Readers' Questions & Answers

 

The following is a selection from the hundreds of actual Readers Questions received together with our answers as given - in chronological order.

Please note that the purpose of this page is to present, for general interest, a selection of questions posed by readers and the answers provided by our experts.

Without the benefit of examination The Society’s experts are unable to provide individual diagnoses.


Personal diagnosis and recommendations as to treatment can only be provided by the appropriate professional during consultation with examination.

 


My 31-year-old son has been told that the only effective treatment for a 7cm diameter bald patch at his crown is hair- transplant surgery. What advice can you give?

Answer
This sounds like Male Pattern (Androgenetic) Alopecia. It is a worrying condition for a young man. Hair grafting by a competent surgeon using micro-grafting techniques can be an option. Be aware that additional surgery may be needed as further natural hair is lost. Select your surgeon carefully. These web pages list reputable specialist surgeons who may be consulted. If you prefer, an independent opinion can be sought from a registered trichologist who will be able to recommend a surgeon. See HAIR CONSULTANTS. Also visit Hair Restoration Surgery for more information.

Question
I am losing a frightening number of hairs each day. My doctor says everyone loses hair, but I am worried. What should I do?

Answer
Homo Sapiens lose hairs every day, the number is consequential upon many factors. An average loss is between 50-120 hairs. It is impossible to comment without details of your general health especially during recent months. Please do not panic as many of the conditions, which cause hair losses, are not serious, and the skin usually re-grows the lost hair after a short resting period. It is our opinion that you should seek the advice of a proper trichologist who is trained to advise and if necessary treat you. Please see our listing for Trichologists.

Question
I woke up this morning with a sore scalp and lots of my hair had broken off on the pillow. I had my hair permed at a hair salon yesterday. What can I do? Can you help?

Answer
It sounds as if something went wrong. Do nothing to your scalp until you have visited your Doctor about the soreness. Don't get too distressed for scalps generally heal quickly. You may like to see a trichologist who will advise you. He/she will also assess the damage and record the details and prepare a report of your condition if required. If you feel that you would like to consider a claim - compensation for your ordeal, you will need to speak to a Solicitor who specialises in such matters. The Trichologist will work with the Solicitor. You will find lists of these specialists within this website.

Question
I have suffered psoriasis of my scalp for 20 or more years. It gets particularly itchy and uncomfortable at the nape of my neck and also around the back of my ears. I have tried everything. What could a trichologist do?

Answer
I expect you realise by now that psoriasis is considered to be incurable, it is a skin condition caused by an increase in the rate of production of certain layers of epidermal cells. The occipital (nape region) and retro-auricular (around the ears) regions if involved can cause distress. Some trichologists offer physical treatments for this condition involving the use of keratolytics and Ultra Violet Irradiation. Success rates are unquantifyable, and I regret the word 'cure' would not be appropriate though some relief should be expected. I think it could be worth a try. Visit Psoriasis for more information.

Question
My scalp is very sore, and I am loosing a great many hairs each day on my pillow and when I shampoo my hair. I have tried many 'remedies' to no avail, and no one seems to have a credible explanation - please help.

Answer
It is wrong to attempt to diagnose this herein as I think you need professional help. Seek the help of the nearest Trichologist listed on this WebSite.

Question
I have a very hairy body. OK in man but not attractive for a women. What can I do?

Answer
Seek the advice of a laser epilation specialist. Some medically supervised practices exist and I suggest you seek one. The Society seeks to create a more extensive list of such practitioners.

Question
I have a receding front hairline. I do not want hair transplants to show like dolls hair. Can a realistic effect be created.

