A new study published in JAMA Dermatology has revealed that the contraceptive pill could trigger a type of hair loss known as Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia (FFA). Primarily affecting postmenopausal women, the condition leads to a progressive loss of hair along the frontal hairline, occasionally affecting the eyebrows and other areas of the body.

In today’s blog, you’ll discover what Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia is, the symptoms to watch out for, and how it is treated.

What is Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia?

Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia is a type of scarring alopecia, where inflammation leads to permanent hair loss and scarring of the hair follicles. The exact cause of FFA is unknown, but it is believed to be an autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles.

There are also suggestions that hormonal changes, particularly in postmenopausal women, and certain medications, like the contraceptive pill, might play a role in triggering the condition.

What are the symptoms of Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia?

The symptoms of Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia can vary, but they typically include a gradual and progressive receding of the frontal hairline. This hair loss is often symmetrical and may extend around the entire hairline, including the temples and behind the ears.

In some cases, the eyebrows and eyelashes may also be affected, leading to thinning or complete loss of hair in these areas.

Patients with FFA may also experience symptoms such as redness, itching, or a burning sensation in the affected areas of the scalp. The skin in these areas may appear pale and shiny due to the scarring and loss of hair follicles.

It’s important to recognise these symptoms early and seek medical advice to manage the condition effectively.

Treating Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia

Treating Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia can be challenging, as the hair loss is often permanent due to the scarring of the hair follicles. However, early intervention can help manage symptoms and slow the progression of the condition.

Treatment options typically include medications that reduce inflammation and suppress the immune response, such as corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, and antimalarial drugs.

Topical treatments, like minoxidil, may be prescribed to stimulate hair growth in the remaining healthy follicles. Lifestyle changes, such as avoiding tight hairstyles and harsh hair treatments, can also help minimise further damage to the hair and scalp. In some cases, cosmetic procedures, like hair transplants, might be considered to restore hair in the affected areas, although their effectiveness can vary.

If you think you are suffering from Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia, the appropriate specialist is a dermatologist. A dermatologist is a medical doctor who is trained in treating the hair and scalp.

Menopause is a major milestone in a woman’s life, bringing with it various physical and hormonal changes. While hot flushes, mood swings, and weight gain are some of the most common changes you’ll experience, many women also see a change in their hair.

Hair loss and thinning are common side effects of the menopause, and they can be particularly challenging to deal with.

In today’s blog, we’ll explore how the menopause affects your hair, whether you can prevent menopause related hair loss and thinning, and the treatments available to manage these changes.

How does the menopause change the hair?

During menopause, the body undergoes a significant shift in hormone levels, particularly oestrogen and progesterone, which play crucial roles in hair growth. As these hormone levels decline, the hair growth cycle is disrupted.

Oestrogen helps keep hair in the growing phase (anagen) longer, so reduced levels can shorten this phase, leading to more hair shedding and slower growth. An increase in androgens (male hormones) can also cause hair follicles to shrink, producing finer, thinner hair.

Medications taken during menopause, such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), can also impact the hair. While HRT can help mitigate some of the hormonal changes, it isn’t without its own set of potential side effects, including hair thinning.

The combined effect of hormonal changes and medications makes menopause a challenging period for maintaining healthy hair.

Can you prevent menopause-related hair loss and thinning?

While preventing menopause-related hair loss isn’t always possible, there are steps you can take to protect your hair. Maintaining a healthy diet that is rich in essential nutrients like vitamins A, C, D, and E, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids, can support hair health. Supplements specifically designed for hair growth can also be beneficial.

Using gentle haircare products and avoiding excessive heat styling, harsh chemicals, and tight hairstyles, can prevent further damage to already fragile hair. While these measures can’t completely prevent hair thinning or loss, they can help minimise the impact and keep the hair healthier during the menopause.

