Balding and Hair Loss

Abnormal hair loss, which will cause noticeable thinning of the hair, is a cosmetic problem, and does not have serious effects on the body and physical health. Although it is not life threatening, thinning hair and loss of hair can cause significant emotional distress in individuals.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1​What is hair loss and balding?
  • 2What are the causes of hair loss and balding?
  • 3What are the different types of hair loss?
  • 4Why does conventional medicine fail to successfully treat hair loss & balding?
  • 5How is it managed at Health Renewal?
  • 6What in house treatments does Body Renewal / Health Renewal offer?
  • 7How many in-clinic treatments are necessary?
  • 8What are the risks or complications with hair balding management?
  • 9What neutraceuticals will be recommended?
  • 10Why should one not self-medicate?
  • 11How do I get started?
  • 12How often should I see the integrative Doctor?
  • 13How do we treat this at Health Renewal?
  • 14Health Renewal tip:
  • 15Health Renewal's 10 Inspiring Quotes For Healthy Living:

It is normal for hair to shed as part of the hair-growth cycle. The normal amount of hair lost each day is in fact between 50 to 100 hairs each day. 90% of scalp hair is in a constant 2-6 year growth phase whilst the remaining 10% of hair is in a 2-6 month dormant phase. Once the dormant phase has passed those hairs are shed and new hair grows from the follicle.

Abnormal hair loss, which will cause noticeable thinning of the hair, is a cosmetic problem, and does not have serious effects on the body and physical health. Although it is not life threatening, thinning hair and loss of hair can cause significant emotional distress in individuals.

Some of the causes of hair loss include:

  • chronological aging
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Thyroid imbalance
  • Eating disorders
  • Illness
  • Hormonal effects of birth control pills
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause, and
  • Certain Medications.

There is one hereditary condition that causes the most cases of hair loss, which is known as androgenetic alopecia (AGA). The hair loss seen in AGA cases is caused due to the progressive shrinking of the hair follicle which causes the life span of the hair to shorten. As the growth phase shortens new hair that is formed is thinner and shorter until eventually it stops growing altogether. Individuals with AGA seem to have higher levels of a metabolite of testosterone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

Other causes of hair loss:

  • Hair loss can be caused due to various cosmetic reasons, such as using products that are too harsh, and consistently keeping hair pulled taught in certain styles.
  • Chemotherapy, used in the treatment of cancers, is a well-known cause of hair loss.
  • There are various types of oral medications that are often culprits in hair loss. This is found commonly with the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs, Parkinson's medications, anti-ulcer drugs, anti-coagulants, anti-arthritics drugs derived from vitamin A, anti-convulsants, antidepressants, beta-blockers, anti-thyroid agents, and anabolic steroids.

There are six main types of hair loss:

1. Male Pattern Baldness:

Male pattern baldness is also known as androgenic alopecia (ADA), as it is often caused by the male hormone, androgen, which give men their ‘male’ characteristics. This is the most common type of hair loss in men. Initially the hair loss usually starts on the temples and recedes upwards to form an ‘M’ shape on the forehead. When this progresses it eventually takes on a ‘U’ shaped pattern. In addition, the hair gradually changes from being thick and pigmented, to fine and non-pigmented resulting in grey and white hair. There are three important factors that cause male pattern baldness which include older age, an inherited tendency towards early balding and an excess of a testosterone derivative.

2. Female Pattern Baldness:

Female pattern baldness (is also known as diffused thinning of the hair). This is usually caused by aging, genetic vulnerability, and abnormal androgen levels. It often starts after a woman reaches the age of 30 and becomes more visible by age 40. Once a woman comes to the stage of full onset menopause, the entire scalp can be covered with only a very thin layer of hair. Thankfully, unlike men, female pattern baldness doesn’t follow a particular pattern and rarely progresses to complete baldness. However any hair loss can be considered permanent.

3. Telogen Effluvium

This type of abnormal hair loss is characterized by a disruption in the normal hair cycle. This happens when more than 10% of hairs enter the dormant phase and as a result greater hair loss is observed. This condition may be seen in an individual that suffers from systemic illnesses like flu or thyroid deregulation, or in cases of severe emotional stress. If a woman becomes pregnancy or uses hormonal contraceptives can increase the activity of the hair follicles, and as a result less hair loss may be noted in such situations. This type of hair loss is more of a self-regulated process and is temporary.

4. Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune skin condition that can affect any area of the body where hair grows. With this condition the immune system mistakenly identifies the hair follicles as intruders and then responds by attacking and destroying them. The first sign of onset of this type of hair loss is usually one or more small round smooth bald patches on the scalp. The course of alopecia areata is unpredictable, and it can often start during childhood, with a sudden onset and recurrent episodes. In severe cases it can progress to full body hair loss.

5. Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania is a part of the impulse control group of psychological disorders. This condition is characterized by the individual persistently pulling out hair at the root, or chronically scratching or brushing hair, which lead to hair loss. This condition is most often found amongst children and girls, rather than boys.

6. Scarring Alopecia

Scarring alopecia occurs when the skin has been damaged to such an extent that the hair follicles have been destroyed in totality. This is most usually seen in individuals where the skin has been scarred by burns, X-ray therapy, skin cancer, or severe injury.

Conventional medicine is often used to treat hair loss. For ADA, medicines like Propecia® which decrease the levels of DHT are prescribed. Unfortunately these are contraindicated for the use in treating women with hair loss. Often this drug is used in combination with minoxidil, a topical cream, which when used twice daily, can slow hair loss and improve hair growth. Growth stimulators, such as Rogaine®, are free radical scavengers which strongly stimulate hair growth. Unfortunately, the hair growth that is stimulated because of medicine usage is seldom as long or thick as the original hair. Also, the medication often needs to be initiated early and continued indefinitely for the best results.

Hair transplantation and scalp reduction are more invasive techniques that may be used to restore cosmetic appearance in male and female patients. The downside of these procedures is that they can often leave scarring and the cosmetic outcome is not always dependable, and can vary from patient to patient.

Conventional medicine often fails to identify the importance of additional nutritional therapy in the management of hair loss. To get maximum benefits ensure your diet has enough fiber, fresh fruit and vegetables and low in fat, which will support good hair growth.

Your Health Renewal doctor will do a thorough consultation and examination. This will be followed by ordering various blood tests, if indicated. Once the cause for hair loss & balding has been established, your Health Renewal Doctor will formulate a management plan with you. This will usually include a few in house treatment options together with lifestyle and diet changes, and nutraceutical supplementation. If indicated, prescription medication may be prescribed.

Any treatment that improves blood supply to the hair follicle will stimulate and improve hair growth. The following treatments stimulate blood supply to the scalp and hair follicle

  • Carboxy therapy uses microinjections of carbon dioxide gas to stimulate the tissues to grow new capillaries. This replenishes the blood supply, improves circulation to the area & thereby restores hair growth
  • Injected mesotherapy into the scalp area revitalizes the area with all the required growth factors, vitamins, nutrients, amino and nucleic acids to kick start the germ cell of the hair follicle and restore hair loss.
  • PDT / LLLT / LED stimulates the gem cell follicle of the hair follicle to restore hair loss.
  • Botulinum toxin relaxes the piloerector muscles that are attached to the hair follicle/ root and allows for improved circulation to the area.
  • Topical home lotions, shampoo and conditioner therapies provided by Renokin contain growth factors, vitamins, nutrients, amino and nucleic acids to stimulate the germ cell of the hair follicle. Renokin works on the inherited genetic susceptibility causing androgenetic hair loss.
  • Prescription therapies such as Propecia and Minoxidil work by down regulating the hair loss promoting hormone DHT (dihydrotestosterone).
  • Patient specific nutraceuticals, as prescribed by your Health Renewal Doctor. (see list below)

Treatments are tolerated well and take around 30 to 45 minutes depending on the type of combined therapies utilised. The effects of each treatment are accumulative. Eight to ten weekly treatments and then maintenance of once or twice a month is necessary to maintain results.

The importance of early management can’t be overstated. Once balding occurs, no new hair will grow, and the situation can’t be reversed.

Neutraceuticals, together with healthy balanced diet, plays a key role in maintaining healthy hair.

L-Lysine

L-lysine is an amino acid which inhibits the enzyme converting testosterone to DHT.

L-Arginine

L-Arginine is needed in the production of nitric oxide; which hair follicles use to make and maintain hair strands.

Saw Palmetto

Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) is a palm-like plant native to North America. An extract taken from the berries interferes with the production and action of DHT.

Green Tea Extract

Green tea leaves are potent inhibitors of the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT. This is largely due to the high levels of catechin in Green tea.

Proanthocyanidins and Procyanidins

Proanthocyanidins and procyanidins (specifically OPC’s, oligomeric proanthocyanidins) are a class of flavonoids found in woody plants. They are often marketed in as grape seed extract. They help hair growth by simulating epithelial cell growth and keeping TGF-beta2 in check. TGF-beta has a growth-inhibiting effect.

Bio-enhanced Tocotrienol Complex

Tocotrienol has been shown to improve hair thickness and density, which can fight against hair thinning.

