A Gulf-based expert reveals how to battle hair loss
Hair loss is a common problem facing those living in extreme climates such as Bahrain’s. The most obvious culprit for the changes to your tresses would seem to be desalinated water. Although most desalinated water is soft, our water here is actually hard (which means soap won’t lather properly in it) and it has a high chlorine content. The weather is also an aggravating factor. First up, hot and sweaty conditions mean most of us shampoo our hair everyday, which strips the scalp of its natural oils and causes dehydrated, brittle hair, prone to falling out. Sun, chlorine and air conditioning are also all drying, and heat and humidity can further damage hair health.
Still, the climate and water are not always the problem: Hair loss due to weather or water can take up to three months to show, so if you’ve just moved to the region it’s unlikely to be related to conditions here. Stress and hormonal issues can also be huge factors, so if you’re suffering from serious hair loss, see a doctor to check your thyroid and hormone levels, just in case.
‘I see 12-16 patients a day suffering from hair loss,’ says trichologist Dr Mike Ryan. ‘Male hair loss is generally genetic, but not always. Female hair loss is completely different. There can be as many as 50 different reasons for women to lose their hair.’
Dr Ryan suggests the best thing to do first if you are suffering from hair loss is to make sure you are diagnosed correctly. ‘Get the underlying cause diagnosed properly and don’t just take the advice of a friend that tried a vitamin. There are too many expat websites with incorrect information and ‘‘wonder’’ products, Hair loss can be an indication of an underlying medical condition, such as hyper/hypothyroid, diabetes or polycystic ovary syndrome.
If you are male, generally DHT (the hormone that is the primary contributing factor in male pattern baldness) blockers and laser therapy will help, but with women, the underlying cause must be diagnosed, as hair loss isn’t common.’
Aussie hairstylist and salon owner Kelly Cyndrowski says a very large percentage of her clients suffer from hair loss, and that it’s not a problem that arises only in summer. ‘Most of our hair loss issues occur throughout the entire head but it’s mostly noticeable around the hairline,’ she says. Though she attributes water as one of the causes of hair loss in women, she also has a few other theories for the commonness of hair loss. ‘What people fail to understand is that as much as we love our life here in the Gulf, we also place a lot of pressure on ourselves with work and our busy social lives,’ she says.
‘Another point to consider is that living abroad can be very stressful. We live in a developing region with many different cultures and religions, and this in itself can be very stressful. This can be a major factor in hair falling out prematurely,’ she says.
Even so, Cyndrowski says that everyone in Bahrain should invest in a shower filter. ‘I would suggest that everyone place a water filter on their shower: this will help with the dryness of the hair and stop colour fading so rapidly. It will also help combat hair loss to a small degree.’ But it’s not the only option. ‘I would focus more on a great hair care programme that will help to anchor the hair on the scalp and will also keep the scalp very clean until it becomes a little more stable,’ she says. Many of the island’s salons offer free consultations on hair loss and will give advice and offer solutions. Shower filters can be purchased online at www.h2opureblue.com. They are also available at the recently opened Yara Beauty Lounge at Zawia 1 in Amwaj, which also offers an extensive range of treatments to help with hair loss. Call (16 010 999).