Thinning hair and hair loss are one of the few cosmetic issues that is of equal concern to both men and women in my practise. There are many causes of hair loss including, but not limited to, genetics, hormonal imbalance, diet and nutrition, co-morbid conditions (ie: PCOS-polycystic ovarian syndrome, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome), secondary to medications such as post chemotherapy, infectious and inflammatory conditions. This is by no means a comprehensive list. Since the skin is the largest organ of the body, it is easy to see why any medical condition can have an effect on skin and hair.
The best treatment for hair loss and thinning hair is prevention. While you can’t pick your parents, you can choose a healthy diet that optimizes your nutritional intake and hormonal response. Insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and PCOS are strongly affected by diet. In PCOS specifically studies have shown that changing to a low glycemic index diet will restore periods in 70% of women who were having abnormal periods. While “keto” and “no-carb” diets are popular right now, it is important to understand that a fad diet is not the answer. Instead, a balanced diet of whole natural unprocessed foods is a much better option than processed and fast food. A thorough discussion of diet is beyond the scope of this blog post, but clients can book with Dr. Ranieri, ND if they are interested in improving their diet and learning about the latest research.
Inflammatory causes can also be affected by diet as can hormonal causes, once again highlighting the importance of spending energy on achieving a healthy diet and lifestyle. Unfortunately, the “magic bullet” or perfect pill to fix the problem doesn’t exist.
Infectious causes such as fungal infections need to be treated by your family doctor or a specialist before permanent damage is done to the hair follicle.
Androgenic alopecia or what most people know as male pattern baldness tends to be the most common condition in my office. Men present with thinning from the front or top of head. Women usually notice gradual thinning on the top or upper side of the head. We are still searching for the “holy grail” of hair loss treatment, and we have found some useful treatments to help patients in the meantime.
For those that are interested in non-surgical options, there are oral and topical medications, laser helmets, injections and shampoos.
We are pleased to offer trichoscopy in our clinic as an additional assessment tool for hair loss. Trichoscopy uses a strongly magnified dermascope to assess scalp and hair health.
A multi faceted approach using multiple different modalities is generally more effective than just one treatment option. The analogy is that of a salad… cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce and dressing are all nice on their own, but when combined, the result is much better than the sum of the original ingredients.
PRP with or without microneedling can help stimulate new hair growth and in our experience has also been associated with slower rates of hair loss. Research on the benefits of PRP and protocols to achieve best results are continually being updated as new information becomes available. The procedure involves using platelet rich plasma from a patient’s own blood to be reinjected into the scalp. The growth factors from the platelets and the mechanical stimulation of the injections is believed to stimulate hair growth. The process involves 3 sessions six weeks apart and follow up treatments every six months or so. Most patients start to see improvement after the second treatment.
Theradome is a Health Canada certified and FDA Approved device for Androgenic alopecia and to promote hair growth. It resembles a bicycle helmet that has 80 high efficiency lasers that provide sufficient energy at the right wavelength to induce hair growth (678nm). It is used comfortably in your own home, twice a week for 20 minutes each time. Patients often tell us that multiple family members are using it in the same house. Most patients start to see improvement between 3-6 months of use.
In addition to PRP and Theradome, we offer a full line of hair care products that support a healthy scalp and hair growth. The Rene Furterer line from Paris includes products that address hair loss, dandruff, dry and itchy scalp and other concerns.
For more information on Hair Loss or Thinning please contact us here.