Hair loss has been an issue for centuries, but scientific ways to treat hair loss began to take off in the past 60 or so years. Ointments, transplants, formulations, chemicals, snake oils, and many other products have emerged in the hair loss treatment markets, some of which work well, others which do not. When choosing a hair regrowth treatment, it is important to understand whether a product or method is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), whether it will treat your specific situation, and whether the treatment has any side effects that could be potentially hazardous to your overall physical or emotional health.
Hair follicles are self-regenerating; they produce strands of hair, shed it, and reproduce new hair constantly. However, at some point, the hair follicle stops producing new hair, or produces new hair at a slower rate than the hair is shed, causing hair loss and sometimes baldness. It is this concept that must be understood when creating new ways to treat hair loss. All hair loss treatments aim to assist (or in some cases, replace) hair follicles in producing new hair, whether naturally or synthetically.
As far as hair treatments from a lab go, two main drugs have emerged as the leaders in treating hair loss. Minoxidil slows hair loss and promotes hair growth when used correctly. It helps to maintain the hair you have, and is most effective when used in the earlier stages of hair loss, as opposed to when you are bald or close to it. The other drug commonly used is Propecia. Unlike Minoxidil, which has proven effective for both men and women, Propecia only works on men, because it works to stop male hormones (testosterone) from forming DHT, which shortens the hair growth phase. Several studies have revealed that Propecia produces more side effects than Minoxidil, including loss of sex drive, and several other side effects. (Avacor® hair loss treatment products use Minoxidil and are specifically formulated for men and women).
Men looking to treat hair loss can use one or both of these drugs. However, neither will be effective unless used correctly, as directed by the product.
Surgeries are another way people treat hair loss, and are an $800 Million industry in the U.S. alone, and a $2 Billion industry worldwide, according to the Wall Street Journal. Hair transplants have developed significantly over the last several decades. In the 1980s, large grafts of hair follicles were removed from one area of the head and inserted onto the area experiencing hair loss. The procedure was often painful and the results were mixed; in some cases, hair transplants were quite successful, but not for everyone. Results took a long time to look natural as well. Scalp reduction is another out of date procedure that involved several small incisions on the scalp, which left visible scars.
Nowadays, hair transplant surgery is less invasive than before, requiring much smaller grafts of just one to four hairs. These smaller grafts are less painful and invasive, and have a more natural look since the areas are smaller and more close together.
The Next Evolution: Hair Follicle Regeneration
The new wave of hair loss treatment is hair follicle regeneration. This is essentially a jump start for hair follicles that have stopped or slowed new hair production. Several labs and companies are working on this process, and have seen success manipulating hair follicle stem cells in a test tube. Some companies are experimenting with removing human hair follicles and growing them in a lab. The idea is that if the hair follicles can be re-stimulated using science, then reinserted onto a person’s head, the hair follicles will begin working properly again, growing hair naturally and combating hair loss. This takes hair transplant procedures to the next level by expanding the number of new hair follicles you receive from a hair transplant.
Some people have referred to this process as “hair cloning,” but this is not an entirely accurate description, since the process does not create a new organism. Rather, it is a duplication effort that puts follicles that have the potential to produce new hair into implants that stimulate new growth. M.D. George Cotsarelis predicts this new transplant process is between 5 and 10 years from becoming publicly available.
Another recent development in the hair loss treatment world is a new gene called “Sonic hedgehog.” This gene essentially is able to convert hair in the resting stage into new hair growth. Scientists are still in the early stages of experimenting with this gene (and others) to try to control hair follicle size and the growth rate for new hair. If successful, it could become a powerful and popular new way to treat hair loss. Similar experiments are occurring as you read this article in labs all over the world. Using genetics to treat hair loss is similar to how scientists are using genetics to treat disease and other human conditions. These processes and procedures are constantly being updated, and like many other areas of treatment, scientists are paving the way toward new and improved hair loss remedies.
