Wednesday, October 1, 2014

How Modern Hair Restoration Can Be Successful

Before seeking the services of a hair replacement center, it is important to understand some basic information about hair loss and what can do about it.

Hair Loss Background

Approximately 95% of the estimated 60 million men and women in the United States who experience abnormal hair loss suffer from a hereditary condition called androgentic alopecia. This is the gradual loss of hair that usually begins somewhere between 30 to 40 years of age in men and is essentially a cosmetic disorder, which is relevant because most health insurance plans will not pay for cosmetic care. In women, the onset of hereditary hair loss usually does not occur until after menopause.

The incidence of androgentic alopecia is highest in white males but can also be found women, Asians, and African Americans. Usually, the thinning hair begins in the frontal area and progresses back over the head. In general, the growth transition begins with large, thick healthy hair, then progresses to thinner, shorter, indeterminate hairs, and finally, short, nonpigmented vellus hairs cover the area sporadically. During this transition, the patient may notice more shedding than normal. Some shedding is natural, as up to 10% of a person’s hair so prone to shedding at any given time. Lab studies can be done to determine whether the hair loss is genetic or caused by other sources.

What can be done about it?

Once the cause of thinning hair is determined, a hair replacement center can offer several viable solutions for hair restoration . If the cause is not genetic, changes in medication, diet, or hairstyle products may take care of the problem without any significant out-of-pocket cost to the patient. In the event the patient is loosing hair due to genetic reasons or the changes mentioned above do not create a regrowth of hair, other options are still available.

• Surgery offers a couple of solutions. One is a scalp reduction. This is where a portion of the bald scalp is removed, and then the skin is stretch to cover the area of the scalp where the skin was removed. The other option is probably the most commonly considered option. Hair follicles can be transplanted from a donor or from thickly haired sections of the head. The main problem with hair plugs is covering the bald area with enough plugs to provide satisfactory results.

• The last option is hair weaving. Hairpieces are weaved into the patient’s natural hair to create a prosthetic method of covering the baldness. While the hairpieces of the past were often horrendous failures, many of the modern prosthetics are indistinguishable from the patient’s own hair.

Conclusion for modern hair restoration technologies

Now that you have a general idea what to expect from a hair replacement center, you can more effectively prepare a list of questions for the doctor. You can also go prepared to ask questions about your family history, medical history, current medications, diet, and general hair care regime.

While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it is also an integral part of self-image. As such, concern over hair loss is a normal reaction and should not be taken lightly.

New Research Links Causes Of Hair Loss To Nutritional Deficiency

Whilst it may be comforting to know that humans are not alone in suffering hair loss (primates such as monkeys also experience thinning on their head) - understanding the causes of hair loss means we can take proactive action. Even though genetics does play a part, new research has uncovered a nutritional deficiency link in both men and women. And other factors, such as stress, and poor hair care, are well within our capacity to change.

The genetic link in hair loss has been well studied. It is associated with male and female pattern hair loss, or alopecia. In these individuals there is an increased sensitivity to the sex hormone, DHT. DHT stands for dihydrotestosterone, and is a powerful metabolite of testosterone. It contributes to men's unique gender characteristics, as well as facial and body hair, and the deepening of men's voices at puberty.

DHT causes the growth cycle of hair follicles to shorten, which in turn reduces the size of the hair shaft. Increasingly narrower hair is grown, sometimes as fine as fluff, and in more extreme cases, there is complete hair loss in that area.

In women, estrogen usually counteracts the effects of testosterone. But when women go through menopause, or suffer hormonal imbalances, the reduction in estrogen can lead to female pattern baldness. Fortunately, this is not as drastic in its hair loss effects as male pattern baldness. Instead the hair tends to thin, and the crown parting becomes wider.

But a very interesting study by L'Oreal has linked an iron deficiency to hair loss, in both men and women. This was a placebo controlled, double blind study in which 13,000 healthy men and women took a supplement, and had the ferritin (iron) levels in their blood measured and cross referenced with information on their hair loss.

The results showed not only a link between hair loss and iron deficiency, but they were able to estimate the risk of hair loss in a certain level of iron deficiency. For example, women whose blood ferritin levels dropped from a normal 70µg/l to 40µg/l, had a 28% higher chance of severe hair loss. The post menopausal women in the study who had severe hair loss all had much lower levels of iron than the women who didn't have severe hair loss.