Treating hair loss during the menopause

To treat hair loss during menopause, you’ll need to address the underlying cause. A specialist will be able to determine whether hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies, or other factors are contributing to the problem.

Once the root cause is identified, several treatment options are available. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help balance hormone levels, while topical treatments like Minoxidil can stimulate hair growth and slow down hair loss. Oral medications such as Finasteride may also be prescribed in some cases to block the effects of androgens on hair follicles.

If you are experiencing hair loss during the menopause, schedule a consultation with a dermatologist that specialises in hair loss so they can identify the underlying cause and develop a personalised treatment plan.

Alopecia areata affects over 100,000 people in the UK, causing unpredictable hair loss and significant emotional distress. The impact the condition has extends beyond the physical hair loss itself, often affecting the mental health and self-esteem of those who live with it.

Currently, there is no cure for this autoimmune disorder, but recent developments in medical research offer new hope. Scientists have created a new patch that may provide a promising treatment.

Here, we’ll explore what alopecia areata is, reveal more about the new innovative patch, and the current treatment options available for the condition.

What is Alopecia Areata?

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. This condition can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender, and typically results in round, smooth patches of hair loss on the scalp.

In some cases, the hair loss extends to eyebrows, eyelashes, and other parts of the body. The exact cause of alopecia areata is not fully understood, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental triggers.

Those with the condition may experience spontaneous hair regrowth, but it is often unpredictable, and the hair loss can return.

Study shows patch triggers hair regrowth

The new patch, created with hyaluronic acid bonded with polyethylene glycol, has been developed by researchers from the Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It delivers immune-regulating molecules directly to the scalp, helping to teach the immune system to stop attacking hair follicles.

The patch offers a painless application that releases drugs to rebalance the immune response at the site of application.

In animal studies, the patch showed promising results. Mice treated with the patch every other day for three weeks experienced significant hair regrowth and a notable reduction in inflammation. It not only promoted hair regrowth but also helped maintain it for several weeks after treatment ended. This was achieved without causing systemic immune effects in other parts of the body.

The researchers are now focused on advancing this technology and hope to bring it to clinical trials soon.

Current treatment options for alopecia areata

While the new patch could prove to be a promising treatment option in the future, it is still in the research phase. Further studies are needed to confirm its efficacy and safety in humans. In the meantime, patients with alopecia areata have several treatment options to manage their condition including:

  • Topical Treatments: These include corticosteroids, which can reduce inflammation and promote hair regrowth when applied to the affected areas. Minoxidil, a common over-the-counter treatment, can also stimulate hair growth.
  • Oral Medications: Systemic treatments like corticosteroids can suppress the immune response and are used in more severe cases of alopecia areata. Earlier this year, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) approved the use of Ritlecitinib for treating severe alopecia areata in people aged 12 and over. It works by reducing the enzymes that cause inflammation and subsequent hair loss at the follicle and is the first treatment for severe alopecia areata recommended by NICE for use on the NHS.
  • Injections: Corticosteroid injections directly into the bald patches can help stimulate hair regrowth in localised areas.
  • Light Therapy: Also known as phototherapy, this treatment involves using ultraviolet light to reduce inflammation and stimulate hair follicles.
  • Alternative Therapies: Some patients explore holistic approaches such as acupuncture, essential oils, and dietary changes, though these methods lack scientific evidence.

If you are struggling with alopecia areata, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist, the appropriately qualified expert for managing alopecia areata and other hair loss conditions. After an initial assessment, they can create a personalised treatment plan to help you effectively manage the condition.

June 10th to June 16th marks Men’s Health Week, a time dedicated to raising awareness about the health issues that predominantly affect the male population. One of the most common issues men that face is hair loss, a condition that can have significant psychological and emotional impacts.

Hair loss can stem from a variety of causes, each requiring different treatments. Here, we’ll explore the five most common causes to be aware of.

  1. Male Pattern Baldness

Male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is the most common cause of hair loss in men. It leads to a receding hairline and thinning of the hair on the crown, often leading to complete baldness in these areas.

