In some cases, hair loss impairs the way we feel about our own appearance to such an extent that our self-esteem is diminished, we feel ashamed and can retreat from social situations.
Hormone-related hair loss
Hair growth is controlled by hormones. The majority of people have their fullest head of hair at puberty. Over the years most people’s hair density reduces continuously, more slowly in women, more quickly in men. Balding only occurs in women in very rare cases. The speed and extent of this “physiological” hair thinning are determined by hereditary factors and differ from one individual to another. In principle, male sex hormones have an inhibiting effect on hair growth whilst female sex hormones support it. This is also the reason why most women develop thick, shiny hair during pregnancy or when taking certain hormone treatments. Unfortunately, nature usually takes this gift back around three months after the end of pregnancy. Modern medicine offers a number of possibilities for preserving hair thickness to a certain degree. In men the drug finasteride is used to inhibit the activation of male sex hormones in the skin. Initial trials have now shown this substance to be effective in women too.
For women there is also the possibility of using hormone preparations. Minoxidil has the effect of promoting hair growth in both men and women. This substance stimulates hair growth non-hormonally. It is not ingested, but is applied in the form of a hair lotion. As a gentle means of support we recommend the use of complex homeopathic remedies and extracts of black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa).
Only in the very rarest cases is hair loss that proceeds slowly due to a serious internal disease, for example a pathological vitamin deficiency or a thyroid disorder. Medicines, for example, certain antipsychotics or marcumar, play a slightly bigger role.
Alopecia areata – spot baldness
With this condition, within a short period of time, circular areas of hair loss appear on the scalp. In extremely rare cases there is total loss of hair on the head, and even more rarely a loss of all body hair. Whilst this fairly common disease appears shocking, essentially it is harmless. The cause is not, as often supposed, serious internal diseases, but selective dysregulations in the immune system of the skin. In the vast majority of cases the hair regenerates within a year. The regrowth can be accelerated by applying solutions containing cortisone. Furthermore, a so-called stimulation therapy using dithranol can also be used, which steers the immune system back in the right direction.
Inflammatory hair loss
Severe eczema of the scalp or psoriasis, and also fungal infections of the scalp can be accompanied by hair loss. After the skin changes have healed, hair growth usually returns by itself. A range of admittedly very rare auto-immune diseases can also result in inflammatory hair loss. To diagnose them a skin sample needs to be taken and treatment can sometimes be protracted.
Correctly assessing the hair loss is vital for successful treatment. We offer state-of-the-art computer-aided hair diagnostic tests, which precisely determine the hair density, the proportion of hair growing back and the proportion of hair falling out, all in a comparably short period of time.