”I have little hair because my brain is so big it pushes the hair out.” – Silvio Berlusconi
Hair is made up of a protein called keratin that is produced in hair follicles in the outer layer of skin. As follicles produce new hair cells, the old cells are pushed out through the surface of the skin at a rate of about 6 inches a year.
The hair you can see is actually a string of dead keratin cells.
Each follicle of hair has its own life cycle that can be influenced by age, disease, and a wide variety of other factors. The hair follicle cycle, which begins in the uterus, is composed of three stages:
Anagen – active hair growth, lasting between two to six years;
Catagen – transitional hair growth lasting two to three weeks;
Telogen – resting phase that lasts about two to three months; at the end of the resting phase the hair is shed and a new hair replaces it and the growing cycle starts again.
Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss. The amount of hair loss is different for everyone. Some people lose it only in a few spots, others lose a lot.
It’s rare, but you can lose all the hair on your head (alopecia areata totalis) or entire body (alopecia areata universalis).
Each case of alopecia is different. Sometimes, hair grows back but falls out again later. In others, hair grows back for good.
The most common type of hair loss in both men and women;
Onset may be as early as puberty: 50% of men affected by age 50 and 40% of women by age 70;
In men it’s characterised by a receding hairline and gradual disappearance of hair from the crown and frontal scalp; women experience a general thinning over the entire scalp, with the most extensive hair loss at the crown;
May be caused by the effect of dihydrotestosterone on hair follicles. The problem occurs when there is too high of a concentration of DHT in the scalp. When this happens, the DHT attaches to androgen receptors on the hair follicles and blocks them from going through normal hair growth cycles. This, in turn, causes the hair follicles to shrink. Over time hair becomes shorter and thinner until, eventually, the follicle does not grow a new hair, resulting in what is known as pattern baldness.
Equally affects both sexes, with usual onset before age 30;
Most common areas of hair loss are scalp and beard regions;
In 90% of people with this condition the hair returns within a few years;
For 80% of alopecia areata patients, hair regrows spontaneously within a period of 1 year since onset;
Caused by autoimmune destruction of hair follicles involving cell-based and humoral immunity. This causes the hair to come out, often in clumps the size and shape of a quarter.
Women between ages 30 to 60 are most commonly affected;
Acute telogen effluvium involves hair shedding that persists <6 months whereas, in chronic telogen effluvium, hair loss persists longer than 6 months;
Removal of the hair stressor allows for regrowth and recovery of the normal distribution of telogen hairs over several months;
5% minoxidil solution is used as a treatment of chronic telogen effluvium;
The cause may be endocrine, in the event of childbirth and hyper/hypothyroidism; nutritional, encompassing crash diets and vitamin A excess; drug-related, most notably anticoagulants and beta-blockers and stress.
The abnormal hairs break off;
Radiation therapy and cancer chemotherapy are widely understood to be the precipitating factors for this condition;
Hair loss becomes apparent within 1 to 4 weeks after exposure to the causative agent, and approximately 80%–90% of scalp hairs are affected.
Traumatic hair loss
From 0.6% to 13% of the population is estimated to be affected by this condition;
Patients experience an urge that they gratify by pulling out hair, engaging in this task for up to 3 h per day;
Greater incidence of this condition is reported in patients with psychological illnesses.
A rare cicatricial alopecia that occurs because of autoimmune attack of hair follicles, mediated by cell-based immunity;
Mostly affects adult women at the crown and parietal areas of the scalp;
Risk factors include viral infections (such as hepatitis C virus), contact with metals like gold, and use of certain medications such as thiazide diuretics and quinine.
Causes of alopecia
Genes, from both male and female parents;
Stress, illness, and childbirth;
Drugs, including chemotherapy drugs used in cancer treatment, blood thinners, beta-adrenergic blockers used to control blood pressure, and birth control pills;
Burns, injuries, and X-rays;
Autoimmune disease may cause alopecia areata;
Cosmetic procedures, such as shampooing too often, perms, bleaching, and dyeing hair can contribute to overall hair thinning by making hair weak and brittle;
Medical conditions like thyroid disease, lupus, diabetes, iron deficiency anaemia, eating disorders, and anaemia; Most times, when the underlying condition is treated, the hair will return unless there is scarring as in some forms of lupus, lichen planus or follicular disorders;
Diet: a low-protein diet or severely calorie-restricted diet. If you’re not getting certain nutrients from food, you might see the effects in your hair. Essential fatty acids, especially omega-3s, such as salmon, tuna, flaxseed oil, and almonds play a key role in the health of your hair. Vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid are also important to your hair. Foods with B6 include bananas, potatoes, and spinach. Major sources of B12 include meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products.6
Signs and symptoms
Gradual thinning on top of head;
Circular or patchy bald spots;
Sudden loosening of hair. A physical or emotional shock can cause hair to loosen. Handfuls of hair may come out when combing or washing your hair or even after gentle tugging. This type of hair loss usually causes overall hair thinning and not bald patches;
Full-body hair loss. Some conditions and medical treatments, such as chemotherapy for cancer, can result in the loss of hair all over your body. The hair usually grows back
Patches of scaling that spread over the scalp. It may be accompanied by broken hair, redness, swelling and, at times, oozing.
Facts about hair loss
Humans are usually born with approximately 5 million follicles, and no new follicles are thought to be added after birth;
The average adult head has about 100,000 to 150,000 hairs and loses up to 100 of them a day; Any amount of hair over that might mean that something is wrong.
