Tag Archive: doctor

Top 3 Tips on Hair Loss Treatments Reviewed by a Dermatologist

October 4, 2017

By Dr. Teo Wan Lin, Consultant Dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre

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One of my patients who came to my clinic for hair loss treatment once remarked that “Why is it that everyone thinks of seeing hair loss treatment centres, hair spas and their hair salons offering anti-hair loss treatments before consulting a dermatologist for their hair and scalp problems?” Hence in part 2 of my article, I will be using this as a case-study in point in my discussion on hair loss.

However, before that, I would like to qualify what exactly counts as hair loss. It’s normal to lose about 60–100 strands of hair a day, however, anything more than what you are used to losing should be monitored carefully. Here are some symptoms: more hair in your shower drain, on the floor, your combs and pillow, having a wider parting and thinner ponytail for girls. If you have a family member with hair loss, also be alert to early symptoms of hair loss.

1. Who do you see for hair loss and scalp problems?

My patient spoke from experience, having gone a merry-go-round with numerous hair and scalp treatments promising to treat hair loss for over two decades, emerged none-the-better nor wiser until a good friend of hers recommended her to see a dermatologist instead. She had, at that time already resigned to her fate of having a troubled scalp and also lost 40 to 50% of her natural hair at the age of 35, blaming it on bad genetics and oily scalp.

She wasn’t even aware that dermatologists are the specialists in treating scalp and hair problems, including hair loss. Do a google search of “hair loss treatments Singapore” and one is instantly inundated with a multitude of trichologist, herbal remedies, anti-hair loss treatment centres, salon listings, aesthetic centres run by general practitioners and with that a few listings of dermatologists which seems buried under all the other ads. So, if you have a true hair loss problem, stop self-medicating or visiting spas or salons and instead find an accredited dermatologist here.

2.What causes hair loss?

In my dermatological practice, almost all patients suffering from hair loss had also done their due research online about possible causes of hair loss before seeing me. The real problem though, medical websites are not written for the layperson and the lists of diagnoses of conditions that lead to hair loss simply leave the hair loss sufferer worried and fearful. Those that do their research on forums and beauty websites are none the wiser, as they suggest many non-evidenced backed methods of hair growth or causes of hair loss which is simply unscientific and wrong information. There are many different causes of hair loss, which can occur at the same time or individually, and dermatologists need to conduct a thorough history taking, medical evaluation/examination and may recommend some blood tests and microscopic tests before diagnosing the cause of hair loss. For some rare causes of hair loss, especially of what is termed scarring alopecia, a scalp biopsy, which is where samples of the scalp are taken for microscopic examination may be required.

3. Can hair loss be treated?

The good news is, my patient’s hair loss did get better, she turned out to be suffering from a combination of telogen effluvium, scalp inflammation from seborrheic dermatitis as well as underlying genetic hair loss, known as female pattern hair loss. The bad news? Her treatment took a while, while her hair loss was controlled, a lot of her hair follicles had become miniaturised (think the shiny glossy scalp that you’ve seen in older men with androgenetic alopecia, which is hair loss influenced by genetics and the male hormone testosterone). What this means is that it is a more advanced stage of hair loss which could mean a slower or less optimised outcome with treatment. The take home point is, while there are multiple evidence-based methods of encouraging hair growth (for cosmetic reasons in age or genetics influenced hair loss i.e. androgenetic alopecia) such as light treatments, in combination with active ingredients such as minoxidil and more recently, copper peptides which I prescribe in my practice. The real issue is that more severe underlying medical conditions like lupus (an autoimmune disease), chronic undiagnosed illnesses, thyroid disease, anemia — these have serious underlying health implications which need to be treated on top of the hair loss problem. In addition, a trained dermatologist can pick up causes of both non-scarring and scarring alopecia, the latter is irreversible hair loss that can be promptly diagnosed and requires medical treatment.

© 2017 Dr. Teo Wan Lin. All rights reserved. 

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Meet with Dr. Teo Wan Lin, founder and Specialist Consultant Dermatologist of TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre, an accredited dermatologist specialising in medical and aesthetic dermatology. She integrates her artistic sensibility with her research background and specialist dermatologist training, by means of customised, evidence-based aesthetic treatments using state-of the-art machines, injectables (fillers and toxins) which work synergistically with her proprietary line of specialist dermatologist grade cosmeceuticals Dr.TWL Dermaceuticals.

To book an appointment with Dr. Teo, call us at +65 6355 0522, or email appt@twlskin.com. Alternatively, you may fill up our contact form here.