Answer
The latest surgical techniques have advanced greatly and now offer a far more natural result. Consult any of the Surgeons listed on this site and ask to see photographs of their work. You will be impressed. Visit Hair Restoration Surgery for more information,

Question
Your advice would be very much appreciated.
I moved to the UK (London) about 18 months ago. My hair has been falling out fairly badly since.
I have been to see my local GP only to be told that it is the water in London. I have had various blood tests done (to test for thyroid etc. - results were clear).
The *****(hair clinic) diagnosed iron deficiency! (no blood tests were taken). I was told I needed a course of treatment - the cost - £600 + Vat). I feel this is a lot of money to pay up front.
I am taking multi vitamins, iron supplements etc. I have tried various shampoos, but to no avail.
One of the shampoos I tried was a Tea Tree shampoo which reacted very badly with my scalp (itched) and my hair fell out in even greater numbers.
Please point me in the right direction.

Answer
You certainly have been given strange advice - "London water causing hair loss". A diagnosis of "iron deficiency" without tests. Each of these 'diagnoses' is questionable. I really think you need another opinion. Please seek the advice of a trichologist registered with this Society. Please let us know the result.

Question
I've heard that people lose there hair because they wear a hat for too long. Is there any substance to this?

Answer
If the area showing hair loss is not receiving any contact with the hat, you may reasonably assume it is not the cause.
Generally speaking, hair loss is rarely caused by hat wearing., though some people find it a convenient explanation.
For an accurate diagnosis you would need to consult a registered trichologist or medical practitioner specialising in this subject. There may be one in your area listed with The Trichological Society please see consultants listings.

Question
Hello, I am interested in "Eyebrow Restoration" (a hair transplant from the scalp to the eyebrows). Could you please let me know if there is a clinic in Britain or Europe which does this? Thank you.

Answer
This surgical technique is performed by many of the surgeons listed on this website. Go to Hair Consultants (title bar).

Question
My Sister has been diagnosed with Alopecia Areata. She is very depressed. I have very long hair and would be happy to donate it for making into a wig for her. Can you recommend a wig maker. I live in Massachusetts
THANK YOU

Answer
Thank you for your letter.
I am sorry to learn of your sisters hair condition. Please give her my sympathy but tell her to keep her hopes high, AA is often a temporary condition.
The Society is young having been inaugurated just 18 months ago. We have sought professional wigmakers with a proven ability and good reputation for listing - generally without success.
Made-to-measure wigs are expensive and difficult to acquire in the western world. They have been largely replaced by ready made items from third world countries. If a wig becomes necessary, I suggest she considers a synthetic one from a boutique. This would be much less expensive and easily washed. When natural hair is used, two wigs are needed to alternate during the expert chemical cleaning that is required.
As to wig wearing; This should be the last resort, small bald patches can be made less obvious by colouring the skin to match the hair using a suitable eye shadow.

Question
I have a problem. My husband says my scalp has a bad odour. I asked my doctor about it and he recommended an over the counter shampoo, I have since tried everyone that is sold. I wash my hair daily and have switched shampoos and conditioners, and nothing helps. Can it be something internal? My scalp does sometimes itch, but I don't have dandruff. Any ideas what it could be?

Answer
I regret that I am prohibited by The Society's ethical code from offering anything except the most general advice, or attempting any form of diagnosis. The following is therefore based on that:
Bromidrosis is a condition in which the sweat develops an extremely disagreeable odour, this can be due to bacterial infection which causes decomposition of sweat. In some cases it may be due to excessive secretion of the apocrine glands. It is unusual - but not impossible for the scalp to be affected. Some relief has been gained by drinking massive quantities of water daily (restrict/cut out/ tea, coffee and especially alcohol). Any improvement may take several weeks. Where this simple procedure fails seek the advice of a dermatologist.

Question
My daughter has recently had her hair dyed with blonde highlights and is unhappy with the outcome and wishes to revert to the original colour or as near as possible. We realise that this will require specialist advice and wonder whether this is a Trichologist's area of expertise. Alternatively is there another professional body that specialises in this?

Answer
Trichologists listed with the Society are highly qualified experts in hair sciences, they are not hairdressers, and would therefore be unable to comment on the asthetics of this case.

The following general view is therefore provided on that basis:-
Bleaching involves chemistry which alters hair structure. The hairshafts may feel different and their response to further chemical procedures may be unpredictable e.g. they do not always accept artificial colouring well, added colour may fade rapidly, and there may be a risk of consequential damage - to the point of disintegration.
I would suggest that any dissatisfaction with the outcome of a hairdressing procedure should warrant a return to the person who performed it.

