Archive for January, 2012
This is a guest post by the Hair Foundation’s contributor, Dr. Alfred Soffer, M.D. Cardiologist, Glenview, IL. He is the former Editor and Chief of the Archives of Internal Medicine of AMA and Professor of Medicine.
In this post, Soffer discusses hair loss, false claims and natural alternatives.
Are you worried about losing your hair? According to claims on a prominent website, this offers no problem. The company’s multicolored, multipage advertisement offers products for concerned individuals struggling with baldness, hair loss, and alopecia.
One of their products is a “hair loss survival kit, travel size.” Don’t leave home without it!
Can we assume that the kit contains either Rogaine (minoxidil) or Propecia (finasteride)? After all, they are currently the only two products in the United States proven to limit hair loss and promote hair growth. They have received FDA approval as a result of the data obtained in scrupulously controlled clinical trials.
Our assumption is erroneous. The “ hair loss survival kit “ contains only herbal-based shampoos.
For the non-traveler, this distributor of herbal pills recommends saw palmetto and Kava root powder. Their hawking of ineffectual compounds is representative of the staggeringly large number of similar websites. One “doctor of neuropathy” claims that “my herbal therapy for alopecia is 100% effective.”
Under the heading of “herbal hair loss treatment” another herbalist urges the consumer to “apply red pepper flesh directly to the scalp.”
All of these fanciful claims which appear on the Internet, in magazines, and in the media have one thing in common: they offer compounds which are entirely ineffective for the treatment of hair loss. In a definitive analysis, the National Council Against Health Fraud reported that herbal product vendors benefit from societies with a romanticized view that equates “natural” with “safe.”
Unfortunately the assumption that natural products are safe is false. Herbal remedies are being marketed as “dietary supplements.” As a result, consumers are being denied the most fundamental information and assurances of quality and efficacy.
It is vitally important to determine the reasons for either hair loss or poor hair growth in each individual. The status of health or disease of one’s hair can provide valuable diagnostic clues regarding the presence of pathologic phenomena elsewhere in the body. Continued use of futile remedies as a substitute for clinical evaluation may result in a delay to obtaining the correct diagnosis and instituting appropriate therapy.
The Hair Foundation’s president and chairman, Dr.Matt Leavitt, D.O. recently emphasized that diabetes can initially appear with the loss of hair. Iron deficiency and a number of other hormonal diseases, along with diabetes, may be manifested initially by hair loss or poor hair growth.
The death of Steve Jobs is a tragic example of the dangers of using futile scientifically-unproven therapy. The diagnosis of pancreatic cancer was made at a time when surgical intervention may have resulted in a full cure. Instead, Jobs insisted on first using acupuncture, colonic irrigation, and “natural” compounds for a period of nine months.
Eventually surgery was performed, but by then it was too late to effect a cure.
At the recent 2012 Winter Clinical Dermatology Conference in Maui, the Hair Foundation’s Vice Chair, Dr. Ken Washenik, M.D, Ph.D., gave a presentation called, “Emerging Therapies for Hair Loss.” It focused on new and breakthrough treatments in hair loss, such as clinical treatments.
Another topic in Washenik’s discussion was the progress Aderans Research has made on the Ji Gami™ family of cell products. This is a key component in the company’s cell-based solutions to androgenetic alopecia (pattern hair loss), according to a press release.
Washenik serves as the company’s chief executive. Earlier this month, Aderans Research announced the expansion of its hair loss clinical trials to four new cities. With almost 350 subjects, this trial represents one of the largest for researching cell-based solutions for pattern hair loss.
Aderans Research has been a pioneer in the research and development of safe, effective cell engineered products for hair regeneration. The Atlanta-based company is a subsidiary of Aderans Co., Ltd, the world’s largest wig manufacturer, and an affiliate of Bosley, a global leader in surgical hair restoration.
In addition to his presentation on hair loss, Washenik was also a participant in an audience question and answer session comprised of practicing dermatologists.
Joining Washenik at the conference were two other Hair Foundation members. The doctors sat on the following panels.
Hair Foundation Scientific Advisory Council Member Dr. Valerie Callender, M.D
Clinical and Therapeutic Challenges in Medical Dermatology: Sweat, Hair, Pigmentary Disorders and Warts and Management of Pigment Disorders
Hair Foundation’s Board of Trustees secretary Dr. Zoe Diana Draelos, M.D., FAAD
Cosmeceuticals in Dermatology and Clinical and Therapeutic Challenges in Appearance Procedures
Pantene’s Healthy Hair Campaign for Clean Water
Pantene, a top shampoo product produced by the Hair Foundation’s partner Proctor& Gamble, recently launched a new campaign in the Phillipines to raise awareness about the lack of access to clean water and to reduce deaths by half for those that die from it.
