A recent study by YouGov revealed that 67 percent of UAE residents suffer from hair loss.
However, Dr Fiona Cowie, Specialist in Aesthetic Medicine, Dermalese, Al Wasl said thanks to the science of hair regrowth, all is not lost.
Over the last decade, there have been many developments in the science of hair regrowth and hair restoration, and we have come a long way from the days of using hair-regrowth products.
“There also came stem cell rejuvenation therapy (PRP) which involved separating plasma from the person’s blood, activating the hair stem cells and injecting them into the person’s scalp to stimulate resting hair follicles,” she said.
There is also AQ stem cell therapy, which uses manufactured hair restoration stem cells instead of using blood plasma.
And now, we have entered the age of “hair farms”. It’s the latest development in cell therapy to generate new hair.
“In the US, scientists are trying to create “hair farms” where they clone hair cells. A sample of a person’s blood or skin is used to extract hair stem cells, which are cultured to produce millions of their own hair follicles. These follicles are then implanted around the person’s dormant follicles on the scalp,” she said.
The big advantage of this method, according to her, is that there is minimum risk of the body’s immune system rejecting the hair transplant, since it is from the same body.
“New uses of stem cell technology and 3D printing, which holds hair follicles and dermal papillae in place as they differentiate into hair, have been showing promising results that could potentially make baldness obsolete,” she says.
Is hair loss truly reversible?
“Some types of hair loss are reversible, others are not,” says Dr Cowie. “Telogenic effluvium (fall) is generally reversible. This is more commonly seen in women and is a temporary hair loss that usually happens after stress, shock or a traumatic event.
“Once the cause is found and addressed, hair will start to regrow, usually within 3-6 months. Alopecia is another form of hair loss than can be reversed with steroid injections and even cryotherapy. Male pattern baldness, however, can be slowed down but not completely reversed,” says Dr Cowie.
This is where hair transplants come in. Surgical transplant solutions are used when the follicles are dormant and no longer producing hairs. But transplants are not the only solution. Medical hair loss solutions, prolong follicle life and activity, says Dr Cowie.
Common causes of hair loss
1. Genetics: A receding hairline and bald spots in men and thinning hair on the crown in women.
2. Hormonal changes and medical conditions: Pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, in women. Thyroid problems in men and women. Alopecia Areata is an immune disorder which causes patchy areas of total hair loss in men and women. Ringworm and hair pulling (trichotillomania) in men and women.
3. Medications and supplements: Hair loss as a side-effect in men and women.
4.Radiation therapy to head, and stress: These affect men and women equally. Hairstyling can cause ‘traction alopecia’ (repeated stress in one area) and perming, hot oil treatments can cause hair to fall out. This is more common in women. When stress is managed, hair loss can be reversed.
5. Poor diet: Lack of vitamins A,C,D and E, zinc, B vitamins, iron, biotin, protein and essential fatty acids might slow down hair growth or even cause hair loss.
6. High sugar consumption: High sugar intake spikes blood sugar levels which can damage hair follicles and potentially speed up hair loss. You can also get an inflamed scalp, causing loss of quality and quantity of hair, or a dry flaky scalp which can damage hair follicles. Reducing sugar consumption will reverse these changes.
7. Insulin: involved in hair growth as well as fat storage, heart health, and regulating blood sugar. People with insulin resistance have a greater risk of male and female pattern baldness. Restoring normal insulin levels will reverse the changes in men and women.
8. Thyroid: Low thyroid levels cause thinning scalps. Hormonal balancing will reverse these hair loss problems.