Tag Archive: Hair

Itchy Scalp? The Microbiome May be the Cause

January 15, 2021

An itchy scalp, or scalp pruritus, is a common problem that can lead to symptoms such as frequent scratching or discomfort, scabbed or flaking skin, or redness on the scalp. 

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about itchy scalp and its links to the scalp microbiome, including excerpts from accredited dermatologist, Dr. Teo Wan Lin. We’ll also cover how the scalp microbiome can lead to various hair conditions, and how to keep the scalp microbiome healthy.

What causes itchy scalp?

The cause of an itchy scalp is inflammation. Is it possible that itchy scalp leads to hair loss? The short answer is no. But the long answer is that if your itchy scalp is due to an underlying scalp condition such as seborrheic dermatitis, this can in the medium to long term, disrupt your hair cycle and cause more hair to fall our faster, and hair to grow at a slower rate due to the underlying inflammation. Associated scalp symptoms can include redness, sensitivity. Some individuals experience pain when they’re tying up their hair. All that has to do with increased activity of the immune cells around the area where there is inflammation.

Seborrheic dermatitis

The commonest cause of scalp inflammation in this part of the world, in tropical Singapore, is seborrheic dermatitis. Seborrheic dermatitis is due to an overgrowth of yeast organisms that are otherwise normal commensals, meaning that they are part of the healthy scalp microbiome. What happens in seborrheic dermatitis is that the scalp inflammation leads to symptoms of itch, flaking, redness, sensitivity.

Over a period of several months, or years, this can cause disruption in the hair cycle. 90% of our hair should be in the growing phase known as the anagen phase. When there is active inflammation such as in the case of seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, or eczema, the hair cycle may be disrupted and as a result, more hairs may enter into the telogen phase. This expedites the hair cycle process, leading to more hair that is falling out, and comparatively, less hair that is growing back to compensate for the amount of hair that’s falling out. 

Itchy Scalp? Copper Peptide Hair Regrowth Serum

The Copper Peptide Hair Regrowth Serum contains Copper tripeptide, a novel molecule that stimulates hair growth. Copper tripeptide is a potent antioxidant with minimal to zero risk of scalp irritation. It helps to maintain healthy, immunological function of the scalp, promoting beneficial scalp microbiome.

What is the scalp microbiome? 

The scalp is one of the thickest parts of the skin on the body, with on average about 100,000 hairs growing on it at a given time. It high production of vitamin-rich sebum (oil) and an unusually humid environment, which gives rise to microbes and microorganisms that aren’t found on any other part of the body. 

A microbiome is a community of microorganisms that exist in one habitat, like your gut, skin and scalp. In order for a microbiome to function efficiently, it must maintain a balance of diverse microorganisms, with each contributing to the productivity of the habitat. The scalp microbiome is the balance of healthy microorganisms that work together and contribute to our scalp health. Just like our skin microbiome, if the delicate microbiome is thrown off balance, skin conditions can develop, causing symptoms of flaking, itching, and irritation.

How does the scalp microbiome affect hair conditions?

Research in the scalp microbiome has intensified in the last 3 years. In 2017 in a paper submitted to Experimental Dermatology, a group of researchers stated that there was a difference in the scalp microbiome in terms of the bacterial and yeast flora in individuals who suffered from dandruff, also known as seborrheic dermatitis, compared to individuals with healthy scalps. What that really means that there is a definite role in the balance that microorganisms play in our skin, and now our scalp, in order to maintain scalp homeostasis. Homeostasis is the state of balance that is required for our organs to function at their optimal states.

A disturbance in the scalp microbiome can be influenced by the environment, one’s personal genetics as well as hormonally influenced oil production on the scalp. In this situation, we should zoom in on the specific problems that are brought about by the imbalances of the microorganisms living on one’s scalp.

Dandruff

Dandruff is one of the most common scalp complaints. Flaking on the scalp and white scales found on one’s clothes are one of the first symptoms of dandruff. The term dandruff is lay speak for any form of scalp inflammation that causes the cell turnover rate on the scalp to increase abnormally. There are several medical conditions that can result in this, the commonest being the following: scalp psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis and scalp eczema. 

Dandruff and Seborrheic dermatitis 

We have spoken about seborrheic dermatitis earlier, and how it can lead to itchy scalp and scalp inflammation. Additionally, seborrheic dermatitis could also be the cause of your recent dandruff outbreak. It mainly affects the sebaceous, gland-rich regions of the scalp, face, and trunk. Seborrhea or seborrheic dermatitis is a common, chronic or relapsing form of eczema/dermatitis. 

Dandruff, also known as pityriasis capitis, is considered to be an uninflamed form of seborrhoeic dermatitis. Scattering within hair-bearing areas of the scalp, dandruff of such presents as itself as bran-like scaly patches. 

The cause of seborrheic dermatitis is associated with the proliferative species of the fungus Malassezia. Its metabolites (such as fatty acids oleic acid, malassezia, and indole-3-carbaldehyde) may cause an inflammatory reaction. Therefore, there is a link between dandruff and the bacteria and fungi that grow on the scalp. 

The Copper Peptide Deep Cleanse Shampoo can help to overcome itchy scalp

The Copper Peptide Deep Cleanse Shampoo contains amino acid surfactant for gentle cleansing of sensitive scalps,  zinc pyrithione that has anti-dandruff properties, and copper peptide that helps to promote healthy hair growth. 

Scalp folliculitis

Scalp folliculitis is an inflammatory disorder of the hair follicles in the scalp, also known as “acne necrotica miliaris” or “Proprionibacterium folliculitis”.

It is characterised by small, very itchy pustules on the scalp, often most troublesome on the frontal hairline. Depending on the severity, there may be only a small number or may appear as very numerous lesions. Due to the itch, they are hard to leave alone and overtime often become sore and crusted. 

Causes of scalp folliculitis

The cause of scalp folliculitis is generally considered to be an inflammatory reaction to components of the hair follicle, particularly the micro-organisms. These include:

●  Bacteria (especially Cutibacterium acnes, but in severe cases, also Staphylococcus aureus)

●  Mites (Demodex folliculorum)

●  Yeasts (Malassezia species)

An imbalance in these microorganisms can lead to an inflammatory reaction on the scalp, causing scalp folliculitis. 

To explain, Malassezia is the causative yeast organism belonging to the family of fungi that colonizes the scalp of individuals who suffer from seborrheic dermatitis. Chronic inflammation of the scalp’s follicles can lead to pimple-like lesions that can be painful, lead to deeper cysts, and even abscesses in a more serious type of scalp folliculitis known as dissecting folliculitis. These are typically associated with imbalances in the bacterial flora of the scalp. Research shows a link between scalp folliculitis and scalp sensitivity, as well as the sebum and bacterial imbalances. The microorganisms interact with environmental factors such as increased temperature, humidity, the presence of sweat in a genetically predisposed individual to create chronic inflammation. 

