Overcoming Our Own Perceptions of Female Hair Loss
When Medi Tresse opened 2015, our mission was two-fold. First, we wanted to help all women experiencing hair loss feel empowered by their options and reclaim their confidence. Secondly, as the leading medical professionals in our industry, we wanted to normalize women's hair loss through education while creating a caring and supportive community for women. That second part is the hardest, but most important part of our mission.
The reason I am sharing this, is due to a recent patient interaction that I had during a consultation. During the consultation I made a comment about the patient’s hair loss and the patient was slightly taken aback and stated that they did not suffer from hair loss. The patient went on to state that she only has some thinning hair, but not hair loss. This is actually something that is not that uncommon to hear from patients at Medi Tresse.
While hair loss may seem fairly objective, either you have it or you don’t, in reality, that is not how people feel about hair loss. The truth is that everybody has different perceptions about what counts as hair loss. We have some patients that come in with what appear to be full heads of hair, but they are noticing changes in their hair and feel they have hair loss that needs to be treated. We have other patients that come in with what we would consider advanced female hair loss, but they feel like they have just started to notice hair loss or they have always had fine hair so it really is not that advanced to them. It is important not to minimize anyone’s feelings about what they are experiencing.
It is just as important to break through the negative connotations of words and phrases like “hair loss”, ”thinning hair”, or “alopecia”. Thankfully, with the patient I alluded to above, even though this patient did not think they had hair loss, they were still seeking treatment. Unfortunately, many women are unable to take the next step to see a specialist, because doing so would be an admission that they are experiencing hair loss. Hopefully, through greater awareness of how common hair loss is in women and the treatments available, we will be able to break free of our negative perceptions of female hair loss.
We know it is not easy, but important work never is. When you are ready to take that next step, please know that staff at Medi Tresse is here for you.
Posted by Dr. Mary Wendel
Signs Your Hair Loss May Not Be Female Pattern Hair Loss
Androgenic Alopecia, also known as Female Pattern Hair Loss, is the most common type of female hair loss and about 50% of women will experience this type of hair loss by the time they are 50. Androgenic Alopecia is caused due to an excess of androgens, which are commonly known as male hormones, but that is not really accurate as women also produce androgens, but typically at lower levels. In women, this increase in androgens can be caused by genetics or from hormonal changes due to aging. Most of the patients that we see at Medi Tresse are experiencing Androgenic Alopecia, which is often more pronounced in the frontal areas of the scalp. Over time the hair shaft gets thinner in a process known as “miniaturization.” Eventually if not treated, the affected hair will continue to get smaller and disappear completely. However, many patients we see are not experiencing this type of hair loss. What are common signs that your hair loss may be caused by something besides genetics or natural hormonal changes?
Most women experiencing Androgenic Alopecia do not see excessive shedding occurring over a short amount of time. Excessive shedding is typically a sign of Telogen Effluvium. It is normal to lose up to 100 hairs a day, however, women experiencing a Telogen Effluvium can lose up to 300 hairs a day.
You Recently Changed Your Birth Control
There are a wide variety of birth control options available from oral contraception to IUDs. Regardless of the type, the birth control will have an affect on your hormones, which can play a key role in hair health. There are many birth control options that can actually have a positive affect on your hair, but many can have a negative effect. If you noticed that your hair loss began around the time you changed or started your birth control, it is possible the birth control is contributing to the loss.
While it is possible to experience eye brow loss due to Androgenic Alopecia, there are other potential causes that we look at as well. Some auto-immune diseases can cause eyebrow loss, as well as some forms of Scarring Alopecia.
You Recently Started a New Medication
If your hair loss coincided with the start of a new medication, then it is possible that the hair loss is a side effect of the medication. We have seen patients experience hair loss from many common medications, including, but not limited to, metoprolol (blood pressure medication), statins (cholesterol medications), Accutane (acne medication), and omeprazole (heartburn and GERD medication). We would never recommend just stopping a medication, because you think it may be causing your hair loss, but you should discuss the side effect with your provider and speak with a hair loss specialist that can help treat the hair loss.
Patches of Loss with Sharp Borders
With Androgenic Alopecia, the hairs miniaturize over time causing gradual thinning. If you are noticing patches of bold spots with sharp borders or coin shaped lesions of hair loss, that is more consistent with Alopecia Areata, which is an auto-immune disease. The treatment plan for Alopecia Areata is much different from Androgenic Alopecia and it really requires an expert that is experienced in treating this type of hair loss.
If you are experiencing any form of hair loss, it is important to meet with a specialist that can diagnose the cause and create an appropriate treatment plan. At Medi Tresse we have treated all types of female hair loss and can find the right treatment for you.
Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team
Medical Micropigmentation & Microblading Now Available in Wellesley
We are excited to announce that beginning in April our Wellesley, MA office will begin offering microblading and medical micropigmentation. Over the years, patients have expressed interest in more options for thinning eyebrows and more immediate options for camouflaging hair loss. After extensive research and speaking with expert technicians in the field we have decided that microblading and medical micropigmentation are great options for our patients.
Medical Micropigmentation and Microblading are semi-permanent procedures where pigment is placed into the dermal layer of the skin to provide the illusion of hair. Highly skilled micropigmentologists are able to provide a look that is both natural and undetectable to the naked eye. Micropigmentation and Microblading do not treat the hair loss or improve hair health, but they camouflage the area and give the appearance of natural thicker hair.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does the treatment take?
The initial treatment takes about 2 hours to complete. For larger areas of the scalp it could take a little longer.
How many treatments are required?
You should expect to come in twice initially. First for your initial 2 hour appointment and then again in about 4-8 weeks for a 45 minute touch up.
Is the treatment permanent?
The treatment is semi-permanent. Over time the pigment placed in the skin will fade. In order to keep the desired look, touch ups will be required every 12 to 18 months.
Does this treatment improve my hair?
No. This treatment is not going to improve your hair health, regrow hair, or stop further loss. Rather this is an option for patients looking for an immediate way to camouflage their thinning hair.
If you are interested in learning more about medical micropigmentation or microblading please contact our office today.
Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team
Nutrafol® Hair Loss Supplement Update
Nutrafol®, one of the leading hair loss supplement developers, just announced an exciting re-branding and new product release this week. While the packaging and labels have been updated, rest assured that the product has not changed. Nutrafol for Women has now been renamed Core for Women and still has all the great ingredients that promote healthy hair. However, Nutrafol® has added an exciting new product to their vitamin and supplement lineup, the Core for Women Plus. Core for Women Plus is specially formulated for post-menopausal women and women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Core for Women Plus includes an increased amount of Saw Palmetto, which is a natural DHT blocker and contains Maca Root and Astaxanthin to balance hormones and promote healthy aging.
As part of their re-branding, Nutrafol® also announced new pricing to their professional partners, which means our patients will be receiving great new pricing! Effective March 4th, the price of a single bottle of Nutrafol® will drop to $79 and the three-month supply will drop to $199. For patients that are currently on a subscription plan we will automatically update your subscription plan with the new pricing moving forward.
At Medi Tresse, we recommend that all of our patients take a hair supplement, whether it is Nutrafol® or Viviscal®. Most people do not get the necessary vitamins and nutrients through our everyday diets, and supplements like Nutrafol® or Viviscal® not only provide these key nutrients, but also offer other supplements that have been shown to improve hair growth and hair health. If you are interested in learning more about hair supplements do not hesitate to contact our office.
Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team
Medical Micropigmentation For Female Hair Loss
At Medi Tresse we focus on medical treatments that are non-surgical, clinically proven, and rejuvenate your own hair (i.e. no extensions, which can damage your hair further). However, there are some options out there for patients looking for different ways to camouflage their hair loss. One of the less expensive options, is Infinity® Hair Fibers, which electrostatically stick to your hairs to cover up thinning. However, there are some more permanent solutions as well, such as medical micropigmentation.
Medical micropigmentation is a type of semi-permanent cosmetic procedure where a colored pigment is matched to your hair color and applied to a certain area of the skin to camouflage the thinning. There is a lot of technique with medical micropigmentation and the best specialists make it look so natural that you would not know the person had anything done to the area, even when up close. The most popular type of medical micropigmentation is micro-blading, which is completed in the eyebrows. Again, in the past permanent makeup could look very fake, but with new types of pigments and techniques it looks very natural. With micro-blading, the pigment usually lasts 12 months, so you would need a touch up every year.
While not as common as micro-blading, medical scalp micropigmentation has become popular as well. As hair gets thinner and more scalp is visible, utilizing medical scalp micropigmentation, you can camouflage those areas in a very natural looking way. Again, it is important to see an experienced specialist that uses the proper technique and best pigments to match your natural color. Medical scalp micropigmentation is semi-permanent and can last anywhere from 12 months to almost 10 years depending pigment and technique used.
If you have questions about medical micropigmentation do not hesitate to reach out to your Medi Tresse team.
Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team
Proper Diagnosis of Hair Loss, Does it Really Matter?
