Hair Thinning Solutions That Work
Posted On Mar 08, 2017
By: Ruchel Louis Coetzee
August is National Hair Month and nothing speaks volumes more than a full head of healthy hair. Add style and cut to that equation and you have the world at your feet. But what if you find that you have more than normal hair loss? The shock can be seismic and enough to stop your world from spinning. A recent study conducted by Relevant Research Inc., and the International Society of Hair Restoration shows that 60% of women who suffer from hair loss would prefer to have more hair than friends or money.
Hair loss statistics in women have been rising steadily over recent years and genetics are not the only contributing factor. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, there are numerous conditions and diseases including improper hair care that can cause hair loss. We spoke to Dr. Michael B. Woldfield from the Bernstein Medical Center for Hair Restoration in New York about these conditions and how to mitigate some of them. We also spoke to the marketing director of HairMax, Francesca Dubsky, who offers, not only hope for those experiencing some hair thinning, but also encourages everyone to take the quiz at quiz.hairmax.com during this hair loss awareness month.
How should we care for our hair and what should we avoid doing that could cause damage to our hair?
Dr. Michael B. Woldfield: The best thing to do to care for your hair would be to treat it as gently as possible. Try to avoid grooming your hair in a way that’s putting a lot of tension on it. Also, try to avoid some of the chemical treatments that women use for straightening their hair such as Keratin hair straightener treatment as those sorts of things over a prolonged period of time can damage the hair and lead to shedding and eventual hair loss. Be as gentle as possible. Washing your hair in a hot shower on a daily basis is not going to cause any detriment to your hair but you should avoid very hot treatments on your scalp. Letting your hair be as natural as possible is usually the best way to go.
What is “too much tension” when talking about straightening irons?
Dr. Woldfield: Straightening your hair every third day using a straightener that’s causing intense heat and using a pulling pressure with it could lead to hair loss. Doing this frequently may result in some temporary shedding of hair but generally, that hair should come back.
Do you think there is a rise in hair loss for women?
Francesca Dubsky: I think women are becoming more aware of their hair loss. Ninety percent of hair loss cases are caused by hereditary conditions or hereditary hair loss. I think that where before women were hiding their hair loss more with hats or with wigs, they’re now looking for a solution, and there’s more talk about it.
Dr. Woldfield: In the past, women who experienced hair loss did not think there were any treatments available, so they didn’t seek out a physician. Now that there has been more awareness about the different options such as Minoxidil and HairMax and also PRP treatments that have gained in popularity, women have realized that this is a common problem and are more comfortable in discussing it with a physician and seeking help.
What is your advice regarding at home treatments for hair loss?
Dr. Woldfield: There is several treatments that I would recommend to use at home. One treatment is minoxidil that is effective in maintaining and thickening hair. Another treatment is the laser device such as laser comb or laser band. These laser devices are easy to use, they are reasonably priced and they can be effective in terms of maintenance. Actually, a lot of women notice less shedding while using these devices. In terms of other medical options to use at home there is a medication called Spironolactone (Aldactone), which is a medication that may have some effectiveness in helping to reduce hair loss and thicken hair as well.
Francesca Dubsky: Currently there are only two FDA accredited treatments for women. So the two true treatments are minoxidil, which goes under the brand name, Rogaine, and the other is the low-level laser treatment that HairMax provides. For men, there’s a third choice, and that’s an oral drug called Propecia. With any drug, side effects may be associated with use. With laser light treatments such as HairMax, there have been no reported side effects – it is a drug-free treatment.
Which treatment would you suggest to a close relative who is experiencing hair loss?
Dr. Woldfield: I would generally treat her with a combination of most likely the menoxidil with the HairMax laser device and the reason being that these are treatments that can be used at home and are easy to use. The menoxidil is a solution or foam that gets applied to the scalp one to two times a day and the laser (HairMax) is a device that can used easily at home – general its three times a week and for less than ten minutes each time. Some people have some irritation from the menoxidil, and if that is the case, then I would recommend they just use the HairMax Laser device.
Francesca Dubsky: Another thing to keep in mind is the efficacy of our laser devices. HairMax has had by far the most clinical studies performed on our lasers devices than on any other laser that’s on the market. We’ve had seven clinical studies with 460 men and women resulting in 93% of the study participants experiencing significant growth.
What happens if you stop treatment?
Dr. Woldfield: As long as they’ve had a benefit while using it, they definitely do have to continue it to maintain the benefit. I get different feedback on different types of products and what I tell patients is that different treatments work better for different individuals, and while one treatment may work well for one person, which does not mean that it’s necessarily the best treatment for someone else. Sometimes we need to try several different treatments – it’s not just a cookie cutter approach in treating thinning hair.
What is the burning question you get from women?
Dr. Woldfield: I generally get the complaint that either my patients have noticed their hair thinning or they’ve noticed their hair shedding, and they’re concerned that they are going to continue to lose a lot more hair and when is it going to stop.
Francesca Dubsky: Once the follicles have died, they cannot be brought back to life. In women, it rarely gets to the point where it goes bald, but that hair can become very, very, very fine where you’re seeing the scalp showing through or you’re seeing the part-line getting wider, or you’re seeing the ponytail reducing in size. That’s hair that is thinning, HairMax can reverse – that thinning process. It awakens the follicle, revitalizes the follicle and stimulates the follicle at a cellular level, at the root to get that hair to grow in again thicker, denser, fuller – similar to when you were younger.
What about dry shampoo and other excessive use of hair products?
Francesca Dubsky: If you’re using a lot of product on your hair like hair spray, gels or dry shampoos – I love them but now there’s a report coming out that they’re contributing to hair loss – what’s happening is that we have too much product clogging the hair follicles. It can inhibit hair growth so if you’re using a lot of product, you should really wash your hair more often and get those follicles cleaned out and unclogged. If you’re not using a lot of product on your hair and you don’t have an excess of oil production you can go once a week or twice a week without any problem. Laser treatments should always be applied to a clean scalp, as products can block the light from reaching the follicles.
What would you advise women regarding the health of their hair?
Dr. Woldfield: Most important is to avoid wearing your hair in a style that puts tension and traction on your hair. Women who are deficient in certain vitamins or protein based on their diet, for example, vegans who become iron deficient, that deficiency can play a part in hair loss as well. So I would recommend that if they are not eating a well-balanced diet with vegetables and meat, that they get their vitamins checked to make sure that they are not deficient, and we would also check their iron levels to make sure they are not iron deficient. Correcting these factors can help their hair.