Nutrients and patience are key for hair loss treatment

O Nortão | 11/17/2021
Stress, genetics, hormonal changes, anemia, hypothyroidism, nutritional deficiencies and even certain medications are among the most important causes of hair loss, a problem that affects at least 20% of the adult population. "You're the main agent for checking for changes in the loss pattern. If it starts to bother you, then it's the right time to talk to a specialist to find the cause of the problem and determine the best treatment," says Dr. Daniel Fernandes Melo, a dermatologist and the coordinator of the Hair Department of the Brazilian Society of Dermatology, Rio de Janeiro Office (SBD-RJ).

Dr. Daniel Fernandes Melo refers particularly to non-scarring hair loss, the most common type of hair loss, which can be reversed after the end of the follicle alteration, with hair growing back in the affected area. However, when scarring is present, there is irreversible damage to the follicle, making the return of hair growth impossible.

Non-scarring hair loss is the most common. This type includes telogen effluvium, which is an increase in the daily loss of hair strands, as a result of a diffuse and abrupt migration of the strands to the resting (telogen) phase of the hair cycle. Restrictive diets and surgery (bariatric surgery and cesarean childbirth) are among the possible causes for this process.

According to the member of the Brazilian Society of Dermatology, certain nutrients are connected to the proper functioning of the hair cycle. This is the case with iron, zinc, and vitamins D and B12. Hair strands are formed by keratin. The elements that act as the raw materials for the production of this component, such as cystine, are also important.

This explains why treatments are often linked to supplementation of nutrients and elements that are the building blocks of hair strands. This is important for the health of the body as a whole. "For instance, a woman who loses a lot of iron during menstruation and has some comorbidity or associated medical history that can lead to anemia needs specific supplementation, different from someone else who loses another nutrient. Therefore, before using any medication, it's necessary to seek a doctor's advice, specifically one who is a member of the Brazilian Society of Dermatology and has experience with hair issues."

Another important factor for people with this condition is patience. "In general, hair treatments only show clinically visible results after three to four months. However, it may take more time, depending on the patient's clinical condition. Treatment interruptions directly affect the outcome. It is also worth remembering that we need to take care of the emotional aspect in order to avoid reflexes in other areas of the body," says Dr. Daniel Fernandes Melo.
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