The problem with iron supplementation, however, is that excess iron builds up in the body's tissues and becomes toxic. It has been associated with an increased risk of developing chronic illnesses. Iron levels can be tested by a doctor, so if hair loss is a concern, its best to get your iron levels tested first before taking iron supplements.

Other potential causes of hair loss - or at least, contributing factors are stress and poor hair care practices. Not brushing hair regularly, or washing it regularly, can affect the normal hair growth cycle.

When hair that is naturally at the end of its life cycle is removed through brushing, it allows another hair to grow underneath it. Regular brushing naturally removes dead hair that is ready to fall out. Not removing that hair means new growth cannot occur, as the old hair smothers the new growth. Dirt and oil build up can have a similar effect, so its important to wash hair regularly.

Stress can affect the circulation of nutrients and oxygen to the scalp, by causing the muscles in the scalp to tighten. If this happens over a long period of time, premature hair loss can occur. This cause of hair loss is distinct from male pattern baldness (which is hormonal), but it can certainly exacerbate the condition. And stress reduction techniques are simple things that can be added to a daily routine, to prevent hair loss, and improve the overall quality of life.

Don’t Lose Hair

Men and hair loss seems always to have been a losing combination. Although male pattern hair loss is very common—two out of three men will experience it—and is hardly ever associated with serious health risks, it’s hard to imagine a common condition that is met with more anxiety. But much of the stigma surrounding male hair loss is due to half-truths and exaggerations. So if you start noticing there’s not as much hair up there, don’t pull out the rest of it in worry—take our quiz below and learn what’s going on with your body and how you can slow the follicle fallout.

If you’re losing hair, it’s male pattern baldness.

False. It’s true that for 95 percent of men who lose their hair, male pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, is the culprit. With this condition, an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, a hormone that causes hair follicles to shut down hair production. Male pattern baldness can begin appearing in men in their 20s and usually progresses slowly from the front or apex of the scalp, or both.

But male pattern baldness is not the only cause of male hair loss—and it’s important to talk to your physician or dermatologist to determine the cause, because it can point to certain health problems. For example, if your hair is falling out quickly and in small patches, it may be a sign of alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the hair. Stress can also lead to rapid hair loss. In these cases, the hair usually regrows after several months. Other causes include a severe ailment or major surgery; protein, vitamin B, or iron deficiencies; medication complications; or thyroid disease.

It’s your mother’s fault.

False. Male pattern baldness is a largely genetic characteristic that can be inherited from either your mother or your father. It’s even possible to acquire the hair-loss gene from both parents. In fact, the same gene also causes hair loss in women, although because of hormonal differences, women tend to lose their hair in small amounts all over their scalp.

There’s hope.

True. Here’s the good news: In many cases, male pattern baldness can be treated. In the early stages, many conventional physicians prescribe either minoxidil lotion, applied topically, or finasteride, taken orally. These medications have been shown to slow hair loss in many patients and, in some cases, cause hair to grow back. According to Robert Brodell, MD, professor of internal medicine in the dermatology section at Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, complications associated with both drugs are minimal, but there are downsides. Not only are the medications expensive, but they only work for as long as you take them. “I tell my patients that they are going to be on one of those medicines for 5 years or 10 years or 15 years, until they are married and have kids and don’t care anymore,” says Brodell. “And then when they stop their medicine, we fully expect them to start losing their hair again.” Great strides are being made in the field of hair transplants, but like any invasive therapy, these procedures are expensive and time-consuming and should not be undertaken lightly.

If surgery or drug therapies aren’t for you, a number of naturopathic remedies might offer similar results—without the high cost. Keith F. Zeitlin, ND, a naturopathic physician with a private practice in Connecticut, recommends the herbs saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) and stinging nettle root (Urtica dioica), and the supplement beta-sitosterol, which all appear to work similarly to conventional medicines by shutting down the enzyme 5-alpha reductase’s creation of dihydrotestosterone, the hormone that ceases hair production. “If we can inhibit that enzyme, we can actually inhibit hair loss,” says Zeitlin. (For more information, see “Herbs and Supplements for Hair Loss,” below.)

