Webinar: How Hormones Affect Your Hair

Our webinar series is kicking back up next week Tuesday May 4th at 12:00PM and the topic is "How Hormones Affect Your Hair".

Hormones can have a significant impact on the health of our hair, both naturally and from medications and treatments now being offered. Women will often experience changes in their hair during pregnancy and menopause, when hormones are fluctuating naturally. However, many of the birth control options available today affect our hormones, which can have an impact on our hair, some positive and some negative. We have seen an increase in the use of hormone replacement therapy for various conditions, which can also directly affect our hair as well. During this webinar, we will look at how hormones affect our hair and how and why our hormone levels change and what we can do to protect our hair.

If you happened to miss any of our past webinars, they are all posted on our website and the button below will bring you to our Webinar Series page. Just a reminder that we do offer special discounts and give-a-ways to webinar attendees, so it is always best to attend the webinar if you can.

Posted by Dr. Mary Wendel

The “Skinification” of Hair Care – Good or Bad?

I recently read an article about the “skinification” of hair care.  Essentially, the article was explaining how the concept of a multistep care routine that people have been utilizing for skin care is starting to catch hold with hair care.  At one time, the focus of hair care was a good shampoo and conditioner, but over the last few years, there has been an explosion in different types of hair care products, like scalp cleaners, pre-shampoos, hair serums and much more.  The question becomes is this a good thing or just a marketing ploy to get us to buy more products?

Let’s start with the good!  The fact that people are giving greater thought and attention to their hair care routine is very good.  The truth is that a healthy scalp and follicles are essential to growing healthy hair.  While poor scalp and follicle health are typically not the main cause of hair loss, they can definitely aggravate the condition for someone experiencing hair loss.  Unfortunately, many of the styling routines, such as tight hair styles, applying lots of heat, or using chemicals in our hair can contribute to poor scalp and follicle health.  While using a hair healthy shampoo and conditioner is essential, it is also important to incorporate products that can focus on cleansing the scalp and hydrating the hair.  A good scalp cleanse will help to remove buildup around the follicles.  A deep conditioner and hydrating serum also play vital roles in rehydrating and strengthening the hair.

So is there any downside to this “skinification” of hair?  The biggest issue is just the sheer number of products now available for hair care. It can be difficult to determine which ones are actually worth using.  Even as hair care professional, it can be overwhelming to evaluate new products with so many now available.  We have a saying in our office whenever we look into a new treatment or product; “follow the science”, which just means make sure there is valid research behind it.  All of the products we offer have been vetted by our staff to ensure that we are offering the best possible options for hair care routines.

The bottom line is that we needed to change how we thought about hair care, so we are happy to see that hair care routines have grown to include scalp and follicle health, but make sure you are using products that have actually been proven to benefit the hair.

Posted by Dr. Mary Wendel

What Does Female Hair Loss Look Like?

If we were to poll 10 random people and ask them what male hair loss looks like, they would probably all give similar answers about starting as receding in temples, with thinning in the crown, and eventually balding on top with a ring of hair around the head.  If we then asked those same 10 people what female hair loss looks like, I am pretty confident we would get 10 different answers.  This is one of the complexities about female hair loss.  For many women, it is hard for them to realize if they are experiencing it since it can differ so much from person to person.  It can even be hard for some medical practitioners to properly diagnose as its causes and presentation are so varied.

On our website there is a questionnaire that visitors can fill out that asks them various questions about their experience with hair loss.  With over 1000 responses, it provides a pretty good snapshot of what our patients are experiencing.  As expected, the experiences vary widely.

If people think they may be experiencing hair loss, often their first thought is to consider their family history.  While the myths talk about different grandfathers, the truth is that genetic hair loss can come from anyone in your family.  However, of the survey respondents only 55% felt there was a history of it in their family, which means that 45% did not believe that they had a family history of hair loss.  While genetics can play a big role in causing hair loss, it is only one potential factor.

Often times our perception of hair loss is rapid sudden shedding happening over a short period of time.  However, only 22% of the respondents felt their hair loss was sudden, while 78% felt that it had been gradual over time.  Unfortunately, with gradual hair loss it has probably been happening longer than you thought, as it takes time to notice, which is why it is so important to seek treatment once you feel you are experiencing hair loss.

