Cause of thinning hair, hair loss, and baldness

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ratchathorn revealed that, statistically, up to 40 percent of Thai people have thinning hair, hair loss, and baldness problems. The number is on the upward trends every year, with the current environment -; stress, weather conditions, and bad diet. Hair problems and baldness can occur in both females and males, but in the latter, the problem starts at a young age and the conditions are more severe than in females.The main causes of hair and scalp problems are as follows:

Genetics – Outstanding genes from the father or mother with thinning hair, or scalp problems; During puberty, the male hormone testosterone will stick to the hair follicles, causing both the follicles and the hair to become thinner, and fall off easily;

Environmental factors such as stress, sunlight, malnutrition, vitamin deficiency, etc., can also be the culprit. Nowadays, hereditary hair loss is increasingly found in younger people.

Currently, there are three popular treatments for genetic hair loss: Taking Finasteride medication to stop testosterone from sticking to the hair follicles and to slow down hair loss; applying Minoxidil topically and continuously to the scalp to plump up and thicken the hair, and hair transplant surgery by transplanting the hair from the denser area. This method is suitable for severe and advanced cases. The advantage of this method is that the hair will last a lifetime, and can be permed, dyed, and washed. People with hair transplants can engage in any sports activities with confidence.

Recently, low-level laser therapy - a new treatment that is effective with fast results became available. There are two types:

Laser cap or comb – the accessories that emit red laser light 'Low-level laser therapy (LLLT)' to gently stimulates hair follicle cells. Suitable for those who have thinning hair in the initial to moderate stage, this device is portable and can be used at home. Using this device continuously for 15 minutes a day will strengthen the hair and hair follicles, as well as generate new and thicker hair growth. However, patients should consult the doctor for directions on use, and device type.

Low-level laser adapted from the laser used for hair removal. It is a low-energy laser to stimulate the hair follicles all over the scalp.

"This low-level laser therapy is suitable for patients with an early stage of hair loss i.e. with mild to moderate symptoms, but not suitable for those in an advanced stage, or already have baldness.

Patients should undergo the therapy continuously at least 5 – 10 times, every two weeks. They will start to see the result after the 5th treatment. Clearer results can be seen after three months. Patients will have new growth of stronger hair," Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ratchathorn said.

This is the first research in Asia to confirm the efficacy of low-level laser therapy for genetic hair loss, making Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ratchathorn the first Thai female doctor to win the highest Platinum Follicle Award 2019 from the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) for her professional excellence and research on hair.

"Even though genetic hair loss cannot be cured, the current treatment can extend the hair's life and scalp health. Most important is to keep your body strong with a healthy diet especially protein, get enough sleep and avoid stress," Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ratchathorn concluded.

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