Hair loss: Dr Ranj discusses causes of male pattern baldness
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Attempting to reverse hair loss can seem like an ill-fated endeavour because the causes are complex and multi-varied. Telogen effluvium – a common form of hair loss – illustrates the enormity of the task at hand. Telogen effluvium is a scalp disorder characterised by the thinning or shedding of hair resulting from the early entry of hair in the telogen phase. As opposed to the active phase of hair growth, the telogen phase is the resting phase.
Why exactly this happens is the subject of ongoing research but it can be triggered by a number of different events, explains Harvard Health.
Treating this type of hair loss is onerous and the evidence to support different interventions is scarce.
However, a lotion containing black cumin oil has yielded results.
Black cumin, also known as nigella or by its scientific name Nigella sativa, belongs to the buttercup family of flowering plants.
The aim of a study published in the Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications, was to evaluate the efficacy of black cumin essential oil as a potential treatment for telogen effluvium.
Telogen effluvium is believed to have a “significant inflammatory component” and black cumin exerts anti-inflammatory effects,” they wrote.
To test their hypothesis, they recruited 20 patients affected by telogen effluvium for the study.
Ten of these patients were treated with a scalp lotion containing 0.5 percent black cumin daily for three months.
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The other 10 patients were treated with a placebo daily for three months.
A video analysis and evaluation of three independent dermatologists were performed before treatment, after three months of treatment and at the six months follow-up.
By the end of the study, the results showed a significant improvement in 70 percent of patients treated with black cumin oil.
What’s more, the video analysis showed a significant “increment of hair density and hair thickness” in patients treated with black cumin, the study authors wrote.
Black cumin was also able to reduce the inflammation observed in the majority of patients affected by telogen effluvium, they reported.
Other hair loss treatments
There are things you can try if your hair loss is causing you distress.
But most treatments are not available on the NHS, so you’ll have to pay for them.
According to the NHS, finasteride and minoxidil are the main treatments for male pattern baldness.
Male pattern baldness is a permanent type of hair loss that usually runs in the family.
“Minoxidil can also be used to treat female pattern baldness. Women should not use finasteride,” warns the health body.
Some wigs are available on the NHS, but you may have to pay unless you qualify for financial help.
Other hair loss treatments include:
- Steroid injections – injections given into bald patches
- Steroid creams – cream applied to bald patches
- Immunotherapy – chemical applied to bald patches
- Light treatment – shining ultraviolet light on bald patches
- Tattooing – tattoo used to look like short hair and eyebrows
- Hair transplant – hair is removed from the back of the head and moved to thinning patches
- Scalp reduction surgery – sections of scalp with hair are stretched and stitched together
- Artificial hair transplant – surgery to implant artificial hairs.
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