Singapore Dermatologist Demystifies Hair Loss Treatments

October 3, 2017

By Dr. Teo Wan Lin, Consultant Dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre

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In my practice, I have seen many men and women who are beset with hair loss, which can occur at any age and is extremely distressing. It is unfortunate that many go the route of medi-spas and scalp treatments by aestheticians before deciding to see a dermatologist, by which time a lot of their hair has already been lost.

I’ve also seen so many expatriates who are convinced that only since moving to hot and humid( and stressful) Singapore they have started developing scalp problems and hair loss. Also with stories that their friends have developed the same issues since moving to Singapore, leading some to even conclude that the water supply must be the cause. So if you’ve moved to Singapore recently, started having hair fall and feeling panicky, fret not because I’m about to share some top dermatologist tips (the first of a series) on hair loss happening on this sunny island. Ever since the media brouhaha about certain hair loss treatment centres’ tactics on selling beleaguered customers their “anti- hair loss” packages, I’ve been wanting to share my dermatologist expertise on this troubling topic, hoping it will help many out there who are searching for an answer to their hair loss woes. So I’ve decided to pen down some the top tips dermatologists offer to hair loss patients in a series, starting with the first.

1. Hair loss is not caused by a wrong shampoo, hair care products or even water supplies

Hair loss is not caused by using the wrong kind of shampoo. Period. The science of all shampoos is that it contains lathering agents, like sodium or ammonium-laureth sulfate based detergents, in varying proportions, to grab dirt, grime, bacteria and oil from the surface of the scalp and hair and the foam is then rinsed off with water. The ones which promise to degrease and deep-cleanse are simply those that contain higher proportions of Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS). Put simply, all shampoos perform a similar function and the main difference would really be how well they cleanse the scalp without drying out hair ends.

It is a total myth that what’s in your water (assuming we are speaking about potable water in the first place) can affect the condition of your scalp. Unsanitary water would be teeming with bacteria so using that on any part of one’s body can indeed increase chances of infections but that’s never the case in Singapore. Hence there’s no possibility that the water you are using to shower is causing your hair loss and there’s also no need to spend extra money on specially treated water for showering!

2. Chemical hair treatments like rebonding, perming and bleaching can cause hair loss, but a specific kind

It’s a question that almost every patient with hair loss asks me, “ Is my hair loss caused by bleaching my hair last year?” The truth is bleaching is detrimental for the hair shaft( which is made from keratin, a dead material) but unless one has an allergic reaction ( i.e. allergic or irritant contact dermatitis ) due to the bleaching agent that occurs on the scalp( which is the “living component” where the hair follicles are), bleaching itself should not cause hair to fall out from the roots, which is true hair loss. What bleaching and other chemical treatments i.e.perming, rebonding, hair dyes, actually does is to alter the structure and the bonds of the hair via chemical reactions so that it’s appearance is changed. Essentially, these chemical processes damage the hair shaft, leading to parts of the hair shaft being broken off and causing hair loss by breakage. If you have bleached or permed hair, you should adopt grooming practices such as a wide-toothed comb and soft bristled brush using gentle detangling motions rather than harsh combing which can result in even more breakage.

3. Certain hairstyles can trigger and worsen hair loss

Do you always tie your hair in a tight bun or pony tail? If you find your hairline receding or are experiencing tightness or even a headache around your hairline at the end of the day, beware. Dermatologists counsel that wearing such hairstyles persistently can cause a form of hair loss known as traction alopecia, whereby continued pulling and pressure over the hair roots causes the hair follicles to weaken, miniaturise and if over an extremely long period of time, even die. If you are having hair loss concerns, use a scrunchie or a hair tie that does not rip at the hair or tie it overly tightly. You may want to keep a shorter hairstyle while your hair loss concern is addressed by your dermatologist.

© 2017 Dr. Teo Wan Lin. All rights reserved.

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Meet with Dr. Teo Wan Lin, founder and Specialist Consultant Dermatologist of TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre, an accredited dermatologist specialising in medical and aesthetic dermatology. She integrates her artistic sensibility with her research background and specialist dermatologist training, by means of customised, evidence-based aesthetic treatments using state-of the-art machines, injectables (fillers and toxins) which work synergistically with her proprietary line of specialist dermatologist grade cosmeceuticals Dr.TWL Dermaceuticals.

To book an appointment with Dr. Teo, call us at +65 6355 0522, or email appt@twlskin.com. Alternatively, you may fill up our contact form here.