As we noted above, male hair loss is fairly consistent, but there was pretty big variation in how the respondents described their hair loss.  The percentages below do not equal 100% as respondents were asked to select all that applied.  Below is what patients felt they were experiencing, from most common to least common:

Lastly, 63% of the survey respondents had never received a diagnosis for their hair loss, while 37% had.  If you think you are experiencing hair loss, it is so important to get a diagnosis from a practice that is trained in evaluating and treating female hair loss.  If you have received a diagnosis from a dermatologist or primary care physician, make sure you meet with a hair loss specialist who can get you started on a treatment plan right away.  Most important, if you think you are seeing any signs of hair loss, know you are not alone and there are great treatment options available.

Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team

Gender Inequalities in the Treatment of Hair Loss

Before Women’s History Month comes to a close, I wanted to touch on a subject that hits really close to home, both professionally and personally; the gender inequalities in healthcare and how these have impacted the treatment of hair loss in women.  As a primary care physician for thirty years, I saw firsthand how these inequalities impacted my patients, especially as women are more likely to forego healthcare services due to cost while at the same time often having to pay higher insurance premiums.

When we discuss gender inequalities in healthcare today, the discussion often revolves around access to healthcare, and that is certainly an important part of the discussion.  However, one of the biggest issues is that for centuries, medical research was primarily conducted by male doctors and scientists on only male patients.  The assumption was made that the results of these studies would be the same for females as males.  Unfortunately, this meant that women were not receiving the same level of care, as the medical community did not fully understand what women were experiencing.  This too is the history of the treatment of hair loss in women.

For far too long, female hair loss has been an afterthought for most medical practitioners, because its causes were not understood well enough, its impact was not understood well enough, and there were not great treatment options available.  Female hair loss can be very complex to diagnose, as there are many potential causes and often multiple factors aggravating the condition.  Due to the types of hair loss that women experience, they tend to respond best to medical treatments that focus on treating the causes and not masking the symptoms.  For a long time, the only hair restoration option was a hair transplant, which work well for most men, but women are not always great candidates.  The reason we, at Medi Tresse, offer hour-long consultations is because it takes that long to properly evaluate, diagnose, and create a customized treatment plan that addresses the needs of that specific patient.  Unfortunately, this understanding of how to properly treat hair loss in women is still relatively new and many medical professionals still do not understand what it takes to properly treat or how difficult the experience can be for women.  Hair loss has often been brushed aside as a cosmetic issue, but we at Medi Tresse understand the emotional toll that often comes with experiencing hair loss as a woman.

Thankfully, over the past 15 years we have seen progress as great treatment options have become available and more women are now seeking help.  According to the International Society of the Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS), in 2005 women made up only 28% of the patients seeking non-surgical treatments, but in 2019 that increased to 40%.  As one of the leading medical professionals in our industry, we understand that it is our responsibility to help normalize women's hair loss through education and creating a caring and supportive community for women.  We still have a ways to go, and we hope to see even more progress over the next 15 years.

 Posted by Dr. Mary Wendel

Our Diets and Our Hair

If you attended our webinar last week, “How Our Nutrition Impacts Our Hair”, you know how strongly I believe that a healthy diet can play an important role in the health of our hair.  In this blog, I want to look at not just the vitamins and nutrients needed for healthy hair, but the overall types of diets.

The hair follicle is an extremely complex structure and made up of some of the most metabolically active cells in the body.  Due to the complexity of the follicle and the fact it is made up of metabolically active cells, the hair follicle requires proper nutrition to function properly and grow healthy hair.  The problem is that many of the nutrients that the hair follicle needs to be healthiest, vital organs of our body also need, so when we are deficient in these vitamins and nutrients, the body diverts them to places it feels are more important for survival, and our hair suffers.

One of the biggest issues with the diets that most Americans consume, not only are they deficient in key vitamins and nutrients needed for hair health, the foods are also highly processed, high in sugar, and high in fat.  While we know that these foods are not healthy, these foods are now known to be pro-inflammatory, which means they are activating our immune system to respond.  Normally our immune system gets activated when it recognizes foreign substances like bacteria, viruses, chemicals, plant pollen, and then acts to neutralize them and protects us from harm.  This is a good thing.  However, if inflammation is chronic, it can lead to or aggravate disease.  Alopecia Areata and Scarring Alopecia are two types of hair loss that are caused by immune disorders.  Inflammation has also been noted on biopsy in the early stages of Androgenic Alopecia (Female Pattern Hair Loss).