According to the Wall Street Journal, vitamin D is crucial to hair regrowth. Thus, many efforts to develop new hair loss treatments focus around adding more vitamin D into a person’s diet. In addition to stimulating hair growth, vitamin D also has other benefits for the body, such as improving bone growth. However, too much vitamin D can also cause kidney issues or general weakness, so take care not to overdo it. In many cases, simply changing your diet can actually help with hair loss. Adding the proper amount of vitamin D into your diet from fatty fish and sunlight can help you treat hair loss naturally.
A way to improve your overall look is with your hair. Summer is ending and fall is quickly approaching. Heat, chlorine and daily processing probably took a toll on your tresses. Now it is time to repair, and add some accessories for your best overall look. Whether you have short, long, curly, or straight hair, knowing which accessory is right for your look is what it is all about. Knowing when to use an accessory is also important. Sometimes a great accessory can turn a bad hair day around. Just remember to consider what is best for your hair, your look, and don’t over do it.
Tips, Styles & Trends
Rubber bands are an important thing to consider. We all wear them, some more than others. If you wear them everyday, try and remember to give your hair a break so your hair itself does not break. Do not use rubber bands with metal pieces or avoid rubber bands entirely. Goody makes a product called "Ouchless Elastics" that will do a better job of holding your hair without too much pain or hair damage. Pulling your hair back and using a product to slick back “frizzies” will help tame your hair and make for a great fall look.
A cute headband will also tame any broken hair and add a great look to any outfit! A flower or other accessory will take any look from a fall picnic to a night out. These accessories will also take the focus away from any hair faults. An accessory in the right place can draw the eye away from any thinning, receding, or breakage, and instead on the cute accessory.
Clips, Feathers & More
Be careful with what accessories you choose. Although it is a good idea to accessorize and also maybe fix a bad hair day, you don’t want to draw too much attention to your headband, clip, or other accessory. Feathers are very trendy, but we also do not want to look like a bird with them sticking up on the top of your head. Adding a little lift to you hair is a plus, but teasing too much or using a “bump it” is not always a good idea. Adding in too many streamers, colors, etc will just make it look like a party in your hair.
A little bobby pin, clip, or small flower for short hair is a great idea for adding a little color, style, or help tame little “frizzies” and help hair keep it’s shape. These accessories are also great for short to medium hair that is in the awkward phase of growing out.
Buns & Braids
Buns and braids are very in this year. Buns done loosely will hold a great length of hair and thickness during the day for work, and can be let down for an evening out. Braids can be done on any hair type and in so many different ways. As long as a braid is not done too tight, it will not cause any breakage to the hair, and will add style to any look.
Hair extensions are a great way to add length, texture, body, and color. There are many different options and types. Make sure you research what is best for your hair. You can have them professionally put in, braided, glued, or beaded. You can also buy them online or in a beauty supply store. Clip ins are great and can add a look without any permanent damage. As long as they are maintained and taken care of they can last up to a few months.
Accessorizing is great to spice up a look, keep up with the trends, and accentuate your style. Accessories can also hide hair issues, help tame problems, and help you wait out a growth period or while hair is mending. Remember to have fun and find your style! To help maintain your stylish hair, check out the Avacor® line of hair care products. You'll find everything you need to maintain clean and strong hair to keep you looking your best.
Hereditary Hair loss can affect both men and women. It is caused by genetics, and hormones and the aging process also play a role. The medical condition of hereditary hair loss affects many. In women it is called Androgenetic Alopecia, and affects 30 million alone. For men is it commonly referred to as balding, or receding hairlines, but the condition is called male pattern baldness.
Fact: “Hair loss effects 30 million women”
The condition can be caused by a number of different genetic factors so it can come from the mother’s or father’s side, can skip generations, and affects all ethnicities. Male pattern baldness and androgenetic alopecia is caused by the hair follicle going through a progression of miniaturizing, and leading to a shortening of the hair cycle and eventually all together shutting down growth.