Keeping the scalp microbiome healthy

Shampoo

Research has shown that zinc pyrithione medicated shampoo is a safe and effective way to treat dandruff. Fighting off Malassezia can help to restore the health of your scalp microbiome. 

Hair serum

Use of antioxidants serums on the scalp can encourage healthy cell talk between the immune cells, and improve the ability of the scalp to fight off disease-causing bacteria and fungus. This also helps to maintain regular sebum production. Copper tripeptide is a potent antioxidant with minimal to zero risk of scalp irritation. It helps to maintain healthy, immunological function of the scalp, promoting beneficial scalp microbiome.

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What to Look For in a Hair Loss Shampoo

January 11, 2021

What ingredients are in a good hair loss shampoo? How should a shampoo function? In this article we’ll go through everything you should look for in a hair loss shampoo, including excerpts from Haircare Bible: A Dermatologist’s Tips on Haircare and Hair Loss by Dr. Teo Wan Lin, Dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre.

How Does Shampoo Work?

What constitutes a good hair loss shampoo?

Caring for one’s hair is just as important as caring for one’s face, but often gets less attention. Understanding what constitutes a good hair loss shampoo is an important part of making sure your hair stays healthy and voluminous. To help you navigate the world of shampoo products, we introduce you to the basics you need to know.

How should a hair loss shampoo function?

A shampoo is a viscous liquid (liquid with texture that tends to be thick). Its primary purpose is cleansing the scalp and hair of dirt, sebum, sweat, dead skin cells and environmental pollutants. It does so by dissolving oil-soluble dirt, which is water-insoluble and hence, cannot be removed by solely rinsing with water. A shampoo should also remove greasy residues from hair care products such as oils, gels and sprays. The overall effect is that of cleansing to maintain a good hygiene level to reduce the chance of scalp irritation, inflammation and odour.

While most shampoos can accomplish a thorough cleanse, the real challenge lies in removing just enough sebum to allow the hair to be clean without drying it out.

This explains why most shampoo formulations have a secondary function of smoothing the hair’s surface and imparting lustre, smoothness, buoyancy and volume. Certain types of shampoos also treat the scalp with medicated ingredients, such as those targeting dandruff, a common scalp disorder caused by a yeast known as Malassezia.

Hair Loss Shampoo: Copper Peptide Deep Cleanse Hair Regrowth Shampoo

The Copper Peptide Hair Regrowth Shampoo is a hair loss shampoo formulated for hair loss and sensitive scalps. It contains amino acid surfactant that performs gentle action for sensitive scalps, is pH-Adjusted for deep-cleansing. It also includes actives such as zinc pyrithione for anti-dandruff, and copper peptide for healthy hair growth.

Ingredients In A Shampoo

Typical shampoos contain 10 to 30 ingredients. These include: cleansing agents (surfactants), conditioning agents, special care ingredients, and additives. Surfactants essentially cause a lathering effect via a process known as emulsification. For example, a surfactant emulsifies sebum and grime on the hair and scalp which can then be easily rinsed off with water. They are responsible for cleansing hair while the conditioners and other ingredients do the rest.

Types of surfactants

A surfactant is often amphiphilic, meaning its molecules contain both lipophilic (oil-attracting) and hydrophilic (water-attracting) parts. The oil-attracting parts bind to sebum while the water-loving sites parts to water. Such a mechanism allows sebum to be removed when in contact with water.

The type of surfactants used in hair loss shampoos is classified according to their hydrophilic polar group. The four common categories of shampoo surfactants are anionics, cationics, non-ionics and amphoterics. Most shampoo formulas rely on two types of surfactants.

The surfactant listed first in a shampoo’s ingredient list denotes the primary cleanser and also the ingredient in the highest concentration. The surfactant listed second is the secondary cleanser; this is often added to offset the weaknesses of the first surfactant.

Anionic surfactants

Anionic surfactants are named for their negatively charged hydrophilic (water-loving) parts. Derived from fatty alcohols, they are good at removing sebum from the scalp. However, excessive cleansing with anionic surfactants leaves the hair harsh, rough, dull, frizzy and prone to tangling. Examples include sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, and ammonium lauryl sulfate.

Cationic surfactants

In contrast to anionic surfactants, cationic surfactants have a positively charged element. Cationic surfactants are poor cleansers and do not lather well. They are also not compatible with anionic surfactants. However, they are excellent at keeping chemically damaged hair soft and manageable. As a result, shampoos for damaged or coloured hair often include cationic surfactants. Examples include long-chain amino esters, ammonioesters, and cetyltrimethylammonium chloride.

Amphoteric surfactants

With both positively and negatively charged groups, amphoteric surfactants foam well and condition the hair. They help with the formation of micellar emulsion, improving the lathering ability of the shampoo, resulting in a thick liquid which is efficient to use. In addition, they do not cause stinging in the eyes and are gentle on the skin/scalp barrier, making them ideal for mild shampoos. Examples are cocamidopropyl betaine, sulfonate betaine, amphoteric acetate/diacetate.

Nonionic surfactants

Nonionic surfactants do not have a charged group and hence are compatible with any surfactant. Nonionic surfactants are the mildest type of surfactant. Such surfactants are often used in baby shampoos. Examples are fatty alcohol ethoxylates, cocamide MEA, sorbitan ether esters, and alkyl polyglucosides.

Conditioners In Shampoo

The purpose of conditioning is to increase hair manageability by smoothening and softening the hair shaft and to enable easy detangling. Shampoo formulations tend to add hair-conditioning ingredients to impart manageability, gloss and antistatic properties to the hair. Many are noted as ‘2 in 1’ to indicate the presence of both cleansing and conditioning benefits.

What are 2 in 1 shampoos?

They are conditioning shampoos that can wash off dirt and at the same time disperse conditioners onto the hair shaft. Examples of conditioning ingredients are fatty substances such as vegetable oils, wax, lecithin and lanolin derivatives, protein by-products (collagen, silk, animal proteins) and silicones.

What is the technology behind 2 in 1 shampoo?

Silicones and conditioning oils help smoothen out the hair shaft. They need to be regularly dispersed upon application to the hair shaft to condition the hair. Silicones add lubricity to the hair and reduce friction that arises from combing. They make it easier to comb through and detangle strands and prevent them from becoming frizzy.
Protein substances found in conditioners function by temporarily mending split ends and holding the hair fragments together until the next shampooing takes place.
The lathering components help to cleanse off the oil, dirt and dead skin cells of the scalp.

What is the science behind wet and dry hair conditioning?

