We receive a lot of questions from patients about shampoos and there is one in particular that comes up often, ketoconazole shampoo. It is important to understand that most shampoos are not going to significantly regrow hair, regardless of what they advertise. Many of these products will have ingredients that are known to help with hair loss, like DHT blockers or proteins, but it is not known how much of this is really absorbed in scalp. This does not mean that there is no benefit to these shampoos. While they will most likely not regrow hair, there is the potential to get healthier hair, less dry hair, or even increased volume. In terms of what should be in the shampoo, ones that have panthenol and proteins can make hair appear thicker. Some shampoos have dihydrotestosterone (DHT) blockers in them, which brings us to ketoconazole shampoo.
Ketoconazole shampoo is a potent DHT blocker and is sold under the brand Nizoral. Excessive DHT has been found to be one the causes of androgenic alopecia. It is important to note, that you would not want to use ketoconazole shampoo every day, and most people would only use it once or twice a week. Ketoconazole shampoos come in two strengths, over the counter, which is 1% strength and prescription, which is 2%. When would we recommend these types of shampoos? The over the counter Nizoral can be a good option for anyone with androgenic alopecia, also known as Female Pattern Hair Loss. It is believed that ketoconazole shampoos may also have anti-inflammatory benefit, which could possibly help with other types of hair loss. The over the counter strength can also be used for patients with a dry scalp or dandruff. We often prescribe the 2% strength ketoconazole shampoo to patients experiencing severe dryness or seborrheic dermatitis. Ketoconazole shampoos have been known to dry out hair, so it is really important to use a good conditioner with it.
In short, ketoconazole shampoo with an added conditioner once or twice a week is a good choice for any woman with known androgenic alopecia. As always if you have any questions, we recommend consulting with a female hair loss specialist.
Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team
The content contained herein is for education only and should not be considered medical advice. Medical advice may only be given through a one-on-one, private consultation with an appropriate licensed medical provider.
How Often Should I Wash My Hair?
One question that we often receive from patients is what is the proper number of times a week to wash your hair? Before we can answer that question, we need to look at the concern patients have with over washing. The biggest concern patients tend to have is that they feel they are losing excessive amounts of hair when they are washing their hair. The truth is that hair loss is not caused by washing our hair. It is important to understand that the less frequently you wash your hair the greater the appearance of an increase in shedding. This occurs, because the hairs you normally shed are becoming dislodged all at once, rather than in smaller amounts at multiple times.
Unfortunately, there is no magic number of times a week someone should wash their hair, as different hair types require different types of maintenance. However, if you over wash your hair you can strip your hair of the natural oils and it can become more dry and brittle, but if you under-wash your hair you can get a buildup of these natural oils, dirt, and skin cells that can affect the health of your follicle. A general rule of thumb is that you should be washing your hair two to three times per week, but again this is a balance and it depends on your hair type and how you are trying to style your hair. What is most important to remember is that washing your hair is not causing your hair loss!
Recent News Stories About Hair Care Products Causing Hair Loss
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
Can 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?
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