Ask the experts... How can I treat hair loss?

Whether it’s stress, menopause, childbirth or ageing hair loss can happen to anyone, whatever your gender, for loads of different reasons.

Whatever the cause, losing your locks can be a massive shock, particularly when you aren’t armed with the best medical advice to prevent further loss or nurture new growth. 

talkhealth teamed up with The British Skin Foundation to open an online hair clinic to give you the best advice for looking after your hair.

Consultant Dermatologists Dr Alia Ahmed and Dr Anton Alexandroff answered our members’ scientific skin questions. 

Chartered Counselling Psychologist, Dr Alexandra Mizara, and Registered Health Psychologist, Professor Andrew Thompson, were on hand to help with the mental health consequences of hair loss. 

Did you miss the clinic? Here is the best advice:

"My hair has gotten thinner as I’ve aged. What is your advice? 

Hair loss in your 70s is actually fairly common and there are several options to consider for treatment. Here are my top five treatment options: 

  1. Topical minoxidil 5% foam, this is available over the counter
  2. Oral treatment (e.g. minoxidil and finasteride), these are off licence and need to be prescribed by a specialist)
  3. Supplementing iron and zinc if deficiencies are identified
  4. Sair fibres, thickening shampoos, and hair extensions are alternative options
  5. Platelet rich plasma and low level laser treatment are options that are being researched and explored

Please see a dermatologist to discuss in detail as hair loss is multifactorial and often benefits from a holistic approach. Often hair loss treatments are long-term, so you need all the right information before you start.

"I am experiencing post-Covid hair loss, what can I do?

Hair loss after having Covid-19 is a common issue. It’s probable that you are experiencing telogen effluvium, which is increased hair shedding after your body has experienced a significant 'stress’. It’s likely the hair will grow back, but it take 3-6 months to see this. 

Please consider seeing a dermatologist if your hair does not recover as there are many other types of hair problems that can become more obvious after a period of illness. Your GP is likely able to look at common deficiencies to ensure these are not a contributing factor (e.g. low iron, thyroid dysfunction)

"I have started to lose hair in perimenopause, is there anything that will help this?

When the levels of oestrogen and progesterone drop during the menopause, hair can grow more slowly and become much thinner. There are many options for women in this stage of life

  1. It is worth checking for deficiencies in iron and thyroid dysfunction via your GP
  2. If you are unable to have a balanced diet then hair supplements can help to correct nutritional and vitamin deficiencies
  3. If not contraindicated then HRT may be something you can consider discussing with your GP
  4. Overall protective hair practices include - not sleeping with wet hair, minimise heat styling (or use good heat protectant sprays), avoid tight hair styling, do not brush wet hair, nourish long lengths of hair with penetrative hair oils
  5. Other options include oral treatment (e.g. minoxidil, finasteride - these are off-license and must be prescribed by a specialist), hair fibres, hair extensions and thickening shampoos.

Please see a dermatologist to discuss in detail which options are best for you.

"How can you prevent hair loss in childbirth? 

Postpartum hair loss is something that many women experience, pregnancy hormones reduce the rate of hair fall and therefore after pregnancy the hair that was expected to fall earlier in its life cycle will then start to shed. 

Preventing this hair loss can be hard as there is no strong evidence surrounding management techniques, but you can try the following:

  1. Keep on top of iron levels during pregnancy
  2. Consider pregnancy and breastfeeding-safe supplements
  3. Hair fibres and thickening shampoos

Do you need some extra support for your hair loss? There is loads of actionable advice and expertise on our talkhair hub!

Information contained in this Articles page has been written by talkhealth based on available medical evidence. The content however should never be considered a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek medical advice before changing your treatment routine. talkhealth does not endorse any specific products, brands or treatments.

Information written by the talkhealth team

Last revised: 28 February 2023
Next review: 28 February 2023