This does not mean that eating junk food will automatically cause hair loss, but it is important to understand that unhealthy diets can impact our bodies in ways we may not realize.  Research has repeatedly shown the negative impacts of a pro-inflammation diet and the positive impacts of anti-inflammatory diet.  What is great about anti-inflammatory diets, is that when followed these diets also include many of the vitamins and nutrients that are important for hair health.  Some of the best anti-inflammatory foods are:

The anti-inflammatory diet is very similar to the Mediterranean diet, which is consistently found to be the healthiest diet recommended by physicians.  The focus is on limiting processed foods and red meats and making fruits and vegetables the foundation of your diet.

Lastly, it is important to remember, when it comes to hair health, it is important to be on a hair health supplement.  The truth is that even when following a healthy anti-inflammatory diet, most people do not get enough of each of the necessary vitamins and nutrients needed that are key for the health of our hair.  I strongly recommend that all of my patients get utilize a good hair loss supplement, like our Tresse Rx line.

Posted by Dr. Mary Wendel

How Blood Tests Can Play a Role in Diagnosing the Cause of Your Hair Loss

The ultimate goal of our medical consultation is to determine the cause of your hair loss.  Starting treatment without knowing the cause is really not helpful, and often is costly both in time and money. There are many types of hair loss that women can experience, and each of these types can have several different causes.  During the physical exam of your scalp and hair, we will closely examine your hair follicles using a highly magnified camera called a trichoscope, which will allow us to look for signs like miniaturization of the hair follicles, inflammation, or other specific features of the follicle that are not visible to the naked eye.  While the physical examination is a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to diagnosing the cause of hair loss, it is only one piece of the puzzle.   We still need to review the patient’s medical and hair loss history, and for some patients we may also ask for specific blood tests to be done.  While some women have had blood tests completed in the past, we only consider it relevant if it has been completed within the previous 12 months.

So, when does blood work play a role in the evaluation?

Patients Suspected of Telogen Effluvium

According to the American Hair Loss Association, Telogen Effluvium (TE) is the second most common form of hair loss. It presents as excessive shedding which seems to occur very suddenly and can be very mild or aggressive.   While Telogen Effluvium is common, the good news is that it is usually reversible and complete regrowth usually occurs in about a year. However, it is extremely important to do a thorough evaluation for this problem to determine the cause.   Treating Telogen Effluvium is really a two-step process.  The first step is determining what is causing the “shock” to your hair.  It is possible there was a singular traumatic event like surgery or an infection.  However, one of the most common causes of TE is a nutritional deficiency, like iron, Vitamin D, or the B vitamins like B12 or Folate.  When we suspect that a patient is experiencing a Telogen Effluvium, we usually recommend blood work so that we can evaluate those results for potential causes.

Patients Under 45

Another common cause of hair loss in women is hormonal imbalances.  The most common cause of hair loss in women is Androgenic Alopecia.  We know that this is a genetic problem that is primarily driven mostly by testosterone in men and women, but we also know in women, any imbalance of the female hormones, estrogen, and progesterone, can accelerate hair loss.  Just prior to menopause, as hormones change, we often see worsening loss.  Therefore, in these cases it is very important to check testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone levels.   And in women who are experiencing hair loss at a very young age, hormone levels are particularly important to evaluate.

Post-Menopausal Women

Usually once a woman passes through menopause, there can be a stabilization of hormones and evaluation of these levels is not necessary.   However, if a woman is on HRT or hormone replacement therapy, it becomes essential to know if the hormone levels are in balance for good hair growth, and blood testing is essential.

History of thyroid disease

Both hypothyroid and hyperthyroid diseases can cause hair loss.  When a woman has a history of thyroid disease in herself or other family members, we always check blood tests.  Once again, all hormones need to be in proper balance to create healthy, strong hair.

Treating female hair thinning or loss without knowing the cause will often lead to poor results, frustrating both the patient and the practitioner.  Often, the only way to know the entire story is to check blood tests.  If you are experiencing hair loss make sure to see a hair loss specialist that can complete a full evaluation and determine if blood work would be beneficial for you.

Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team

Ingredient Highlight – Ashwagandha Root

If you watched our webinar “What is the Right Supplement for Me?” on January 27th, it can be found on our website here for those who missed it, you would have heard us talk about a number of important ingredients that you should look for in a hair loss supplement.  One ingredient that we discussed that many patients may not be as familiar with is Ashwagandha Root.  When thinking of important ingredients for hair loss supplements, Ashwagandha Root may not come to mind for most people, but it is actually quite important.

Ashwagandha is a small shrub that grows in India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa.  It is an ancient medicinal herb that has been used for over 3,000 years[i].  Specifically, extracts of the plant’s root have been used to treat a variety of medical problems.  Ashwagandha Root is known as an adaptogen, which means that it can help reduce stress in the body. In 2012, a double blind study was conducted over a 60 day period and found that the treatment group had a significant reduction in scores on the stress assessment scales compared to the placebo group[ii].

So why is this important? Hair loss in women is typically a multifactorial condition, meaning it has more than one cause.  One of the biggest contributing factors is stress.  When stress levels are consistently high or you have an extremely stressful event, this can cause a shock to your system. In terms of your hair, this can actually cause an unusually high number of hairs to move to the telogen phase, which is also known as the resting phase and no more growth occurs.  This is what causes increased shedding.  Supplements that contain Ashwagandha Root have been known to help combat stress, which gives you a better chance for healthier hair.  Ashwagandha Root can be found in the Tresse Fortifier supplement, which is part of the TresseRx supplement plan.

Before starting any hair loss supplement, we recommend meeting with a hair loss specialist and medical practitioner that can ensure that it is the right supplement for you.

Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team

[i] Mirjalili MH, Moyano E, Bonfill M, Cusido RM, Palazón J. Steroidal lactones from Withania somnifera, an ancient plant for novel medicine. Molecules. 2009 Jul 3;14(7):2373-93. doi: 10.3390/molecules14072373. PMID: 19633611; PMCID: PMC6255378.

[ii] Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012 Jul;34(3):255-62. doi: 10.4103/0253-7176.106022. PMID: 23439798; PMCID: PMC3573577.

Argan Oil for Hair Health

Unfortunately, many of the popular hair styling techniques are actually detrimental to our hair.  The problem is that many people want something they don’t have and utilize styling techniques that damage the hair.  Over styling, and especially techniques that use excessive heat, can actually dry out and damage the outer hair cuticle, so it is important to add that moisture back.  Leave in conditioners, masks, and oils can help to condition and moisturize the hair strand.  We especially recommend those products with oils like argan, avocado, coconut, which help offset the dryness and help keep hair shiny.

Today we are going to look further into argan oil, which has become an increasingly popular product for hair health.  Argan oil is made from the fruit of the argan tree in Morocco. Argan oil has been found to be beneficial for both the hair and the scalp.  Rich in fatty acids, argan oil is also known to lubricate and add moisture back into the hair.  Argan oil is also rich in Vitamin E, which has been known to help prevent dryness in both the scalp and hair.

At Medi Tresse, we recently started offering a Hydrating Serum that is enriched with Moroccan argan oil.  This fast-absorbing, deep-penetrating serum helps to moisturize the hair and scalp, while also providing luxurious shine and silky-smooth texture.  Used daily, this hydrating serum is safe for colored, straightened, and chemically treated hair.

Whether you add our Hydrating Serum or another argan oil product, we would strongly recommend argan oil for any hair care regiment to help provide healthier more rejuvenated hair.

Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team

Hair Rejuvenation New Year’s Resolutions For 2021

Happy New Year’s and on to 2021! With the challenges that were presented to us this past year, I think we all get a pass for not keeping our 2020 New Year’s resolutions.  While the difficulties of this pandemic are not over, as the calendar flips to 2021, it does so with a great sense of hope for all of us.  With that, we wanted to offer everyone, regardless of where you are on your hair rejuvenation journey, a New Year’s resolution for the health of your hair.

Get on a hair loss supplement. 

If we learned anything in 2020 about hair loss, it is how much stress and external factors affect our hair.  Due to the increased stress of 2020, not only did we see an increase in complaints in excessive shedding from our patients, but there was significant news coverage related to this topic as this was seen everywhere.  A good hair loss supplement routine not only makes your hair healthier but can help minimize the impact when these stressful events occur.

If your last appointment with us was prior to this pandemic, schedule a follow up. 