For young children under the age of five, more than one million will die each year from a lack of access to clean, potable water.
The campaign is called, ”Healthy Hair for Healthy Water.” According to Pantene’s corporate communication manager Anama Dimapilis, the reason for it is so “every individual is given the chance to donate a day’s supply or about two liters of clean, drinkable water in areas in the Philippines where it is most needed like in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan which was recently hit by storm Sendong.”
Dr. Greg Allgood, Director of Procter and Gamble’s Clean and Safe Drinking Water Program explained that the campaign will provide at least 17 million days of clean drinkable water for more than 25,000 people from vulnerable and remote areas that only have access to contaminated water sources.
The areas will receive PUR packets, which are powdered water-purification technology, that will be mixed into dirty and potentially deadly water; it is then converted into clean and drinkable water.
This campaign will run until February and the goal is to get 10 million pledges which equates to 20 million liters of clean, drinkable water.
To donate to Pantene’s campaign, interested parties can go to the Pantene Facebook page and make a pledge.
Wella Makes Marie Claire’s Top 25 List
Wella, also produced by Procter&Gamble, has one of its products in Marie Claire’s list, 25 New Products That’ll Change Your Life. The product is Wella Professionals Velvet Amplifer Style Primer.
The $16 serum smooths and thicken strands before styling your hair, which will give it a fuller and luxurious end result, according to Marie Claire.
According to Digital Journal, Barbie-maker Mattel has recently come up against pressure to produce a bald barbie doll for children suffering from hair loss. It wouldn’t be the first time the doll maker has produced one: in 2011, they created one for a four-year-old girl who suffered from cancer and lost her hair from chemotherapy treatments, according to CBS New York.
Now the company has come under increasing pressure to commercially produce a bald barbie doll for girls suffering from hair loss, Digital Journal reports.
The push is coming from a Facebook page called, Beautiful and Bald Barbie! Let’s see if we can get it made. The campaign was created by two women. One is New Jersey photographer, Jane Bingham, who lost her hair from chemotherapy treatments for lymphoma and the second is a teacher’s aide from California, Rebecca Sypin, whose 12-year-old daughter with leukemia lost her hair following treatment.
The page currently has more than 121,000 likes and more than 109,000 people talking about it.
According to Sypin, the inspiration for the page is twofold. It came from the bald Barbie Mattel made for the aforementioned young cancer sufferer and it was also created to raise awareness for anyone dealing with baldness, such as people with alopecia.
Sypin said, “My daughter didn’t care if she went bald but there were several girls that we dealt with when she was getting her treatment that were so upset, and it wasn’t so much that they were upset about the cancer. They were upset about the fact that they were going to lose their hair.”
She added she and Bingham have been told that a bald Barbie isn’t the best way for a child to deal with the problem but Sypin believes regardless, kids have to deal with baldness as it’s in front of everyone on a daily basis.
She added that kids “look in the mirror every day and know they’re different, so giving them a Barbie that looks like them isn’t throwing it in their face. I think if anything, it’s showing them that, ‘You’re not so different. You’re still you — you’re just bald’.”
Sypin believes that parents need to make their child comfortable with the baldness and a bald Barbie is one way to begin a conversation.
The two women and supporters have petitioned Mattel to produce the bald Barbie but Sypin said the company has only responded with a form letter; no one has contacted them.
Mattel has not commented.
With cold winter weather affecting many of us, it’s important to remember it can wreak havoc on your hair just as summer weather brings its own set of hair challenges. Winter’s cold air is drying and can really take a toll on hair more so than other times of the year.
Adding to winter’s cold temperature challenges is indoor heat, which creates a dry environment. Hair also loses some of its natural highlights from exposure to the sun during this time of year and hair can look a little dull in the winter. And there’s also that frustrating static that comes after your take your winter hat off.
Here’s a few tips to help you take care of your hair in the winter and enjoy the season with healthy hair.
- One of the easiest and underrated tips is to wash your hair less in the winter. Hair doesn’t needed a lot of washing, only enough to clean the dirt from your hair. Be careful in the winter that natural hair oils are not used up from too much washing.
- Add moisture to your hair by either applying an oil in your hair and keeping it in overnight. For healthy hair, remember to use a normal conditioner after shampooing.
- Extra attention may be needed for curly hair as it is naturally drier than straight hair. In the winter, people with curly hair will continue to fight the frizzies and should either not rinse out all the conditioner or re-apply a little after towel-drying hair.
- With oily hair, apply a conditioner to the ends for hair healthy and to prevent the frizzies.
- To battle hair static, which comes from a lack of moisture, use a brush with natural bristles.
- Don’t keep your hair wet for great lengths of time or brush it when it’s wet.
- Towel dry your hair instead of using a blow dryer. If you do blow dry your hair, think about using a leave-in conditioner beforehand.
