- 1 Hair loss! We’ll tell you what to look out for.
- 2 Hair loss: These are the most common causes — and what you can do
- 3 There are several other triggers for hair loss:
Hair loss! We’ll tell you what to look out for.
If you are one of those people who still have hair on their head, you are unlikely to worry about your scalp — unless it is causing problems. Many people often focus on their facial skin and the wrinkles it causes as they get older: Wrinkles, pigment spots and couperose (small red veins) are not uncommon. But in the same way, the scalp also deteriorates if it is not cared for properly. One consequence: hair loss! We tell you what you have to watch out for.
More sensitive than expected: the scalp
The difference between the scarcely noticed scalp and the visible skin of the face is not only shown by the density of hair or in the course of skin aging, but also by the increased number of apocrine sweat glands and holocrine sebaceous glands. These offer the sensitive scalp protection against free radicals and environmental influences. If the scalp is no longer healthy, this is immediately apparent — sometimes on the scalp hair. (Read all about circular hair loss here)
Scalp ages six times faster than face skin — why? The scalp owes its rapid aging process to its extreme disposition to the sun, because it is by far the most exposed and often the most exposed to sunlight. The UVA radiation penetrates deep into the dermis and causes the collagen and elastic fibres to relax. The situation is further aggravated by the fact that the scalp in particular is hardly protected from the sun. Therefore: next time you go out in the sun with a cap or hat.
Dandruff and oily skin: If the natural protection is imbalanced
Most of us know the problem: dandruff. Annoying skin particles, which often lead to embarrassingly embarrassing moments, especially on dark clothing. The development is simple — in contrast to the treatment, explains master hairdresser and coach of the hair care brand “Goldwell” Beatrice Naumann: “The natural acid mantle (fats, sweat) of the skin as well as the PH-value is out of balance, the protective bacterial flora is destroyed”. (Also interesting: The best tips against dandruff)
The opposite is also often the case: oily skin, despite (or even because of) daily hair washing. In order to counteract an imbalance in the scalp area, the expert explains: “Dermatologists advise to first remove everything that is on the scalp. Use mild shampoos that are specially formulated for the scalp”.
Scalp scrubs? Of course!
Beatrice Naumann is a scalp expert and also gives the tip: “The best thing to do is to follow the skin care ritual of the face: peeling, mask, serum. This is also optimal for scalp care”. She also recommends delicate special peelings, which remove dead skin particles extremely gently and thus ensure the ideal receptiveness of the skin for scalp treatments, tinctures and masks.
You should also pay special attention to one thing: “Be careful with ingredients! Not every styling product is suitable for every scalp. It should ideally be alcohol-free. Too much heat and UV exposure should definitely be avoided!” A well-groomed scalp not only alleviates dandruff problems, but can also have a positive effect on hair loss (which mainly affects men). (Read more about hair loss: Time to dispel these myths!)
Which scalp type are you?
In order to be able to determine success in the treatment of various scalp diseases, first make sure that you know your scalp type. This is often not obvious at first glance, which is why Naumann always recommends going to a specialist: “Scalp specialists have various possibilities for diagnosis, e.g. we have differentiated dermatoscopes and scalp cameras with different resolutions. This way we can show our customers their scalp with a digital walk and they get their own before/after pictures directly on their mobile phone or by e‑mail”.
Hair loss: These are the most common causes — and what you can do
Cause#1: Genetic predisposition
Hereditary hair loss, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is considered the main cause of most men with light hair (about 80%). The first signs often appear from the age of 20 onwards in the form of receding hairline. The hair roots are then particularly hypersensitive to the body’s own messenger substance dihydortestosterone (DHT).
