Hair Recommendations from a Trichologist
This is going to be quite the post, because I need a lot of help with my hair.
Truthfully I feel like I've been losing my hair for a while, but it got really intense over the last nine (9) months. I hate to admit this, but I've patched my hair in a few images on Instagram because it looked like I was balding, when I turned my head to the side. This is why I decided to pursue a trichologist.
the branch of medical and cosmetic study and practice concerned with the hair and scalp.
After hearing about Philip Kingsley, I decided this was going to be the best path forward for me. They are experts in trichology, and they are kindly collaborating with me to provide my treatment plan at no cost to me.
Why was I losing my hair?
During my initial consultation (virtual over FaceTime with Anabel Kingsley herself) I described that I began experiencing excessive daily hair shedding (called Telogen Effluvium) in October 2019. Although my hair loss has recently lessened, it has consistently shed too much for the past 9 months. Prior to October 2019 I had not experienced hair loss or density changes. At least nothing to this degree. This also indicates that the main cause of my hair loss is Telogen Effluvium (TE); TE is not a gradual type of hair loss - it is sudden and immediately noticeable.
Telogen effluvium (TE) is a reactive hair loss. It usually occurs as a result of a disruption to general health or a change to the internal environment. Hair is very sensitive to fluctuations. Anabel explained to me that this is because our body views and treats hair as a non-essential tissue as our strands do not play a role in keeping us alive. As hair grows longer, it's no longer being treated by the body's nutrients.
TE occurs 6-12 weeks after the event that caused it. My trichologist believes that the shedding in October was triggered by me coming off of my oral contraceptive pill 3 months prior in July. I also want to note that my birth control was Reclipsen and it can be considered a hair friendly pill as it contains an oestrogen derivative – oestrogen being a female hormone that helps to keep strands in their growth phase.
I had other hair loss triggers, such as rapid weight loss, embarking on an extreme exercise regime and a keto diet, and high stress levels, particularly in January (3 months ago). As we agreed, this has created the ‘perfect storm’ for a hair shedding issue. Hair is a window to our health and general wellbeing.
What are the specifics?
She suggested that I may be experiencing some slow density changes that are affecting the front area of my scalp that are linked to something called ‘follicle sensitivity’. This type of hair loss is genetic and is incredibly common in women of all ages post-puberty. Also known as Androgenetic Alopecia (female pattern hair loss), it occurs when hair follicles in certain areas on the scalp are sensitive to normal levels of androgens (male hormones). When you have this sensitivity, hair follicles become smaller and produce finer and shorter strands. The oral contraceptive pill I was taking may have been camouflaging this to a certain extent. However, Anabel specified it is important we address the shedding and scalp health first before further assessing or treating the hair loss itself.
My scalp becomes oily very quickly, and it is also often itchy and flaky. A flaky scalp can contribute to hair loss too, so at this point we've got about 65 reasons why my hair could be falling out.
What's the proper treatment plan?
In light of the above, Anabel's treatment recommendations are as follows:
Now that my weight is stable, and my diet has improved, my hair fall should in part slow down on its own. However, addressing my stress levels will be very important, as will rectifying any vitamin or mineral deficiencies. Improving the condition of my scalp will also have a huge benefit.
Once it's possible, I will get some bloodwork done to check my Iron, Ferritin (stored iron), Vitamin B12, Zinc, Thyroid and sex hormone (oestradiol and testosterone) levels.
Here's the breakdown:
Take 2 tablets daily of the Tricho Complex nutritional supplement – 1 with breakfast and 1 with lunch. These must be taken with a meal.
Take 4 tablets daily of the Gelatine Protein Supplement; 2 with breakfast and 2 with lunch. These can be opened up into a yogurt or smoothie.
Apply 2.5mls your Tricho 7 Scalp drops to the front, top and sides of your scalp every day after washing and gently towel-drying your hair. These are stimulating, anti-inflammatory and anti-androgenic (i.e. help to protect your hair follicles from the effects of male hormones).
Shampooing daily helps to improve the health of both scalp and hair. Your skincare regime should not stop at your hairline; your scalp is skin and benefits from similar TLC to the skin on your face.
I am using the Flaky/Itchy Scalp Shampoo, which is anti-microbial and soothing. This was be used daily until scalp feels better, then I'll use every other day for a week, and then only as needed. When I don't use the Flaky Shampoo, I'll use the Body Building Shampoo.
Every day before bed (or in the morning if I shampoo at night) I will apply the Clinic hand-made #3 Scalp Tonic, which is stimulating, oil-fighting and anti-microbial.
Once a week, I'll use the clinic hand-made H2 Scalp Mask which is stimulating, exfoliating, anti-inflammatory, and helps to control oil production. To apply, I dampen hair first and spread onto the scalp using fingertips in one-inch partings from ear-to-ear. I leave it on for up to 1 hour, gently massage into the scalp for a few minutes, and then shampoo twice and condition as usual.
Anabel recommended I increase my intake of foods rich in Omega 3, such as salmon, sardines, herring, seaweed, walnuts and flaxseeds. Also, please take a daily Omega 3 supplement. I've also cut down on my intake of high-fat processed meats, as these can contribute to scalp irritation.
Another recommendation was to reduce intake of full fat dairy products and white wine. These commonly worsen itching, flaking and oiliness of the scalp. Red wine, rosé and spirits are fine!
I learned that breakfast and lunch are the most important meals for hair health because the nutrients consumed in the first few hours of the day are the ones that provide nutrition to the hair! It is also very important to eat consistent meals when exercising, as your hair being non-essential tissue, will be the first part of the body to become depleted. Anabel recommended I increase my intake of iron-rich foods, such as dried apricots, beetroot and dark, leafy greens. Red meat is the best form of iron, but this definitely upsets my stomach in many cases (we've been resorting to stews and not just steaks.)
Breakfast and lunch should always consist of some form of protein and a complex carbohydrate. Good examples are:
Seeded bread topped with eggs any style and smashed avocado
Turkey bacon or lean sausage on whole grain toast
Smoked salmon on a bagel with low-fat cream cheese
Fresh fruit over low-fat cottage cheese
Oatmeal with nuts, berries and seeds
Salmon, beetroot, couscous and spinach salad
Turkey, lettuce and tomato sandwich on wholemeal bread
Sweet potato with grilled chicken or fish and a side of grilled vegetables
Shrimp, fish or chicken tacos (opting for low-fat sour cream)
During my consultation, I described that I am experiencing high stress levels. Stress can and often does have a negative impact on both hair and scalp. I think I've been a high anxiety and high stress kind of person most of my life, so slowing down usuaqlly requires a glass of rosé.
To help improve my hair’s tensile strength and condition, especially on the ends, anabal recommended I apply their Elasticizer pre-shampoo conditioning treatment once a week.
Elasticizer should be applied to damp hair, gently worked in with your fingertips, and left on for approximately one hour. For added benefit, I can cover my hair with a shower cap after applying or I can apply before working out (the heat from working out will help it to penetrate deeper into the scalp). She mentioned I can apply Elasticizer to my hair after I have applied your H2 Scalp Mask to the scalp so I can do a 2-in-1 scenario.
She also sent me the following:
Perfecting Spray: A lightweight, hydrating detangling spray and blow-dry primer.
Maximizer Root Boosting Spray: A heat activated spray that adds body & volume to your roots.
Weatherproof Styling Froth: A non-heat activated styling froth that adds root volume.
Maximizer Strand Plumping Cream: A lightweight thickening cream to add bulk to your mid-lengths and ends.
Paddle Brush: A hair friendly hair brush with rounded, plastic prongs and a vented cushioned base.