- Take preventative measures for your hair. Protect your hair by wearing a scarf, hat or cap. Hair is susceptible to split ends in the winter so be sure to trim them. Wear your hair in a braid, twist or a knot that can prevent the wind from damaging your hair.
- Don’t over color, streak or straighten your hair as it takes away from hair’s moisture.
- The type of products you choose to use in your hair makes a big difference, so make some good decisions and invest wisely.
This is a guest post by the Hair Foundation’s contributor, Dr. Alfred Soffer, M.D. Cardiologist, Glenview, IL. He is the former Editor and Chief of the Archives of Internal Medicine of AMA and Professor of Medicine.
In this post, Soffer discusses hair loss and acupuncture.
“There must be something to acupuncture-you never see any sick porcupines.”
Bob Goddard is the author of these words and obviously considered the needles (quills) of the porcupine to be an indispensable asset.
Does acupuncture play a similarly felicitous role in human health and disease? Does the insertion of needles into the scalp prevent hair loss and encourage hair growth?
The answer is a resounding yes from an increasingly large number of acupuncturists.
In a promotional brochure, a group of acupuncturists’ state, “Acupuncture prevents hair loss by stimulating qi, the life force energy running throughout the body. Chinese medicine teaches us that qi circulates through channels called meridians which are connected to critical body organs.”
Another group boasts their method will regrow hair. They use a special hammer with needles placed in a star shape on the hammer face. The acupuncturist presses the hammer against a number of spots on the scalp.
The results, according to these devotees of Oriental therapy, are “this treatment, combined with traditional Chinese herbal medications will stop hair loss and promote growth of healthy hair.”
There is a common theme in the acupuncturists’ advertisements and websites. They are enamored of the supposed wisdom inherent in traditional Chinese medicine.
Where lies the truth?
The reputation of acupuncture in the West rose and fell within 10 years. There was uncritical acceptance following President Nixon’s visit to China. It’s now highly likely that many of the demonstrations involving surgery had been faked inasmuch as acupuncture had been supplemented by local anesthetics and sedatives.
In 1975, I witnessed a thyroidectomy performed under acupuncture in a Shanghai hospital. We had not been told that many patients received potent opiates before they reached the surgical theater.
A similar deception occurred as recently as 2006. (SING and ERnST).
Fortunately, the medical community outside of China insisted that acupuncture must be evaluated in clinical trials with scrupulous guidelines of objectivity. Beginning in the 1970s, a massive research program was implemented to test the effects of acupuncture upon a variety of diseases.
The results were unequivocal.
The institution, the National Council Against Health Fraud, reported the following:
1. The theory and practice of acupuncture are based upon primitive and fanciful concepts of health and disease that bear no relationship to present scientific knowledge. There is no evidence to demonstrate the existence of qi or meridians.
2. Research in the past 20 years has failed to demonstrate that acupuncture is effective against any disease.
3. Perceived effects of acupuncture are probably due to expectation or suggestion.
4. Risks exist. Acupuncture has caused fainting, local hematoma, local infection, hepatitis B, bacterial endocarditis and nerve damage.
This is where we stand in 2012.
If the primary clinical effects of acupuncture are manifestations of the power of suggestion, then it is a placebo which carries risks. Acupuncturists contend that their methods alleviate some types of pain and nausea.
We may counter these unproven claims by pointing out that the physician can choose safer, less expensive and scientifically-proven effective medication to treat these same conditions. Similar cautions apply to acupressure, moxibustion (ground herbs burn above the skin and heat acupuncture points) and forms of acupuncture involving laser lights or electricity.
When reading the mystical claims of acupuncturists, we would be wise to observe Mark Twain who wrote, “Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.”
Recently, the Hair Foundation’s Board of Trustees secretary Dr. Zoe Diana Draelos submitted a guest post to the Inside Cosmeceuticals blog. Titled, Maintaining Great Hair for Life, Dr. Draelos listed six recommended tips for maintaining great hair.
Here’s her post.
There are many causes of hair loss including disease and genetic predisposition. Yet, the most common reason men and women experience hair loss is due to poor cosmetic grooming practices. Below are my top recommendations for maintaining great hair for life.
1. Scalp scratching
Even though mild to moderate seborrheic dermatitis does not cause hair loss, the scratching associated with the scalp pruritus can definitely predispose to hair loss. treatment of scalp itch is important to preventing hair loss.
2. Long vs. short hair
Long hair is much more likely to be cosmetically damaged than short hair. Therefore, patients who have extensive hair damage may wish to select a shorter hair style to maximize the appearance of the hair.
We all know hair growth has been linked to slowing with age. For this reason, all chemicals used on mature hair should be weaker than those used on youthful hair.