This type of hair loss is largely influenced by genetic factors and the presence of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT shrinks hair follicles, causing them to produce thinner and shorter hairs until they eventually stop producing hair altogether.

Male pattern baldness can begin as early as the late teens or early twenties and progresses with age.

  1. Stress

Stress is another significant factor that can lead to hair loss. High levels of stress can trigger a type of hair loss known as telogen effluvium. This condition causes hair follicles to enter the resting phase of the hair growth cycle prematurely, leading to increased shedding and thinning hair.

Stress-related hair loss can be temporary or chronic, depending on the person’s stress levels and overall health. Addressing the root causes of stress and adopting stress management techniques such as exercise, meditation, and counselling can help minimise and reverse its impact on hair loss.

  1. Illness/Medications

Certain illnesses and medications can also cause hair loss. Conditions such as thyroid disorders, severe infections, and chronic illnesses can disrupt the normal hair growth cycle, leading to hair thinning and shedding.

Treatments for diseases like cancer, including chemotherapy and radiation, are also well-known for causing the hair to fall out. Medications for other conditions, such as beta-blockers, anticoagulants, and antidepressants, can also contribute to hair thinning.

In many cases, hair loss due to illness or medication is temporary and resolves once the underlying issue is treated or the medication is discontinued.

  1. Chronic Tension

Chronic tension on the hair follicles, often resulting from hairstyles that pull tightly on the hair, can cause a type of hair loss known as traction alopecia. This condition is common among men who frequently wear tight hairstyles such as braids, ponytails, or buns. The constant pulling and tension can damage the hair follicles, leading to inflammation and eventually causing the hair to fall out.

Over time, if the tension is not relieved, the hair follicles can become permanently damaged, resulting in irreversible hair loss. To prevent traction alopecia, it is advisable to avoid tight hairstyles and give the hair regular breaks from styling.

  1. Autoimmune Conditions

Autoimmune conditions, like alopecia areata, can lead to patchy hair loss on the scalp and other parts of the body. Other autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, can also cause hair thinning and loss.

The hair loss associated with autoimmune conditions can be unpredictable and may vary in severity. Treatment typically involves addressing the underlying autoimmune disorder and may include medications to suppress the immune response and promote hair regrowth.

Understanding the underlying cause of hair loss is crucial for determining the most effective treatment approach.

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in hair loss among young men. It’s estimated that around a quarter of men in their 20s are now showing signs of balding due to male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia.

Early onset hair loss doesn’t just affect the scalp – it has a significant impact on the self-esteem of young men. Here, we explore the factors contributing to the rise of hair loss in younger males and effective strategies for managing and treating it.

Lifestyle factors to blame for rise in early onset hair loss

The rise in early onset hair loss in young men is linked to modern lifestyle factors. High stress levels, poor diet, and increasing rates of obesity are all thought to play pivotal roles in accelerating hair loss.

Stress, whether psychological or physical, can disrupt hair growth cycles, leading to significant shedding and thinning. Poor dietary choices, meanwhile, can deprive the body of essential nutrients needed for maintaining healthy hair growth, such as proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Obesity is also linked to hormonal imbalances that may exacerbate hair loss.

These lifestyle factors combined create a perfect storm that can trigger or accelerate androgenetic alopecia.

What is Androgenic Alopecia and what causes it?

Androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness, is a genetic condition characterised by the gradual thinning and loss of hair. The condition is primarily driven by dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a derivative of testosterone, which shortens the growth phase of hair follicles, leading to thinner and shorter hair strands.

While genetics play a crucial role in androgenetic alopecia, lifestyle factors such as stress, diet, and obesity, can also significantly influence its onset and progression. Other contributing factors include environmental exposures and certain medical conditions, which can accelerate the hair loss process.