Another option is mesotherapy, a treatment in which very short needles are used to inject homeopathic remedies; vitamins such as biotin; or conventional medicines such as minoxidil just underneath the surface of the scalp. “The skin is used as a natural time-release system,” says practitioner Harry Adelson, ND, a Utah-based pain-medicine specialist. “Whatever it is you are injecting remains in the area for up to a week and continually penetrates down into the deeper tissue.”

You can live a hair-healthy lifestyle.

True. Although there’s no apparent validity to the old wives’ tales that sexual activity or excessive hat wearing can cause hair loss, other lifestyle choices may indeed hurt your hair. In fact, it might make more sense to keep that hat on; a study conducted at the University Hospital of Zurich in Switzerland proposed that ultraviolet rays from the sun might injure hair follicles (Dermatology, 2003, vol. 207, no. 4). How you clean and care for your hair may also be a factor in hair loss. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, too many chemical treatments such as dying, straightening, and bleaching, as well as excessive washing, towel drying, and brushing, may weaken or damage your hair, causing it to break or fall out.

Those worried about hair loss should also reevaluate their diets. Zeitlin warns that very large doses of vitamin A can lead to vitamin A toxicity and eventual hair loss. He recommends his patients replace vitamin A-rich foods and saturated fats, which may also encourage hair loss, with green vegetables, whole grains, essential fatty acids, and other foods rich in hair-healthy vitamins and minerals such as zinc. What you drink may also play a role: According to a 2003 study, alcohol consumption may aggravate hair loss (British Journal of Dermatology, 2003, vol. 149, no. 6).

Hair loss is a bad thing.

False. Let’s not forget the cheapest, easiest, and safest treatment for male pattern hair loss: doing nothing at all. After all, hair loss is not usually a health concern and, despite what our culture may sometimes suggest, there’s nothing wrong with showing a little skin—on your head, that is. After all, look at Patrick Stewart, Bruce Willis, and Sean Connery. “I certainly wouldn’t recommend that anybody have their male pattern baldness treated who isn’t bothered by it,” says Brodell. “I’m losing my hair, and I’m not using any of these treatments.”

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Did I Inherit A Hair Loss Gene?

Men who start to go bald even before a mid-life crisis may have their mothers to blame, according to a new study. Researchers have found that the main construction manual for a full head of hair is located on the X chromosome, which sons always inherit from their mothers.

This genetic storage space contains the so-called androgen receptor gene, a long time balding suspect. Looking at men who were losing their hair at a relatively young age, a team led by Markus Nothen, PhD, of the Life & Brain Center at Bonn University, Germany systematically examined all of the genetic patterns within the X chromosome to see why certain hairlines recede faster than others. It’s not a pretty picture.

The study, published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, claims that a single alteration in the androgen-receptor gene is the major reason why some men end up going bald before their fathers. Nearly half of bald men would not be bald if they did not have this genetic variation. The hair loss in these younger men, he added, was much more severe than in the men who still had a reason to use a comb in their 60s.

The two approved medicines to treat hair loss (Rogaine and Propecia) need to be taken for a long time to see results. With Propecia, doctors sometimes advise their patients not to expect any results before at least six to eight months. And both need to be used indefinitely to maintain its effect. Once you stop, hair loss will continue.

Although there are only two medicines approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat hair loss, many people are interested in other, alternative treatments. The herb saw palmetto has been used for many years in Europe to treat symptoms of an enlarged prostate and there is some evidence that it may also be effective in treating hair loss.

Determing Which is the Best Hair Loss Product

You have probably asked yourself time and time again, what is the best hair loss product available?  That question was asked on a Google answers site, and the experts answer?  They stated that there is no answer to that question. 

They are correct in that there is no general answer to that question, but there is an answer to the alternative question, “What is the best hair loss product for me?”  It’s still not an easy question to answer though, and you’ll probably need to find the answer via good old-fashioned trial and error methods.

Home Remedies   
There are many kinds of home remedies for hair loss.  I’m pretty sure some of them can be disregarded — like rubbing cow manure on your head — but some of them probably do help some people.  Here are a few of the more promising home remedies for hair loss:

§ Rinse your hair with apple cider vinegar and sage tea.
§ A variety of oils have been used—almond oil, castor oil, olive oil, and amla oil.  Usually the oil is warmed, which will at least feel good and make your hair shiny. 
§ Applying coconut milk or aloe vera gel to your scalp.
§ Applying a masque of honey and egg yolk to your hair and scalp.