The pandemic has now been going on for over 10 months.  It is recommended that you be seen every 6 to 12 months, just like going to the dentist.  As we have seen, a lot can change during that time and it is so important to follow up so that we can track your progress and make sure that no adjustments are needed to your treatment plan.  While we have significant safety protocols in place for the safety of our staff and patients, we know not everyone is comfortable coming in for an appointment right now.  In that case, we really recommend a video appointment so that we can at least check in and see how things are going.

If your treatment was interrupted or you stopped treatment, get back on that treatment plan.

As our lives were interrupted and put-on pause for various reasons during the pandemic, many patients had their treatment interrupted or stopped following their treatment plan.  It is important to remember that it is never to late to restart your treatments.  Whether you are overdue for an Optimal Platelet Concentration Therapy Booster or stopped using your laser cap, now is the time to get back on track.  If you have had any changes in your medical history (i.e., new medications) certainly let us know so that we can make sure that the treatment plan is still appropriate for you.

If you are currently following your treatment plan, keep at it!

If you started a treatment this past year or have been treating your hair loss for a while, keep at it! I am sure there have been some ups and downs, but you are doing all the right things, and being consistent with your treatments will give you the best chance for a successful outcome.  I know we all want immediate results, but it can sometimes take up to 12 months to see results so do not get discouraged and do not stop your treatments.

If you have never been seen by a hair loss specialist, schedule a consultation.

We cannot stress enough how important it is to be seen by a hair loss specialist as soon as you notice signs of hair loss.  The most common forms of hair loss are progressive, which means that without proper treatment the hair loss will continue.  It is important to remember that this does not mean you will go bald like men do, as women lose their hair differently than men.  It just means that the hair loss will get worse without treatment.  Female hair loss is quite complex with a variety of causes and it really takes a specialist to be able to diagnose the cause and determine an appropriate treatment plan.

Wherever you are on your hair rejuvenation journey, just know that the team at Medi Tresse is here to support you and help you keep your hair health New Year’s resolution.  Do not hesitate to reach out to our offices and have a safe and healthy 2021.

Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team

The Importance of A Virtual Consultation

We have heard from some patients about whether doing a virtual telehealth consultation is worth doing.  While our offices’ safety protocols meet, and in many instances exceed, all local and federal safety regulations, we understand that everyone’s comfort level is a little different at this point in time.  We also know that due to travel restrictions in different states, coming into the office is not an option for all patients.  With that said, for patients that are unable to or do not feel comfortable coming in for an in-office consultation, we would strongly recommend a virtual telehealth consultation for the following reasons.

Most types of hair loss are progressive and will continue to get worse without treatment.

First and foremost, many types of hair loss, including androgenic alopecia (Female Pattern Hair Loss), which is the most common type of hair loss are progressive.  That means that the hair loss will continue to get worse without proper evaluation and treatment.

Preventing hair loss is easier than re-growing what was lost.

Although we see many women who have already experienced quite a bit of loss and have successfully treated them, the importance of treating hair loss early is key.  It’s true that once the scalp is visible, up to 50% of your hair density has already been lost. As more and more hairs become “affected” they eventually go into hibernation, so to speak. In this dormant state, it is more difficult to fully restore a hair. The key is to start treatments early (before a significant amount of loss has already occurred) and nip hair loss in the bud.

A lot can be accomplished in a virtual telehealth consultation.

Back in the Spring when we started offering virtual consultations, our staff was honestly hesitant about them.  There was concern that we would miss something in our evaluation of the patient, however, we quickly realized that we are able to do a very thorough evaluation and get patients started on some sort of treatment that they would otherwise be holding off.  When these patients came in later for in-person follow-ups, we were very happy that they were able to effectively start treatments many months earlier than if they had not done the virtual visit.

There are many great at-home treatment options now available.

Thankfully, at home treatment options have come a long way and there are many clinically proven options that patients can start in the comfort of their home.  From low level laser therapy (LLLT) to supplements to topical micro-needling with growth factors, our staff will be able to customize an effective home treatment plan that you will be able to start immediately.  While many patients do take advantage of our in-office treatments, many of our patients only utilize at home treatments and with great success.

We understand that this has been a difficult year that has only gotten more difficult.  We also know that there are many things we have had to put off, but treating your hair loss does not need to be one of them.

If you are interested in scheduling an in-person or virtual consultation do not hesitate to reach out to our office today.