If you have been noticing more hair fall on your pillow, hairbrush or in the shower; don’t panic just yet!
Hair loss is much more common than you think, and not every type of hair loss warrants immediate attention by a specialist. To get you back on track to achieving a healthy mane of hair, we are here to answer your top 10 most frequently asked questions about hair loss so that you can decide your next best step.
Let’s get started!
#1: How much hair loss is normal?
The general rule of thumb is that it is common to lose anywhere between 50 to 150 strands per day.
If you are experiencing other signs such as a thinner ponytail or receding hairline, this is a sign that you are dealing with some type of hair loss. Your next action step will be then to diagnose and identify the cause of it.
#2: Is it true that we lose more hair as we get older?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is yes.
As we get older, our hair becomes thinner and much more fragile, and as a result, it also breaks a lot easier as compared to your younger days.
This is in addition to the loss of protein, vitamins, minerals and other hormonal factors that can further accelerate hair loss and make shedding more visible as we age.
#3: Is there any way I can test for hair loss at home?
A quick test you can do is the “pull test”: take roughly 50 strands of dry hair in between your fingers and pull; running your fingers through your hair and counting the number of strands that falls out.
Anything between 5 to 10 is reasonable; but if you have lost a lot more than that (more than 15), you might be losing more hair than usual.
#4: What lifestyle factors are causing my hair loss?
Things like over-styling your hair, tight hairstyles using harsh chemical products, smoking, and eating an inflammatory diet can all accelerate hair loss since it damages or constricts the blood vessels to prevent healthy hair growth.
Contrary to popular belief, hair loss is NOT caused by dyeing, shampooing or combing your hair regularly (i.e., when it is done right).
#5: What causes hair loss?
There are multiple types of hair loss that we see in patients and the most common ones are:
Alopecia areata: hair falls out in small patches and occurs due to the immune system mistaking healthy hair cells for foreign substances. It is an autoimmune condition that attacks the hair follicles and results in bald patches. Hair usually grows back in three to six months without treatment
Androgenetic alopecia: the most common type of hair loss in both men and women. It is a genetic condition that is progressive and is caused by the excessive sensitivity of hair follicles to androgens (in particular, dihydrotestosterone).
Generally, while men tend to notice hair loss as a receding hairline that begins above both temples, while women’s hair loss appears more as overall thinning of the head and widening of the part line. Both male and female pattern hair loss or androgenetic alopecia have distinct characteristics.
Telogen effluvium: triggered by extreme emotional stress that leaves the majority of hair follicles in the telogen (resting) stage for long periods of time, leading to increased shedding and hair that stops growing. It typically occurs 3 months after a significant event like childbirth, surgery or trauma.
While genetics are the most common cause of hair loss, these factors should also be considered:
- Frequently wearing tight hair styles such as braids and ponytails (also known as traction alopecia)
- Pollution and other environmental factors
- Medical conditions such as an under or overactive thyroid (there are over 30 diseases that can lead to hair loss)
- Chemotherapy or radiation therapy
- Being exposed to prolonged physical and emotional stress
Identifying the cause and type of hair loss is often the first and most important step of any hair loss treatment.
#6: What is the difference between male and female hair loss?
Women tend to notice hair loss that occurs on the top of the head rather than the hairline and sides as commonly seen in men. Hair loss is also much more diffuse and spread out rather than being concentrated in a particular area as seen in male hair loss.
Men also end up with a characteristic ‘M’ shape with a receding hairline and a balding scalp. On the other hand, women rarely become fully bald. However, women tend to see more hair loss caused by stress such as those seen in telogen effluvium.
Despite the difference, one thing is for sure: hair loss can be an extremely upsetting condition that has been shown to negatively impact the self-esteem and mental health of both men and women.
#7: Is it actually possible to regrow hair?
Yes, of course! Our natural hair already grows at an average of half an inch per month.
But you will have to be quick in order to see better results—so start your treatment as soon as possible if you want to encourage faster and more hair growth!
#8: When should I go see a doctor or dermatologist for my hair loss?
If you are noticing sudden and unexplained hair loss and feeling distressed over your condition, it is worth visiting a professional aesthetic doctor to get a more accurate diagnosis rather than trying to self-diagnose and self-treat.
Doctors may diagnose your hair loss by doing a visual examination or by examining a few hair samples under a microscope to rule out any conditions such as PCOS and tinea capitis; both of which can also lead to hair loss and requires treatment.
There are certain instances where a doctor may request for a blood test to test for certain conditions such as thyroid disease and iron deficiency anemia which are much more serious than temporary hair loss/ androgenetic alopecia.
#9: What are my treatment options?
Depending on the cause and type of hair loss, the best treatment for you will differ. The goal for most hair loss treatments is to primarily stop further hair loss and then stimulate hair regrowth.
There are a plethora of treatments to date, and there are categorized into these main groups:
- Topical and oral medications: minoxidil, finasteride and spironolactone
These medications are found in different concentrations and both minoxidil and finasteride are FDA-approved for treating androgenetic alopecia in males. Minoxidil is essentially a vasodilator that helps to widen the blood vessels and allow better blood flow to the hair follicles to restore dying hair follicles and bring them back into the anagen phase. On the other hand, finasteride works as a DHT-blocker to prevent miniaturization of the hair follicles.
The issue; however, is that it can take up to 6 months to notice any improvements and it might not work for all types of hair loss. Medications like finasteride is highly effective for men but not recommended for female pattern hair loss.
