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Baldness or alopecia refers to hair loss from the scalp. Hereditary factors, ageing, skin conditions, certain medications and diseases can cause it. It is more common in men than in women.
The most common type of hair loss affecting men is male pattern baldness. Heredity is a major factor in male pattern Baldness. If either parent has thinning hair, the chance of their children experiencing hair-loss is increased. The first areas of the head to be affected are usually the top (at the back) or the sides. Hair loss can begin at any age and the degree of Baldness can vary from a bald spot in the back or a receding hairline, to complete Baldness.
Women are not affected, as frequently as men and in most cases there is only diffuse thinning of the hair. It is rare for a female to suffer complete Baldness. The causes of Female-Pattern Hair Loss include, excessive androgen (male hormone) production, anaemia, severe illness, certain medications (e.g. those used to treat cancer), an underactive thyroid or pituitary gland or pregnancy. In some cases the hair loss is temporary and the hair grows back.
Alopecia areata is the term used to describe the sudden loss of hair in a particular area, most often from the head or beard. Provided the hair loss is not widespread, the hair usually grows back in a few months.
If the patient is already under the care of a Doctor, prescribed medication (e.g. for cancer) may be a possible cause. Sometimes this medication must be maintained and the hair loss has to be ignored. People with male or female pattern Baldness can have hair follicles removed from a part of the body and transplanted to their scalp.
A product containing finasteride has been used successfully in some cases of male pattern Baldness. Ask your Doctor whether this product is suitable for you.
• Include plenty of protein-rich foods in the diet.
• The diet should emphasise raw vegetables, particularly silicon-rich plants such as alfalfa, onion, kelp and rolled oats porridge.
• Zinc-containing foods such as oysters, herring, beef and pumpkin seeds are recommended.
• Biotin and vitamin B complex may strengthen hair, act as a hair and scalp conditioner and slow down hair loss. Biotin may even stimulate new hair growth if the hair loss can be traced to a biotin deficiency.
• Studies have shown saw palmetto is beneficial for hair loss in men and women. Saw Palmetto particularly has been shown to increase hair growth in men.
• Essential Fatty acids such as Flaxseed oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which can make hair more glossy and healthy looking. It may also be beneficial in the relief of itching and flaking of dandruff and help prevent psoriasis and eczema on the scalp.
Evening primrose oil (or borage oil) acts as a hair and scalp moisturiser
• Silica can assist hair development.
• Rosemary oil may improve scalp circulation when massaged into the scalp.
• Zinc is required for hair development and some people deficient in zinc may suffer from hair loss.
If the hair is thinning, a few drops of rosemary essential oil may be used in the shampoo, or place 2 to 3 drops neat on fingertips and massage into scalp. The oil must be ESSENTIAL and not fragrant.
Ask your MedAux Pharmacist for advice.
1. Ask your Pharmacist about any medication that may be causing the problem.
2. Your Pharmacist will suggest a suitable soft shampoo and hair conditioner that will not rob the hair of important nutrients.
3. Ask for the latest product for hair loss. A product containing minoxidil 2% and 5% (in a lotion form) can be used for Baldness and may be available over-the-counter from your Pharmacy.
4. Some nutritional supplements might be suggested if the diet is considered inadequate. See the Vitamins/Minerals/Herbs section of this topic for more information.
5. Ask your Pharmacist about hair care products that appear to increase the volume of the hair.