All of these concoctions should be washed out (except the apple cider and sage tea rinse) after use.

Hair Care Products

The best hair loss product for you could be as simple as a good shampoo or conditioner.  Some people swear by Nizoral shampoo, and say it puts an end to hair loss.  Some people love Mane and Tail shampoo and conditioner, because it makes their hair look and feel fuller and thicker.  Your hairdresser may have some suggestions about hair care products that help you with your hair loss.

Herbal Remedies

Some people believe that the best hair loss product is an herbal remedy.  There are a number of herbal lotions and potions as well as nutritional supplements specially formulated to treat hair loss.  An herbalist may be able to recommend the best products for your particular type of hair loss.  Here are a few herbal remedies that seem to help:

§ Ginko biloba
§ Green tea
§ A Chinese herb called “he shou wu”
§ Pygeum
§ Aloe vera
§ Saw palmetto
§ Stinging nettle

Some of these are taken in pill form and some are made into preparations that you rub onto your scalp.  Some (like, for instance, stinging nettles) can cause a reaction, so use all herbal preparations with care.

Minoxidil (Rogain®)

A lot of people consider that this is the best hair loss product.  It’s available without a prescription at any pharmacy, and it works for a lot of people.  Minoxidil helps both men and women to grow more hair.  Remember, though, that as soon as you quit taking minoxidil, your hair will start to fall out again.

Prescription Medications

A prescription medication, such as Propecia, could be the ideal hair loss product for you.  You need to see the doctor to get it, but that’s a good thing, because she will conduct a check-up to see if there is some underlying cause to your hair loss that can be taken care of permanently.

Wigs, Rugs and Weaves

It could turn to be that the best hair loss product for you is a cover up of some kind.  This is especially true when the hair loss is temporary, such as when your hair falls out while undergoing chemotherapy. 

There are a lot of options available to you to treat hair loss, but only you can decide which is the best hair loss product for you.  Test a few things, and when you find something that works for you, stick with it.  It may not work for everybody, but the important thing here is that you will have found the best hair loss product for you.

Biotin and Hair Loss

Falling hair is normal, when you take bath roll in the bed, do combing and such other activities, you lost some of your hairs. It is very natural. But if your hair falls and that too in such a quantity that makes your head poor haired then it is a deficiency, which may ultimately lead to baldness. If this is the case, then you are suffering with hair problems. The causes may be many and you need to identify them, but ultimately your body is deficient of Biotin. Yes, Biotin, it is the vitamin, which makes your hair healthy, strong and good looking. It is clinically proven, so maintaining a good level of Biotin in your body system is as essential as maintaining other vitamins and minerals. Biotin is necessary for your hairs health and overall well being. Medical specialists advise that the persons suffering with Hair Problems must take Biotin in addition to other medications.

So if you are suffering with hair problems, must go for medications with Biotin substitutes.  Foods like eggs. Yolk and liver contains a lot of Biotin, you need to consume these foods in rich quantity to maintain your health and prevent hair loss.
Using a Biotin enriched shampoo may also help in improving your hair health.

Some more foods rich in Biotin are; brewer’s yeast, green peas, oats, soybeans, walnuts, sunflower seeds, green peas, bulgur and brown rice, etc. Eating these foods and food products will help your body in maintaining a good level of Biotin.

A person who is a patient of heartburn, acid reflux or GERD absorbs less amount of Biotin, and hence may trap into hair problems. This is because; a person suffering with above-mentioned disease takes a lot of antacids.
So now, you will definitely agree with the fact that Biotin is a hair food, and important for good hair health.

What Biotin else does for your body?

Biotin is a member of Vitamin B complex family also sometime known as Vitamin H or Vitamin B7. This is soluble in water, which means, if body has high level of Vitamin H at a certain day or time, it pass out through Urine. This vitamin is produced in the intestine with the help of bacteria in the intestine. Biotin helps in metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins and helps in maintaining steady blood sugar. So, it is good for the persons suffering with Diabetes. Diabetes is a major disease across the globe and affects several men and women.

Biotin do processing of glucose and we know glucose is one of the source of energy of our body to perform work and maintaining wear and tear of the body. Biotin also helps in making of DNA, RNA and nucleic acids and production of fatty acids. Growth and replication of cells depends on Biotin.
Thus on one hand Biotin helps in maintaining good hair health and on the other hand it is important for several bodily functions.

