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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Alopecia: Debilitating Hair Loss, Its Causes, Prevention and Solutions

Guest Post

Lucinda Ellery was just 9 years old when her father passed away. Unable to care for her on her own, her mother placed her in an orphanage. Feeling alone and distraught, the emotional trauma caused such stress that Lucinda's hair began falling out. It worsened over the years and by her early teens she wore a wig every day.

Her hair loss was a debilitating affliction that affected her physically, emotionally and socially. Over the years she tried to find a better solution, seeking something that added hair to her head without too much heft. She tried hair pieces, special shampoos, conditioners, treatments, wore hats and scarves, combed her hair certain ways to guise the bald patches but she never felt as confident as she knew she could be if she beautiful hair. Eventually she took matters into her own hands and set about developing techniques for female hair loss management and replacement. As soon as she had a full head of hair for the first time since childhood, her self-esteem returned and she felt better than ever. Having experienced the taboo and anxiety associated with hair loss, she felt inspired to help similar women regain their confidence and achieve glamorous hair.

Today Lucinda and her 60 strong team of dedicated specialists between her Beverly Hills, London and Manchester and studios are relentless in their appeal for hair loss management and support. Lucinda and team help women with issues ranging from female pattern hair loss to Alopecia to Trichotillomania and everything in between.

For example, 14 years ago when Kristin McCabe had her first son she experienced hair loss but assumed it would grow back. Upon further examination she was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata, a syndrome in which your hair follicle rejects the hair. She began seeing round patches of hair loss across her scalp and tried everything to fix it steroid injections, creams, medication, specialists but nothing worked. It began affecting her self-esteem and she suffered from depression, refusing to leave home at times. Even when her best friend got married she backed out of the wedding because she couldn't handle the anxiety of trying to hide her hair. It affected her family too. With three active boys, Kristin found herself sitting out of activities she used to love like swimming and sailing. The Alopecia was consuming her, so when she discovered Lucinda Ellery Consultancy she booked a consultation immediately. She had treatment in February, and with her new head of hair, she has a long list of things to do with her kids that she would never have done before, like flipping on a trampoline!

Before and After 

Hair loss causes
  • Hair loss is often stress-related but there can be hundreds of causes such as scars, wounds, burns, surgery, ME, MS, leukemia, cancers, frontal fibrosis, lupus, auto-immune diseases, or genetic fining.
  • Female pattern hair loss (Androgenetic Alopeica) is another common cause. An average head has up to 150,000 healthy hairs and sheds 100-125 of these a day. Loss starts becoming visible when more than 100 hairs come out regularly.
  • Alopecia areata can be classified by patchy loss of hair on the scalp or body and affects one person in every 100. It's caused by an auto-immune response in which the body forms white cells that attack the hair follicles where the hair is produced. This results in arresting the hair growth and the follicle enters the resting phase of its cycle where the hair falls. When Alopecia affects the entire head it's called Alopecia totalis, and when it affects other parts of the body such as eyelashes it's identified as Alopecia universalis. Traction Alopecia, also known as Trichotillomania (TTM), is caused by hair pulling.
  • We should also remember that hair loss can be caused by bad lifestyle habits and poor nutrition. These are things that can be addressed by lots of vegetables, fresh fruits, regular eating, exercise, vitamins and a good positive mindset. Falling in and out of love can also cause havoc with hair but it nearly always settles given time. We should also note hereditary factors such as poor hair patterned DNA and general lack of care and attention.
  • Pregnancy is an unusual time for hair loss as most women find that their hair is better than ever. We have a hair cycle which is rest, shed, grow. Often in pregnancy this cycle ceases so we don't shed. However, 16 weeks almost to the day many women report heavy hair loss and panic. This however in most cases is simply their hair that hasn't been shed through pregnancy and in most cases should be no cause for alarm. However, if find hair is in the DNA some women report that their own hair is significantly reduced through pregnancy and never regains its previous optimum fullness. 

Damage control, preventative tips, camouflaging techniques and long term hair loss solutions
  • Choose a styling aid that offers UV protection, such as an SPF hair spray or leave-in conditioner.
  • Incorporate a deep penetration conditioner into your weekly hair care routine and protect your hair from heat with a thermal protectant.
  • Wash regularly but not too often every few days should be enough depending on y our hair type. If it's thinner, don't go too long without a wash as it can become oily, dull, boring and look thoroughly awful.
  • Use good tools they don't have to cost a fortune but they should have basic features such as heat settings so you can customize to your hair type.
  • In the early stages take advantage of hair makeup such as Fullmore which colors the pinkness of the scalp to cover hair that¡¦s no longer dense.
  • For the crown and thinning areas around the face, lightweight extensions called Medi Connections (http://www.lucindaellery-hairloss.com/medi-connect.php) can be fitted and hand-blended to these areas and are a great option for extra volume and thickness.
  • In more dramatic cases we can use the Intralace system (http://www.lucindaellery-hairloss.com/intralace.php), whichuses a very fine mesh to introduce new natural hair into existing hair. These systems are preferable to wigs for the modern woman who can budget for this lifestyle choice.

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