Treating Androgenic Alopecia

If you are noticing the early signs of androgenetic alopecia, it is crucial to address them as soon as possible. Various treatments are available that can slow down or even reverse hair loss.

Medications such as minoxidil (Rogaine) and finasteride (Propecia) are commonly prescribed and can be effective in promoting hair regrowth or preventing further loss. Lifestyle modifications like adopting a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and managing stress can also be beneficial in mitigating hair loss.

For those looking for a more immediate or dramatic result, hair transplant surgery is an alternative solution. It’s important to consult with a hair loss specialist who can provide a diagnosis and tailor a treatment plan suited to your specific condition and needs.

Hair loss, particularly at a young age, can be distressing, but it’s important to remember that options are available. If you are experiencing early onset male pattern baldness, an appointment with a dermatologist that specialises in hair loss could be the first step towards regaining your hair and confidence.

Millions of men around the world use Finasteride to combat hair loss, an FDA-approved medication. However, after a significant rise in reports of patients experiencing severe side effects, health officials in the UK are now warning of the dangers the drug presents.

Patients are urged to discontinue use if they experience severe side effects such as suicidal thoughts or depression. Here we’ll explore the potential risks associated with Finasteride and the alternatives available for those affected by its adverse effects.

Men warned over the dangers of Finasteride

Finasteride is widely recognised for its ability to treat hair loss effectively, but it is not without risks. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has noted an increase in serious side effects reported since 2020, prompting a thorough review of the drug’s safety.

Reported side effects include depression, suicidal thoughts, insomnia, and decreased libido. To increase patient safety, informational warning cards detailing these potential side effects will be included in Finasteride packages later this year.

Men taking 1mg of Finasteride for hair loss are advised to stop the medication if they experience severe symptoms. Meanwhile, those on a 5mg dose for an enlarged prostate should seek medical advice.

However, despite these concerns severe side effects are rare, occurring in less than one in 1,000 people.

What is Finasteride?

Originally developed to treat an enlarged prostate, Finasteride has gained widespread recognition for its effectiveness in treating male hair loss. The oral medication works by altering hormone levels, which can also benefit those experiencing pattern baldness. It became particularly well-known after it was revealed that Donald Trump used the drug to combat his hair loss, bringing it into the public eye.

Finasteride is designed for short-term treatment and the risk of side effects tends to increase with long-term use. This means those using the drug should be monitored carefully.

How does Finasteride work and what are the alternatives?

Finasteride treats hair loss by inhibiting the body’s ability to convert testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone linked to hair loss in men. By reducing DHT levels, Finasteride can slow or even reverse hair thinning and hair loss on the scalp.

While it is known to be highly effective, if you experience negative side effects or are concerned about the potential risks, there are several alternatives to consider. Options include topical treatments like minoxidil and even surgical options such as hair transplants, which can provide effective results without the hormonal effects of Finasteride.

For those currently using or considering Finasteride and are worried about its side effects, it’s crucial to explore all available treatment options. A dermatologist that specialises in various hair loss treatments, can offer guidance tailored to your specific needs.

Keratin is a naturally occurring protein that helps keep your hair, skin and nails healthy and strong. Your body produces keratin naturally, but there are a whole host of keratin shampoos and conditioners available that claim to strengthen hair and improve its appearance.

Now, new research from Japan has revealed that keratin microsphere gel could be an effective new treatment for hair loss. In a study conducted on mice, this novel gel has demonstrated promising results, like those of established treatments like Minoxidil.

Here we’ll explore the study’s findings, what keratin microsphere gel is, and the current hair loss treatments available.

Keratin produces similar effect to Minoxidil in study

The recent study carried out in Japan was conducted on seven-week-old male mice. After removing a section of hair on their back with depilatory cream, researchers applied various substances, including Minoxidil, keratin, and keratin microsphere gel, to the skin.

