What causes thinning hair?
“There are many different causes of thinning hair, including lack of nutrition, illness and certain types of medications,” says Michelle Christle, stylist and trichologist at Cheveux Hair Salon in Tullamore, Co Offaly, which runs a hair loss and scalp clinic. “Hormonal changes are another factor; we see a lot of women at menopausal age, who have excess shedding caused by a drop in the hormones that control the growth cycle.”
“About 50% of people will experience hair loss at some stage in their life,” says Caroline Bell, owner of The Hair Salon in Cobh, Co Cork, which is opening a hair loss and scalp clinic early this year. “Hormonal-related hair loss can be a reality for many women, especially during menopause or after having a baby. This type of hair loss is temporary, and it will grow back, but there's plenty that can be done to help this process along.”
Should you advise clients to seek medical advice?
“I always suggest starting with a visit to the GP,” says Bell. “We are never looking for anything sinister, but often the underlying problem can be picked up in a blood test and can be easily addressed. Once this is treated, hair growth will improve. We can then work with the client to help with speeding up this process. Hair loss has to be treated from the inside out.”
“If we see any signs of scarring or alopecia, we would suggest the client gets a dermatologist referral straight away,” says Christle.
How do you help clients deal with the psychological impact?
“Thinning hair can cause low self-esteem, leading to social anxiety and depression, so educating your client on what is happening, and reassuring them, is key,” says Christle. “Putting a good treatment plan in place helps give them their confidence back.”
“Although it’s common, hair loss can be a distressing problem that can affect the client socially and psychologically,” says Bell. “Clients who are experiencing hair loss are often frustrated when their worries are ignored or considered insignificant. It is important to acknowledge their concerns and come up with a plan to rectify the problem for them. It is not enough to just send them off with a bag of products – you need to offer emotional support as well.”
‘Hormonalrelated hair loss can be a reality for many women, especially during
or after having a baby’
How do you devise an appropriate treatment plan?
“Finding the root cause is key, then we address it with both in-salon treatments and homecare products, taking regular pictures to note progress,” says Christle. “We also recommend regular exercise as this helps promote blood flow to the scalp, along with a good diet with plenty of protein and good oils such as omega 3. Clients should refrain from smoking as it can accelerate hair thinning, and avoid excessive amounts of vitamin A.”
“I begin by assessing a client’s scalp through our in-salon niascope,” says Bell. “A healthy scalp leads to healthy hair, so I recommend regular in-salon scalp dermabrasion treatments to remove any debris and excessive oil on the scalp, which may be inhibiting growth. Scalp massage is a great way to encourage blood flow to the scalp, bringing all the healthy nutrients to the follicle. I also advise the client on a personalised homecare regime.”
What are the benefits of offering a hair thinning service?
“Having this service allows us to keep hair loss issues within the salon,” says Christle. “We are able to give expert advice on the spot when needed, instead of having to recommend somewhere else.”
“Since I started working in this area of hairdressing, it has introduced a whole new clientele to my salon, through both online and in-salon consultations,” says Bell. “Adding this service has led to the expansion of my business, with the opening of a new hair, scalp and wig clinic. Treating clients with thinning hair or scalp issues is one of the most rewarding parts of my job now – to be able to give someone the hair they deserve is an amazing feeling.”