The science behind conditioning hair while wet is based on a compound known as coacervate. It is best understood as something with positive and negative ions reacting in the presence of water.

On the other hand, the end goal of dry hair conditioning is to deposit smoothening silicones and hair conditioning oils on the hair surface. The commonest hair oils contain silicones such as dimethicone, dimethiconol, and amodimethicone.

Why should we avoid silicone-containing hair conditioners?

Scientific studies show that when the hair shaft surface is coated with silicone it becomes instantly smoother and it is covered with a protective layer. However, this is merely a temporary illusion of healthy hair. Silicone continues to build up layer by layer and eventually your hair gets weighed down. Instead of appearing smooth and shiny, hair may appear greasy and dull.

What are the other alternatives available?

In my development of the hair mask bar system for my patients with dry, brittle and unmanageable hair, I have incorporated natural proteins such as hydrolysed wheat, silk and milk proteins that directly penetrate and repair the hair shaft. These natural proteins are effective cuticle moisturizers that ensure detangled, well-nourished locks.

The Hair Mask Vials Bundle includes the Keratin Hair Mask for hair strengthening, the Silk Hair Mask for hair smoothness and frizz, and the Milk Hair Mask for hair softness.

Another important way to smoothen and condition your hair is through the use of plant oils. The bioactive substances present in plant oils contribute to their moisturizing, conditioning, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

The LipiGro Serum is enriched with 5a-reductase inhibitor to reverse hormonal hair loss, and the purified seed oil of ethanolic extract of Carthamus tinctorius.

The LipiShine Serum should be used with the CutisCool™ Biological Gel Hair Cap in the Hot Oil Treatment. Enriched with Oleic acid that acts as a cuticle softener, Linoleic acid that smooths hair, and the Purified seed oil of ethanolic extract of Carthamus tinctorius.

The LipiSilk Serum is used to treat damaged hair, chemically treated hair, and split ends. It contains actives such as Linoleic acid for deep repair of the hair shaft, Vitamin E, a bioactive antioxidant, and purified seed oil of Hippophae rhanoides (Sea Buckthorn Oil).

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Hair Loss Shampoo

Sensitive Scalp: Can it Cause Hair Loss?

December 29, 2020

Do you feel itching, tingling, pain and redness on your scalp? Does your scalp feel tight and itchy? If yes, you may have a sensitive scalp.

In this article, we’ll take you through the signs of sensitive scalp, and hair and scalp conditions linked to it, including excerpts from Haircare Bible: A Dermatologist’s Tips on Haircare and Hair Loss by Dr. Teo Wan Lin, Dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre.

Do I have a sensitive scalp or is it a symptom of another condition?

Do you have an itch, redness or pain on your scalp? You may have an undiagnosed inflammatory scalp disease. Scalp “sensitivity” without any underlying scalp condition is a very rare condition attributed to abnormal nerve sensations known as scalp dysaesthesia.

It is far more common to have an underlying cause such as seborrheic dermatitis, which is due to proliferation of a yeast known as malassezia furfur in an individual with excess production of oil. It is also more common in tropical and humid climates such as Singapore, as such climates encourage this yeast to grow. Otherwise, malassezia is an ordinary inhabitant of one’s skin and scalp.

Under normal conditions, it does not cause any issues. However, under humid and sweaty environments, this yeast can proliferate to cause scalp inflammation and flaking. If you have scalp flaking which does not respond to over the counter anti-dandruff shampoos, usually contain zinc pyrithione as an antifungal agent, promptly seek the care of an accredited dermatologist rather than self medicate or DIY.

Other causes of scalp inflammation would be scalp eczema due to excessively dry scalp/skin conditions, scalp psoriasis which may be the case especially if one has a family history of psoriasis or rashes on one’s body. If you have been in contact with a ringworm infected cat or dog, do have your scalp and skin checked by a dermatologist as these infections are contagious. They could also cause a form of scalp inflammation presenting as a red, scaly and itchy patches with hair loss.

The CUTISCOOL Hair Cap has specifically engineered thermal and cold therapy capacities that allows comfortable home use of effective heat treatment for sensitive scalps. When heated, it can increase absorption of cosmeceuticals. When chilled, the Hair Cap has an anti-inflammatory effect on the scalp.

Is my sensitive scalp causing hair loss?

Most cases of scalp inflammation due to eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, scalp folliculitis or psoriasis should not cause hair loss. However, severe inflammation can push the hair growth cycle into a stage of telogen effluvium which is when hair reaches the end of its cycle and falls out, similar to hair loss that occurs after a major illness or post-pregnancy. In addition, if one picks and peels off crusted areas over the scalp, this can also cause damage to the hair root and lead to hair loss.

The ORZAT4 InfusionTreatment Comb is impregnated with Sandalore® which has been scientifically proven to stimulate hair regrowth. This comb is designed to stimulate and support vigorous, healthy hair growth when used regularly.

There are other causes of hair loss such as alopecia areata, which is an autoimmune disorder causing one’s immune system to attack hair follicles, leading to hair loss. This usually has no symptoms other than the appearance of round patches of hair loss over one’s scalp. Scarring causes of hair loss include folliculitis decalvans, which is the end-stage of a type of scalp folliculitis, whereby the hair follicles themselves are constantly inflamed and infected. Children may be more susceptible to tinea capitis, which is a fungal scalp infection that can lead to scarring hair loss if untreated.

Copper peptide serum for sensitive scalp hair loss.

The Copper Peptide Hair Regrowth Serum contains copper tripeptide for hair regrowth, root strengthening, and hair shaft thickening.

Scalp Folliculitis

Suspect suffering from a hair inflammatory disorder; scalp folliculitis?
Scalp folliculitis is an inflammatory disorder of the hair follicles in the scalp, also known as “acne necrotica miliaris” or “Proprionibacterium folliculitis”.

It is characterised by small, very itchy pustules on the scalp, often most troublesome on the frontal hairline. Depending on the severity, there may be only a small number or may appear as very numerous lesions. Due to the itch, they are hard to leave alone and overtime often become sore and crusted.

Causes of Scalp Folliculitis

Although the cause of scalp folliculitis is not well understood, it is generally considered to be an inflammatory reaction to components of the hair follicle, particularly the micro-organisms. These include:

●  Bacteria (especially Cutibacterium acnes, but in severe cases, also Staphylococcus aureus)

●  Mites (Demodex folliculorum)

●  Yeasts (Malassezia species)

Treatment for Scalp Folliculitis

Treatment plan includes washing the folliculitis affected scalp with a mild normal shampoo as often as desired. In some cases, antidandruff shampoos containing anti-fungal agents such as ketoconazole or ciclopirox are helpful in mitigating scalp folliculitis. If patients desire, hair conditioner can be used.

