Monthly Archives: November 2011

New Hair Loss Study-Inflammation May Play a Role

Pittsburgh Steelers professional football player and safety, Troy Polamalu, has made quite a name for himself off the field of football in humerous television commercials.  In August of 2010 Procter & Gamble, producers of Head & Shoulders shampoo, took out a million-dollar insurance policy for Polamalu’s hair. To our knowledge his hair still looks strong and healthy as Troy shows no signs of hair loss or disease.  But is his youthful healthy scalp and hair related to the hair product he uses?

We will probably never know for certain, but a healthy scalp is vital to good hair growth. For those patients who suffer with an itchy scalp or other scalp related problems, have you every wondered why your shampoo is not completely stopping your seemingly dry itchy scalp or hair loss?

The answer to that question was discovered in a new study on the role of inflammation in hair loss published today in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. The study, “The Role of Inflammation and Immunity in the Pathogenesis of Androgenetic Alopecia,” was performed by  physicians from Cornell and Duke University, and well-known New York dermatologist, Dr. Neil Sadick. The prime objective of the study was to determine the role of immunity and inflammation in women who experience hair loss.

In plain english, the researchers concluded that hair loss and an itchy scalp that you thought was caused by dandruff or dry scalp, may actually be caused by inflammation of the hair follicle and surrounding skin anatomic structures like the Bulge and basal layer of the skin. “This is an excellent study that gives new insight into how hair loss occurs,”  says Dr. Ken Williams, Irvine, California hair restoration physician. Williams adds, “they used topical steroid creams as a part of their treatment protocol and they clearly demonstrated how successful it can be in treating hair loss.  But we need more confirming data before treatment protocols are established.”

An unexpected finding from this study were specific body proteins, called immunoglobulins and complement, were found deposited in portions of the skin (epidermis or dermis) and hair follicle. These unique proteins are hypothesized to cause a type of inflammatory response in the hair follicle that interferes with the physiology of hair cycle or growth. Although this study details the hair loss physiology in very technical and scientific language, these inflammatory proteins, nonetheless, are felt to interfere with the hair cycle.


Tom Hanks Hair Loss-Genetic Testing for Children

There are many inheritable characteristics children stand to obtain from their parents, and an unfortunately hair loss is one of them. If Tom Hanks‘ sons, Colin and Chet, want to know if they will one day in the future develop their father’s receding hairline, there is new science that will help them gather that information. DermaGenoma has revolutionized the field of genetic testing with Hair Dx.  Hair Dx is the newest and exciting science based and FDA approved genetic testing for hair loss.

In the field of hair restoration, the greatest challenge is when to begin treatment for hair loss for those genetically at-risk children whose parents suffer from hair loss. It is a well-known fact that many at-risk teenagers and young adults will not notice their hair loss until approximately 50% of their hair follicles are permanently gone. Although the medical research is lacking, the question is always asked by those patients at risk because of a strong family history,  is it reasonable to begin a medical treatment program before the hair loss is observed.  The hair Dx test provides the needed accuracy for the patient to decide on an early prevention program.

Hair loss surgeon Dr. Ken Williams of OC Hair Restoration Center in Irvine, California uses Hair DX genetic testing in his hair loss practice. “This test is based on solid science and academic understanding of DNA. It completely transformed what we know and how we treat hair loss in men and women” says Dr. Williams. “Those young adults can benefit from knowing their genetic test results so they can make a more complete decision on whether to start a medical prevention program.”

The Hair DX genetic test is not just for men, but it assist hair loss specialists in determining if specific medication, i.e., Finasteride,  will benefit women. In young men like Mr. Hanks children who have a strong genetic history of hair loss, it helps predict hair loss or thinning. If a patient is diagnosed early, timely medication stabilization and treatment programs will help delay miniaturization of the hair follicle.

Look Out Kim Kardashian: Divorce Causes Hair Loss in Women

Kim Kardashian filed for divorce from husband Kris Humpfries on Monday, October 31, 2011. Even though Kim and Kris were only married for 72 days getting divorced is tough.  After filing couples must begin splitting their finances, property, and kids — all of these factors can lead to high levels of stress. According to a new study, all of that stress can lead to increased hair loss in divorced women.

Dr. Bahman Guyuron, the study’s lead author, found that women who have had multiple marriages (including widows and divorcees) suffer more hair loss than those who are happily married. In men, marital status did not appear to impact hair loss patterns; genetics and excessive smoking were the top factors. He analyzed the lifestyles and hair patterns of 66 identical male twins and 84 female twins to determine which external factors contribute to hair loss.

The study, which was presented at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons‘ annual conference in Denver, also revealed that other external factors could contribute to hair loss in women. In particular, sleeping more than eight hours per day, excessive smoking and sun exposure can increase your risk.

So what can women do to combat hair loss? Hair loss surgeon Dr. Ken Williams of OC Hair Restoration Center in Irvine, California recommends “…common sense and advice such as routine exercise, moderation of alcohol and absolutely no tobacco products. If a patient’s stress is too overwhelming then consider seeing a counselor or pharmacologic support by seeing your primary care physician or mental health expert. Hair loss has no common cure but Minoxidil twice daily helps maintain the health of the hair follicle.”