Fact: “40% of men experience hair loss”
About 40% of men and women will experience some type of hair loss as they get older. Men usually start in their 20’s-30’s and women more often after menopause. Hereditary hair loss is unlike other hair loss symptoms.
Fact: “100 hairs lost per day, on average”
An average person can lose up to 100 hairs per day, or even more due to illnesses, childbirth, or other conditions. With male pattern baldness and androgenetic alopecia, the hair falls out more in a pattern. In men, hair loss begins at the temples or crown. In women it can be more throughout but typically begins at the top and goes down the middle around the part. These conditions are typically diagnosed by the pattern, and also looking at family history.
Prevention and Treatment
Hereditary hair loss is very common and also treatable. Since hair loss is a progressive condition, the sooner it is treated the better the success. The hair cycle slows down and eventually will stop growing altogether. There are a number of different treatments and options out there. Checking a family tree from both sides can often predispose any conditions. If treatments is started early enough, the slowing down of the condition could be highly affected. Hair loss with this medical condition is permanent. Once the hair stops growing completely it is irreversible.
The #1 treatment option for men is a product with Minoxidil. Avacor Physicians Formulation® for Men can show the reduction of hair loss and improving of hair regrowth in as little as two months time. For women experiencing hair loss or thinning Avacor Physicians Formulation® for Women that can show results in as little as four months. In more extreme cases hair transplantation and seeing a dermatologist is another option.
Hair loss is common among men and women alike. Often, hair loss is hereditary or hormonal and occurs naturally. However, some hair loss in women (and men as well) is self-inflicted, and is caused by a number of reasons or conditions. As with natural hair loss, self-inflicted hair loss can be combatted with Avacor's hair regrowth products to help regrow a full, healthy head of hair.
Trichotillomania is self-inflicted hair loss caused by constant hair plucking or pulling. This condition is common in women and children, effecting twice as many women than men. In addition to pulling out patches of hair on the scalp, some people affected by trichotillomania pull out eyelashes and eyebrows as well.
Traction Alopecia is another condition that results from hair pulling. However, while trichotillomania is more psychological, traction alopecia typically is the result of hairstyles. For example, buns, braids, or ponytails that are too tight can cause traction alopecia. The hair loss is often gradual, but may become permanent over time.
Emotional stress can also lead to hair loss in women. Stress can be self-inflicted by overextending yourself and taking too much on each day. During stressful periods, a woman’s adrenal glands are overworked to produce more cortisol, sometimes known as the “stress hormone.” Her body thus creates adrenaline and DHT, which is an enhanced testosterone that can create a hormonal imbalance, and ultimately, can lead to hair loss.
Birth control can lead to hair loss in women. Most women take birth control voluntarily, though in some cases, various birth control methods are prescribed. “The pill,” which is the most common form of birth control in the U.S., can also create DHT, which, like the DHT created by too much stress, can create a hormonal imbalance and lead to hair loss. Similarly, other medications or therapy that involve hormonal shifts or changes should be approached cautiously, as the hormonal change can cause hair loss in women.
Hair maintenance is another factor that can cause self-inflicted hair loss in women. Some women go to extremes to make their hair look good, but over time, these measures can damage hair and possibly cause it to fall out. Chemical hair care treatments like styling gel or hair coloring products are some examples of hair maintenance methods that can lead to hair loss over time. These can also damage a woman’s scalp. Blow-drying, styling, and excessive brushing can also lead to hair loss.
Many of these conditions are treatable by either changing your hair care methods, reducing stress, or in some cases, seeking psychological help. To treat the hair loss specifically, try Avacor Physicians Formulation® for Women, a hair regrowth product created specifically for women, and approved by the FDA.
We all use them... Blow dryers, flat irons, curling irons, rollers...and we all have the damage that goes along with it! So how do we treat it? Or better yet try and avoid it before the damage happens? Summer and the hot months do not help, and it seems that more products are needed during this time to maintain our tresses!