Copper peptide shampoo for sensitive scalp

The Copper Peptide Hair Regrowth Shampoo contains Zinc Pyrithione – an anti-fungal and anti-dandruff agent. It is dermatologist-formulated for sensitive scalps and hair loss.

The following medications may be helpful for scalp folliculitis:

●  Topical antibiotics eg fusidic acid gel, clindamycin solution, erythromycin solution

●  Mild topical steroid lotions or creams

●  Oral antihistamines

●  Oral antibiotics, such as the consumption of tetracycline in the long-term

●  Oral isotretinoin, as a long-term, low dose treatment option

Severe Forms of Scalp Folliculitis

One such severe form of scalp folliculitis is acne necrotica. It is also known as “acne varioliformis” or “acne frontalis”. In this condition, first, the larger follicular spots (papules) become inflamed then secondly they tend to develop blackened crusts, finally leaving permanent pox-like scars. It is to be noted that acne necrotica may affect the face, scalp or other areas.

Another rare and severe form of scalp folliculitis, sometimes associated with hidradenitis suppurativa, acne conglobata and spinal arthritis (spondyloarthropathy), is perifolliculitis capitis abscedens et suffodiens. It is also known as “dissecting cellulitis” or folliculitis, or “perifolliculitis capitis”. It rarely occurs in white-skinned individuals, females and children and most often affects black adult men. In this case, large nodules and cysts accompany smaller follicular papules and pustules, from which purulent material can be expressed. Temporary hair loss over the lesions eventually results in permanent scarring and bald patches.

Because dissecting cellulitis is very resistant to treatment, the severity of the condition can be reduced with oral treatment such as isotretinoin, antibiotics, dapsone and injectables such as systemic steroids. If you have been diagnosed with dissecting cellulitis, you will need to be on long term treatment and followup with an accredited dermatologist to prevent scarring.

The Raser™ Hair Regrowth Comb is a multi-functional 5 in 1 comb that incorporates Diode Laser + Radiofrequency+ Red Photon + EMS + Massage with Ozone Sterilization. It is beneficial for hair follicle stimulation, hair regrowth, scalp serum absorption, and increases hair elasticity/anti-frizz/shine.

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Hair Loss Shampoo for the Scalp Microbiome

December 10, 2020

Hair loss (alopecia) can be a major source of distress and is a common problem.

In this article, we’ll go through common causes of hair loss, including facts about the hair cycle, what constitutes a good hair loss shampoo, and all about the scalp microbiome. We will also share an excerpt from Haircare Bible: A Dermatologist’s Tips on Haircare and Hair Loss by Dr. Teo Wan Lin, Dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre

The Hair Cycle

Normal hair grows through a hair cycle that has three stages. The growth phase, or anagen phase, is the longest phase of the hair cycle, with 80 to 90% of the hair on our scalp in this phase. In the next stage called the catagen phase, the hair bulb detaches from the blood supply and is pushed from the scalp. In the last stage, the telogen phase, shedding occurs as the hair is released, leaving behind an empty follicle.

Each hair follicle is independent, going through the cycle at different stages as the other hairs. Hair problems occur when there is a disruption in the hair cycle.

What are the causes of hair loss?

Hair loss can be caused either by an isolated problem or a combination of factors including genetics, chronic medical diseases such as a thyroid problem or underlying anemia (low blood count), poor nutrition, etc.
Chemical treatments performed in hair salons, such as hair dyes, bleaching, perming and rebonding hair, can cause a form of hair loss from breakage of the hair shaft.

In the hospital setting, patients undergoing chemotherapy usually suffer from a form of temporary hair loss, caused by the hair follicles entering into the resting phase whereby they are shed.

Namely, as our hair growth cycle goes through 3 main phases — active growth caused by anagen, transitional growth caused by catagen and inactive growth and shedding caused by telogen — an impact in any of these stages caused by the abovementioned factors can lead to loss in hair density due to less hair on the scalp present in the growth or anagen phase.

Hair loss shampoo

What constitutes a good shampoo?

Caring for one’s hair is just as important as caring for one’s face, but often gets less attention. Understanding what constitutes a good hair loss shampoo is an important part of making sure your hair stays healthy and voluminous.

To help you navigate the world of shampoo products, we introduce you to the basics you need to know.

How should a shampoo function?

A shampoo is a viscous liquid (liquid with texture that tends to be thick). Its primary purpose is cleansing the scalp and hair of dirt, sebum, sweat, dead skin cells and environmental pollutants. It does so by dissolving oil-soluble dirt, which is water-insoluble and hence, cannot be removed by solely rinsing with water. A hair loss shampoo should also remove greasy residues from hair care products such as oils, gels and sprays. The overall effect is that of cleansing to maintain a good hygiene level to reduce the chance of scalp irritation, inflammation and odour.

While most shampoos can accomplish a thorough cleanse, the real challenge lies in removing just enough sebum to allow the hair to be clean without drying it out.

This explains why most shampoo formulations have a secondary function of smoothing the hair’s surface and imparting lustre, smoothness, buoyancy and volume.

Certain types of hair loss shampoos also treat the scalp with medicated ingredients, such as those targeting dandruff, a common scalp disorder caused by a yeast known as Malassezia.

Hair loss shampoo: Copper Peptide Hair regrowth deep cleanse shampoo

The Copper Peptide Hair Regrowth Deep Cleanse Shampoo is formulated for hair loss and sensitive scalps. It has degreasing, soothing, and anti-hairloss effects. It also contains amino acid surfactant for sensitive scalps, zinc pyrithione for anti-dandruff action, and copper peptide for healthy hair growth.

Types of surfactants

A surfactant is often amphiphilic, meaning its molecules contain both lipophilic (oil-attracting) and hydrophilic (water-attracting) parts. The oil-attracting parts bind to sebum while the water-loving sites parts to water. Such a mechanism allows sebum to be removed when in contact with water.

The type of surfactants used in hair loss shampoos is classified according to their hydrophilic polar group. The four common categories of shampoo surfactants are anionics, cationics, non-ionics and amphoterics. Most shampoo formulas rely on two types of surfactants.

The surfactant listed first in a shampoo’s ingredient list denotes the primary cleanser and also the ingredient in the highest concentration. The surfactant listed second is the secondary cleanser; this is often added to offset the weaknesses of the first surfactant.

Anionic surfactants
Anionic surfactants are named for their negatively charged hydrophilic (water-loving) parts. Derived from fatty alcohols, they are good at removing sebum from the scalp. However, excessive cleansing with anionic surfactants leaves the hair harsh, rough, dull, frizzy and prone to tangling. Examples include sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, and ammonium lauryl sulfate.