Question
Help!
For the last couple of years, my son has had his hair bleached yellow two or three times, and white one time. The bleach did nothing to hurt his hair, and it always grew back thick and pretty. Then, about 7 months ago, my I dyed my son's hair black here at home. Well, it started falling out right after the black dye. My son is only 16, and has very, very thin hair because of this. He lost his thick hair. You can see his scalp and his hair is very sparse. Will his hair grow back? How come the bleach didn't bother his hair, but the black dye did? It's the same brand of dye that I use on my own hair, except I use dark brown. His head resembles an older man with thinning hair. Please tell me that the hair will grow back. We are not touching it and letting it alone, even though he wants to bleach it again.

Answer
It is unlikely that you have caused any permanent harm to your son's hair by colouring. My comments here can only be general because I have not conducted an examination of your son's scalp and hair.
In general
Hair dyes do not cause permanent hair loss in either sex unless scalp damage has occurred (very obvious if present and unlikely).
Temporary hair losses may occur if:
i)  a dye has caused the scalp to become inflamed and sore (obvious if present). If this is so the patient should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible.
ii) multiple colouring have caused hair breakage at scalp level.

Hair thus lost following colouring procedures will usually re-grow spontaneously.
I personally agree that you should refrain from any further colouring procedures.
As it is also a possibility that the hair losses are not associated with hair colouring consultant advice should be sought if recovery does not ensue within a few weeks.

Question
My mother has scalp psoriasis. Is it possible to have hair replacement surgery? Can you suggest any advice on what we can do to help her hair look better or cover up the bald spot?

Answer
I am sorry to learn of your Mother's problem.
I would recommend she seeks advice from a reputable plastic surgeon or a hair restoration surgeon. It may be possible to improve things for her. To locate one of these specialists either speak to her family doctor or see 'Hair Consultants' (title-bar). Also see Hair Restoration Surgery
Please let us know how you progress.

Question
I am trying to find out about Sodium Myreth Sulfate. It is in one of the Paul Mitchell shampoos, however I do not see it listed in any other of the popular shampoos, or any others in that line when I glance at the
ingredients. I am trying to determine if it is a more gentle cleanser than Sodium Laureth Sulfate.

Answer
Sodium myristyl ether sulphate is a slightly unusual ingredient. It has a C14 chain as opposed to the C12 of lauryl types. Because it has a longer chain length it will be slightly milder than the equivalent lauryl with the same number of EO units in it. It does get used in personal care products but is likely to be expensive due to its low volume production.

Question
I am currently working on and wondered if you could help I am wanting information on the effects on the hair caused by under nutrition and eating disorders anorexia and bulimia.


Answer
A human body facing a threat to its very existence (e.g. via malnutrition associated with advanced anorexia or bulimia) is capable of spontaneously directing all its energy resources toward the essentials of life preservation. Pilo-sebaceous follicular activity would have a low or nil priority during such a crisis period and would suffer a slow down or cessation. As a consequence it is likely that hair follicle evacuation in the form of a telogen effluvium cycle would be initiated. The symptoms of this (major hair losses) becoming apparent usually within 6-12 weeks.   Hope this helps.

Question
I am hoping to get some info on remedies for womans' hair loss - e.g. what does and does not work.

Answer
I am sorry but there is no short answer to your question.
Hair loss in women can result from all manner of conditions requiring different treatments. There is therefore no single treatment for hair loss and buying products for this will not usually be a good idea.
You really should take proper advice from a dermatologist or a properly qualified trichologist.

Question
I am working on my Thesis about soft tissue of ancient egyptian mummies. I have rehydrated the skin of an Egyptian mummy (3500 years old) and have found multiple hair shafts (4, 6, and 9) in the histological slide of a dermis.
Does this indicate that the person was ill or does it mean that the mummy belonged to an animal. I have asked so many people and I am desperate to find the answer.  Thank you!

