Hair Loss - The war is not lost, revitalisation is the key word
The hair is produced in the hair follicle, which is independent and goes through the growth cycle at different times, otherwise all the hair would fall out at once and it would not be possible to maintain a visible capillary density.
The hair life cycle has three stages: the anagen, catagen, and telogen.
In the first stage, the hair follicle grows 1 cm per month for a period of 1 to 7 years. During this stage, the hair root is dilated and deeply embedded into the dermis, filling up the hair follicle.
A transition period, known as the catagen stage, occurs during which the hair matrix recedes, and the growth stops for approximately 3 to 4 weeks.
Then, there is a rest period, known as the telogen stage, during which the hair follicle falls naturally due to brushing or the pressure caused by a new root.
Hair loss, also known as alopecia, affects the hair follicle and causes hair loss in any region of the body. Hair loss is not only an aesthetic and self-esteem issue, but it can also be related to a health problem. Therefore, it should be treated as a disease.
Hair loss can often be associated with the following causes:
- Endocrinal diseases
- Postpartum period
- Nutritional deficiency
- Scalp mycosis
- Use of medicinal products
There are several types of alopecia, but the most frequent, and commonly called baldness, is androgenetic alopecia. It is an inflammatory disease of genetic and hormonal origin, that causes a progressive loss in the hair length and diameter. It occurs due to the presence of the 5a-Reductase enzyme which changes testosterone into dihydrotestosterone and is responsible for hair shortening and fall. The most common way to treat this condition and stop hair loss, is to inhibit this enzyme.
Baldness occurs both in males and females, although it is more common in men. Androgenetic alopecia is a common form of hair loss in both men and women, however the pattern of hair loss in women differs from male-pattern baldness. In men hair is lost in a well-defined pattern, beginning above both temples, and in women, the hair becomes thinner all over the head, and the hairline does not recede.
It is important to note that androgenetic alopecia, unlike other types of alopecia, does not have a cure, but it does have a treatment. You will not see results in the first week, because, as already mentioned, the hair has a cycle, requiring at least 3 to 4 months of treatment to have any visible effect. In many cases, when the treatment is correctly performed in good time, it is possible to reverse hair loss. If the medication or treatment is stopped, the situation may return to the initial stage.
Products in the form of capsules, pills, or powders, which contain in their composition key substances to nourish the hair follicle, such as zinc, iron, vitamin B6 and Biotin. On their own, these supplements do not stop hair loss, but they contribute to maintaining normal hair and nails, being a valuable help in the treatment.
Another supplement that helps stop hair loss is serenoae repens, a plant native to North America. Serenoa inhibits 5a-reductase, helping to reduce hair loss.
Lotions, foams, and sprays can be applied to the scalp and help stop hair loss. In case of a more pronounced hair loss, topical minoxidil 5% lotions are recommended. Minoxidil is a medicinal product that prevents the formation of collagen around the hair follicle, avoiding thus the shrinking and eventual disappearance of hair follicles.
If you suffer from hair loss, it is especially important to use a good shampoo. These shampoos are gentler for the scalp and contain less harmful and irritating substances. Shampoos with caffeine in their composition are a great help in the treatment of alopecia, as well as shampoos containing ketoconazole, which is commonly used to treat scalp mycosis, but also used as a 5areductase inhibitor.
Prescription-only medicinal products
Finasteride, dutasteride are drugs used to treat prostate related problems, but as they are 5a-reductase inhibitors they can be used for hair loss.
This type of medication has to be prescribed by a doctor because it has contraindications and side effects. These medicinal products can be used by women who were not within childbearing age, as it can have an impact on fertility.
When treatments are not effective, the situation is already in a very advanced stage or it is emotionally difficult to accept baldness, there is still the possibility of hair transplant. Hair cosmetic industry has advanced a lot over the years and procedures have got less and less invasive with better results. The main disadvantage of this type of procedure is the associated cost.
Advices for a healthy hair
Dirty hair is more likely to fall out. It is a myth that washing your hair often will make it fall out. If you have greasy hair, you should use a suitable shampoo.
When dyeing your hair, choose a non-aggressive colourant and avoid discolouration.
Avoid using the hair dryer as much as possible or, if you are unable to do so, opt for a lower temperature.
Have a healthy and varied diet in order to consume the recommended daily amounts of vitamins and minerals. Using food supplements is a good way to make up for nutrient deficiencies.
Farmácia Distribuição Magazine
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