Hair loss: A doctor’s opinion
It may not be the most comfortable thing to talk about, but hair loss affects most people at some point in their lives. A professional weighs in on what causes hair loss and what you can do to treat it.
Hair loss is a naturally occurring process that we all experience to varying degrees. But for sufferers of serious hair loss or alopecia, the results can have a serious impact on self-esteem and emotional wellbeing. Fortunately, the field of hair loss treatment has made noteworthy advances, and doctors and scientists are learning more and more about how to prevent it where possible, or treat it more effectively than ever before. There are many theories on what causes hair loss – stress, vitamin deficiencies and poor lifestyle choices are believed to contribute to this problem. But is there any real truth to these theories? We spoke to Dr Kevin Alexander who runs The Hair Loss Clinic in Bedfordview, for his professional opinion.
Hair loss in men vs women
According to Dr Alexander, the main cause of hair loss in both men and women is the same – genetic inheritance. “Most people call the condition male or female pattern baldness, but the official name is alopecia androgenetica,” he explains. “This accounts for the vast majority of permanent hair thinning in men and women that I see at my clinic. The condition appears to be worse in men since males have more testosterone and the genetic receptors are located only on the top of the head. In females, it is usually less severe but more diffuse, covering the top, sides and occasionally the back of the head.”
Oral prescription medication can be effective
When it comes to treating alopecia, Dr Alexander says, “I personally prescribe a male-specific and female-specific prescription tablet that can be used in combination with prescription topical medicines. The male tablet is effective in preventing further balding. The female tablet has potential side effects, so I don’t prescribe it first-line. The most effective medicines for hair regrowth are topically applied prescription lotions.”
Vitamins can improve the condition of hair
While vitamins may not be hugely effective in treating hair loss, they can be used in tandem with prescription medication to improve the condition of hair. “Oral supplements or vitamins may be used in combination with prescription hair loss medicines to improve the condition of the hair, which is their main function. The most important minerals for good hair condition are zinc, iron, biotin, calcium and folic acid,” Dr Alexander recommends.
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