At any one time, about 90% of the hair on a person’s scalp is growing
More than 50 percent of men have male pattern hair loss by the age of 50. In the UK, this means 7.4 million men are experiencing hair loss at any one time.
Race appears to play a role in the incidence of hair loss with the highest rates found among Caucasians.
Forty percent of women will have female pattern hair loss by the time they reach menopause.
Alopecia areata affects one person in every 100 and genetics play a role in one in five cases.
Myths about hair loss
Smart people are more likely to lose their hair.
There is no connection between hair loss and brain activity, but perhaps the theory has arisen based on the assumption that because the brain is so close to terminal scalp hairs, using it too much could negatively impact growth.
Shampoo causes your hair to fall out.
Washing your hair simply removes the hair that is already lost.
Wearing hats causes baldness.
Hair follicles get oxygen from blood vessels under your skin. So even if you wear your hat all the time, it doesn’t do any damage to your hair.
Decreased blood flow to the scalp causes hair loss.
Decreased blood flow is actually a result of hair loss, not a cause. Growing hair requires a significant amount of blood flow, but once the hair is lost, not as much blood is needed in the scalp.
Clogged pores cause hair loss.
If baldness were due to clogged pores, the solution would be to simply clear the pores, so the hair could grow. This is not the case.
Hair loss comes from the mother’s side.
Baldness is genetic, but it can be inherited from either the mother’s or father’s side of the family. It can sometimes skip generations but there are other factors that can influence hair loss. So even if you don’t have the bald gene, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the clear.
Dandruff causes hair loss.
Extensive research by experts has revealed that there is, in fact, no scientific co-relation between dandruff and hair loss, other than the fact that vigorous scratching, because of a dry scalp, may cause hair to break, resulting in hair loss.
Baldness only happens to old people.
Hair loss can begin when people are in their 20s and 30s. The earlier it begins, the more dramatic it is likely to be.
These clinical applications are based on the ability of finasteride to inhibit the Type II isoform of the 5á-reductase enzyme, which is the predominant form in human prostate and hair follicles.
These clinical applications are based on the ability of finasteride to inhibit the Type II isoform of the 5a reductase enzyme, which is the predominant form in hair follicles.
The efficacy of finasteride has been demonstrated in men (88% Caucasian) with mild to moderate androgenetic alopecia (male pattern hair loss) between 18 and 41 years of age.
Propecia works by blocking the formation of the male hormones in the skin that can cause hair loss. The process is explained more thoroughly here. Propecia is taken once a day in pill form. As with most drugs, there are side effects. Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking finasteride:
Dizziness, faintness, or light-headedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position;
Bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet;
Breast enlargement and tenderness;
Hives or welts;
Rapid weight gain;
Redness of the skin;
Swelling of the lips and face;
Tingling of the hands or feet;
Unusual weight gain or loss.
Propecia cannot be used by women of childbearing potential because the drug can cause birth defects.
Rogaine (minoxidil) for hair loss
Rogaine works on hair follicles to reverse their shrinking process to stimulate the growth of new hair. The effects are most promising in younger people who are just beginning to show signs of balding or who have small bald patches. The medication is a solution that is applied to balding spots twice a day and must be continued indefinitely; hair loss will recur if the application is stopped. More than 50% of users claim that it can thicken hair and slow hair loss, but it is not considered effective in men who already have extensive male pattern baldness. Side effects appear to be minimal, but in some users, the medication may cause skin irritation. The drug is approved for use in men and women.
Hair transplantation involves the relocation of the skin plugs from parts of the scalp containing active hair follicles to bald areas. A person may need several hundred plugs implanted 10 to 60 per session. The transplanted hair may drop out, but new hair usually begins to grow from the transplanted follicles within several months or weeks in the good cases. Newer hair transplantation procedures called follicular unit hair transplants can transplant one to four hair follicles very close together, for a more natural look. In addition to follicle unit transplantation, follicle unit extraction, which involves transplanting individual follicle units for less scarring, is also available.
What is the prognosis for hair loss?
The prognosis for androgenic non-scarring hair loss is guarded due to the fact that there is no cure for the problem. Medications must be taken indefinitely. Other types of hair loss have a good chance of spontaneously resolving.
Hair-loss prevention depends on the underlying cause. Good hair hygiene is a basic step but is probably of little benefit. Good nutrition, especially adequate levels of iron and vitamin B, is helpful. Treatment of underlying medical conditions like thyroid disease, anaemia, and hormonal imbalances may be useful in prevention.
What if I experience a problem?
If any unpleasant effects appear or if you have any questions related to the dose, administration schedule or effectiveness of this medicine, please feel free to address directly to our pharmacy and to our doctor at phone number 01625 460 621, or email at [email protected] One of our pharmacists or doctors will be happy to help.
Can an online order simply resolve my problem?
Sure! Just send a request to our pharmacist for Finasteride.
Finasteride can be released following a discussion with our pharmacist. An evaluation from our pharmacist is necessary to confirm if Finasteride is the appropriate medicinal product for you.
Finasteride 1 mg is available in boxes with 28, 84 and 168 Film-coated tablets (as the generic product) or as Propecia 1 mg available also in boxes with 28, 84 and 168 Film-coated tablets (the original product).
It should be used by men only and kept out of the reach of children.
It may take up to 6 months in some cases for the symptoms to improve so it is important to commit to a course of treatment. The treatment for 6 months is packed as the 168 tablets box.
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Assured Pharmacy is not liable for the currency or accuracy of the information contained in this blog post. For specific information about your personal medical condition, please contact our doctors or pharmacists for advice on [email protected].