Protein and Hair Health

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!

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

No, McDonald’s Fries Do Not Regrow Hair

If you have watched or read the news lately you probably saw some headlines that read “McDonald’s French Fries Cure Hair Loss!”. While that headline is attention grabbing and sounds delicious, sadly, it is not true. So what is everyone talking about?

There was a recent study conducted in Japan where a research team was able to regrow hair on mice by creating hair follicle germs, which are the reproductive source of hair follicles, and seeded them into the mouse’s body. Amazingly, the hair follicles generated hairs on the back of the mice. The hope is this may one day lead to similar success with humans, but there is still much testing to be done.

So you are probably still asking what this has to do with McDonald’s french fries? Dimethylpolysiloxane is a silicone compound that McDonald’s uses in its french fries to prevent the oil from foaming. The research team also used Dimethylpolysiloxane in this study. In order to produce the hair follicle germs in a lab, the research team needed “oxygen-permeable dimethylpolysiloxane (PDMS) at the bottom of the culture vessel”. Therefore, while it is true that this ingredient in McDonald’s french fries was used in a successful hair loss study, it was not a contributing factor to the hair growth, but rather was necessary for conducting the study.

Unfortunately, this type of breakthrough treatment is still a ways off from becoming a reality, however, there are still lots of great treatments available for hair loss, even if eating french fries is not one of them!

Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team

Can My Medication Cause Hair Loss?

Many medications have side effects, but one side effect from medications that is often not discussed is hair loss.  If you asked most people if they know of any medications that can cause hair loss, they would probably answer with chemotherapy, which is certainly the most extreme case.  However, there are many other more common medications that patients take that can cause hair loss.  However, before we continue, please note that you should never stop a prescription without speaking to your prescribing physician and in some cases there may not be a safe alternative.

Typically, when hair loss is caused by a medication you are taking, it is classified as Telogen Effluvium.  Telogen Effluvium usually presents as a diffuse hair loss, meaning coming from all parts of the scalp.  While it is normal to shed between 50 and 100 hairs a day, during a Telogen Effluvium episode you can notice more excessive shedding.  The telogen phase of the hair cycle is the resting phase, which is when shedding normally occurs, however, during a Telogen Effluvium either the telogen phase is extended or an abnormal number of hairs enter this phase. The good news is that hair loss due to Telogen Effluvium is usually reversible and complete regrowth occurs in about a year.  However, it is extremely important to treat the Telogen Effluvium and try to determine the cause.

Some examples of the more common types of medications that can cause hair loss are beta blockers, anti-depressants, hormone replacement therapies, anticonvulsants, or birth control that contains certain progestins.  Again, if you are taking one of these medications we are not advocating that you should immediately stop it.  However, if you think your hair loss coincides with when you started a medication, we would recommend taking the following steps:

If you have any concerns about your medications or hair loss do not hesitate to reach out to the medical staff at Medi Tresse.

Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team

Will I Shed More During the Fall?

With Labor Day fast approaching, summer is unfortunately coming to an end.  While we do enjoy the crisp mornings and fall foliage, a lot of our patients have been wondering if and how the change in season can affect their hair.

Patients often tell us they notice more shedding during certain times of the year. Because everyone’s hair cycle is different, we can certainly see a correlation of hair growth or shedding with certain seasons for some patients.  During the summer months, the body tends to hold on to hairs to protect the scalp against the harsh midday sun. To compensate, the hair follicles tend to elongate their growth phase in order to provide coverage and shelter for the scalp. As the sun’s threatening rays start to diminish during the changing season, the hairs return to their usual cycle and start to shed as a result.

However, the change is not very noticeable in the majority of people. The truth is, there are other factors such as age, styling, hormones, and genetics that play a more dominant role in our changing hair.  If you think you are experiencing a seasonal shed, I suggest wait for the season to change, chances are the shedding will too! However, when in doubt, it is best to consult a hair loss expert.

Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team

How Often Should I See My Hair Loss Specialist?

Your follow up visits provide an opportunity to track your results, update your hair loss specialist on any changes in diet or medications, and to potentially change the treatment plan if necessary.  So how often should you see your hair loss specialist? Just like visiting your dentist (although hopefully less painful!), at Medi Tresse we recommend follow up visits every six months.

Tracking your results is extremely important, and any hair loss specialist should be taking photos and doing trichoscopy (which is highly magnified photos where you measure the hair) to track your progress.  As you see your hair every day, it is often difficult to notice changes, but in your follow ups you will easily be able to track your progress throughout treatment.

The follow up is an important time to update your hair loss specialist of any major changes in your diet or medications.  A major diet change, like becoming a vegetarian, could affect your hair loss if you are not receiving enough vitamins and nutrients.  Some medications have been found to induce hair loss, and your hair loss specialist can help guide you through if the medication could be problematic to your hair.

For most patients, hair loss is progressive, which means that it will continue to get worse if not treated correctly.  By seeing your hair loss specialist every six months, you can ensure that if you need to make changes to your treatment plan, it is done in timely fashion.  The earlier hair loss is treated, the better chance there is for re-thickening and re-growth during treatment.

Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team

Treatments During the Summer

With the summer coming up, patients often tell us they are concerned about starting a new treatment as they plan on being more active and out in the sun, and they are not sure how our treatments may affect their ability to do so.  What is great about the treatments offered at Medi Tresse is that they will not stop you from having a fun filled summer!  However, please remember whenever you plan to spend time in the sun it is important to always ensure proper sun protection.  Let’s look at some of our most common treatments and if potential side effects could affect your summer plans.