Answer
One of The Society's senior trichologists responds to your question-
'Can several hairshafts apparently share a single hair-follicle in Homo-Sapiens?'
Yes ! Multiple hairshafts can emanate from a single follicle.
This follicle sharing characteristic can currently be seen some in Egyptians, Jordanians, Iranians, Iraqis and probably other nationalities from that region. It is not a symptom of ill health.

The best of luck with your Thesis - it sounds fascinating.

 

Question
I have browsing the web for information on a assignment I am currently working on and wondered if you could help. I am wanting information on the effects on the hair caused by under nutrition and eating disorders anorexia and bulimia.

Answer
A human body facing a threat to its very existence (e.g. via malnutrition associated with advanced anorexia or bulimia) is capable of spontaneously directing all its energy resources toward the essentials of life preservation. Pilo-sebaceous follicular activity would have a low or nil priority during such a crisis period and would suffer a slow down or cessation. As a consequence it is likely that hair follicle evacuation in the form of telogen effluvium would be initiated. The symptoms of this (major hair loss of telogen hairs) becoming apparent usually within 6-12 weeks. Hope this helps!

Question
I have suffered severe hair loss over the last few years and wonder if it is possible to purchase false eyebrows. There are plenty of sites on the internet for buying eyelashes but none for eyebrows. Do you know of any reputable supplier (s) I could contact?
Your help would be much appreciated.

Answer
Sorry - we have not been asked for this before, and have no knowledge of suppliers.
Have you considered micro-pigmentation (a sort of Tattoo). My information is that this can be aesthetically successful. For more info please read micro-pigmentation.

Question
I have been taking a prescription of premarin for several years and I am concerned about my hair loss and always being tired. Can you help me find out why?

Answer
I regret that without the benefit of examination The Society’s staff are unable to diagnose or give recommendations as to treatment. My comments are therefore general and not delivered to you personally.  
Premarin is not usually associated with hair loss, indeed on the contrary it may well be an advantage to women suffering certain types of hair losses.
Women who suffer extreme tiredness and hair losses should talk to their medical advisor re possible thyroid function, iron deficiency serum ferritin level etc.


Question
I have a very severe allergic reaction to PPD in hair dyes, but I wish to colour my hair. I have tried many products, several hair salons have tried to help, have
asked all and sundry but cannot find a hair dye that does not contain PPD. Even those sold in health food stores contain it.
I have come across of people with my problem but no solution. Do you know of any hair dye available without this revolting chemical, either over the counter or in salons?

Answer
This is not an easy question to answer as most hair colorants do contain this ingredient. Even some sold as vegetable colorants may contain PPD's.
The only alternative is a pure vegetable colorant. These are not always totally satisfactory because of the limited number colours, and hair so treated may be left feeling dry and sometimes lustreless. Permanent waving may also be a problem.

Question
I am going to Ghana for 6 weeks in the summer and don't know how best to protect my hair from heat damage. I thought about braiding it, as i'm going to teach English and need something easy and quick, no hassle hair, what do you think? Any suggestions?

Answer
Please Please never braid your hair! It is the surest way of causing traction alopecia (hairloss which is often irreparable).
I would recommend adding a light oil to the hair as the best all round protection. However nothing can be guaranteed to counter any excessive exposure to the high levels of Ultra Violet Radiation associated with that country, so be careful.
Have a good trip.

Question
I am 24 years old and my beard does not grow completely.Is a there a way to grow the beard e.g. special food, special cream or any other thing.
I will appreciate any advice.

Answer
The answer to your question is unfortunately No!
There is no way of promoting beard hair beyond that which occurs naturally.
To explain: Hairs will only grow from the follicles you were born with. The human body does not manufacture extra follicles throughout your life. If unfortunately you are one of those men with few facial hair follicles, your beard will be scant. Some men are unable to grow any facial hair. - Sorry that I am unable to help you.

Question
I was recently looking at your website and I have a question I would be
grateful for you to answer. "Is a Trichologist a medical practitioner"?

