it.

What if the damage is already done?

For hair loss advice, our onboard trichologist is hugely experienced in treating female hair loss conditions. Call 0121 312 2999 to arrange an appointment.

biotin hair loss solutions

Look at the ingredients list on almost any over-the-counter hair loss solutions, supplement or topical treatment and you’ll find biotin features pretty highly. But is it really all it’s cracked up to be?

What is biotin and how can it treat hair loss?

Biotin is a B vitamin that helps the body to break down carbohydrates and fat, found naturally in foods like almonds, egg yolks and cauliflower, among others.

It is generally believed that biotin helps improve the infrastructure of keratin in the body and as keratin is key to healthy hair growth, it has long been believed that taking biotin supplements – or applying it topically to the scalp – can help to reduce hair loss.

Where is the evidence?

Although vast numbers of products containing biotin are sold as hair loss ‘remedies’ every day, actual scientific evidence that biotin works to prevent hair loss is thin on the ground.

In fact, some experts are now asserting that biotin supplements will only help to prevent or treat hair loss if the patient has an actual biotin deficiency – something that can only be diagnosed through a blood test.

So what hair loss solutions are available?

The first thing to establish is the root cause of your hair loss, so it’s important to speak to a GP or hair loss expert before embarking on any form of hair loss treatment. Possible causes of hair loss include:

  • Male or female pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia)
  • Hormonal imbalances, such as PCOS or menopause
  • Nutrient deficiency/extreme weight loss
  • Alopecia areata

Depending on the cause of your hair loss, the treatment could be as simple as changing your diet and exercise regime. However, if the problem is androgenic alopecia, then any hair loss that has already happened is likely to be permanent and so more serious hair loss solutions may be required.

Hair loss treatments for male or female pattern baldness range from hair loss products, such as shampoos or concealers, to hair transplants, scalp microneedling or scalp micropigmentation. For more information, call 0121 312 2999.

summer hair loss

If you find you are losing more hair than usual over the summer months then don’t worry: according to a recent study, you are not alone.

The study, published in the British Journal of Dermatology, showed that according to an analysis of Google searches, the number of people using the search term ‘hair loss’ peaks during the summer months, then dwindles down to its lowest point in spring.

And this is not the only study to suggest we lose more hair over summer than at any other time of year: in fact, some studies have given cause to believe that hair shedding is almost halved during the winter months.

So why is summer hair loss happening?

Hair growth occurs in a cycle: first the hair grows – usually over a period of between three and five years – then it falls out, and after that, the follicle enters the resting or dormant phase before the whole cycle begins again.

For some reason – and so far experts can’t agree on exactly why – the follicles seem to remain in the dormant phase for longer than usual over the summer months.

How can I prevent summer hair loss?

Although there isn’t a definitive answer to stopping summer hair shedding specifically, there are lots of things you can do to prevent hair loss in general. Some of the things you can look at are:

  • Diet – nutrition is a major factor in hair growth, so crash dieting, or a diet poor in certain key nutrients, can lead to hair loss
  • Stress – we’ve all heard about people suddenly losing their hair after a stressful event, but did you know that ongoing, or chronic, stress can also cause hair loss? If you have a high pressure job, or feel like you are juggling too many tasks on a daily basis, it might be worth taking a bit of time out for yourself to keep your hair in peak condition. Yoga and meditation are great options to allow you a bit of breathing space.
  • Hormones – One of the main culprits when it comes to hair loss, the symptoms of hormonal imbalance might easily go unnoticed, or get shrugged off as a result of a poor lifestyle. Things like weight loss or gain, sluggishness or heat regulation problems can all be a sign that something isn’t quite right hormonally. A trip to the GP should be able to rule out hormones as a factor in your hair loss.

To arrange an appointment with one of our hair loss experts to discuss your summer hair loss, call 0121 312 2999.

menopausal hair loss

Most menopausal or post-menopausal women would agree that the menopause changed their hair in some way, but a recent survey has shown that more than one in two women of menopausal age has suffered from some degree of hair loss.

The survey covered 645 US women, all aged between 48 and 56 years old. Of those surveyed, 59 per cent said they had suffered from some degree of hair loss over the preceding twelve months.

Why would the menopause cause hair loss?

Hormonal changes are one of the major players when it comes to hair loss, and the menopause is one of the biggest hormonal changes a woman is likely to undergo – other than pregnancy and childbirth, which can also wreak havoc with your hair.

Experts believe that menopausal hair loss is caused by the sudden fall of oestrogen levels in the body, countered by a rise in testosterone. Testosterone then converts to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which attaches to the hair follicles, causing them to shrink and eventually close down completely.

What can be done to prevent menopausal hair loss?

Whilst you can’t do much about the hormonal changes your body is undergoing, you can try to minimise hair loss by improving your overall wellness:

  • Eat well – make sure your diet is rich in nutrients that promote hair growth – essential fatty acids found in oily fish and certain seeds and nuts are fantastic to prevent hair loss, and supplements like folic acid and vitamin B6 can also help
  • Exercise more – Getting your body moving more will not only aid your physical and mental wellbeing, but it can help prevent hair loss too
  • De-stress – If you can, try to find some time each day to devote to an activity that reduces your stress level – like yoga or meditation – as this will also help to reduce hair loss

 If you think your menopausal hair loss has gone past the point where the preventative measures above can help, there are plenty of options available to you. To speak to one of our hair loss experts and come up with a plan that suits you, please contact us.

Hair Transplant surgery could be revolutionised through the use of a new technique developed by a team in California that might put unlimited transplant grafts on the horizon.

 

Patchy History

Hair transplant surgery has improved beyond recognition, no doubt about it. The early days saw horrendous, ax wound style scars where the donor’s hairs had been taken along with a fair proportion of the patients’ scalp. The relocated hairs would die in their hundreds and thousands leaving a sparse recovering of a bald patch.

Developments in equipment and technique improved care pre and post surgery, and an increased understanding of the processes have all combined. Now the donor sites are small follicular unit sized punctures and the survival rate for the follicles significantly higher. The direction was another issue, as the relocated hairs were prone to sprouting at unusual angles to one another.

The real limitation of transplantation has always been the need to harvest follicles from the patient. This can only be done from a relatively small area of the head, creating a natural limit. Along with the fact that natural hair density is beyond what can be achieved by a surgeon which means the results can be underwhelming.

Hair Transplant Hope

A team working at the Irving Medical Center, at Columbia University, have bought together some leading-edge technology with their own research results to create something special. Using a 3D printer, they have made a mould which mimics the skin on the scalp. It comes complete with microscopic wells, patterned like the follicles on the scalp. They then fill those wells with growth-factors and neonatal skin cells before adding hair follicles which had been generously donated by volunteers working at the lab.

It took three weeks for the team to grow what has been called some of the most robust hairs ever grown outside the human body. The team dream of being able to take a relatively small number of hairs from their patient and being able to grow them into any required amount using their system. A veritable “hair farm” as Dr. Christiano, lead researcher on the project, described it.

If they realise their ambitions they will enable transplant patients to have functioning hair cells implanted in any volume they desire. Lowering hairlines would become a possibility, as would a return to hair density beyond that enjoyed during youth.

The Hair Ambulance

It should be pointed out that this future remains some way off. Experiments to date have only been performed on animals. There is still work to be done in optimising the treatment for humans. That work will need to be complete before they can even think about moving towards lengthy trials.

Their work has implications for hair loss beyond hair transplant surgery. Their mould and the hairs it can grow could be used to test new hair loss cures. So however long it takes, we will continue to monitor their progress closely. You can see the details of the Irving team’s published study here.

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.

 

 

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.

 

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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