They monitored the mice over a 20-day period, taking photos to provide a clear view of the hair regrowth process. They discovered that keratin microsphere gel performed better than other solutions, with hair regrowth accelerated.

When analysing the results, they discovered that keratin microsphere gel significantly upregulated genes crucial for hair follicle development and skin regulation. The treatment also activated genes related to stem cells, which helped promote the growth of new hair and the development of hair follicles. At the same time, it reduced inflammation by lowering the levels of certain inflammation-causing substances in the body.

The researchers then extended their study to human hair follicle cells. The microspheres went through the outer layer of the skin to the deeper layers, activating important cells that help grow hair follicles.

What is keratin microsphere gel?

Unlike hair products that are ‘infused’ with keratin, microspheres have the ability to deliver therapeutics directly into the skin via the hair follicle.Keratin microspheres swell into gels upon contact with water. Their ability to work well with the body’s natural processes, alongside the promising results shown in the study, make them a potentially viable hair loss treatment.

What are the current hair loss treatment options available?

Minoxidil, a topical treatment, has been a go-to solution for many suffering with hair loss. It is applied directly to the scalp and is mostly used as a temporary solution. It is one of the few treatments to be FDA approved.

As well as Minoxidil, other options include finasteride, a pill targeting hormonal causes of hair loss, to more invasive procedures like hair transplant surgery. The introduction of keratin microsphere gel into the market could potentially revolutionise the treatment of hair loss, offering a new, non-invasive option driven by the natural power of keratin.

To determine which hair loss treatment is right for you, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist specialising in hair loss.

Imagine if a pill for hair loss could also reduce your risk of heart disease. Well, apparently it can according to recent research carried out by scientists in the United States.

They’ve found that Finasteride, a go-to drug for battling male hair loss, can also protect the heart. Here we explore the results of the recent study and what it means for you.

Understanding the latest study

Researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the University of Maryland discovered that Finasteride can significantly lower cholesterol.

The study included analysing data of 155 men aged over 50, from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, spanning from 2009 to 2016. Results showed that the men taking Finasteride were walking around with cholesterol levels around 30 points lower than those who weren’t taking the drug.

This discovery flips the script on what we thought we knew about Finasteride. It’s not just a cosmetic fix for hair loss – it could also be beneficial for heart health.

What is Finasteride?

Known mostly for its role in fighting hair loss and benign prostate enlargement, Finasteride is an oral drug available through prescription. It tackles baldness by blocking the hormone that causes the hair to shed. The tablets are usually taken once a day, and it’s typically only prescribed to men over the age of 18.

Although this latest study suggests it might have potential heart health benefits, patients must be aware that there are certain side effects to be aware of. Although uncommon, they can include:

  • Loss of libido
  • Depression or lowering of mood
  • Anxiety
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Ejaculation disorders

How effective is Finasteride for hair loss?

Finasteride is highly effective at combatting hair loss and is one of the few FDA approved treatments. Many men have seen an improvement after taking the drug, with some even experiencing regrowth on their receding hairlines and thinning crowns.

There are many different types of hair loss, each with its own preferred treatment. To discover which type of treatment is best for you, schedule an appointment with a hair loss specialist today. After an initial assessment, a dermatologist can advise you on the appropriate treatment options both in terms of potential benefits and possible side effects.

The National Institute for Health, and Care Excellence (NICE) has given the green light to Ritlecitinib, making it the first medication approved to tackle severe alopecia areata.

This approval paves the way for its availability on the NHS in England, with Scotland also on the verge of deciding whether to offer it to patients. But what exactly is Ritlecitinib, and does it hold the potential to be a cure for alopecia areata?

Here we’ll explore what the drug is, how it helps combat hair loss, and whether it could be the cure patients have been waiting for.

What is Ritlecitinib and how does it help with hair loss?

Ritlecitinib isn’t your ordinary hair loss treatment. It’s a targeted therapy designed to address the root cause of alopecia areata. It works by selectively inhibiting certain enzymes involved in the immune response, reducing inflammation, and allowing hair follicles to recover and produce hair again.