4. Hair combing and brushing
Hair combing is a daily grooming ritual that frequently causes hair damage and loss. Hair should only be combed when dry, if possible. Older teachings that the hair should be brushed 100 strokes a day and the scalp vigorously massaged with the brush should be dispelled.
5. Hair shaft architecture
It is important to remember that curlier hair tends to fracture more readily than straight hair. As a result, hair shaft architecture can determine how aggressively the hair can be groomed: kinky, non-processed, hair should be gently groomed with a wide toothed comb or hair pick. Asian hair can be combed with minimal friction and hair shaft damage.
6. Hair styling product use and techniques
Styling aids are an important way to improve the cosmetic appearance of the hair, but should always leave the hair flexible. Also, in general, the less that is done to the hair, the healthier it will be. There is no hair style or procedure that can reverse hair damage, even though many salon owners would disagree.
Hair is basically a textile. It looks the best when new and degrades with age and use.
With almost 350 subjects, this clinical trial represents one of the largest for researching cell-based solutions for pattern hair loss.
The Hair Foundation’s Vice Chair ,Ken Washenik, M.D., Ph. D. is involved in the trials through his role as Aderan’s Chief Executive Officer.
Aderans is a subsidiary of Aderans Co., Ltd, the world’s largest wig manufacturer, and affiliate of Bosley, global leaders in surgical hair restoration, where Washenik is the Medical Director.
In response to its recent expansion, Washenik said,”We continue to make good progress in our research and have a very positive outlook for the trial. Plans are in order to finish Phase 2 next year and we’ll be one step closer to helping those who suffer from male and female pattern hair loss.”
Phase 2 had been launched in 2008 and includes 21 locations in the US. A pioneer in its field, Aderans is committed to developing cutting-edge solutions for those who struggle with hair loss.
The trial is still taking subjects and more information may be found here.
This disease has numerous symptoms and brings challenges to those affected by it.
Dr. Matt Leavitt, DO, President and Chair of Hair Foundation explained, “Diabetes compromises blood circulation which can promote hair loss by blocking the blood supply to the follicles. If circulation is poor, the natural hair growth cycle may be interrupted; less hair may be in the growth phase (anagen), with more follicles entering the resting (telogen) phase, for example.”
“Current public scrutiny has alerted the population to the most common symptoms. However, one of the more subtle symptoms of diabetes, hair loss, can often be overlooked,” added Leavitt.
If you are either losing hair in larger than normal quantities and the loss does not appear to either be common pattern hair loss or you are experiencing thinning hair, you should be evaluated by a doctor.
It could be diabetes as this hormone-related disease can initially appear with the loss of hair.
Diabetes can affect your hair’s growth process and after time, it will become visible to you as this disease can cause physical stress including hair loss.
In addition, a change in treatment may also affect your body, even your hair.
Why does diabetes affect hair loss?
Diabetics have less than optimal blood circulation and they are sensitive to skin problems, including slow healing, bruises and small wounds. This can contribute to the body taking longer to heal and to grow lost hair.
This results in noticeable hair loss as your body has difficulty keeping up with the growth process.
Also, diabetics are more susceptible to skin conditions, which may cause hair loss if it’s on the scalp. Bacterial and fungal scalp infections may inhibit the normal growth process of hair.
Diabetes also causes poor blood circulation.
This can affect hair follicles’ ability to function normally. During regular times, hair will grow for two to six years before it goes into a dormant phase. Eventually hair will die and new strands will be created in the follicle and then pushed out.
When blood circulation is poor, follicles will not normally produce a new hair strand. The old strand dies and falls out without any replacement hair. Furthermore, strands are more likely to die and fall out more quickly during times of poor blood circulation to the head.
Hair is not replaced and thinner hair is then created.
Diabetes can also cause physiological and psychological stress and anxiety. These are factors in hair loss, along with dehydration. When these are combined, it’s very hard on your hair.
If you have suffered from hair loss, we reiterate that you get tested if you see diabetic symptoms. It is just one of these many symptoms or even a hormonal disease.
Leavitt said, “Once you have been diagnosed with diabetes, patients should see a dermatologist if they begin to see any hair loss to determine the actual cause. If it is determined by the dermatologist that it is diabetes-related, they should treat their diabetes and monitor any hair loss once they begin medication to see if it stabilizes the condition.”
Treating Hair Loss
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes and you’ve suffered from hair loss, wait to see if the condition corrects itself once you have been taking diabetes medication.
This may take a few months.
Remember to stay hydrated. Eight glasses (8 oz. each) should be consumed daily, in addition to the other liquids that you drink.
Exercise regularly. This increases blood circulation; your head will benefit from it and your hair follicles will appreciate it. In addition, practice yoga or another form of relaxation to minimize stress and anxiety.
Diabetes is a life-altering disease so it’s very important to follow your doctor’s instructions and recommended treatment.
As a result, you will add good, healthy habits and improved hair health.
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