How the heat affects your hair
Heat can affect your hair immediately or over a period of time. The damage can be visible or can start working from the inside of your hair out. Heat can cause scorching, burning, and every time it is applied it is robbing your hair of its natural oils and moisture. Most tools that are used would burn your skin, so why is ok for your hair? If a tool is too hot it softens the keratin of the hair and can actually cause it to boil and burn. It weakens the hair shaft and will lead to breakage or can break off during the process. Whether you use heat processes daily, or occasionally it can still affect your hair and will catch up with you. It will dry out your hair, cause breakage, split ends, and damage.
How to prevent and avoid heat damage
Always use a heat protectant when any heated device is going to touch your hair. Try to let your hair air dry whenever possible. Hair dryers are made to dry the hair quickly, when not necessary, give your hair a rest. Moisturize your hair with a conditioning serum and protein builder as well. This will help your hair’s natural oils and moisture stay deep within the fibers. Always check and maintain your heating tools. A hair dryer that overheats from buildup will damage your hair more quickly. Check the temperatures on your flat irons and curling irons. Only use the highest setting needed for your hair. An average setting is around 200° F. More coarse hair usually requires higher heat and is in the 300° range. Hair burns at the same temperature as paper around 450°. It is a good idea to select heating tools that have temperature readings. High and Low is not sufficient. There is a big difference between 200° and 300°. Protect, be proactive, maintain and give your hair a “break” because extreme heat damage is irreversible.
How to treat heat damaged hair
To understand how to treat your heat-damaged hair, you need to understand the biology of hair. First off, hair is dead. You cannot repair something that isn't living. Hair is made up of the same protein as our fingernails - keratin. Just as a fingernail can chip and crack, hair can easily be damaged. Although heat damage is not reversible, there are ways that can improve the condition and appearance of your hair. Follow the tips above to avoid heat damage in the future.
There are many products out there to help with the appearance and prevention of future damage. It is about researching what is best for your hair type. Silicones, shampoos, conditioners, and trimming off the split and broken ends is necessary depending on the hair’s condition.
Livestrong.com - Treatment for Heat Damaged Hair
Ehow.com - Straighten Curly Hair w Heat
A few months ago we talked about babies and baldness. This week we'll focus on what parents should expect for their new born.
Let’s face it – new parents have a lot on their plates. Sleepless nights, new schedules, and taking care of a tiny baby gives parents plenty to think about. But what about baby hair? What should you expect? The short answer is this: there is no single answer. Baby hair is different from one infant to the next. Regardless, it’s important to understand what is normal when it comes to your new baby’s hair, including newborn hair loss and growth.
Will My Baby Have Hair?
Some babies are born bald, some have a little hair, and some have a lot of hair. Some babies even have patches of hair. All of these scenarios and anything in between is totally normal. It is hard to predict whether your baby will have hair when he or she arrives. However, chances are, if the baby has hair, he or she will lose it fairly soon.
Newborn Hair Loss
Babies typically lose whatever hair they have within the first six months of life. The hair growth cycle starts before we are born, so when a baby is born with a full head of hair, that baby is further along in the hair growth cycle than bald babies. However, hair can stop growing due to hormonal changes, and after a baby is born, their hormone levels drop. This hormonal change leads to hair shedding. Interestingly, a mother’s hormones change after giving birth, and some new moms temporarily experience hair loss as well.
Most babies lose their hair in the first six months, but it does grow back. Exactly when it grows back, however, varies from infant to infant. Some will regrow their hair right away, while other babies do not grow new hair until they are almost two years old. Once a baby starts growing back new hair, the hair might be a completely different color and/or texture than the original hair. If your baby is getting older but has not start to grow new hair, do not fret. If you notice patches or bald spots once the hair starts to grow back, it may be because of how your baby sleeps or sits. Again, just be patient; it will fill in.
