Hair mainly consists of hair follicles that consist of protein. The mean number of hair follicles is about 100,000. The main factors determining the number, color and thickness of the hair follicles are hormones and the genetic structure. However, sun rays, environmental pollution, smoking, diet and lifestyle also affect the structure of the hair. The average lifespan of our hair, which grows about 1-1.5 cm per month, is 2-5 years. The hair strand completes its physiological life cycle at the end of this period and is lost. The loss of up to 100 strands of hair per day can be considered normal.
Why do we lose our hair?
Hair loss is a common problem in both males and females and affects the quality of life negatively. Each hair strand is lost at the end of its development. However, the loss of more than 100-150 strands of hair per day should be investigated. Hair loss is not in fact a disease! It is a sign of an underlying disease or the genetic structure. The cause of hair loss is determined with a detailed history, physical examination, various laboratory tests and interventional diagnostic methods. Hair loss generally develops due to male type genetic loss (Androgenic-androgenetic alopecia), reactive hair loss (Telogen effluvium), skin disease, hair disease, immune system disease, infections, hormonal causes, physical or chemical factors, congenital diseases, and tumors. The most common causes of hair loss in the clinic are “Androgenic (androgenetic) alopecia” (also called male type hair loss) and reactive hair loss.
This is the genetic hair loss caused by the androgenous hormones. It is the most common cause of hair loss in both men and women. The hereditary tendency can be inherited from the mother or father. It can start in the second, third or fourth decades of life. The hair gets thinner and the hair density decreases. The condition is called female type hair loss in females. Baldness may develop, especially in males. About 50% of females and 80% of males are faced with such hair loss in some part of their lives. The rate increases in females after the menopause.
Figure 1. Androgenic Alopecia in the Male and Female
Reactive hair loss (Telogen effluvium)
Reactive hair loss is the most common cause of hair loss after androgenic alopecia. It often causes widespread hair loss of sudden onset. It can be caused by febrile diseases, severe infections, major surgery, trauma, chronic diseases, hormonal changes such as pregnancy and birth, goiter, fast weight loss diets, emaciation, low protein intake, chronic iron deficiency, various drugs, various skin diseases, and stress.
Figure 2. Telogen effluvium
Hair loss treatment should be directed at the cause. Minoxidil and Finasteride are approved by the FDA for androgenic alopecia. However, regular use is required and they can cause various side-effects. Hair transplantation is currently the most effective treatment option for androgenic alopecia. However, it is not preferred by all patients as it is a surgical procedure, a social isolation period may be required after the surgery, and it is expensive. PRP and mesotherapy are used individually or in combination for androgenic alopecia. This is discussed in detail in the PRP and mesotherapy sections. The underlying hormonal problem should be treated in alopecia developing due to hormonal disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome or goiter and the necessary hormones should be provided. Supportive treatment is also important in alopecia.
Supportive treatment in hair loss
The treatment process and options vary according to the cause of hair loss. However, an important fact is that our hair receives its nutrients from the inside. Hair is the fastest growing tissue after bone marrow. It therefore needs proteins, vitamins and minerals for this rapid growth. Hair loss develops and/or the existing hair loss is increased if these factors are lacking. The relevant factors include iron, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin B complex (B2-B5-B6-B9 (Folic acid)), biotin (vitamin H/B7), vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E and essential oil acids. A decrease in hair loss will be observed when these vitamins are taken at adequate daily doses.
- Iron is a very important mineral that plays a role in many metabolic events and especially in the oxygenation of blood cells. It plays an active role in healthy growth of hair. Iron deficiency anemia is common in women due to menstrual bleeding or inadequate dietary intake. Blood and stored iron (ferritin) levels must be investigated when hair loss is reported.
- The main nutrients containing iron are pulses, dried beans, peas, raisins, prunes, apricots, broccoli, spinach, cabbage, asparagus, egg yolk, liver, lean red meat and poultry.
- The recommended daily amount is 10 mg for males and 15-18 mg for females.
- Zinc is a mineral found in the structure of many enzymes in our body.
- It supports keratin synthesis.
- The main nutrients containing zinc are meat, poultry, egg yolk, pulses, milk and dairy products, and whole grains.
- The recommended daily amount is 15 mg for males and 12 mg for females.
- Vitamin A is an important antioxidant that improves scalp problems and makes the hair shine.
- It protects the hair against free radicals.
- It can cause hair loss in high doses.
- The main nutrients containing vitamin A are carrots, potatoes, broccoli, spinach, cabbage and liver.
- The recommended daily amount is 1000 mcg for males and 800 mcg for females.
VITAMIN B COMPLEX
- B complex vitamins are generally useful for the hair and skin.
- They support healthy hair growth.
- The main nutrients containing vitamin B complex are meat, seafood, egg, milk and dairy products.
- The recommended daily amounts are as follows:
|Vitamin (B1)||Males: 1.2 mg, Females: 1 mg|
|Riboflavin (B2)||Males: 1.3 mg, Females: 1.1 mg|
|Niacin (B3)||Males: 16 mg, Females: 14 mg|
|Pantothenic Acid (B5)||4-7 mg|
|Pyridoxine (B6)||1.5 mg|
|Folic Acid (B9)||400 mcg|
BIOTIN (VITAMIN H / B7):
- This vitamin is very important for healthy hair and nails.
- Biotin deficiency is more common in people consuming raw eggs.
- The main nutrients containing vitamin B complex are poultry, seafood, eggs, liver, kidney, milk and dairy products.
- The recommended daily amount is 20-30 mcg
- It plays a role in many important metabolic processes such as red blood cell production.
- The main nutrients containing vitamin B12 are meat, seafood, eggs, milk and dairy products.
- The recommended daily amount is 2 mcg
VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID):
- Vitamin C is the most important antioxidant vitamin that protects hair against free radicals.
- It increases blood flow to the body, including the scalp.
- Vitamin C needs to be received from the outside as it is not produced in the body.
- It is important in collagen synthesis and cross-binding of keratin fibers.
- The main nutrients containing Vitamin C are apples, green pepper, citrus fruits, broccoli and kiwi.
- The recommended daily amount is 90 mg for males and 75 mg for females.
- This is another antioxidant vitamin that helps hair follicle repair by increasing the blood flow to the scalp.
- It is effective in both growing hair faster and preventing breaks.
- It increases blood flow in the body including the scalp.
- The main nutrients containing vitamin E are sunflower and saffron oil, almond, hazelnut and avocado.
- The recommended daily amount is 10 mg for males and 8 mg for females.
- Beer yeast is a source of nutrients of high quality because it contains a lot of B vitamins, minerals and proteins.
- Keratin makes up 80% of the hair and contains high levels of sulfur. Beer yeast is rich in sulfur-containing amino acids. It therefore supports keratin synthesis.
- Beer yeast has appetizing and energy-boosting characteristics and helps lower bad cholesterol.
- B9, also known as folic acid, is very useful for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
- Beer yeast activates the secretion glands with the various vitamins and minerals it contains and thus provides vitality to the body, supports the blood circulation, and is useful for the heart.
- The recommended daily amount is 6 gr.