Hair loss: Expert's tips for 'boosting' new hair growth – act ‘sooner rather than later’

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One expert spoke with Express.co.uk about how hair loss has become a “growing concern” among all sexes. Stuart Gale, chief pharmacist of Oxford Online Pharmacy, explained: “We’re hearing growing concerns about hair loss from both men and women at our pharmacies – this has resulted in a 22 percent increase in hair loss prescriptions over the past 12 months. Normally the most common reason for hair loss in men is male androgenetic alopecia (MAA) – more commonly known as male-pattern baldness.

“MAA is normally a more progressive hair loss condition with thinning of hair from the temples and crown in a characteristic pattern.

“According to NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, male pattern baldness affects up to 80 percent of men during their lifetime.”

It comes as an analysis of 2.4 million patients in the UK found that 79 percent reported cases of post-Covid hair loss as early as last summer.

Mr Gale added: “Whatever the cause, our advice is always that it’s better to treat hair loss sooner rather than later to get the best results and while some types of hair loss will naturally repair itself, this happens faster with a helping hand.”

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He shared his top tips for “boosting” hair growth.

Supplements

“Many people forget that vitamins have an important role in reducing hair loss,” he said.

“Iron, vitamin D, zinc and B vitamins all have an important role to play in hair growth, particularly in conditions such as telogen effluvium (temporary hair loss from stress or a life event) and alopecia areata (an autoimmune disorder that cause spot baldness).

“While you can get these nutrients from a healthy diet, with busy lifestyles we can sometimes fall short on sufficient supplies from what we eat, so some supplementation can make sure that you don’t fall short on any days.

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Stress reduction

“Losing hair from stress is commonly reported,” he said.

“Hair moves through three phases, a growth phase (anagen) lasting three to six years, a transitional phase (catagen) lasting two to four weeks and a resting phase (telogen) lasting two to four months, after which the hair is shed.

“All the hairs on our heads are at different stages of this cycle, so that only 10 per cent would be at telogen at one time.

“A stressful event can move many hairs into the telogen phase all at once, which leads to significant shedding of hair two-four months later – telogen effluvium.

“Using healthy techniques to help manage stress could help to reduce hair loss impact such as meditation, journaling (which can help when you feel your mind is overrun with thoughts and jotting some of them down) and exercise.”

Hair loss treatments

Mr Gale added: “There are two products licensed for the treatment and prevention of hair loss in the UK – minoxidil and finasteride. Minoxidil – a topical solution of two percent or five percent, is thought to work by increasing the anagen (growth) phase of hair.

“This may need to be applied twice daily for at least three to four months before the effects are realised – continued application will be needed to maintain hair growth, or newly grown hair may shed within a few months.

“Suitable for men only, finasteride is taken as a tablet and blocks the effect of testosterone on hair follicles in men with MAA, which contributes to shortening of hairs and thinning from the crown and temples.”



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