At Medi Tresse, when we see a patient for the first time, we complete a full medical history. This includes not only the history about the hair loss, but their entire medical history as well. We have all our patients fill out several forms regarding prior diagnoses, surgeries, medical diagnoses, as well as medications, diet and supplements. We also need to know about any family history of hair loss, both men and women. We get a time line of the patient’s hair loss, describing when it started and what was the woman’s overall health at that time.
Alopecia, the official medical diagnostic term for all types of hair loss, can be caused by many different conditions. There are more than five types of the most common causes of hair loss, as well as many sub-types. It takes a skilled and highly trained medical professional to do a thorough exam, order the proper tests and make the correct diagnosis. If any of these steps are skipped, the wrong diagnosis can be made, and then treatment may not work. It’s important to remember that not all treatments work for all types of hair loss.
It is essential to have the proper diagnosis before the correct treatment can be recommended. Plus, with labs tests we can be sure that all of the body’s chemistries are correct, making the environment the absolute best for hair regrowth. One of the most common causes of hair shedding in women is iron deficiency, which is easily treated, but without replacing the lost iron, the other treatments for hair loss will not work as well. Even mild alterations in thyroid function will result in poor hair growth, so it is essential to check that as well. These are just a few of the tests we may order on our patients.
So, it is incredibly important to be properly evaluated and obtain the correct diagnosis BEFORE starting any hair loss treatment. Just picking up a bottle of minoxidil or a special shampoo at the pharmacy is not the answer. At Medi Tresse all our patients are given a complete evaluation by a trained medical professional who has many years of experience treating alopecia in women, who knows the importance of the evaluation, and who can prescribe the best hair loss treatment available.
Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team
LaserCap® Company Announces the Release of the MC2™ with 312 Diodes
LaserCap® Company is excited to announce the release of their long awaited MC2™. According to LaserCap® Company, MC2™ represents the next generation of wearable home-use laser cap devices. The name MC2™ is derived from the purpose of the new laser cap, maximum coverage and maximum comfort. The MC2™ is uniquely designed to be adjustable to conformally fit any head size. The MC2™ laser cap is distinctively designed to:
- Provide complete coverage of the temples, all the way down to your ears
- Provide complete coverage in the crown and back of the scalp
- Adjust to tightly fit to any head size while still be comfortable
- Include the most laser diodes of any at home device
LaserCap® Company has been the preeminent company for at home low level laser therapy (LLLT) devices for over 10 years. All LaserCap® Company devices, including the MC2™, come with their exclusive Lifetime Warranty Policy and 12-month money back guarantee.
Low level laser therapy (LLLT) has been found to be one of the most effective treatments for female hair loss. Studies have shown that 95% of patients that follow the treatment protocol receive benefit. If you think low level laser therapy (LLLT) or the MC2™ may be right for you contact our office to learn more.
Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team
Most women that come in to see me for hair loss have spent hours researching female hair loss online and have tried a number of treatments already including, but not limited to, scalp massage, hair masks, coconut oil, minoxidil products (like Rogaine), shampoos that claim to improve hair health thicken or stimulate growth, vitamins, PRP treatments, sometimes even hair transplant surgery. However, it is very unlikely that someone tells me they have increased their protein intake in hopes of improving their hair.
This is crazy if you consider the fact that 90% of our hair is made of a protein called keratin. You have probably heard of keratin before because it is in a lot of different shampoos and hair treatments, but I bet you did not know that it was the name of the protein that comprises 90% of your hair! Protein is very important for the rest of our body as well. 20% of our entire body is made up of protein so when you are not eating enough of it, your body starts to take it from areas it deems less essential, such as hair, for areas it deems more essential like brain function. Your body then starts taking the protein from your hair so that other areas function optimally. This results in cracks in the hair leading to dull and brittle hair. This can even change the texture of your hair causing curly hair to become frizzy and straight hair to be become limp and difficult to style.
I bet you are starting to understand why protein is the MOST important ingredient for healthy hair! The American Dietetic Association recommends that adults should get 0.8-1 g/lb of body weight. That is a lot of protein!
The first step to achieving healthy hair is to write down everything you eat in a day and calculate how many grams of protein that equates to. Then you can figure out if you need to increase protein intake and come up with a game plan. Below is the protein content of some common foods to get you started!
- Greek Yogurt (1 cup) – 17 grams or more depending on the brand
- Chicken (1 breast) – 16 grams
- Quinoa (1 Cup) – 8 grams
- Egg - 6 grams
- Peanut Butter (1 Tbsp) – 4 grams
- Broccoli (1 cup) – 2.6 grams
Once your diet is on track, add a protein treatment to your hair care routine. There are plenty of Keratin containing treatments that you can purchase and do at home or at a salon, but something as simple as beating an egg and applying it to your hair every 2 weeks can make a world of difference. The protein will fill in all the cracks in the hair shaft resulting in healthier more lustrous hair! The results will go even further if you apply heat with a blow-dryer since the heat will help the protein penetrate beyond the surface.