Cationic surfactants
In contrast to anionic surfactants, cationic surfactants have a positively charged element. Cationic surfactants are poor cleansers and do not lather well. They are also not compatible with anionic surfactants. However, they are excellent at keeping chemically damaged hair soft and manageable. As a result, shampoos for damaged or coloured hair often include cationic surfactants. Examples include long-chain amino esters, ammonioesters, and cetyltrimethylammonium chloride.

Amphoteric surfactants
With both positively and negatively charged groups, amphoteric surfactants foam well and condition the hair. They help with the formation of micellar emulsion, improving the lathering ability of the shampoo, resulting in a thick liquid which is efficient to use. In addition, they do not cause stinging in the eyes and are gentle on the skin/scalp barrier, making them ideal for mild shampoos. Examples are cocamidopropyl betaine, sulfonate betaine, amphoteric acetate/diacetate.

Nonionic surfactants
Nonionic surfactants do not have a charged group and hence are compatible with any surfactant. Nonionic surfactants are the mildest type of surfactant. Such surfactants are often used in baby shampoos. Examples are fatty alcohol ethoxylates, cocamide MEA, sorbitan ether esters, and alkyl polyglucosides.

The Scalp Microbiome

The scalp is one of the thickest parts of the skin on the body, with on average about 100,000 hairs growing on it at a given time. It high production of vitamin-rich sebum (oil) and an unusually humid environment, which gives rise to microbes and microorganisms that aren’t found on any other part of the body. 

The scalp microbiome is the balance of healthy microorganisms that work together and contribute to our scalp health. Just like our skin microbiome, if the delicate microbiome is thrown off balance, skin conditions can develop, causing symptoms of flaking, itching, and irritation.

Keeping the scalp microbiome health: Shampoo 

Research has shown that zinc pyrithione medicated shampoo is a safe and effective way to treat dandruff. By fighting off Malassezia, it is a beneficial way to restore the health of your scalp microbiome. 

The Copper Peptide Deep Cleanse Shampoo contains amino acid surfactant for gentle cleansing of sensitive scalps,  zinc pyrithione that has anti-dandruff properties, and copper peptide that helps to promote healthy hair growth.

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Home Hair Treatments for Damaged Hair

December 1, 2020

Does your hair get easily tangled? Is your hair frizzy? Is the texture of your hair rough? Does your hair break when you comb? If you answered yes to any of these questions, your hair may be showing signs of damage.

In this article, we’ll walk through home hair treatments for damaged hair, the botanical ingredients you should look out for, and the science behind how it can benefit your hair shaft. We’ll also include excerpts from Haircare Bible: A Dermatologist’s Tips on Haircare and Hair Loss by Dr. Teo Wan Lin, dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre.

What is hair elasticity and how is it measured?

Hair elasticity is measured by how much the hair will stretch before it returns to a normal state. Healthy hair, when wet stretches up to 50% of its original length and returns to its normal shape without breaking. Dry hair will stretch about 20%.

How to test your hair elasticity:

After you wash your hair, try these steps to check your hair elasticity:

  • Take a strand of hair, hold it at mid-length or at the roots (this will prevent pulling at the root), and gently stretch the strand of hair.

After a gentle tug, if the hair doesn’t fall back into shape or if it breaks, hair elasticity is low.

What can be used to increase hair elasticity?

Protein and oils can be incorporated into the hair shaft

What are proteins? Why are they important for healthy hair?

Proteins are large molecules consisting of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, that our body’s cells need to function properly.

Amino acids play an integral role in the body’s processes for healthy skin and hair. Amino acid proteins are necessary for the strong and resilient growth of the hair shaft — reducing the incidence of breakage due to brittleness. It can also increase hair shine and elasticity, and features prominently in thick, healthy shiny virgin hair.

Hair Mask bar as home hair treatments for damaged hair

The 360° Conscious Mask Bar for Hair is developed with a focus on environmentally conscious, science-backed botanical ingredients for a deep-conditioning home hair spa treatment. 

Why are topical formulations of proteins important and how do you get amino acids into your hair?

Proteins like keratin and collagen are too large to be directly used on the hair shaft for a beneficial effect. They need to be broken down via a process performed in the laboratory, known as hydrolysis in order to be absorbed by hair.

What is hydrolysis and how does it affect the ability of proteins to be absorbed by the hair shaft?

Hydrolysis is a chemical reaction involving reactants that will create at least two products via a decomposition reaction. “Hydro” is derived from water — hydrolysis means a reaction with water. The hydrolysis process means this – a larger molecule is split into two or more parts by the addition of a water molecule.

Large proteins are too large and bulky to be absorbed by the hair. What Hydrolysis does is that it allows the hair shaft, which is made of keratin material to readily “absorb” and hang on to proteins by breaking them to smaller molecules.”

What are the types of proteins that can benefit the hair shaft in home hair treatments?

Wheat, Silk, Milk, Soy, Keratin, and Collagen proteins. The hydrolysed state of these proteins have all been proven to directly penetrate the hair shaft and repair it.

How do these proteins work to help heal the hair shaft?

Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
Hydrolysed wheat proteins are considered reparative and conditioning agents for the hair due to the active peptides that are present. While it does not prevent hair loss, wheat proteins work to bring existing hair follicles to optimal health. It functions primarily by the following methods:  First of all it moisturises the hair cuticle, the part of the hair that is responsible for keeping the hair smooth and shiny looking. In addition, it forms a coating around the hair shaft hence easily doubling the volume of the hair shaft, consequently working as a hair shaft volumiser. Finally, it helps to seal up the cuticle and functions as a smoothener to enhance hair shine in home hair treatments.

Place LipiShine, LipiSilk serums and Gel Cap in Mask Bar on “HOT” 30 min for the hot oil treatment. Apply the serum on the hair shaft, and wear the Gel Cap for 5 minutes. Rinse off thoroughly with cool water. Repeat this home hair treatment monthly.

Hydrolyzed Silk Protein
Silk is one of the strongest natural fibers in the world. It offers crystalline protection, ensuring hair elasticity and resiliency against breakage. At the same time, hydrolyzed silk protein acts as a barrier to improve shine by guarding the hair against moisture loss.

Hydrolyzed Milk Protein
A perfect fix for dry, limp and tangled hair. Hair tangles are more common when there is cuticle damage. Smooth, closed cuticles are less likely to encounter snags which are the primary cause of tangles and knots. Hydrolysed milk protein acts as an effective cuticle moisturizer ensuring detangled, well-nourished locks.

Hydrolyzed Soy Protein
Derived from the soybean plant, hydrolyzed soy protein is water soluble and can strengthen hair while repairing the shaft. It increases the natural ability of hair to retain moisture while adding shine and smoothness. Soy protein also functions as a humectant to trap moisture under the hair cuticle in home hair treatments.