Answer
In answer to your question "Is a Trichologist a medical practitioner"?
No not usually, although some medical practitioner's do describe themselves as trichologists also.
The Society's trichologists are highly trained in this 'narrow' specialism. Study takes 2-6 years commencing at A level entry or above.  Hope this is of help!

Question
I would be grateful if you could answer a query that i have. A while ago, a friend of mine started to lose her hair around the back of her head. In recent months, it has spread to the middle of her head and the hair is falling off in a vertical line around the middle. She contacted a trichological centre in london and they started a treatment procedure which involved using a "low power laser comb" to stimulate hair growth. My query is: To what extent can this procedure be trusted to work? and how safe is this laser comb. i.e. does it have any side effects and what effect will increased exposure to the laser rays have.
I would be extremely grateful for your opinion.

Answer
Laser therapy seems to be a ‘hi-tech biochemical treatment’ The Society now has authoritive references to its safety and efficacy in the treatment of some forms of hair loss e.g. Alopecia Areata, and its registered trichologists now use this treatment technique.

Question
I had a strong regime of chemotherapy just over 2 years ago. When my hair came back in, it was only about 30% as thick as it was before. And this is all over my body. Even my eyebrows are thinned out. Is there anything I can do to restore my hair to its former thickness?

Answer
Thank you for writing. You will I hope understand that without examination I am unable to advise on individual cases.  My comments therefore are general but not specific to you. Following chemotherapy, the skin may be denuded.  In most patients folliculogenesis follows and hair reappears within 3-6 months, but some changes in the hair characteristics may become evident.  It some persons, the new hairshafts may be physically finer making the hair as a whole seem thinner.
Such changes may be permanent or temporary.  One should be overtly philosophical about this – chemotherapy may have changed the hair but the patient is alive !

I really think you should consider consulting a qualified trichologist but be careful in your selection, many ‘trichologists’ are self trained or poorly trained– many are charlatans !


Question
I recently had extensions woven into my hair for a photo shoot. I only had them in 3 days and I was experiencing terrible migraines, itching, and soreness. One night I couldn't take the pain and cut them all out (very carefully) My hair had broken to half its original length due to the stress and now my scalp is still sore (although MUCH better). I have sores (red spots) on my scalp and had to cut my once shoulder length hair into a pixie because of all the breakage. What can I do about the soreness? Should I not wash my hair for a while? Are there any recommended products to sooth the scalp? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Answer
Thank you for your letter.  I am sorry that you have learned such a hard lesson.  
In my opinion the process of hair extensions should be illegal.  So many people have suffered as you following the procedure.  There may be grounds for litigation.
The scalp will remain tender for a while, but will recover eventually. Shampooing may provide temporary relief.
I recommend a visit to your doctor or a registered trichologist.
If you reside in UK you may like to telephone my office for a chat 07742 336 337

Question
I am South African and the mother of a three year old twin girl who was diagnosed with tinea capitis11 months ago. I have spent time taking her to different doctors who gave her different treatments but unfortunately nothing helped. The question is that the other twin has not being affected since they are sharing most of the things in the house.
Can you please advise on how to treatment this infection?

Answer
Tinea Capitis in children can be very persistent. It can take a long time to eradicate with either or both topical and systemic drugs and there is also the possibility of re-infection if your child is in contact with young farm animals.  It is interesting that your other twin is not infected.
As you will need medicines to treat this I really would recommend that you seek further help from a doctor.  


Question
Please could you advise me: 
After a course of chemotherapy& radiotherapy, when is it safe to colour my hair again !
normally I use a permanent hair dye to cover grey. please could you kindly let me know.

Answer                 
I am sorry to learn of your need for chemotherapy and very much hope you make a complete recovery.
If you visit the website  < http://www.hairscientists.org/chemotherapy-hairloss.htm >  read this and the linked page on hair-dyes, you will I feel sure find answers to many possible questions. Please telephone my office (Tuesdays or Fridays) 01708 728980 if you would like to speak to me.