So next time you reach for a bag of chips, opt for Greek yogurt instead. Your waistline and your hair will thank you!
Posted by Diana Gallerani, NP
When we first opened Medi Tresse and started seeing women experiencing hair loss, virtually all the patients who came in for evaluation were experiencing symptoms of Androgenic Alopecia, which is the most common type of hair loss in women. The hair loss occurred slowly over many years, sometimes decades, and many of them had family histories consistent with the genetic basis for Androgenic Alopecia. Research on the treatment for this type of hair loss is extensive and fortunately the treatment is usually very successful. These treatments include minoxidil (82M), LLLT (low level laser therapy) and PRP (platelet rich plasma), as well as supplements like Nutrafol and Viviscal. Sometimes hair transplant is an option as well.
Recently we are seeing increasing numbers of women with Scarring Alopecia, which is an inflammatory cause of hair loss, and a much more challenging problem to treat. At a recent international conference on hair loss I heard the world’s experts debate the potential causes, but at this point we really don’t understand why this is happening more frequently. There is some evidence that certain harsh hair care practices may contribute to some forms of Scarring Alopecia, particularly in African American women that use chemical relaxers from a very young age. This type of hair loss is much more common in women than men, with some studies reporting as high as a 4:1 ratio of women to men. There is some evidence to suggest an autoimmune cause, and there may be a genetic component as well, but more research definitely needs to be done.
Scarring Alopecia results in permanent damage of the hair follicle if treatment isn’t started immediately. Unfortunately, in the early stages, it often looks very similar to Androgenic Alopecia and treatment may be delayed. However, the major difference is the rate of hair loss, which is much faster with Scarring Alopecia.
There are several types of Scarring Alopecia: Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA), Lichen PlanoPilaris (LPP), and Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia (FFA). If a woman presents with a more rapid rate of hair loss, as well as evidence of inflammation around the base of the hair follicle on examination, then we become concerned with the possibility of Scarring Alopecia. The pattern of hair loss may be patchy, or as in FFA present as a band of loss along the frontal hairline with loss of eyebrows as well. A biopsy is essential to confirm the diagnosis.
Regardless of which type of Scarring Alopecia exists, the initial treatment is usually steroids, topical or injected. Strong consideration should be given to oral medication, which may include doxycycline, hydroxychloroquine, and dutasteride. Newer treatments like laser therapy and PRP have not been studied at length, and should be considered only after standard treatments have failed. We have had some success utilizing PRP in CCCA, especially in women with some underlying Androgenic Alopecia as well.
Patients with scarring alopecia need to be followed carefully and treated aggressively. At Medi Tresse we are fully capable to treat all types of hair loss in women, and early diagnosis and treatment is essential, especially in Scarring Alopecia in order to prevent permanent loss.
Posted by Dr. Mary Wendel
Medi Tresse Is Now Offering Nutrafol®
We are excited to now offer our patients Nutrafol®, one the top dietary supplements available for hair loss. At Medi Tresse we have a very high standard for the treatments that we offer our patients, and all our treatments must have clinical studies that prove their benefit before we will give it our stamp of approval. After careful review by our medical team it was determined that Nutrafol® is a great option for women experiencing all types of hair loss.
Nutrafol® is made with all-natural ingredients and is free of gluten, wheat, and shellfish, and binders. Nutrafol® includes the following key ingredients for the treatment of hair loss:
- Supports healthy hair growth.
- Decreases damaging stress hormones and reduces inflammation.
- Extracted from Tumeric, which is known to reduce inflammation.
- Has been shown to prevent the creation of DHT, a naturally occurring hormone that contributes to androgenic hair loss.
- Aids in rebuilding of damaged follicles.
- One of the building blocks of healthy hair.
It takes at least three to six months before you will start to see the benefit of Nutrafol®, but for many patients it can take up to year. While some patients experiencing short term hair loss like telogen effluvium, may only take Nutrafol® for a year, we would recommend taking it as long as you want to help maintain healthy hair. For patients not currently on a vitamin or supplement we would recommend starting on a daily regimen of Nutrafol®. However, if you are currently using another supplement, such as Viviscal®, and having success with it, we would recommend sticking with that as you do not want to rock the boat. As Nutrafol® does contain Saw Palmetto we would not recommend to patients that are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you are interested in learning more about Nutrafol® and how it can help you reach out to our offices today.
Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team