Hydrolyzed Keratin Protein
Keratin is a fibrous protein that makes up the structure of our hair and is part of the natural protective layer of hair. It renders strength and returns elasticity to hair strands. As a protective barrier, it greatly reduces damages to the hair from harsh chemicals.

Hydrolyzed Collagen Protein
Sourced from bovine bone and cartilage, this protein temporarily bonds to the hair and increases its resistance to breakage under tension.

Hair Mask Vial bundle for at home hair treatment of damaged hair

The Hair Mask Vial Bundles includes 3 customized masque applicators that thicken the hair shaft after each treatment. It includes the Keratin Hair Mask for hair strengthening, the Milk Hair Mask for hair softening, and the Silk Hair Mask for smoothing frizzy hair.

Plant oils and its benefits for hair

Plant oils have been known for centuries to help improve hair conditions in home hair treatments. Bioactive substances in plant oils have functional properties such as moisturizing, conditioning, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. These substances are mainly found in the non-saponifiable (non-soaping forming) lipid (NSL) of plant oils. The effectiveness of plant oils are significantly reduced after undergoing chemical refinement methods in manufacturing but are still widely used and purported to be effective in many cosmetic hair care products.

The LipiSilk™ Serum is enriched with Linoleic acid for deep repair of hair shaft and purified seed oil of Hippophae rhanoides (Sea Buckthorn Oil). It coats and penetrates hair cuticles to repair hair damage and reduce breakage.

Synthetic Sandalwood found to stimulate hair growth in studies

The interesting finding of synthetic sandalwood stimulating human hair growth was first published in the prestigious journal Nature in 2016, as it appears to bind to the scalp’s olfactory (sense of smell) receptors. This did not occur with the actual sandalwood extract, rather the synthetic version made under trade name Sandalore.

This has implications in the realm of hair cosmeceuticals for hair regrowth. Firstly, is it viable to apply this as an oil directly to the scalp? There is a single commercially available preparation at the time of publication of this book, marketed as a hair growth tonic. While this is promising, there needs to be further clinical studies performed on the safety and efficacy of a topically applied synthetic oil directly on the scalp in home hair treatments.

Based on this study, my team and I have developed an alternative method of impregnating the fully porous natural material of a wooden comb with Sandalore, as a means of exposing the oil to the scalp receptors without direct contact with the scalp. I deem this a safer method of application in the absence of clinical studies, and will be looking towards a controlled study of such an intervention.

The ORZAT4 Infusion Treatment Comb is impregnated with Sandalore® which has been scientifically proven to stimulate hair regrowth in home hair treatments.

Excessive Hair Fall – 5 Alluring Myths Dermatologist-Debunked

August 7, 2020

In this article, we shall dispel some common myths about excessive hair fall or hair loss. Below, we use an excerpt from the Haircare Bible which talks about the common misconceptions about hair fall. Stay tuned for more in this series.

Excessive Hair Fall Haircare Bible Dermatologist's Tips
Haircare Bible – Dermatologist’s Tips on Haircare and Hair Loss 

Dr. Teo Wan Lin is one of Singapore’s prominent dermatologists and is also an expert in cosmeceutical research and development, having written the Skincare Bible – Dermatologist Tips for Cosmeceutical Skincare. She is the founder of Dr.TWL Dermaceuticals, one of the top dermatologist-formulated cosmeceutical skincare and haircare lines in Asia. As an expert in cosmeceutical formulation and with her background in dermatological research, Dr. Teo is widely consulted as an expert medical and cosmetic dermatologist for various media collaborations.

Dr. Teo’s second book, the Haircare Bible is catered to both beauty aficionados as well as sufferers of hair conditions such as hair loss, sensitive scalp, and dandruff for tips on home hair and scalp care. Chemists who seek to understand the perspective of a dermatologist in haircare formulas and individuals with an interest in hair care formulations will also find this a thorough and helpful read. Hair cosmeceuticals – for both the scalp and hair shaft, as well as best grooming practices are shared in a friendly FAQ format. 

Myth #1: I have just moved to a different country and I think my hair loss started only after that. I suspect it is the water that I use to shampoo my hair with!

Potable water compliant with international guidelines for drinking water will not influence hair growth. It is sometimes a red herring, as a major move to a different country can cause a certain amount of mental and emotional stress, which will manifest 2-3 months after the move, as a form of hair loss known as telogen effluvium. It could also be the change in the climate, for example from a temperate climate to tropical weather, which causes the scalp to get inflamed. A common scenario is a flare-up of the condition seborrheic dermatitis, known to laypersons as dandruff. Seborrheic dermatitis is worsened by humid weather and can cause some hair shedding to occur as it triggers off scalp inflammation.

Myth #2: I just changed my shampoo before having excessive hair fall, could this be the culprit?

The answer is no, there is usually no impact of change in shampoo on hair fall. However, if you suffer from dandruff, start to use an over the counter anti-dandruff shampoo containing active ingredients such as selenium sulfide, zinc pyrithone and salicylic acid, your condition should improve.

Myth #3: Since developing hair loss, I switched to organic mild shampoo, that should help?

There is no such thing as organic shampoo, by way of classification via the FDA or Singapore’s HSA. Organic refers to food produce grown without pesticides, and as shampoo is not ingested, it does not apply. The key features of an effective shampoo is to be able to perform the following functions: removing oil, dirt and hair products from the scalp and hair shaft and be gentle enough on the scalp so as not to trigger off dryness and sensitivity.

Lastly, it should contain active ingredients that can help stimulate hair growth, such as a copper peptide. The differences between the lathering abilities of different types of shampoos can be traced back to the type of surfactant used. Specifically, a shampoo that lathers strongly is likely to be high in laureth sulfates, and this can cause scalp dryness as well.

Myth #4: Can I see a trichologist or an aesthetic doctor instead of a dermatologist for my hair loss?

Excessive hair fall can be indicative of medical conditions such as autoimmune disease, thyroid or anemia — these can be serious health conditions if ignored. A trichologist is not legally recognized as a medical practitioner, neither can they be held accountable in any way for your health.

Aesthetic doctors are general practitioners with a medical license. They are not specialists in skin hair or scalp as recognized by the governing medical bodies. Only accredited dermatologists (check your doctor’s license at your local Ministry of Health or board accreditation facility – it should explicitly state specialist qualifications) are legally recognized as the correct specialist to treat your scalp and hair problem.

Myth #5: Do herbal scalp treatments for unclogging scalp pores work?

Here’s the dealbreaker, those machines used by trichologists to scan your scalp? These are all marketing gimmicks and are not used in dermatologists’ offices as they offer no clue to the diagnosis. When the clinical examination is insufficient, dermatologists will order scalp biopsies to rule out rare causes of hair loss which are scarring, such as frontal fibrosing alopecia.