The good news is you do not have to choose between one of these great treatments and having a fun filled summer.  You will be able to enjoy the summer more knowing that you have taken the first steps in treating your thinning hair.  Do not hesitate to contact our office if you have any specific questions about these treatments.

Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team

Tricomin® Products Reformulated

We are excited to announce that one of our favorite products at Medi Tresse, the Tricomin® Clinical product line, has been reformulated to provide even better hair health.  Tricomin®, which offers a follicle spray, shampoo, and conditioner, has long been the standard for hair loss shampoos and conditioners.  Tricomin ® products are fortified with patented Triamino Copper Complex™, a proprietary peptide blend of copper and amino acids.  Copper is not only important for the health of the hair, but copper peptides can help with healing in the body.  Amino acids are key building blocks for protein, and hair is made of the protein keratin.

So how have the Tricomin® products been reformulated? The great part of about the reformulation is that it is a relatively minor change to the products, which is important because the products were already really beneficial for hair health.  However, the product line now has Pinoxide, which is a micro-circulation booster for the hair follicle.  This means increased blood flow around the follicle, which not only helps in repairing the follicle, but should keep the follicle healthy longer.

If you are interested in learning more about these products do not hesitate to reach out to one of the hair loss specialists at Medi Tresse.

Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team

PCOS and Hair Loss

At Medi Tresse we have seen women with all different types of hair loss and varying causes of hair loss.  With any patient we see, the first step is to diagnose the cause of the hair loss.  For many patients, their hair loss is truly genetic, but for others it could be due to a hormone imbalance, stress related, or even a change in medication.  One patient population that we often see is patients with polycystic ovary syndrome, more commonly known as PCOS.

While the cause of PCOS is still unknown, PCOS is an endocrine system disorder, which means the hormones are directly affected.  Common symptoms of patients with PCOS are irregular periods, excess androgen, and polycystic ovaries, which means the ovaries have become enlarged and contain many small cysts.

Women with PCOS can often see thinning hair due to excess androgen levels, which are commonly known as male hormones like testosterone.  Before starting any sort of hair loss treatment, a patient with PCOS would want to make sure that their hormone levels have been checked and are in proper balance.  If a woman has elevated androgens, this can potentially be managed with very specific birth control pills which can block the negative effects on hair.  Once the hormone levels are in proper balance, then the patient could be a candidate for hair loss treatments.

Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team

Are all Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) Devices the same?

Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) has become one of the most popular treatments for female hair loss, and with the increase in popularity we have also seen an increase in at home options.  However, many patients tell us it can be confusing when they try to research and compare all of the LLLT devices.  Before we get into the devices, it is important to understand what exactly is LLLT.

LLLT stimulates the hair follicle cells to grow in the scalp and increases cellular activity around the follicle. This also decreases inflammation so existing hairs can grow thicker and stronger. While LLLT has been proven to be effective for many years, the 2014 double-blind study published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, truly showed the power of LLLT in treating hair loss.

With a simple internet search, you will find a number of at home LLLT devices, such as the LCPro by LaserCap, the Capillus, the LaserBand 82 by HairMax, the Theradome, or the iGrow, and this can be very overwhelming to the patient.  However, there are a few key differences that you need to look out for when comparing devices.  First, the laser wavelength should be between 650nm-655nm.  Secondly, the laser output per diode should be 5mw.  Thirdly, the diodes should be true lasers and not just red lights.  Lastly, the number of diodes is extremely important.  Many of the full caps are sold with varying numbers of diodes, often varying between 80 and 272, but you truly need at least 220 diodes in the cap to ensure you are receiving the proper coverage to the entire scalp.  While some products like the HairMax LaserBand 82 only have 82 diodes, since they only cover a third of the head, they have the sufficient number of diodes in the treatment area, you just have to move the device to treat the entire scalp.

If you think you are interested in LLLT, it is important to speak with a hair loss specialist that can not only determine if a LLLT device is right for you, but guide you through the decision making process to purchase the best device.

Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team

What Is Female Pattern Hair Loss

Female pattern hair loss (FPHL), clinically known as Androgenic or Androgenetic Alopecia, is the most common cause of hair thinning and loss in women.  Up to 50 % of women have some degree of female pattern hair loss in their lifetime.  It certainly is more common as women age, particularly after menopause, but it can start as early as the teenage years.  Female pattern hair loss tends to run in families, and inheritance can be from either the mother or father, but sometimes there is no family history.  We know that hormones play a role in this type of hair loss, especially the “androgenic” hormones such as testosterone.

Female pattern hair loss is typically more pronounced in the frontal areas of the scalp. Over time the hair shaft gets thinner in a process known as “miniaturization”.  Your hair goes through a constant life cycle, as we naturally shed and grow new hairs.  However, miniaturization occurs, because the anagen phase, or growth phase, of the hair cycle gets shorter, which means the hair is not able to grow as long or thick as it has in the past. Eventually if not treated, the affected hair will continue to get smaller and disappear completely.

The good news is there are great treatment options for female pattern hair loss, but it is very important to start as early as possible.  If a hair has been lost for a long time there is no way to get it back, unless you surgically transplant a different follicle in that area.  However, with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy or Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) you can reverse the miniaturization and thicken and grow existing hairs.  If your loss is recent, we may be able to re-activate dormant follicles so that they start producing a hair again.  If you think you may be experiencing signs of female pattern hair loss it is important to see a hair loss specialist as soon as possible so that they can diagnose your type of hair loss and come up with a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team