Can Melatonin Help with Hair Loss?

When people think of melatonin, they often think of it as a sleep aid, but some studies have shown that it could potentially be beneficial for the treatment of hair loss.  So what is melatonin? Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced in the body and regulates the sleep cycle.  Melatonin levels typically increase at night, which is why some patients that suffer from insomnia take melatonin orally to help elevate their levels and hopefully sleep better.  However, some studies have shown that when used topically, melatonin can actually help treat hair loss.

In 2012, an article in the International Journal of Trichology reviewed 5 clinical studies on the use of topical melatonin for the treatment of androgenic alopecia, also known as male or female pattern hair loss, on both men and women.   The studies were quite favorable as they showed a decrease in the severity of hair loss, especially with women, an increase in density, and an increase in negative hair-pull tests (a test used to determine active shedding).  It is important to note that patients in these studies showed good tolerability of the treatment with minimal side effects. [i]  It is believed that using melatonin topically works in the treatment of hair loss, because it is a powerful anti-oxidant and hair appears to be impacted by oxidative stress, specifically premature loss.  Cells within the skin and the hair follicles also have melatonin receptors, which leads us to believe that melatonin plays a role in the hair life cycle.

Even with the positive studies, topical melatonin has not caught on in the US as a treatment for hair loss.  Minoxidil has become the sole recommendation for most providers, as it is the only FDA approved topical treatment for hair loss.  However, minoxidil can be quite irritating for some patients.  At Medi Tresse we have been reviewing topical melatonin products currently on the market to see if there are any that meet our strict evidence based requirements so that we can find an option for patients that found minoxidil irritating or may be looking for a more natural option than minoxidil.  We will certainly keep you updated, but we are excited at the prospect of being able to offer another great treatment option to our patients.

Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team

[i] Fischer, Tobias W et al. “Topical melatonin for treatment of androgenetic alopecia.” International journal of trichology vol. 4,4 (2012): 236-45. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.111199

Best Chance for Successful Hair Loss Treatment

One question we often get from our patients is “what can I do to give myself the best chance at success with my treatment?” This is an important question, because there are a lot of factors that can affect the results of your hair loss treatment.  Unfortunately, medicine is not a perfect science, which means that treatment results can vary, however there are steps you can take to put yourself in the best position to have a successful result.

The first step is seeing a medically trained hair loss specialist.  Not all hair loss treatments are appropriate for each type of hair loss, and a medically trained hair loss specialist should be able to diagnose the cause of your hair loss and determine the best treatments for your specific types of hair loss.  For example, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy is a great treatment for patients with female pattern hair loss, but if the patient has scarring alopecia, the patient will probably not get the desired result.  A medically trained hair loss specialist can ensure that you are truly a candidate for your desired treatment.

The next step is to closely follow any treatment instructions provided by the practice.  This could be in the form of pre and post treatment instructions, for example for Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy there are some medications you should avoid in the days leading up to and the days after your treatment.  This could also be the user instructions provided for a laser cap, which outline the cadence for how often to use the device.

Lastly, you need to realize that any lifestyle, diet, or medical changes that can affect hair health can also affect your treatment results.  While this sounds broad, patients need to understand that a major diet change, life stressor, or change in medicine could affect the body, and in turn your hair. We always tell our patients to try to change as few things as possible during their treatment.  Obviously, there are times you need to take a new medication, and it is important to make your hair loss specialist aware so that they can determine if that medication could be hair loss inducing, because maybe there is an alternative that has less effect on the hair.

Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy A Treatment Option for Alopecia Areata

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Although Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) was originally studied with the intent to treat Androgenic Alopecia, or Female and Male Pattern Hair loss, the research just keeps getting better and better!  There have been several very exciting studies showing that PRP is also useful to treat other kinds of Alopecia conditions, one of which is Alopecia Areata.

Alopecia Areata is considered to be an autoimmune reaction in the body that results in patchy loss of hair, typically on the head. At any time in life, most commonly starting in adulthood, a person with Alopecia Areata may start to see small circular areas of hair loss emerge. There may only be one area or several, but typically the area starts small and can become quite large in diameter.  In most cases, this is temporary and hair will begin to regrow and fill in. Unfortunately, the event typically re-occurs, and the person experiences the loss all over again, often in different areas then before.  It is also possible that hair will never grow back.

Up until recently, this type of hair loss was treated solely with steroids – both through injections into the area of loss in addition to topical creams.  Unfortunately, this still is not a cure and strong steroids are needed to illicit a positive response. Using these steroids long-term is never a favorable choice. Long-term use of steroids in the scalp can lead to thinning and weakening of the skin, as well as rebound irritation or skin reactions. Furthermore, because of the nature of the condition, most patients have to return multiple times a year to get more treatments.

Fortunately, with new advances in research involving PRP, we can now confidently offer PRP as a treatment alternative to steroids for Alopecia Areata!