For all health conditions, the nutraceuticals are individually tailored by the Health Renewal Doctor. The doctor will decide- based on your history, physical examination and blood tests what would be the best for you and your specific needs and/or deficiencies. Please do not self-medicate. Self-Medicating is done when a person takes prescription medication or nutraceuticals on their own without a doctor's supervision and/or consent. By not having a physical examination and blood testing done by a qualified medical practitioner, you could be not treating vital deficiencies or conditions such as elevated blood pressure and high sugar levels. In addition, there is no single supplement given to clients as there is no magic bullet that can support all the essential nutrients that one's body needs.

Make an appointment to consult with your Health Renewal Doctor and they will assist you in determining your risk factors and how best to prevent any problems/ conditions that you may be susceptible to.

After the two week follow up , the initial blood results will be discussed and patient specific nutraceuticals may be initiated. A second follow up another evaluation and blood test at 8 weeks is recommended to measure serum improvements in your Lipogram, homocysteine and other essential blood results . Follow up appoinments should be very 6 months.

The initial medical consultation at Health Renewal will be approximately 45 minutes. As this is a prolonged medical consultation, the initial consultation fee will be R 975 which can be claimed back from your medical aid. On arrival you will have to complete an in depth questionnaire before the consultation so please arrive 20 minutes before the time. During the 45 minute consultation your Health Renewal doctor will obtain a full medical history from you to determine your personal risk. A physical examination will be done after which he/she will decide which blood tests need to be requested from your local pathology laboratory. If you have a medical aid , these should be able to be claimed as well.

These results will then be analyzed by your Doctor and this will be discussed with you at your follow up appointment usually two weeks later. This will determine what abnormalities/ deficiencies exist and you will be advised on your treatment options. These options may range from prescription medications, nutraceuticals, bio-identical hormonal creams / tablets or alternatively to having bio-identical implants / pellets inserted. In office treatments such as carboxytherapy may also be recommended for certain conditions such as hair loss, erectile dysfunction, menopause or PMS. If you need to lose weight our Body Renewal Medical Weight loss program may be recommended.

All these recommendations will be summarized on a sheet / print out which you can take home with you. The nutraceuticals offered at Health Renewal are of superior quality (Solgar) and are not rancid nor contain Hg or PCB'S (this is very important for Omeage 3 and EFA), and are free of gluten, preservatives, Wheat, Dairy, Soy, Yeast, Sugar, Artificial Flavor, Sweetener and Color. We have a great professional team made up of doctors, trained and registered nurses and therapists to support you at any time. An added bonus is that any nutraceuticals purchased will go towards loyalty points at any Skin, Body and Health Renewal branches.

Unfortunately, there is no single ‘cure’ for baldness. For the best results in prevention it is essential that abnormal hair loss is identified at its early stages and to then combine conventional treatments with nutritional supplements and a healthy diet. The importance of early management can’t be overstated. Once balding occurs, no new hair will grow, and the situation can’t be reversed.

Here are ten quotes from great thinkers to challenge, motivate and inspire us to exercise, eat right and live healthier lives: Health and intellect are the two blessings of life.

1. Buddha (c. 563 BC to 483 BC) – a spiritual teacher from ancient India who founded Buddhism

To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.

2. Marcus Valerius Martialis (known in English as Martial) (circa 40 AD – 103 AD) – a Latin poet from Hispania (the Iberian Peninsula) best known for his twelve books of Epigrams

Life is not merely being alive, but being well.

3. Edward Smith-Stanley (1752-1834) – English statesman, three times Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Those who do not find time for exercise will have to find time for illness.

4. Paul Dudley White (1886 – 1973) – an American physician and cardiologist

A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.

5. Henry Ward Beecher (1813 – 1887) – a prominent, Congregationalist clergyman, social reformer, abolitionist, and speaker

The body is like a piano, and happiness is like music. It is needful to have the instrument in good order.

6. James Leigh Hunt (1784 – 1859) – an English critic, essayist, poet and writer

The groundwork of all happiness is health.

7. Francois Rabelais (c. 1494 – 1553) – a major French Renaissance writer, doctor and Renaissance humanist

Without health, life is not life; it is only a state of languor and suffering.

8. Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626) – an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer, jurist and author

A healthy body is a guest-chamber for the soul; a sick body is a prison.

9. Persius (34 AD -62 AD) – a Roman poet and satirist of Etruscan origin

You pray for good health and a body that will be strong in old age. Good — but your rich foods block the gods’ answer and tie Jupiter’s hands.

10. "Health and intellect are the two blessings of life" - Menander (ca. 342–291 BC) – Greek dramatist, the best-known representative of Athenian New Comedy

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