· Thyroid dysfunction
· Immune system disturbances
· Hormonal imbalances such as PCOS
· Infections of the scalp
· Certain medications including birth control pills, diabetes and high bloodpressure medications, other meds
· Traction alopecia or hairstyling practices that put stress upon the follicles, such as extensions
Trichotillomania - compulsive hair-pulling
· Damage from hair processing treatments - coloring, straightening, perming
ST: How do I recognize the symptoms of alopecia in a client?
Nelega: Alopecia areata, which is an autoimmune condition, will typically appear as round, coin-shaped patches of hair loss. Sometimes fungal infections of the scalp can also cause round patches of hair loss, though, so getting a proper diagnosis is important. Some of the first symptoms of androgenic alopecia in women are a widening part, diffuse thinning over the entire head making the scalp more visible through the hair, increased shedding accompanied by slower hair growth, and growth of hair that is finer and thinner than it used to be.
ST: How should a stylist address and counsel a client who has alopecia issues?
Nelega: Stylists are in a unique position to provide meaningful feedback to their client about the health of their hair, which can be an important indicator of underlying health concerns. If your client has started styling their hair differently in an attempt to cover up the scalp showing through, begun wearing a head-wrap or hat, or if you notice that your client’s hair is changing over the course of your relationship—be it texture, thickness, strength, shedding—you might gently inquire whether they’ve noticed any changes themselves, such as more hair loss when showering or brushing their hair, or if their hair is becoming more difficult to style.
ST: What kind of professional should a stylist direct a client to?
Nelega: If your client is experiencing alopecia, the first step is to suggest they visit their doctor or dermatologist to ensure an accurate diagnosis and that any underlying health conditions (if present) are addressed.
ST: What are some things a client can do to help with alopecia?
Nelega: In addition to suggesting they seek medical guidance, you can encourage your client to maintain a healthy diet that provides plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables (for an abundant supply of protective antioxidants and other hair-healthy phytonutrients), healthy fats and oils to reduce inflammation and regulate sebum production, high-quality protein for amino acids needed to grow strong hair, and to stay adequately hydrated. Suggesting an all-natural dietary supplement formulated specifically for healthy hair growth, such as Hair Essentials, can be very beneficial for your client as well.