The scalp does not have “clogged pores” per se. If you notice bumps on your scalp, this is not a sign of clogging. It is an inflammatory condition known as scalp folliculitis, which can be due to bacteria or a yeast infection. These will not respond to herbal or deep cleansing treatments and will require oral medication in combination with a medicated shampoo for effective treatment.

Treatment – What can I do to prevent excessive hair fall?

If you are in the early to moderate stages of hair loss and thinning, or have a family history of hair loss, get started on a home-based hair diode laser/radiofrequency device such as the Raser™ Hair Comb.

How does laser light therapy prevent excessive hair fall?

The Raser™ Hair Comb diode laser treatments work through the process of photobiostimulation, delivering low-level laser light to your hair follicles. This helps to activate them for stronger hair growth. In addition, the boost of nourishing light energizes hair follicles at a cellular level to stimulate growth factors.

As a result, it becomes possible to reverse hair thinning, and restore your hair’s natural growth cycle. This will help your hair grow fuller, denser, longer, and stronger. Laser light therapy is recommended by dermatologists to their patients with hereditary hair loss. The comb is also FDA Approved for laser device usage in the fields of dermatology and hair restoration. 

What is a radiofrequency device?

Radiofrequency devices are used on the scalp to produce the rejuvenating effect of the wound healing process. Hair follicles undergo the same process of wound healing in order to stimulate hair growth. Hence, using radio frequency technology can help in treatment of hair loss. This is especially relevant for hair loss due to genetic causes such as female pattern and male pattern hair loss. This strengthens the hair follicles, preventing excessive hair fall and promoting hair growth. 

The  Raser Hair Regrowth Comb is most effective for people in early to moderate stages of hair loss and thinning. This comb is a multi-functional 5 in 1 comb, encompassing diode laser, radiofrequency, red photon, electric muscle stimulation, and massage with ozone sterilization. These functions are helpful in the prevention of excessive hair fall as it addresses the causes of hair loss holistically and stimulates the hair follicle via 4 main modalities – Laser diodes, radiofrequency, red photon light therapy as well as scalp massage which stimulate blood flow to the hair follicles. The teeth and shape of the Raser™ Hair Regrowth Comb help to separate the hair parting to efficiently deliver light energy to scalp follicles for optimal results.

Overall, light therapy/radiofrequency devices are recommended as part of comprehensive hair loss treatment. The Raser™ Hair Regrowth Comb, in particular, stimulates hair follicles, enhances absorption of hair growth serums by the scalp, restores hair elasticity, and add shine to the hair shaft with anti-frizz features.

© 2020 TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre. All rights reserved.

Use of Safflower Oil in Hair Growth Treatment

December 24, 2019
Dr.TWL Phytolipids Hair Repair Series -LipiSilk™Intensive Hair Treatment Serum [Damaged, Chemically-Treated, Split Ends] INGREDIENTS – Linoleic acid [Hair Shaft Deep Repair] Vitamin E [Bioactive Anti-Oxidant] Purified seed oil of Hippophae rhanoides (Sea Buckthorn Oil)
Dr.TWL Phytolipids Hair Repair Series -LipiShine™Intensive Hair Treatment Serum [Restores Hair Shine, UV-protective] INGREDIENTS – Oleic acid [Cuticle Softener] Linoleic acid [Smoothener] Purified seed oil of ethanolic extract of Carthamus tinctorius
Dr.TWL Phytolipids Hair Repair Series -LipiGro™Intensive Hair Treatment Serum [All Types of Hair Loss, Male & Female Pattern Hair Loss, Androgenetic Alopecia] INGREDIENTS – 5a-reductase inhibitor [Reverse Hormonal Hair Loss] Growth Stimulant [Bioactive Anti-Oxidant] Purified seed oil of ethanolic extract of Carthamus tinctorius

Since ancient times, plant extracts have been widely used for hair growth promotion in the traditional Ayurveda, Chinese and Unani systems of medicine. One of the most potent sources of these plant extracts would be the oil extract of safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.).

Historically, safflower has mainly been used in traditional medicine to treat different medical conditions and as dyes for flavouring and colouring in Italian, French and British cuisines.

Interesting fact? Safflower seeds and garlands have also constantly made their appearance in the presence of mummies across ancient Egypt. In the treatment of skin conditions, safflower can be used to treat skin patches and baldness based on Iranian traditional medicine

Use of safflower oil in the prevention and treatment of hair loss

In a 2011 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology by Naphatsorn Kumar, the mechanisms involved and the effectiveness of hair loss treatment using plants were examined by determining the relationship between the activities of the 5α-reductase enzyme inhibition and hair growth promoting activities. When tested for 5α-reductase inhibition using enzymes from rat livers and hair growth promoting activity in mice, safflower extract was found to be the most potent inhibitor of the enzyme and the strongest hair growth promoter among 17 Thai plants traditionally used for hair treatment.

“Our team worked on this basis to incorporate Safflower Oil into our existing haircare and scalp care routine to stimulate hair follicles and also to heal the hair shaft.” Accredited Dermatologist, Dr. Teo Wan Lin

How does safflower oil promote hair growth and fight hair loss?

Safflower florets have traditionally been used for hair growth promotion. In the study by Naphatsorn Kumar, the potential of safflower extract on hair growth was examined both in vitro and in vivo. 

It was found that safflower oil encourages hair growth by promoting the proliferation of both dermal papilla cells and HaCaT and by stimulating hair growth-promoting genes such as the vascular endothelial growth factor and keratinocyte growth factor. At the same time, it suppresses the expression of the hair loss-related gene, the transforming growth factor‐β1. As a result, the treatment of hair using safflower extract significantly increased the length of cultured hair follicles and stimulated the growth of hair.

Are there any side effects?

There are no known side effects except for allergic contact dermatitis which is extremely rare

How can it be incorporated in your haircare regimen?

The LipiShine™Intensive Hair Treatment Serum is made with the purified seed oil of ethanolic extract of Carthamus tinctorius. It is recommended for use on the hair ends as well as on the scalp.

Dr. Teo Wan Lin is an accredited dermatologist by the Ministry of Health specialising in diseases of the skin, hair and scalp. Book an appointment for your hair and scalp concern here

Hair Loss Expert Tips from a Singapore Dermatologist

January 19, 2018
Hair Loss tips from Singapore Dermatologist
Hair loss (alopecia) can be a major source of distress and is a common problem.

Is my hair loss normal?

We may experience changes to our hair such as hair loss or thinning as we age, so be sure to distinguish the difference between normal changes and alopecia. 100-150 hair strands lost in a day is normal and they usually show up when you brush your comb through or after washing your hair.

Bald patches on your scalp or more than 150 strands a day can be classified as abnormal hair loss.

