Hair loss! We'll tell you what to look out for.
If you are one of those people who still have hair on your 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, pigmentation marks and couperose (small red veins) are not uncommon. But in the same way the scalp deteriorates if it is not cared for properly. A consequence: Hair Loss! We'll tell you what to look out for.
More sensitive than expected: the scalp
The difference between the barely noticed scalp and the visible skin of the face is not only shown by the density of the hair or in the course of skin aging, but also by the increased number of apocrine sweat glands and holocrine sebaceous glands. These provide the sensitive scalp protection against free radicals and environmental influences. If the scalp is no longer healthy, this is immediately obvious - sometimes on scalp hair. (Read all about circular hair loss)
Scalp ages six times faster than facial skin - why? The scalp owes its rapid aging process to its extreme disposition to the sun, as it is by far the most exposed and often the most exposed to sunlight. UVA radiation penetrates deep into the dermis and relaxes the collagen and elastic fibres. The situation is aggravated by the fact that the scalp in particular is hardly protected from the sun at all. Therefore: Next time you go out into the sun with a cap or hat.
Dandruff and oily skin: When the natural protection is unbalanced
Most of us know the problem: dandruff. Annoying particles of skin that often lead to embarrassing moments, especially with 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 are 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. 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 skin expert and also gives the tip: "The best thing is to follow the skin care ritual of the face: Exfoliation, 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 receptivity 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 be avoided in any case!". A well-groomed scalp not only relieves dandruff problems, but can also have a positive effect on hair loss (which is especially Men concerns). (Read more about Hair loss: time to dispel these myths!)
What scalp type are you?
In order to determine the success in treating various scalp disorders, first make sure that you know your scalp type. This is often not clear at first glance, which is why Naumann always recommends going to a specialist: "Scalp specialists have various diagnostic options, e.g. we have differentiated dermatoscopes and scalp cameras with different resolutions. So 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 via e-mail".
Hair loss: These are the most common causes - and what you can do
Cause no. 1: Genetic predisposition
Hereditary hair loss, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is considered the main cause of most men with fair hair (approx. 80%). The first signs often appear from the age of 20 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 agent (a modification of testosterone) that 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: Farewell 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 genetically caused hair loss. Only radical treatment methods like hair transplants can help.
Cause #2: Incorrect care of the scalp
You lose way too much hair? Maybe 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. But 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 by changing the style or covering grey hair - commercial colours contain toxic substances such as ammonia, which aggressively disturb the natural hair structure and damage the hair at the root.
Treatment option: Also do not try to wash your hair every day so that the natural protective barrier is not immediately removed and use mild shampoos. Gentle, daily styling is similarly important for the health of the scalp. Styling products such as hair gel clog the pores of the scalp and thus disrupt the supply to the hair root. Avoid using different products, at least temporarily. (Read also: How does a man take proper care of his scalp?)
Cause No. 3: Malfunction 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 and hair loss. The thyroid hormones, which are produced 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 fast, 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 affected.
Treatment option: Beatrice Naumann recommends regular blood 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 per day, but the body only produces about two to four grams. Consequently, the iron must be supplied by the right diet. The hair follicles are considered to be 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 cell division slows down. The result: hair follicles die.
Treatment option: Counteract this by keeping your diet varied. Eat foods rich in vitamins and iron such as green leafy vegetables, fruit, dried fruits, nuts and almonds, as these are rich in iron. Food supplements can also be the solution. (Read also: How to detect 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 growth phase of the hair simply stops during prolonged stress.
Treatment option: Identify the source of stress - often problems at work, in relationships - and give yourself more attention, meditation and breathing exercises to counteract the stress. Get enough sleep and talk 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 infections, 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 irradiation with B-waves (photochemotherapy)". She also asks: "Always seek medical advice in advance.