This is similar to how we use PRP to treat Female Pattern Hair loss; by encouraging healing of injured follicle cells, we also use it to facilitate repair of cells affected by Alopecia Areata.  We recommend a series of 3 PRP treatments, however, in as little as a single treatment we can already see hair regrowth over the area(s) of loss much quicker than we would if steroids were used, without the long-term negative side effects! It is also thought that because this is a healing procedure, that PRP treatments can aid in decreasing the chances or number of re-occurrences of Alopecia Areata. It’s a win-win!!

Please, feel free to get in touch with us today to learn more about PRP and Alopecia Areata, or to schedule an appointment!

Posted by Lacey Sellati, RN, PA-C

LaserCap® Company Receives FDA Clearance for LCPRO™ as a Women’s Hair Loss Treatment Device

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At Medi Tresse, we take a lot of pride in being able to offer different types of female hair loss treatments to women throughout Boston and Wellesley. That's why we strive to give our patients as many options as possible. One of the best hair loss treatments available, and one we highly recommend, is Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT). LLLT is an extremely effective non-surgical hair regrowth treatment for women’s hair loss. LLLT not only thickens existing hairs, but also increases the number of hairs in the growth phase.  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. A 2014 randomized, double-blind (the gold standard of studies!) multicenter study published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology found that there was statistically significant improvement in hair density in the treatment group, and hair shafts were both more numerous as well as thicker in about 95% of the treatment group.  LLLT is beneficial in the treatment of Androgenic Alopecia (Female Pattern Hair Loss), Traction Alopecia, and Telogen Effluvium.

While there are a number of LLLT products available on the market today, we wanted to share some news about the LCPRO™ by the LaserCap® Campany. The LaserCap® Company recently announced that they received FDA 510(k) clearance for their LCPRO laser cap as an effective women’s hair loss treatment. The LCPRO is a great option for patients that are interested in utilizing the effects of LLLT.  The LCRPO is extremely easy to use, and it covers the entire scalp with even light distribution with 224 diodes. The recommended usage time of the LCPRO is between 10 to 30 minutes three times a week, however, since the device is hands free, it allows you to multi-task in the comfort of your own home while you are treating your hair.

If you are interested in finding out if the LCPRO™ would be an effective hair loss treatment for you set up a free consultation with our medical staff today.

Posted By The Medi Tresse Team

Recent News Stories About Hair Care Products Causing Hair Loss

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You may have heard one of the many stories in the news recently about claims being made that certain hair care products are causing hair loss. Many of these products are sold to consumers with the promise to achieve thicker, stronger and more beautiful hair. From these news stories it can be very difficult to know for sure if these products are actually the source of the hair loss. It is always possible that these products had some form of irritant in them that could cause hair loss. There is also the possibility that a number of consumers who purchased these products were already suffering from hair loss, and purchased them hoping to stop their loss, but over time their loss has just continued. Regardless of the cause of the hair loss, these types of news stories highlight some important questions that we should be asking ourselves, what is in our hair care products, and could our hair care products cause hair loss?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes it is possible that your hair care product could be a cause of hair loss. So how can you avoid this, and what do you do if this happens to you? The answer is to be savvy about hair care. If you start using something that creates a change in the way your scalp feels for the worse; such as tingling, burning, itching, redness, or general irritation STOP USING IT! Your body (or more specifically, your follicles!) are telling you that this is not the good kind of stimulation, and that it may even be harmful. Do not ignore these signs thinking things like “pain is beauty” or “if it tingles that means it’s working”. Although there is a lot of research out there supporting the use of products free of harsh sulfates and parabens, we also need to be more in tune with our bodies as well. Certainly shampoos and hair products that are lacking in these proven harmful ingredients will more than likely be better for your follicles, it doesn’t mean you need to drop your Pantene and switch to Castor Oil and Avocados. I personally love more natural products that are free of chemicals, harsh sulfates, and parabens, but I also promote products that are aimed to treat hair loss, that are scientifically proven by good ol’ fashion clinical research, such as our Tricomin Products for female hair loss treatment. These products are specifically designed to treat the follicle and encourage hair regrowth.

Overall, if you think you may be experiencing hair thinning or loss, whether due to a new hair product, treatment, or styling technique, it is important to do a little investigating to see if you can find a direct correlation or cause. When in doubt, it is always recommended to seek an expert’s opinion to help identify any potential causes for what’s going on with your hair.

If you are curious to find out ways to prevent and or treat hair thinning or hair loss, get in touch with us, or come see our female hair loss treatment specialists here at Medi Tresse. We are dedicated to helping you preserve and promote growth of strong, healthy hair!

Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team

Q&A with the Director of Clinical Services - Lacey Sellati, RN, PA-C

mother-daughter-700x463344aCan you tell us a little about yourself and your training?
Of course! So I am a Registered Nurse and a board-certified Physician Assistant. I graduated from Simmons School of Nursing and obtained my Masters in Physician Assistant Studies from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Prior to joining Medi Tresse, I was the former owner of Eden Spa, a beauty and wellness spa in Brookline, Massachusetts. Early on in my PA career I developed a passion for treating patients that were struggling with hair loss. During my training I held a clerkship with Brigham and Women’s Dermatology Alopecia Clinic, as well as received hair loss-specific medical training with one of the leading hair regrowth and restoration clinics in New England. Through those experiences I established a specific interest in treating women who were experiencing hair thinning and loss so it was only natural for me to become a member of the Medi Tresse team.

What is a PA and what do they do?
Actually, a lot of patient’s are not very familiar with the role of the Physician Assistant (PA)! PAs are similar to Nurse Practitioners (NPs) in that we are considered mid-level practitioners. Like an NP, a PA is a nationally board certified and state-licensed medical professional.

PAs practice medicine as a part of a healthcare team that includes physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals. Most PA training programs are approximately 3 years, have the same prerequisite courses as medical schools, and require students to have healthcare training and experience prior to attending.

In Massachusetts, a PA is able to be the primary care provider for patients and may be the sole practitioner a patient sees during their entire healthcare experience.

PAs meet with patients, conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat medical conditions, order and interpret labs or tests, develop treatment plans, counsel patients, perform minor surgical procedures, write prescriptions, and follow a patient throughout the entirety of their care.

A PA will collaborate with their supervising physician regularly in order to provide the best treatment regimen for patients.

What led you towards being a PA that treats women’s hair loss?
Well, over the course of my training to become a PA I have developed a passion for hair loss, specifically in women. On multiple occasions I had the pleasure of witnessing the incredible potential of today’s medical technology to restore a women’s confidence through hair restoration and regrowth. Early in my clinical year, I sought out opportunities to work with hair loss patients. From the initial patient consultation, I had an immediate affinity for this area of medicine. It was fascinating and inspiring to take part in such innovative practices involving treatments such as Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy. Also, I truly believe that medicine is about caring for people holistically. Creating a positive shift in a woman’s self perception by helping her feel more confident about her hair is a professional goal of mine.

What are your expectations for the future treatments for hair regrowth?
My hope is that there will be continued research towards finding new effective treatments to treat hair loss, in both men and women. Because there are often other reasons for which a women will experience hair loss that a man would not necessarily experience, I would hope there would be clinical advancements made towards studying women’s hair loss specifically.

Learning new hair loss treatments to stay on the cutting edge of surgical and non-surgical approaches is something that I am both excited by and dedicated to. Being a part of a leading hair loss practice puts me in a place where I will be able to apply new treatments if and when they become available. As with anything in medicine though, research takes time. However, there are new studies on the horizon; whether they involve a new medicine or a new procedure, so that is very encouraging!

Posted by your Medi Tresse Team

Is Styling Your Hair Causing Hair Loss?

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From washing to blow-drying to coloring, we devote a lot of our waking hours towards primping and preening our hair. Ever wonder how much time you spend styling your hair throughout the course of a year? According to a survey by beauty product retailer Fabriah.com, a woman spends an average of 10 days per year styling her hair! With all the styling we do to our hair, it is important to ask the question “How does styling affect the health of my hair?” Although coloring and other styling techniques seem to improve the aesthetic appeal of our hair, unfortunately over-styling can actually damage your hair and potentially lead to hair loss.

Many of the products we put in our hair for coloring or bleaching can dry out the hair or irritate the scalp. Excessive use of these products can be so irritating to the follicle and scalp that it can actually lead to hair loss! Using chemicals to straighten or curl can also be very damaging, as it dries out the hair leaving it brittle and prone to breakage. There have also been reports of scalp burns from the chemicals in perms and processing, which can lead to dramatic and sudden hair loss. Although this is often the result of improper color application or overly aggressive processing, it is important to have your hair done by a trained professional in order to minimize the risk of damaging your hair. Also, ask your stylist about the different product options they offer, and which options are most follicle friendly (we recommend always using ammonia-free or low-ammonia hair dyes and never bleach your hair!).

Unfortunately, it is not just the products we use that can cause damage to our hair. Many of the techniques we use to style our hair can also cause damage and hair loss. Extreme heat from the constant use of a flat iron or blow dryer can dry out the hair and lead to breakage. Ponytails, braids, extensions, and weaves put a lot of stress on the roots of the follicle and over time can lead to traction alopecia, a form of hair loss that is often times permanent.

This does not mean we should immediately stop styling our hair! The key is to use the right products, a professional stylist, and practice moderation with your styling techniques. Make sure you work with your stylist to select the most follicle friendly hair dyes. Ask them about the risks associated with using any product or styling technique. Lastly, if you are ever concerned about a product or hair styling technique causing hair loss, speak with a hair loss specialist that can guide you through best practices for styling your hair. Medi Tresse embodies your local Boston area hair loss specialist team.

Posted by Lacey Sellati, RN, PA-C