Hair Loss in Men and Women, Winter/Spring 2016 Newsletter

Regardless of the time of year, hair loss is always one of the most frequent complaints in the dermatology clinic. At some point in life, hair loss affects over half of all individuals for one reason or another. Sometimes, hair loss is temporary. In such instances, it may be secondary to another condition or cause, and it may resolve without treatment. More women than men suffer from temporary hair loss. A variety of causes including hormonal influence, stress, diet, medications, or other medical conditions may play a role in temporary hair loss. However, much more commonly, hair loss is genetic in nature. Some genetic hair loss may also be temporary in nature, but most genetic hair loss will worsen over time if left untreated.

Although the loss of hair is generally benign in nature, it can carry a substantial psychological toll on many individuals. Studies have shown that 52% of women and 28% of men with hair loss are “very-to-extremely upset” about it. Often hair loss will lead to a decline in self-esteem and self-confidence, and may pay a role in the worsening of depression or anxiety. When dealing with hair loss that is secondary to another cause or condition, the causative factor must be treated. However, for genetic-type hair loss there are several currently available treatment options. Such treatments may be over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription, and they may be delivered topically, orally, or by injection into the skin. In some cases, more than one treatment is recommended in order to utilize multiple mechanisms of action.

Topical treatments for hair loss include minoxidil and various steroidal applications. Minoxidil is available OTC. It helps to both maintain current hair growth as well as promote re-growth. It is safe and effective in both men and women, and generally well tolerated. It usually takes 3-6 months to show and effect, and must be used continuously to maintain the benefits. Steroidal topicals include corticosteroids and several hormonal applications. These are generally prescription medications, and they are chosen based upon the specific type of hair loss. They may help with hair loss by decreasing inflammation or blocking male-type hormones. These too may be used for both men and women, but may have more potential side effects than minoxidil.

Oral treatments also include both prescription and OTC options. Traditionally, oral prescription drugs options include finasteride, dutasteride, and spironolactone. These drugs work by interfering with the natural hormones that cause hair loss, and depending upon the drug chosen, there are options for both men and women. These drugs are useful to reduce further hair loss, and in many cases will produce regrowth of previously lost hair. Like many prescription oral drugs, these medications may have systemic side effects, and the risks and benefits of treatment should be discussed with your dermatology provider.

For those looking for a more natural but still effective treatment for hair loss, Viviscal® topical and oral products offer an excellent option. Viviscal® Professional Tablets are an OTC oral dietary supplement composed of proteins, lipids, and glycosaminoglycans. The main active component of Viviscal® is the proprietary AminoMar marine complex. AminoMar helps to naturally nourish hair growth in both men and women. Since the early 1990’s multiple studies have established both the safety and efficacy of Viviscal® tablets. Both men and women can see a substantial increase in hair shaft thickness and well as the actual hair count. In addition to Viviscal® Professional Tablets, Viviscal® Hair and Scalp Serum is available to further enhance hair growth. It is formulated with AnaTel complex, which is derived from natural sources like pea sprouts and grape seeds. It conditions the scalp and helps hair appear fuller and thicker. Both Viviscal® Professional Tablets and Viviscal® Hair and Scalp Serum are available for purchase at skinfo® Specialty Skincare Boutique.