Losing hair is completely natural – statistically, we shed up to 100 strands every day – but finding alarming amounts building up in the plug hole after every shower, or sweeping countless strands off the floor in your apartment, might be a sign it’s time to take action. While it’s true that men are more likely to lose their hair than women – mostly due to male pattern baldness which affects one in four Hong Kong males – this is actually a condition that both sexes suffer from, but in different ways. But the good news is there are simple steps you can take to avoid shedding. To find out more, we chat to Sam Pan, salon director at Muse Hair, which provides medical scalp care.
What Causes Hair Loss?
According to Pan, there are two main types of hair loss that affect both men and women, but in different ways. Progressive hair loss (also know as androgenic alopecia) is caused by genetics or hormones and causes a slow and progressive weakening of the hair bulb (or root) until it finally wastes away. Unfortunately, this type of hair loss is irreversible and out of your hands.
In men, progressive hair loss is also known as male pattern baldness, where the hairline recedes over time to form a characteristic “M” shape. This is believed to be caused by a combination of genetics and the natural male steroid, dihydrotestosterone, which helps regulate everything from neurological health to blood cell production. Although this steroid if crucial in helping the body to function properly, it can also cause certain physiological changes, one of which is alopecia (or balding). Progressive hair loss in women differs from male pattern baldness. In women, the hair becomes thinner all over the head, and the hairline does not recede. This rarely leads to total baldness, but rather an overall thinning of the mane, which is unfortunately not preventable.
The second kind of hair loss is called reactive hair loss, which is a temporarily increased shedding caused by a wide variety of health and hormonal changes. Unlike progressive hair loss, which slowly develops over time, reactive hair loss occurs suddenly, and varies in intensity, from general thinning to the formation of completely hairless areas (or alopecia areata). Aside from possible underlying health conditions, this type of hair loss is the result of temporary disruption of the hair’s life cycle due to internal or external factors. These include stress, diet, hormonal changes, childbirth or menopause, medications, ultraviolet radiation, x-rays, too much styling, or too little washing.
Fortunately, this condition can be fixed with a few simple but effective lifestyle changes.
Tips to Prevent Hair Loss
In many cases, there are ways for both men and women to prevent and treat hair loss, and it all depends on the cause. Here are ten tips from the Muse Hair team:
- Wash your head once a day as this allows you to maintain good hygiene and prevent bacterial growth. Also, makes sure to use warm water as overly-hot water tends to dry the scalp, which increases the secretion of oil and blocks the hair follicles.
- Remember to dry the scalp properly. This will prevent your scalp from invasion by wet and cold air, which affects the blood circulation and allows it to become a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Choose the right type of shampoo for your scalp. There are numerous types of shampoos on the market, but finding the correct one for your hair type is very important. For example, if you have oily hair you would go for a shampoo with less ingredients to avoid more built up, or if you have frizzy hair, you will need one with high levels of conditioning agents for smoothness and moisture.
- Styling products should not touch the scalp as this needs to breath. Avoiding the scalp will also ensure that product doesn’t build up in the roots and hair follicles.
- Avoid tight hairstyles, such as braids, buns, or ponytails and compulsively twisting, rubbing, or pulling your hair.
- Treat your hair gently when washing and brushing it with the right product. A wide-toothed comb may help prevent pulling out hair. If you have long hair, brush it from the ends and work up to the roots, using a brush with soft teeth that does not rip the hair.
- Protect your hair from sunlight and other sources of ultraviolet light. Products with UV protection like the Medavita range are great for when you’re out and about in the elements.
- Maintain the scalp’s ph balance as this may help prevent hair loss from dandruff, bacteria, or fungus. The skin and scalp has a natural pH balance of about 5, which is low and slightly acidic, acting as a protective mechanism which is hostile to germs.
- Exfoliate the scalp when you wash your hair as this will give it a deep cleanse and prevent the accumulation of product in the sebaceous glands which help to lubricate the skin and make it waterproof.
- Try to reduce your stress levels, eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, and get enough sleep every night. Experts say a healthy sleep pattern ranges between seven and nine hours per night, but here in Hong Kong, more than a third of us sleep less than seven hours each night!
If you have severe thinning or hair loss, you can go one step further and opt for a personalised scalp nutrition treatment. Must Hair offers one such service whereby they will analyse your scalp using a Hair Diagnostic tool, which is a special camera than can zoom in 300 times closer than a regular camera to take a snapshot of your scalp and hair follicles. They then analyse what nutrition is needed for your scalp to design a treatment using a special range of Medavita Cutis Pura products from Italy, which are made with pure plant extracts. The treatment works to detoxify the scalp and restore it to a healthy condition, whether that means reducing dandruff, clearing deposits of sebum, or restoring moisture.
The treatment costs between $1,200 and $2,800 and last 90 minutes.
Muse Hair, M3 Baskerville House, 13 Duddell Street, Central, (+852) 2623 9626
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