Question
Dear hairscientists
I have a very urgent worry. My husband is 29 years old. He suffered asthma and hay fever as a boy - but otherwise enjoys good health). He was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata (June 2003). This is now seemingly developing into Alopecia Universalis. Is it likely that any children we have could be affected similarly? Are there any research figures? I have read that hereditary plays a role with this disease, but up to what point are the children of patients affected?
Thank you so much in advance for your answer!

Answer
Thank you for your letter. I am sorry to learn of your worries.
Alopecia Areata /Totalis/ Universalis is an auto-immune condition (in which the body rejects the hair).
Whereas records indicate that A. Areata may occur in more than one member of some families,  this is comparatively rare and full recovery is usual.
I am unaware of even a single recorded case of inherited A. Universalis (the most advanced and rarest form of the condition, and one from which your husband may recover in time - so never give up hope!).   
It is my opinion that your future children will be very very unlikely to suffer A. Universalis.


Question
I am a 47 year old healthy female. I am experiencing hair loss on the top of my scalp behind the frontal area. I am considering using an OTC product from the U.S. which claims to stop the hormonal conversion of testosterone to a substance known as DHT (dihydrotestosterone) by blocking enzyme 5 alpha reductase. Do you know whether this product is safe for women to take? Are you familiar with this?
Thanks

Answer
Thank you for your enquiry
The Society has no in-depth knowledge of this product and cannot therefore comment on its efficacy, or possible side-effects which would probably take many years to become apparent.
Whereas everyone eagerly awaits an effective OTC treatment, and my initial enquiries suggest that the product seems to have some ‘official approval’  -  time alone will judge it as either effective or just another in a long line of cleverly worded ‘miracle cures’ for hair losses which never quite address the hair problem as expected.  
As a practitioner with 49 years specialist experience, I would never recommend an orally administered treatment without medical advice, especially at a time in your life when body chemistry can be changing.

Question
What are the physical properties of shampoo?

Answer
They are usually liquids, but can be in solid form. They form micelles in solution once the concentration of the surfactants is above their critical micelle concentration.
Above the CMC the solutions foam, are able to remove soils, dramatically reduce the surface tension of the water and are present within the body of the solution (not just at the air/water interface). Usually they have a specific gravity of 1.010-1.025. They will not tolerate freezing.  
Anionic surfactants become insoluble and "crash" leading to an irreversible precipitation. Similarly if you heat some shampoos you will witness the "cloud point". At a specific and repeatable high temperature (but lower than boiling point)  the non-ionic surfactant will become insoluble and the mix will go cloudy. Unlike freezing you can go back and forth through the cloud point without harm to the shampoo.

  
Question
What are the Chemical properties of shampoo?

Answer
Usually a combination of anionic and non-ionic surfactants. Some will contain amphoterics for greater mildness and have a pH of 6.5-8.  Outside this range formulation is problematic and likely to cause skin problems.

  
Question
When and how was shampoo discovered and WHO made the discovery?

Answer
Good question.  I am fairly certain ICI was involved at around the time of the first world war.  This was because alternatives to soap were needed and innovation took over.  Prior to that all washing was done with soap or naturally occurring saponins extracted from plants, such as soapwort.


Question
What kinds of reactions are involved in the production of shampoo.

Answer
The actual manufacture of shampoo does not involve reactions.  It is a blending process of several different surfactants and other ingredients (dye, preservative, perfume, etc).  This is not an easy process,
The manufacture of the individual surfactants does involve reactions, but they are too complicated to discuss herein.
A shampoo, in common with many cleaning products, is a mix of anionic and non-ionic surfactants.  This is to maximise cleaning ability and mildness. Anionics would foam well but be very harsh to the scalp causing possible dryness and irritation.   Non-ionics would foam less but are more harsh.  For more information see my page on shampoo formulation on this website. - Helen Ellis BSc (HONS) MTTS.