DHT is a metabolic product (a modification of testosterone), which actually has positive properties. It is responsible for male development during puberty and for body hair. However, if the hair root is hypersensitive to DHT due to genetic predisposition, the substance causes the root to slowly wither. As a result, the hair becomes thinner and thinner until finally no more hair can form. (Read also: Goodbye to hair loss? Researchers discover promising method against hair loss)
Treatment option: Unfortunately it is hardly possible to counteract the genetic predisposition. Although hair can be strengthened by vitamin treatments such as Pantovigar and Priorin, they cannot completely prevent the genetically caused hair loss. Only radical treatment methods such as hair transplantation can help.
Cause#2: Incorrect care of the scalp
You’re losing way too much hair? Perhaps you are grooming your hair in the wrong way. Don’t panic, that can easily be changed. Starting with (too frequent) hair washing, daily styling and colouring, we often damage the scalp. Increasingly, cleansing shampoos are used during washing, which are effective against residues and grease. However, they also often dry out the skin and bring it into imbalance, as they are aggressive and sometimes abrasive. (More about hair care: You really need these eight products)
The absolute super gau for skin and hair is and remains the dyeing process. No matter whether due to a change in style or grey hair coverage — commercial colours contain toxic substances such as ammonia, which aggressively interfere with the natural hair structure and damage the hair at the root.
Treatment option: Also try not to wash your hair every day so that the natural protective barrier is not immediately removed and use mild shampoos. Similarly essential for the health of the scalp is gentle, daily styling. Styling products such as hair gel clog the pores of the scalp and thus disrupt the supply to the hair root. Avoid using various products, at least temporarily. (Read also: How does a man care for his scalp properly?)
Cause#3: Malfunctions of the thyroid gland
The thyroid gland is one of the “usual suspects” when it comes to hair loss. The butterfly-shaped organ may seem harmless, but it is a complex construct: both over- and under-functioning often manifest themselves through brittle hair substances and hair loss. The thyroid hormones, which are formed from iodine and other substances, are responsible for dilating the blood vessels, regulating blood pressure and activating connective tissue and metabolism in the body.
When the thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and tetraiodothyronine (T4) are overproduced, the hair grows far too quickly, so that it does not develop the necessary thickness and strength and simply falls out. In the case of hypofunction, the metabolism is so slow that hair growth is impaired as a result.
Treatment option: Beatrice Naumann recommends regular blood count tests by a specialist in order to be able to react to complaints in time.
Cause #4: Iron deficiency
Iron deficiency is probably one of the most common deficiency symptoms in the body. A man needs about 10 mg of iron a day, but the body only produces about two to four grams. Consequently, the iron must be supplied through the right diet. The hair follicles are considered the most active cells in the body in terms of cell division. If there are deficiency symptoms, the hair follicles are no longer supplied properly and the division of the cells slows down. The consequence: hair follicles die.
Treatment option: counteract this by keeping your diet varied. Eat vitamin-rich and iron-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, fruits, dried fruit, nuts and almonds, as these are rich in iron. Food supplements can also be the solution. (Read also: How to recognise an iron deficiency)
Cause #5: Stress
Stress refers to the physical and psychological reaction to external stimuli. In stressful situations, hormones such as adrenaline are released, which attack the nerve fibres. Since every hair follicle is surrounded by nerve fibres and contains messenger substances of the nervous system, the messenger substance noradrenalin can damage the follicle during acute stress. As a result, the hair’s growth phase simply breaks off during prolonged stress.
Treatment option: Identify the source of stress — often it is problems at work, in the partnership — and give yourself more attention, meditation and breathing exercises to counteract the stress. Get enough sleep and talking therapy can also be a good help. (More about: Mindfulness for beginners: How to avoid stress)
There are several other triggers for hair loss:
Psoriasis, eczema, acute fungal infection, infections. Scalp expert Naumann recommends: “Use tinctures such as Minoxidil (not for inflammation), preparations containing cortisone, for example for alopecia areata (circular hair loss), special scalp serums or rely on treatment methods such as local cold treatment and Puva — a form of radiation with B‑waves (photochemotherapy)”. She also asks: “Always seek medical advice in advance.