Baby Hair Care
Just like adults, it is important for babies to receive proper and healthy hair care. For starters, avoid washing your baby’s hair every day. When you do wash it, use a tear-free shampoo, and gently massage a small amount onto the top of the head. As the hair grows, use a soft bristled brush or comb to avoid knots or tangles. Also, avoid strong head bands or hair ties, as too much force can hurt the baby and pull out hair. When necessary, trim the hair carefully so it doesn’t get in your baby’s eyes. Never use chemicals or hair regrowth products on newborns.
Signs to Watch For
While rare, there are signs to watch for if you notice sudden or constant hair loss, or if your baby’s hair does not grow back, especially as they become toddlers. Look for red flaky scalp patches, or black spots where hair has fallen off. Also, watch your baby closely to make sure he or she isn’t pulling out the hair. Consult your pediatrician if you notice either of these symptoms. But again, understand that hair loss and prolonged regrowth is totally normal, so if your baby’s head and scalp are healthy, and your baby is healthy, then you probably have nothing to worry about.
Image courtesy of Babyzone.com
A woman's body is an orchestration of hormones. Women have Estrogen and Progesterone from their ovaries. Cortisol, Testosterone, and DHEA from adrenal glands. All of these hormones and their balance play an essential role in women's health, body and hair.
Before we dive too deep into the hormone itself, it is a good idea to look at how stress affects women. Stress can come from everyday life, work, kids, marriage etc. Surgeries, severe illnesses, dramatic weight loss, or other emotional traumas can take a toll on the body. Stress can cause a person to lose hair regardless of hormones or if they are predestined to do so or not. In situations when it is hereditary, this can accelerate the process. In most cases these situations can be helped if not reversed over a period of time.
High Stress Leads to Hair Loss
There are three different types of hair loss that can be associated with high stress. Alopecia Areata can be caused by high levels of stress, but also illnesses such as anemia and thyroid abnormalities. With this condition, white blood cells attack the hair follicle, stop hair growth and will make the hair fall out. Telogen Effluvium is another type and can also be caused by stress forcing large numbers of hairs into a resting phase. Within a few months the hairs will eventually begin to fall out. The last type is Trichotillomania. This is a severe case where stress causes a person an irresistible urge to pull out their hair. When an individual experiences intense stress it can affect the stress hormones within the body. The body will take these signals and transmit them to the hair follicles. Sometimes it will be affected immediately, other times the condition will become worse after the period of time has ended.
Now that we know how stress affects women and what it can do to the body and hair, it is important to learn why. When everything is right, the body sends signals to create the perfect amount of DHEA and Progesterone. This helps with immunity, cancer prevention, and reproduction. When conditions are not right, or when "stress" comes into play, the body senses that and sends signals to the building blocks to create more of the hormone Cortisol. Cortisol is a short term, deal with things later, kind of hormone. If the body is producing the maximum amount of Cortisol possible, then it steals from the other hormones. Estrogen and Progesterone cannot be there at the same time and are therefore diminish. The more stressed the body becomes, the more Cortisol released.
So what exactly is Cortisol?
It is a hormone that helps convert fats and proteins into energy. It keeps you awake and helps prevent lack of fatigue. It balances electrolytes, heartbeat, and blood pressure. It also aids in the reduction of inflammation. If a woman has the perfect amount of Cortisol it is protective and restorative. If there is a high level in a woman’s body it can destroy muscles and bones. It slows down regeneration, growth, metabolism, endocrine function, and weakens the immune system.
Reduce Stress and Regrow Hair
It is very important for your health, body, and hair to try and find a way to decrease the stress in your life. Whether it be changing your lifestyle, yoga, talking to a psychiatrist, going for a walk, everyone needs to find their own way. A Cortisol test can also be done to test the level of the hormone in your blood. Cortisol is made by the adrenal glands and tests can find problems with this or the pituitary gland.
Once you find a problem, there is always a solution. The effects that have been caused by high levels of stress hormones can be temporary and fixed. Know that hair loss caused by increased Cortisol is short term and can be reversed.
Photo from Drmommyonline.com
Lack of Evidence for Safety and Efficacy?
