Expert Advice: How to address hair loss from the inside & out
Wil Fleeson looks at the three main causes of Alopecia and when to refer your hair client to a Tricologist.
Healthy hair starts from within and it's so important when talking to clients about their hair and scalp health, that you discuss with them not only looking after the exterior of their hair with good quality products but also looking after their hair from within – living a healthy lifestyle, exercising, getting enough sleep and having the right nutrient and mineral intake.
Iron, for example, is crucial in avoiding hair shedding and is important for helping carry oxygen through your body as part of red blood cells and stimulating growth in hair. Vitamin D, Folic Acid/B9 and B12 are also beneficial nutrients in helping support cell division and hair growth and Vitamin D is also effective in reducing inflammation.
Below are some of the most common causes of hair loss and ways in which as hairdressers, you can identify if your client needs to visit a trichologist.
1. Excessive Hair Shedding
Excessive hair shedding occurs when follicles are prematurely triggered into a shedding phase; a normal rate is 10% but this can increase up to 35% with premature shedding. Common triggers for this are Iron deficiency, stress and anxiety, change in medication or change in diet and also post pregnancy.
If your client mentions any of these triggers whilst in the salon, they may have excessive hair shedding which can be helped with the intake of Iron; a 15/35mg of supplement is a recommended amount per day and it's important that clients do not overload on this. The key is constant use of low levels.
2. Miniaturisation - Hormonal
A process known as ‘miniaturisation' occurs when hormones interact with a follicle and cause it to gradually shrink until it eventually disappears. Unlike excessive hair shedding and scarring alopecia, which can happen very fast, this cause of hair loss can happen over years.
This hair loss can happen through the follicles being sensitive to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) made from testosterone, causing hair loss in men and male pattern baldness.
As this is a cause that can happen over some time, it's important that your client tries to see a trichologist as soon as possible. Trichologists will be able to recommend medicine or treatment that can slow down the rate of loss and to help stimulate the scalp and hair follicles.
3. Scarring Alopecia – Autoimmune
Scarring Alopecia occurs when the body's own immune system mistakenly attacks its own cell tissue causing temporary or permanent hair loss. As this can result in permanent hair loss, it's incredibly important that the client sees a trichologist about this type of hair loss to identify if it is temporary or permanent.
A trichologist will be able to analyse if the skin tissue has been destroyed and if follicles are able to re-grow in this area or not and provide the best advice/treatment to the client.
As a hairdresser, it's important to notice signs of these with your client and know when the right time to recommend a trichologist is. If something doesn't seem right with the client's hair, there is a lot more hair being seen in their brush or in the shower, or if they have a tingling or burning feeling scalp or more skin in their scalp than normal, these are all warning signs and when a client may look to see a trichologist to examine their hair and be able to provide a solution or suitable treatment if possible.
With all of these hair causes, it's important your client sees a reputable trichologist to ensure the right treatment is provided – particularly in terms of scarring alopecia and miniaturisation, which can be permanent.
Trichologists are also highly trained in how to communicate with client's who are suffering from these types of hair loss. As hairdressers our goal is to make client's look and feel fantastic when leaving the salon but as a trichologist, there is a more emotional and intense side of the job, where we need to investigate the causes of the hair loss and be prepared to have sensitive/more emotional talks with the client.
Wil Fleeson is Director of Trichology Scotland and Director of Rainbow Room International's Buchanan Street and Stirling salons.