Question
My friend is about to shave her hair off as she enters her second chemo treatment.  Apparently it is less distressing to shave it off than watch it fall out.
I am told that massage is good for the head to keep the blood circulating and stimulating regrowth.  What oils/products would you recommend she can use on her scalp to condition her skin and make regrowth comfortable.  

Answer
I am sorry to learn of your friend’s need for chemotherapy and send best wishes to her for a satisfactory recovery.
If shaving her head makes her feel ‘prepared for the hair loss’ - well why not.  I suppose she has already enquired as to the drugs to be given on this second occasion(please visit chemo overview).
Regrowth of hair following chemotherapy loss is usually spontaneous and should be comfortable.  There are no products to aid this process, however gentle massage may have certain benefits and TLC is to be recommended.

Question
Following a series of hair bleaching sessions my hair is really bad and is constantly irritating me.  I have lost my confidence and barely go out.  I have spoken to a trichologist who said it will grow out. I really feel very depressed and am considering shaving the lot off and buying a wig.  Is there anyone that could help me.
   
Answer
As I expect the trichologist has explained to you, human hair was not designed  to be bleached.   All chemical processes including bleaching and tinting will adversely effect hair-shafts in some way.  Where such processing is excessive the effects are multiplied and may result in over-porosity, impoverishment and sometimes breakage.  To my knowledge there is no way of restoring hair thus damaged to its former luxuriance - but some conditioners may provide limited temporary improvement.  
Bear in mind that your problem is not permanent.  Your scalp is constantly producing additional hair-fibres at the proximal end of  each hair shaft – thereby increasing its length by approximately 1-1.5 cm per month.  The damaged sections can be removed at the distal (free) end by cutting.   The best way to prevent any recurrence is to abstain from subjecting your hair to such potentially damaging procedures.



I am a woman of 39 yrs.  The summer after high school I noticed that my hair was thinning on the front and top of my head.  I sought medical counsel repeatedly, but was NOT taken seriously.  
Facts: Tests have shown that
i)    All hormone and blood levels come back in the 'normal' ranges.
ii)   The hair overall has decreased by at least 20 %
iii)  Minoxidil (2%) solution has been used since March of last year. I have noticed an ever so slight improvement, but as it has arrested further shedding, have continued usage. I'm fearful of what will happen if I quit.
iv)   Facial hair which was completely visually unnoticeable previously has now become a challenge.

What are my options?  I'm going in for a scalp biopsy next month.  Am I a good candidate for micro grafts, or some other transplant procedure?  
Do hasten to respond, if possible.  I'm positively beside myself to find the answer.

Answer
Thank you for your letter,  I am sorry to hear of your hair problem.
Although I would like to assist you in a time of obvious anxiety, I cannot give individual diagnoses without the benefit of examination.  My remarks herein can only therefore be general - not the direct answer you hope for.
Hair changes of the type you describe are well documented.  They may be associated with endocrine or genetic factors.  It seems that your consultant is actively pursuing in your interests by performing a biopsy. I really think you should await these results before any further options are considered.  I am available to discuss your options later - subject to examination if you so wish.


Question
Hi! I have overbleached my eyebrows and they turned a bit too light. I used to have thick really dark eyebrows so I trimmed them short. Will they grow back to their natural colour or did the bleach reach the hair roots enough to make them grow light hair? please I need your advice. Thanks!

Answer
Bleaching does not usually influence the colour of hairs being naturally reproduced.  Unless the bleaching has damaged the follicles, your eyebrows should return bearing their natural pigmentation.


Question
Well I heard of a shampoo that helps your hair grow quicker...I wanted to know if you put that on your face to get facial hair quicker would it work by any chance?

Answer
I have serious doubts concerning any claim that a shampoo can make hair grow quicker.  Sorry !

Question
I am a student at the Hairdressing Academy in Tauranga, New Zealand. I am currently doing an assignment on diseases and disorders. I can not find any information on what 'Pili Torte' is. I would be grateful if you could send me any information that you may have on what this is, what is the cause, symptoms and if there is any cure for Pili Torte. Thankyou.

