Hair Loss is a very sensitive issue that touches both men and women and nowadays seems to also affect an increased amount of younger individuals. With so many myths out there claiming anxiety, diet and headwear all affect hair loss, it’s hard to tell what to actually believe. To separate the common hair loss myths from the facts, SLOAN! Magazine spoke to award-winning hair transplant doctor Dr Mark Tam from leading London clinic, The Cadogan Clinic. Here is his extensive “Hairy Truth” guide.
1. Hair Loss Only Happens to People over 30 – Myth
Dr Mark Tam comments, ‘’This seems to be a very common myth. Hair loss can actually affect younger individuals as well as adults. Recently I am actually seeing an influx of younger patients who are aware of hair loss and want to act quickly to prevent it. We also occasionally get visits from parents who bring their sons in to explore hair transplants and discuss their hairline design. It’s always better to have an extra pair of eyes when deciding on this, so our clients often rely on their mothers’ opinions’’.
2. Men Who Go Bald Have High Levels of Testosterone – Myth
Dr Mark Tam says, ‘’Surprisingly for many – this is not correct either. Hair loss is actually caused by a greater sensitivity of hair follicles in some parts of the scalp to DHT (dihydrotestosterone), rather than increased levels of testosterone”.
3. Only Men Suffer from Generic Hair Loss – Myth
Dr Mark Tam explains, ‘’Going bald is often referred to as ‘man’s’ problem, however women also suffer from significant thinning throughout their lifetime. Different factors affect both sexes and both often require different treatments. With male pattern hair loss for example, there is usually sufficient hair in the back or side of the scalp to allow us to do a hair transplant procedure. For female pattern hair loss this is not often the case, as female pattern hair loss can be caused by a variety of factors and most of the time, a hair transplant may not be the first solution in treating a female pattern hair loss.’’
4. Hair Loss Can Be Successfully Treated with Medication – Fact
Dr Mark Tam says, ‘’If you start using FDA approved medications when you first notice signs of male pattern hair loss, you can potentially avoid going bald. These medications are tried and tested to slow down the process and address further hair loss. In specific cases there might not be a lot of regrowth. Most people take a few years before meeting with a specialist and actually prefer to try the medication first. They watch their hairline receding back and try various medications, shampoos, lasers and lotions. However, once they notice these don’t bring back the receding temples and hairline, they come in for treatment advice’’.
5. Wearing a Hat Makes You Go Bald – Myth
Dr Mark Tam comments, ‘’This question occasionally crops up during patient visits and is also a common myth. Hair follicles get oxygen from the blood stream rather from the air so it’s not possible for hair to fall our due to the fact we wear a hat. It is however true that certain hair styles that put too much tension on the hair can cause hair loss- this includes plats etc.’’
6. Follicular Unit Extraction (Fue) Can Extract over 3,000 Hairs at a Time – True
Dr Mark Tam says, ‘’During a typical procedure I transplant 1,500 grafts which can contain on approximately 3,000 hairs. Personally with FUE I prefer not to exceed a certain number, as this may decrease the donor density to a visible level. FUE is generally suitable for smaller treatment areas, for example if you suffer from advanced hair loss and require a significant amount of hair, then you should consider FUT strip procedure, which can yield a larger amount of graft. FUE hair transplant can cause small scaring however we always make sure to hide it- so it’s not visible even with short hair.’’
7. Once You’ve Had a Transplant You Might Not Need Another One – Fact
Dr Mark Tam explains, ‘’Once the transplanted hair starts to grow, the hair will stay and depending on the size of the area there is a chance you might not need another procedure soon. If however you have more than one area of hair loss you might need to repeat the transplant. It’s important to remember your donor area has a limited amount of hair so you can’t keep on transplanting as the area will start looking a bit thin’’.
8. Hair Transplant Is a Painless Procedure – Fact
Dr Mark Tam comments, ‘’A typical hair transplant procedure involves harvesting the hair from the donor area (most commonly back and sides) and transplanting to the hairline or the temples. Firstly, we anaesthetise the area with local anaesthetic injections and once the area is anaesthetised, we start the painless transplant process. At the beginning the patient is facing down whilst we harvest hair follicles from the back. We then move on to work on the area in need, first anaesthetise and then make incisions to prepare for the hair follicles to be placed. The skin might look a bit red and swollen immediately after the procedure however it’s only temporary’’.
9. You Can’t Transplant Curly Hair – Myth
Dr Mark Tam explains, ‘’Generally speaking the FUE technique is slightly more suited to straight hair, as the hair follicles are straight within the scalp. It is however possible to treat mildly curly hair. Treating very curly hair can be challenging using FUE’’.
10. Frequent Shampooing Can Cause Hair Loss – Myth
Dr Mark Tam says, ‘’Some patients worry when they see a lot of hair in the bath tub and wonder if too much shampooing is the reason behind it. Shampoo however doesn’t affect hair loss – this could be a case of a bad diet or stress – which again wouldn’t affect male-pattern baldness, but can cause temporary shut-down of hair production. On average we normally lose about 100 hairs a day but these normally grow back’’.
11. Long Exposure to Sun Leads to Hair Loss – Myth
Dr Mark Tam comments, ‘’This is again a very common misconception. Sun doesn’t affect hair loss- even though it can occasionally affect our hair colour. Hair-colouring treatments on the other hand can increase hair loss due to the chemical substances they contain’’.
Dr. Mark Tam is an award-winning hair transplant doctor who now solely practices FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) hair transplant surgery and is well known for creating a natural and rejuvenated look for his patients – ensuring excellent results each time.
After obtaining a Bachelor of Medicine at the University of Southampton and qualifying as a doctor in 2006, Dr. Tam worked for the NHS before training in FUT and FUE hair transplant surgery. Following his certification at a renowned US medical academy, he was offered an associate position at a leading London hair transplant clinic and was soon promoted to Medical Director.
Also a published author in journals and a key speaker at medical conferences, Dr. Tam was acknowledged by Newsweek Europe as one of the Leaders in Hair Restoration in 2012 and acted as a guest lecturer for the Hair Restoration Diploma course at the Universite de Lyon, France. Dr. Tam is one of very few UK doctors to have achieved a qualification appointing him as a Diplomat of the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery.