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When Lisa shifted from the U.S.
to Dubai, she says her hair began
thinning and falling out gradually. She
narrates, “At first it was just a little bit
of hair in my hairbrush; I never paid
much attention to it. Then suddenly it
was apparent that my hair was falling
so fast that my scalp was beginning to
show. I panicked and began googling
ways to make it stop. I used coconut
oil, olive oil, hair masks, and even tried
homeopathy but nothing is working!
What do I do to stop this hair fall?”
What seems to be a very common
problem in many women, hair loss is a
very sensitive topic and one that seems
to render advice from everyone and
anyone. Yet according to hair expert
Michael Ryan, at Vivandi Hair Spa in
Dubai, there are some very real health
related reasons why our hair sheds.
“Female hair loss is not normal; if you
notice a shedding, thinning, or reduced
volume; this needs to be checked,” he
asserts and in fact, hair fall can often be
an indication of an underlying medical
What It Looks Like
Ryan explains that he most commonly
sees patients with a diffuse shedding,
known as Telogen Effluvium, whereby
the hair loses density and weight.
“Most women complain that their pony
tails are reduced by 50 percent,” he
says. “Hair fall is very common in this
region but there are many contributing
factors which include diet, low
vitamin D, and stress; which all play
their part.” And while many believe
this is a problem that affects older
women, Ryan corrects this myth and
explains that he starts to see females
shedding their hair from around 18 to
22 years but it can be earlier, there is
no definitive age. “It crosses all ethnic
groups; however vegetarians are one
of the most common groups as well as
women who are completely covered
and not exposed to the sun,” he says.
One reason, tells Ryan, for hair fall, is
having a hypothyroid or low thyroid
or hyperthyroid or high thyroid--and
both are a common cause of hair loss.
However the good news is that you
can have thyroid levels tested by your
doctor through a routine blood test,
and he/she will be able to ascertain
whether or not the readings are within
normal range. However, Ryan explains
that it’s important to be aware that
when it comes to hair, readings within
the ‘low-normal’ and ‘high-normal’
range can also cause hair problems.
“The levels acceptable to keep your
vital tissues working adequately are
not the same as the levels needed to
sustain optimum follicle function,”
he points out. This also applies to
ferritin, iron and B12 levels, to name
a few. If you find you have hyper or
hypothyroid, Ryan asserts that your GP
can prescribe medication to correct it,
and this will help with your hair fall
as well as any other symptoms you are
Birth Control Pills
Certain birth control pills, adds Ryan,
have an effect on androgens (male
hormones) and can cause hair fall if
your follicles are sensitive to them and
you have a genetic pre-disposition.
“These include pills containing
Norethisterone, Levonorgestrel,
Gestodene and Ethynodiol Diacetate;
one of the most popular brands
being Microgynon,” he says. “If you
experience hair fall from a certain
birth control pill, it’s easy to remedy
by changing to a ‘less androgenic
one.” However it goes without saying
that you need to discuss your choice
of contraception with your doctor or
While most women experience lush
and shiny hair during pregnancy, the
bad news is that immediately after
delivery; the hair seems to go into
overdrive and begins shedding faster
than even before. Ryan says that while
most women’s hair falls out less during
pregnancy due to increased circulating
estrogen, around fifty percent
experience post-partum hair fall.
“This hair loss occurs approximately
two to three months after giving birth
and is simply due to hormone levels
returning to ‘normal’,” he says, but it
is paramount to bear in mind that in
most cases, the excess hair that falls
out post-pregnancy is just the hair
that was retained in the follicle during
pregnancy. “Most post-partum hair fall
resolves itself on its own, but eating a
healthy balanced diet can also help,”
he says.
Low Ferritin
One of the most common causes of
hair loss in women is low ferritin levels,
says Ryan, despite the case when red
blood cell levels are normal. Ferritin,
he explains, is a stored iron that helps
July/Aug 2014