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Calling a halt on hair loss

PUBLISHED: 18:32 16 February 2015 | UPDATED: 18:32 16 February 2015

alopecia

alopecia

Archant

Hair loss can be extremely worrying, especially when it seems to getting worse. But it's not always a permanent problem and treatment is possible

Hair loss is a common and traumatic condition which affects people of all ages.

Losing hair can show up in a number of different ways from patchy hair loss on the scalp to complete hair loss all over the body. There are many factors which can cause hair loss and the management of this is all down to getting the right diagnosis in order to receive the correct treatment.

The range of causes includes dietary factors (low iron), hormonal causes (thyroid or ovary problems) autoimmune conditions such as lupus, prolonged ill health or hospital stay, pregnancy, rapid weight loss, certain medications including chemotherapy, skin infections, and, of course, genetic.

Although it is very commonly blamed, mental stress is not seen to be a major cause of hair loss unless associated with a major health change. Itching is the most common symptom reported. However, most people don’t experience any symptoms at all.

The technical term for hair loss is alopecia. There are several types, which are broadly classed into ‘scarring’ and ‘non-scarring’ types. In most cases the former are much harder to treat. It is important to catch the ‘scarring’ alopecias early so that the condition does not worsen, as scarring hair loss is generally permanent. The ‘non-scarring’ types are usually – but not always – reversible.

Over the past 10 years there have been some excellent advances in treating thinning hair, although some forms of hair loss recover on their own.

Treatments are available in the forms of creams, injections and tablets, but mostly only on prescription and with specialist administration.

What can you do?

• There is no harm in trying over the counter treatments, but seek help if there is no improvement within two to three months

• If you have an underlying scalp condition, get this treated first – it might be driving the hair loss

• If you have started any new medications, check their side effect profile in the information leaflet

• Be careful with braiding and hairstyles that pull at the hair root – ‘traction’ alopecia can set in very gradually

For advice and information on any skin and hair problems contact Diamond Skin Care on 01603 819125 or email info@diamondskincare.co.uk

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