In addition, medications must be used indefinitely to maintain a response, resulting in poor adherence. They are also not a viable long-term option due to its adverse side effects: minoxidil can cause scalp irritation, heart palpitations, weight gain and breathlessness, while finasteride can lead to sexual dysfunction and depression. It is also not recommended for use in females.
- Laser treatments
Light therapy has been shown to be effective for treating hair loss. It works as a great supplementary treatment for both men and women and comes with minimal pain and downtime. However, it only works for those with mild-to-moderate hair loss.
At our clinic, we utilize the 1927nm Fraxel Thulium Laser, which works via 2 main mechanisms: removal of old/dead cells and stimulating new cell growth in both the scalp and hair follicles. Studies have shown that the Fraxel Laser can induce hair follicles to enter the active growth phase and increase hair density by up to 40–60%!
According to a 2019 study, fractional lasers are a promising hair loss treatment due to its high patient satisfaction rate and minimal side effects, particularly when used in combination with a topical treatment.
- Hair Transplants
Hair transplants like the FUT and FUE hair transplant are especially popular for men, and more women are starting to accept and consider it as a viable treatment for more severe hair loss.
The process involves extracting and harvesting healthy hair follicles from the back of the head and transplanting it into areas experiencing hair loss. FUE is the more popular option and is often preferred as it doesn’t leave behind an obvious scar and comes with less pain and downtime.
The key of any hair transplant surgery is to optimize the survival rate of the hair grafts so that your transplanted hairs continues to grow normally as it settles in its new home.
Today’s hair transplant procedures produce extremely natural-looking and excellent results. Despite the heftier price tag, the transplanted hair will continue to grow for life as long as the donor hair remains strong and viable.
At The Clifford Clinic, we also offer non-shave FUE, also known as Long hair transplant, which doesn’t require you to shave your head before the procedure. Our doctors are also proficient in using the ARTAS robot to conduct hair transplants. For patients who wish to return to work as soon as possible, we also provide the No-Downtime Hair Transplant Technique.
The hair transplant cost is roughly SGD$5 per graft for 1500 grafts and above. For Unshaven FUE and small cases less than 1500 grafts, the price may be slightly higher.
- Regenera Activa
At The Clifford Clinic, we are proud to offer Regenera Activa hair loss treatment to our patients—a powerful fibroblast stem cell therapy that provides excellent results in both men and women who aren’t ready to fully commit to a hair transplant.
Like the FUE Hair Transplant, healthy hair grafts are extracted from the back or side of the head using a small punch-biopsy tool and prepped using the Regenera Activa device where it is combined with a special solution to create a suspension containing potent stem cells and growth factors.
Our doctors will then inject this into strategic points around the receding hairline or areas experiencing hair loss. This essentially triggers capillary regeneration processes—triggering dormant hair follicles to enter the active growth phase and stimulating the growth of new hair that is thicker, stronger and much healthier!
Regenera Activa is performed under local anaesthesia and just one, 45-minute session and one month is required to achieve noticeable results, although our doctors recommend repeating the treatment once every 6 months.
All in all, Regenera Activa is a great option for patients who want an effective, minimally invasive approach to address hair loss types including telogen effluvium and early male and female pattern hair loss.
#10: Is it possible to cure baldness for good?
Unfortunately, it’s hard to give a solid yes, especially if your hair loss is influenced by genetic factors. Patients with scarring on the hair follicles may also find it more difficult to grow new hairs.
Hereditary conditions such as androgenetic alopecia is hard to fully cure even with a hair transplant and you can still see hair loss in the future. The best way is to seek treatment early so you can start saving as many hair follicles as you possibly can.
Except for hair loss caused by genetic factors, the majority of hair loss is usually temporary and reversible.
What we can at least guarantee; however, is that early treatment can minimize hair loss and maximize hair regrowth, although you shouldn’t expect it to grow as thick and full as your glory days.
Hair Loss Isn’t An Enigma Anymore – Start Your Treament With Us Today!
There are plenty of other “treatment” options that claim to reverse hair loss, but at the end of the day, it is best to seek help from an aesthetic doctor to provide you consistent and guaranteed results.
These alternative treatments are often not clinically proven to provide results and the safety of such treatments is also not guaranteed.
Just like acne treatment, the goal is to figure out the root cause of your hair loss and treat/remove it if possible. This usually helps to stop further hair loss and returns the hair follicles to the normal hair growth cycle where you can then focus on stimulating hair growth with treatment options such Fraxel Laser, Regenera Activa, and oral and topical medications.
FUE hair transplant may not always be the best option, although it is the only permanent solution available today. Our doctors also believe in using a combination approach for faster and better results!
With over 40 years of combined experience in treating hair loss and a plethora of other skin conditions such as acne scars, our aesthetic clinic is confident that we can tailor the best hair loss program for you!
Now that we have answered your questions, it is time for you to starting asking yourself:
- How long have you been experiencing hair loss?
- Where is the location of your hair loss?
- Does hair loss run in your family?
- What is your budget and lifestyle like?
- What are your hair goals?
- How fast would you like to get back to your daily routine and see results?
Upon answering these questions, you should have a better of which treatment will work best for you. Hair loss treatment is a serious commitment by itself, especially if you planning to get a hair transplant, but our doctors are here for you every step of the way!
If you have any other questions, feel free to give us a call and fire away—we’ll be more than happy to answer your questions and book a consultation for