Sources of Biotin

The main sources of Biotin are; liver, kidneys, milk, cheese, butter and other dairy products, egg yolks, oysters, lobsters, poultry, cauliflower, avocados, bananas, strawberries, watermelon, grapefruits, raisins, mushrooms, green peas, blackcurrants, brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, nuts, beans, lentils, oat bran, whole grains, oatmeal, peanut butter, molasses, and foods like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and herrings (foods rich in Omega – 3 fatty acids).
A healthy person and pregnant woman must take 300 grams of Biotin in daily diet. Breastfeeding mothers need about 350 micrograms of Biotin.

Symptoms of Biotin Deficiency

People affecting with Biotin deficiency may show dry or scaly scalp, a loss of appetite, hair problems; closely associated with Biotin deficiency, nausea, depression, dermatitis, anorexia, and anemia.

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Guide To Balding Men's Hairstyles

It’s unbelievable how difficult it is to find any decent information on the internet about balding men’s hairstyles. 

You’ll know this yourself if you’ve ever tried to do a search on Google for ‘balding men’s hairstyles’, ‘hairstyles for balding men’, ‘balding hairstyles’ or any other amount of variations on the theme.

This is surprising considering how many balding men there are who deserve a decent hairstyle as much as any one else…

So… faced with this injustice I’ve put together my own guide to balding men’s hairstyles…

It’s a fact that 95% of all balding or bald men suffer from male pattern baldness.  Male pattern baldness usually starts with a receding hairline at the front and is frequently accompanied with thinning at the top.

Over time, this thinning turns into a full fledged bald spot, and the bald spot grows to cover the head, apart from the sides and around the back.

Regardless of this, as long as there is a single hair left on my head I’ll still demand a stylish coiffure.  So, what balding hairstyle options are available?

The worst balding men’s hairstyle is the comb over.  This is the classic look beloved of men of a certain age whereby the hair is grown longer on one side of the head and ‘combed over’ the bald area to the other side.

This strategy only spells disaster even in the slightest of breezes and is to be avoided at all costs.

But assuming you already know this, what are the other do’s and don'ts to balding men’s hairstyles?

The first common mistake is combing the hair straight back.  This may cover bald spots, but it only exposes the forehead and draws attention to the receding hairline.

The second is growing your hair longer at the back to make up for what's lacking on top.  This unbalances the head and draws even more attention to the scalp and the baldness.

Younger men with thinning hair might be tempted to use gel… but this isn’t recommended.  Gel clumps your hair together and reveals the scalp.

Likewise, growing your hair long in an attempt to cover up actually causes hair to separate and show more scalp.

So, what are the do’s?

Get more natural looking fluff to your hair by using mousses and conditioners.

Grow your remaining hair by a few inches, get it layered and brush it forward to break up the receding hairline.

If your hairline isn’t receding too badly, but the top of your head is thinning, you can get away with keeping the front long and combing your hair straight back to cover the bald spot. 

Eventually however, your bald spot will expand.

The ultimate balding men’s hairstyle when faced with a shiny bald dome, is to go the whole hog and shave it off or at least a very close trim.

You’ll probably be amazed at people’s reactions and the compliments you’ll get – the shaved look is a totally acceptable balding hairstyle these days.

Start with electric clippers like you find in the barbers. After you've clipped the heavy stuff, lather up with shaving gel.  This gives you a closer, smoother shave than shaving cream.
Then using a razor, start at the top and shave down with the grain taking care at the back -  it’s recommended to watch what you’re doing with a small mirror.

Shaving your head only takes a few minutes and you don't need to do it every day (two to three times a week is fine).

Taking care of your new shaved head is much like taking care of your face. Wash regularly with moisturizing soap, rather than a harsh deodorant soap that can dry out the skin on your head. 

Also use a good quality moisturizer after every wash – cheaper moisturizers will just clog up your pores.

For the summer, find a moisturizer with a sun protection factor of at least 15 to avoid sunburn on your head. And you'll need a warm hat in winter to maintain your body heat.

If shaving doesn't tickle your fancy then you can always opt for a hairpiece as a last resort - though I wouldn't recommend it :-)