Instead of merely managing symptoms or slowing progression, Ritlecitinib aims to halt the autoimmune attack on hair follicles completely. Early trials have shown promising results, with many participants experiencing significant hair regrowth.

What is Alopecia Areata?

Alopecia areata is more than just hair loss; it’s a complex autoimmune condition that can affect anyone at any age. It leads to patchy hair loss on the scalp, face, and sometimes other parts of the body, significantly affecting self-esteem and quality of life.

The condition is notoriously difficult to predict and manage, with hair loss and regrowth occurring in cycles that can be emotionally taxing for those affected. There is no cure for the condition, with current treatments focused on managing the symptoms, rather than the underlying cause.

Is Ritlecitinib a cure for Alopecia Areata?

Could Ritlecitinib be a cure for alopecia areata? While the drug represents a monumental step forward in treating severe alopecia areata, calling it a cure might be premature.

Ritlecitinib offers a significant breakthrough in managing the condition, with the potential to restore hair growth in severe cases. However, like many treatments for autoimmune diseases, it may require ongoing use to maintain results and manage the condition effectively.

The true impact of Ritlecitinib will become clearer as it becomes more widely available and used in the broader population. Its approval is a milestone in the journey towards finding a cure for alopecia areata, providing a new tool in the arsenal against this challenging condition.

For those living with severe alopecia areata, the approval of Ritlecitinib could be life changing. However, it may not work for everyone.

If you’re wondering whether this treatment could be right for you, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist that specialises in hair loss conditions. After an initial assessment, they will guide you through the best treatment options to fit your individual needs.

Ozempic, a medication initially approved for managing diabetes, has recently come under scrutiny by the FDA due to reported side effects, including hair loss.

The drug, which is commonly used as a weight loss solution, particularly among celebrities, is now being investigated for its potential adverse effects.

Here we’ll explore the risks associated with Ozempic, including its controversial link to hair loss.

Understanding the Dangers of Taking Ozempic

Originally designed to treat Diabetes, Ozempic is also known to be effective at treating obesity. The fact it is so effective at shedding excess pounds has helped the drug garner widespread attention. However, like any medication it does have a range of side effects.

Patients have reported severe digestive complications, such as bowel obstructions and pancreatitis. There’s also a worrying trend of increased suicidal thoughts among users, in addition to the distressing occurrence of hair loss.

For this reason, the FDA is now investigating the dangers of taking Ozempic and other similar drugs. It’s crucial for patients to be aware of the potential risks before they consider using it as a go-to weight loss solution.

Misuse of Ozempic Could Trigger Permanent Hair Loss

Hair loss is increasingly becoming a significant side effect reported by users of Ozempic. While it primarily manifests as telogen effluvium – a temporary form of hair loss, in some cases it is triggering androgenetic alopecia.

This is a more chronic type of hair loss that causes a specific pattern of hair loss. The condition can be particularly upsetting, impacting not just your physical appearance, but also emotional well-being.

While it is rare for Ozempic to cause permanent hair loss, temporary hair loss is a common side effect.

How Rapid Weight Loss Triggers Hair Loss

The hair loss linked to Ozempic may not be a direct effect of the drug itself, but a result of the rapid weight loss it induces.

Rapid weight loss can shock the body, triggering more hair than usual to enter the resting phase. Eventually, the hair will move to the shedding phase, causing noticeable thinning and patches of hair loss. Extreme dieting can also have the same effect.

If you are experiencing hair loss, or if you’re taking Ozempic and have concerns about potential hair loss, it is crucial to seek professional advice. Scheduling an appointment with a hair loss specialist can provide you with the necessary guidance and support to address these concerns effectively.

Remember, while medications like Ozempic can help with conditions like Diabetes and obesity, they should be used with caution and under the supervision of healthcare professionals.