Answer
The condition Trichokinesis (syn. Pili Torti hair) is one of several naturally occurring hairshaft deformities which leads to breakage.  It  is briefly described in my paper entitled ‘Hair Breakage’ on The Society’s website (see trichokinesis).

Question
Hi, I am 24 years old and for the last year have noticed a few grey hairs appearing around the side of my scalp above the ears. I was just wondering whether or not it was possible at all to reverse this process by taking B vitamins, Indian head massage, diet, herbal remedies etc.
Would be very grateful if you have any advice for me.

Answer
White hairs are in reality de-pigmented hairs. Pigment failure can be due to many factors e.g. Genetics.
Bradford University (Professors Randall and Tobin) have I understand, been researching de-pigmentation of hair and we await the outcome.

Question
I am 42 year old female & in the last 6 months or so have noticed that my eyebrows are balding. Previously they were fairly vigerous & I pluck them moderately. Could you tell me the cause of this hair loss?

Answer
Plucking your eyebrows is not such a good idea. Hair follicles do suffer as a result of such treatment, and eventually fail to reproduce the hairs - resulting in irreversible thinning and possible baldness.

Question
Hi Mr. Stevens how are you? I have an issue that I would like to know more about and was wondering if you could help me with my question. I have been suffering from hair loss for the last 9/10 months and I visited my GP asking him what I could do to stop/reduce my hair loss. He suggested that I install a water softener (aka lime inhibitor) in my shower which removes the lime from the hard water and consequently making the water cleaner. He told me that washing my hair with this lime-free water (soft water as opposed to hard water) would prevent the deterioration of my hair and make it healthier. I now seek professional trichological opinion regarding lime-free
water and hair loss. Being an academic in the field of trichology, do you know anything about this? Is it likely to help the loss of my hair? I thank you very much for your time

As I am not at liberty to discuss personal issues without examination, I can only offer general comment.

It is unlikely that hard water would be capable of causing hair loss in humans.  Hair loss can be triggered by various factors e.g. healthheredity factors, skin reactions, chemo and radio therapy, shock, age, drugs etc but not in my opinion by exposure to hard water used as a hair/skin cleansing medium. I suggest you consult a trichologist registered with The Society.

 

Question
I just had a query about my body hair, which I hope you can answer for me despite the fact that I know you specialise in hair on the scalp, but wasn't really sure who else to ask to be honest. Anyway, I began having my back and shoulders waxed about two years ago now, and began shaving my back and shoulders quite regularly (every 1-2 days) earlier on this year, all the way through summer, up until around september/october time. I have decided to stop shaving now, and after the initial rough re-growth of body hair, it is beginning to get smoother, but I was just wondering if you knew of any significant way to get my body hair even smooth once again? Sometimes I wish that I didn't start shaving my body, but it's too late for that now, so I would really appreciate some constructive feedback if at all possible.

Answer

It is always dangerous ground to attempt to provide personal advice without examination,  therefore my comments herein are non-specific to you.      

Shaving hair merely severs individual hair-shafts at neo-scalp level.  Hair-shafts gain length due to cellular production at the lowest point within their host follicles (epidermal invaginations).  The act of carefully shaving hair-shafts should not interrupt, alter or prevent their continuous cyclical production.   Following the cessation of shaving  the hair-shaft would be expected to resume its original status within months (body hair growth rates vary – according to genetic factors).
The wax removal technique is potentially damaging to follicles.  It functions by epilating the full length hair-shafts from their host follicles – a procedure which inflicts injury on the follicle from which it may or may not recover as a hair-bearing organ.

 

© THE TRICHOLOGICAL SOCIETY

 ___________________________________

The President 2016-2018

Dr Janet Palin

 

The College of Trichology

The World's leading distance learning course in Pure-Trichology

Enter Site

Education Departments:
London - Korea - India

Trichology Graduation

For enquiries please call:
07742 336 337

 

Hair Restoration Technician's Diploma

The World's first diploma course for technicians specialising in hair transplant surgery

Learn More

For enquiries please call:
07742 336 337