Unlock The Problem Of Hair Loss


Q: My hair is thinning over the top of my head, limp and dull. I’m in my late forties and wonder if there is anything I can do?

A: Menopausal hair loss is a common reason women visit trichologist Philip Kingsley in London (philipkingsley.co.uk). ‘Diminishing oestrogen levels gradually lead to a heavier shedding rate and/or a noticeable reduction in thickness. Also, androgens – the male hormones which women have too – increase as a percentage, weakening scalp hair and triggering more facial and body hair.’ The effect can be diffuse like yours, or at the temples and possibly hairline. There’s no miracle cure but you can improve the situation – but you need to allow several months for a real difference.

Eat protein: hair is protein so make sure you eat high-quality protein (meat, oily fish, poultry and eggs), especially at breakfast (when energy levels to hair follicles are at their lowest, says Philip Kingsley), and also lunch.

Make sure you consume enough iron: iron deficiency is very common, even when women stop menstruating (one third of women between 51 and 64 are below par). If you don’t eat red meat (or only very little), consider a supplement, such as Spatone, £7.55 for 28 sachets.

Perk up a sluggish digestion: it can lead to dull, limp, oily hair. Consume lots of fresh vegetables and still pure water. Nutritionist Kathryn Marsden recommends live natural yogurt, cold pressed olive oil, nuts and seeds. Reduce dairy foods, caffeine, sugar and salt.

Consider supplements: pharmacist Shabir Daya recommends Saw Palmetto – Prostasan, (£13.40 for 30 capsules, from Victoria Health), which helps counteract the androgenic activity, plus Silica 2500 Plus (£15.68 for 90 tablets), for healthy hair (also skin and nails).

Give your hair TLC: shampoo and condition your hair often, daily is best. Before shampooing, massage the scalp all over with your fingertips for a couple of minutes (with a little borage or wheat germ oil) to encourage blood and nutrient flow to the follicles.

Try special masks: once a week, apply a scalp mask and massage in for five minutes, then follow with a hair mask, suggests Kingsley (his Scalp Mask is £4.60 for 30ml, Elasticizer £14 for 75ml).

A topical drug may help: Minoxidil is licensed for male pattern baldness in women too. It works better in younger women but the effect is slight with only about 20 per cent of women aged 20-54 seeing moderate hair growth – and it’s expensive because you have to keep on using it or the new hair will fall out.

Pump up the volume: for quick fixes, there are lots of tips in Jo Fairley’s and my new book, The Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible (beautybible.com).

Om the Money!

Orla Kiely has designed a gorgeous limited edition, full length, extra thick, sticky yoga mat to raise funds for the charity Action on Addiction (actiononaddiction.com). On sale until 18 December 2011, £35, from yogamatters.com

Three of the Best: Supplements to Boost Children’s Immune Systems

As winter chills approach, children are likely to get infections, especially at school. Pharmacist Shabir Daya recommends these natural helpers.

Sambucol For Children, £8.84 for 120ml: based on elderberry extract, this was developed by leading virologist Dr Madeline Mumcuoglu specially to support young immune systems.

Bee Prepared Immune Support Chewables by Unbeelievable Health, £15.45 for 30 chewables: with bee propolis, black elderberry extract, olive leaf extract and beta glucans this can be taken daily. Good for sore throats and mouth ulcers too. For all ages over four years.

Winter Honey Bee by Potters Herbals, £9.25 for 50 grams: delicious honey from bees fed on specific trees and herbs known to strengthen the immune system. For children from two.

Health Notes | , , , , , , , ,
  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Dear Sharon, it would appear that the testosterone dominance still exists which is why you are absolutely right in trying to introduce saw palmetto berry capsules – there is no harm in taking all three supplements however perhaps in order to ascertain the causal factor, you may wish to stop the Ionicell capsules.
    Best wishes,

  • Sharon

    Thanks Shabir. Can I ask, why would stopping Ionicell establish the causal factor?

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Sharon, because if it is testosterone dominance, then the introduction of extra saw palmetto should have an effect to curb this and hence we can then reach a conclusion. With Ionicell into the equation, you are still guessing whether it inflammation, damaged signals of keratin production or testosterone dominance.
    Best wishes,

  • Sharon

    I see, thank you.

  • Clara

    Hi Shabir,
    I take superior hair and sage complex. My hair is thining and I was wandering if I can take saw palmetto. I am 39 years old and even if I am not trying to get pregnant right now, it would be possible in a near future as I stopped contraception pill one year ago.
    Thank you for your input and great work (as always).
    Kind regards,

    Ps. I am editing this message to ask one more question: Would it be more interesting to switch from sage complex (taking it for the last 6 months) to magnolia rhodiola?
    Also, regarding my hair loss, GP requested me to make a blood test to mesure all my hormones levels (male and female). In this context, shoul I stop taking sage complex/superior haire before doing it?
    Thank you again!
    Kind regards.

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Clara, You can definitely add a saw palmetto berry extract to your regimen but of course all supplements need to be stopped as soon as you conceive. Sage Complex works to mimic the female hormones and as such symptoms of anxiety, insomnia and numerous other concerns may arise as a result of low female hormonal status which would mean that substituting Sage Complex for Magnolia Rhodiola would only treat the symptoms and not the root cause.
    In the context of a hormonal test, I would stop all supplements prior to this.
    Best wishes,