The hair cycle

Normal hair grows through a hair cycle that has three stages. The growth phase, or the anagen phase, is the longest phase of the hair cycle, with 80 to 90% of the hair on our scalp in this phase. In the next stage called the catagen phase, the hair bulb detaches from the blood supply and is pushed from the scalp. In the last stage, the telogen phase, shedding occurs as the hair is released, leaving behind an empty follicle.

Each hair follicle is independent, going through the cycle at different stages as the other hairs. Hair problems occur when there is a disruption in the hair cycle.

How do I diagnose alopecia?

According to Dr Teo Wan Lin, accredited dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin and Laser Centre, she says: “There are two major forms of hair loss – scarring or non-scarring alopecia. If follicular orifices are absent on the scalp, and the underlying scalp has a shiny white color, the hair loss is scarring. Follicular orifice is the opening of a hair follicle on the surface of the skin. If follicular orifices are present, it is a form of non-scarring alopecia.”

Non-scarring hair loss is the loss of hair without any presence of scarring in the scalp. Scarring alopecia leaves scar tissues on the scalp and may show signs of inflammation, redness or swelling.

Another common type of hair fall problem is androgenetic alopecia, or female/male pattern hair loss. Patients with androgenetic alopecia have high levels of androgen, a type of steroid hormone. Effects of androgen include miniaturisation of hair follicles by increasing the rate of cell division, shortening the hair cycle and increasing the duration of the telogen phase.

How can I treat my hair loss problem?

A multifaceted approach is recommended, as there are likely to be multiple factors that cause your hair condition.

For topical agents, either a minoxidil solution or ketoconazole shampoo can counter female/male pattern hair loss. Oral ketoconazole has anti-androgen effects, while topical ketoconazole can suppress androgen activity. Minoxidil shortens the telogen phase, and increases the duration of growth phase.

Low-level light treatments, in combination with active ingredients such as minoxidil and copper peptide can encourage hair growth by triggering inactive follicles or increasing blood flow to follicles.

Any tips on hair loss problems?

Avoid combing your hair when it is wet, as wet hair is most subject to trauma. Hair should only be combed when mostly dried with a wide-toothed comb. Also, the less that is done to thinning hair, the better. Stay away from bleaching, rebonding or perming your hair to reduce damage done.

Shampoo your hair and scalp daily, and do dry your hair thoroughly as the humid tropical climate in Singapore makes the scalp a perfect breeding ground for microbes such as yeast. Yeast is naturally found on human skin, but excessive proliferation can cause dandruff and worsening of hair loss conditions. Use a shampoo containing fungistatic and bacteriostatic bioactive ingredients such as Zinc Pyrithione to impede the growth of microbes. The Deep Cleanse Shampoo is infused Zinc Pyrithione to arrest the proliferation of fungi and bacteria, whilst also containing Copper Peptide to stimulate healthy hair growth.

Accredited dermatologists specialize in treating scalp and hair problems. Do head to your dermatologist should the hair condition deteriorate and for comprehensive management of any hair loss issues.

A Dermatologist’s Best Guide to Dandruff and Sensitive Scalp – 3 explanations for Your Hair Loss

October 5, 2017

In the third instalment of my series on dealing with hair loss in Singapore as a dermatologist, I’m going to discuss dandruff and scalp sensitivity. This is one of the commonest scalp complaints that my patients have in conjunction with hair loss symptoms and leaves many of them wondering if it is the cause of their hair loss problem.

1. What is dandruff and what causes it?

Flaking on the scalp and white scales found on one’s clothes are one of the first symptoms of dandruff. This is lay speak for any form of scalp inflammation that causes the cell turnover rate on the scalp to increase abnormally. Dead skin cells, which are rapidly shed from the cell turnover, in turn constitute the white scales observed as the primary symptom of dandruff. There are several medical conditions that can result in this, the commonest being the following: scalp psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis and scalp eczema.

2. Do I have a sensitive scalp or is it a symptom of another condition?

Do you have itch, redness or pain on your scalp? You may have an undiagnosed inflammatory scalp disease. Scalp “sensitivity” without any underlying scalp condition is a very rare condition attributed to abnormal nerve sensations known as scalp dysaesthesia. It is far more common to have an underlying cause such as seborrheic dermatitis, which is due to proliferation of a yeast known as malessezia furfur in an individual with excess production of oil. It is also commoner in tropical and humid climates such as Singapore, as it encourages this yeast to grow.

Sensitive Scalp Inflammation Dandruff Dermatologist Singapore

Otherwise, malessezia is an inhabitant of one’s skin and scalp. Under normal conditions, it does not cause any issues. However, under humid and sweaty environments, this yeast can proliferate to cause scalp inflammation and flaking. Dandruff is observed as a result. If you have scalp flaking which does not respond to over the counter anti-dandruff shampoos, such as those containing zinc pyrithone which is anti-fungal, promptly seek the care of an accredited dermatologist rather than self medicate or DIY.

Other causes of scalp inflammation would be scalp eczema, which is due to an excessively dry scalp/skin condition. For example, scalp psoriasis, which may be the case especially if one has a family history of psoriasis or rashes on the body. If you have been in contact with a ringworm infected cat or dog, also do have your scalp and skin checked by a dermatologist as these infections are contagious and could also cause a form of scalp inflammation presenting as a red, scaly and itchy patch with hair loss.

3. Is my sensitive scalp and dandruff causing hair loss?

Most cases of scalp inflammation due to eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, scalp folliculitis or psoriasis should not cause hair loss. However severe inflammation can push the hair growth cycle into a stage of telogen effluvium which is when hair reaches the end of its cycle and falls out, similar to hair loss that occurs after a major illness or post-pregnancy. In addition, if one picks and peels off crusted areas over the scalp this can also cause damage to the hair root and lead to hair loss.

There are other causes of hair loss such as alopecia areata, which is an autoimmune disorder causing one’s immune system to attack hair follicles, leading to hair loss. This usually has no symptoms other than the appearance of round patches of hair loss over one’s scalp. Scarring causes of hair loss include folliculitis decalvans, which is the end-stage of a type of scalp folliculitis, whereby the hair follicles themselves are constantly inflammed and infected. Children may be more susceptible to tinea capitis, which is a fungal scalp infection that can lead to scarring hair loss if untreated.

© 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). These work synergistically with her proprietary line of specialist dermatologist grade cosmeceuticals, Dr.TWL Dermaceuticals, which include sensitive scalp and hair loss treatments.

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.

Best 3 Helpful 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

Hair Loss Treatments by Singapore Dermatologist

One of my patients who came to my clinic for hair loss treatments 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 treatments?

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, centres specialising in anti hair loss treatments, 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. Do hair loss treatments actually work?

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.

See A Specialist Dermatologist Hair Loss Treatments.jpg

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 hair loss treatments.

© 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.