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Exeter Trichology Blog
28th October 2014

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes clearly demarcated raised, red or pink scaly patches to appear on the skin. It typically affects the outside of the elbows, knees or scalp, though it can appear in any location. Normal skin cells mature in 28 to 30 days and shed from the skin unnoticed. Psoriatic skin cells mature within seven days. They “build up" and form scaly lesions or plaques. Psoriatic lesions can be painful and itchy and they can crack and bleed.

Scalp psoriasis

Scalp psoriasis can affect 50% of psoriasis sufferers. Expression of the disease varies, it may be mild, with slight, fine scaling or severe with thick, crusted plaques covering the entire scalp. Psoriasis can extend beyond the hairline onto the forehead, the back of the neck and around the ears.

Treating scalp psoriasis

Treatments are often combined and rotated because a person's psoriasis may become less responsive to medications after repeated use. No single psoriasis treatemnt will work for everyone. Systemic treatments are not commonly used just for scalp psoriasis but may be used if psoriasis is present elsewhere on the body or the psoriasis is moderate to severe. Sunlight and ultra-violet light therapy can slow the proliferation of skin cells.

Tar based products and keratolytic agents containing salicylic acid generally work for very mild scalp psoriasis. If you have a more severe case of scalp psoriasis, you may need to try different treatment plans prescribed by your GP or dermatologist such as those containing cortisone compounds and anthralin before you find the one that works for you. Trichologists can offer specalist and holistic clinical treatments that often compliment existing treatments.

18th October 2014

Androgenetic alopecia, also known as male or female pattern hair loss, is the most common form of progressive hair loss. It affects roughly 70% of men and 40% of women at some point in their lives.

Androgenetic alopecia is an inherited condition caused by a genetically determined sensitivity to the effects of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) to some areas of the scalp.

The genes can be inherited from either parent. DHT causes scalp hair loss by inducing a change in the hair follicles, known as follicular miniaturisation. During each growth cycle the hairs become progressively shorter, finer and lighter in colour. Also the time between shedding of the hair and the new anagen regrowth becomes longer leading to a reduction in the hair present on the scalp, such that eventually the follicles stop producing hair altogether.

Androgenetic alopecia may start at any age after puberty. The progression of androgenic alopecia varies from individual to individual, but usually it is a gradual process which accelerates as one ages. The development largely depends on the hair follicle’s sensitivity  to androgens and the availability of androgens. Females who are losing their hair with age are more likely to present with female pattern loss, in which hormone tests are normal but they have follicular sensitivity to androgens.

Male pattern hair loss generally shows as frontal ‘M’ shaped recession of the hair line with thinning to the vertex area. Female pattern hair loss is characterised by diffuse thinning of the crown with complete or near complete preservation of the frontal fringe. There are, of course, individual variations on these patterns.

There is no cure for androgenetic hair loss but there are licensed and unlicensed treatments that will, in some cases, slow the progression of the hair loss. Licensed treatments include topical minoxidil and, for men, finasteride (Propecia) tablets. 

16th October 2014

Seasonal Hair Loss













For many women autumn brings with it an increase in hair fall, leading to the hypothesis that seasonal changes do affect human hair growth.

Normal hair growth

The hair growth rate varies slightly for everyone, most people experience a growth rate of around 1.25cm a month. The hair growth cycle consists of three distinct stages. The first phase, known as the anagen phase occurs when your hair is actively growing, lasting from anywhere from two to seven years.

The second phase, the catagen phase, lasts for two to four weeks when the hair follicle shrinks and stops producing pigment.

In the following phase, the hair follicle enters telogen, a resting phase that lasts three to four months until the hair is shed and the growth cycle begins again. Around 10% of a person’s hair is in telogen at any one time and the average human sheds roughly between 50-100 hairs every day.

Research suggests that women have a greater than normal number of hairs in the telogen phase during the month of July leading to a greater number of hairs shedding approximately 3-4 months later in October – November. The reasons behind this are not clear and it has been suggested that women have increased hair growth in the summer months to protect their scalps from the hot sun and ultraviolet radiation. This type of seasonal hair loss is temporary and should last no longer than four to six weeks, it does not affect all women and for many it goes unnoticed.

Seasonal hair loss is not just restricted to the autumn and some women report an increase in hair loss in the Spring, March – April, although this is often not as noticeable as the loss experienced in the autumn. Seasonal hair loss is perfectly normally but if you become concerned about the amount, duration or pattern of hair loss it may be an indication that there is an underlying problem and you should seek further advice. 

Nicola Hemsley AIT
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Nicola Hemsley
Southernhay Clinic 
4 Barnfield Crescent
Tel: 01392 430115
Mob: 07841 237888

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