Several online distributors now offer products that contain minoxidil in higher doses than have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or that contain minoxidil in combination with additional active pharmaceutical ingredients.
Although the FDA has only approved minoxidil at concentrations of two percent (2%) for women or five percent (5%) for men in the treatment of hair loss, some products available over the internet contain minoxidil at concentrations as high as 15%. Many are formulated with additional ingredients such as azelaic acid, retinoic acid, caffeine, and even finasteride (the active ingredient in Propecia®), in combinations that have not been reviewed by the FDA.
The FDA evaluates two major concerns when considering new drug applications – safety and efficacy. Until these products are tested in clinical trials, there is no way to ensure that they are safe or to know whether high doses of minoxidil even provide any benefit over products that have been approved by the FDA.
Some consumers may find the marketing of these products to be misleading because of references to the FDA or to claims based on FDA-approved products containing 2% or 5% minoxidil.
The website for MinoxidilMax claims to offer “effective hair regrowth products... for male pattern baldness (alopecia androgenetica)” with “unmatched effectiveness.” Their products are manufactured “by an FDA registered cGMP compliant facility,” contain “the only effective ingredient approved by FDA in topical hair regrowth solution,” and have “the maximum strength of FDA approved hair growth stimulator (15% minoxidil).”
Consumers who read further on the company's website may be surprised to find that their products are not FDA-approved and that “the statement on this website has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”
Another manufacturer, Perfect Image Solutions, offers high dose minoxidil products “specifically formulated to treat conditions associated with male pattern baldness (Androgenetic Aloepicia).”
The FAQ section of the website relies on the long history of FDA-approved minoxidil products like Rogaine® to imply that high dose minoxidil products must also be safe:
“How do I know using a high concentration of minoxidil isn’t an overdose?
Minoxidil has been on the market for over 20 years with an extremely low incidence of side effects, especially from topical application.”
Although claiming that the products are “clinically proven to yield unparalleled results in the field of hair loss,” manufactured in an “FDA registered cGMP compliant facility,” and that all ingredients, “including Minoxidil must meet all FDA guidelines,” the website does not provide any evidence of clinical trials demonstrating the safety or efficacy of its products.
FDA Takes Action
Earlier this year, Regrowth LLC, a well known distributor of high dose "specialty" minoxidil formulations (formerly sold under the name Xandrox), released the following statement on its website:
“We're very sorry to inform you that Regrowth LLC has to suspend all operations at this time. In an ongoing audit, the U.S. FDA has deemed our medications to be 'unapproved illegal drugs'.”
Regrowth LLC had been selling minoxidil formulations containing 15% minoxidil (three times the FDA-approved dose contained in products such as Rogaine® and Avacor Physicians Formulation®).
On May 25, 2011, the FDA initiated a recall of 57,999 bottles of Regrowth LLC's products, stating that “[t]hese products are unapproved drugs and may present potential health hazards.”1 Based on this recall, it would not be surprising if the FDA takes action to stop other distributors of high dose minoxidil formulations/combinations from selling unapproved drugs in the future.
At the time of posting this article, we are unaware of any clinical trials proving that products containing higher concentrations of minoxidil than 5% are safe or more effective than FDA-approved products containing 5% minoxidil.
In January, Dr. Glenn Charles, a member of the International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons, commented:
“I have not seen any studies comparing 5% Minoxidil with higher % Minoxidil concentrations. I would imagine that the incidence of side effects might be higher with greater % of Minoxidil. However, many of the reported side effects might actually be caused by the other ingredients in these hair loss products containing Minoxidil.”
If you are still interested in experimenting with formulations containing high dose minoxidil or combinations with other active ingredients, it may be a good idea to consult with a physician before you begin using any such products.
1. Enforcement Report for May 25, 2011: RECALLS AND FIELD CORRECTIONS: DRUGS - CLASS II. FDA.gov (accessed September 8, 2011).
2. Photo above from Occupycorporatism.com