Are you losing more than 100 hairs a day?


So when you see those strands covering your pillow, gathering in your shower or falling across your desk you start to worry. Why am I losing my hair? Am I going bald? For men and women alike, hair loss can lead to anxiety and depression – after all a full head of healthy hair is important to one's self-image. Dr Adolf Klenk, one of the foremost experts on hair research, explained to Health24 the significant difference in hair loss between women and men.

'But both genders unfold a quite similar mechanism around the issue of hair loss'

Androgenetic hair loss

"There is a typical difference in the pattern of the thinning hair. Among females it usually starts  in the centre part of the scalp and spreads in a diffuse pattern to the lateral areas. Men, however, start with a receding hairline and end with a complete bald upper head," he said.

Another difference is the age when the increase of hair loss usually starts.

"Men start puberty at the age of sixteen and women start typical androgenetic hair loss with menopause. Of course young women have also a certain risk of hair loss. Stress, strict diets, imbalanced food can also have a serious negative impact on healthy hair growth.

"But both genders unfold a quite similar mechanism around the issue of hair loss. In both genders it is genetically predisposed. Both can forecast their individual concern by family history."

Klenk said a survey, which was conducted on women over 30 by an independent research company, found that the majority of women polled (69%) believe healthy hair plays a big part in their self-image, while 55% said healthy hair builds self-confidence and attracts attention from the opposite sex.

Women who lose more than 100 single hairs a day may be suffering from stress related or menopausal hair loss.

"The hair root is a very energy consuming organ. Therefore a single hair fibre typically can't grow lifelong," Klenk pointed out.

Several challenges for the hair root

He said after a continuous growth period of about 5-7 years, the hair root terminates its growth period and undergoes a recovery of several months.

"In this recovery period the hair fibre will be shed off. That's normal and there is no risk of hair thinning. However due to this sensitivity there are many reasons to force the hair root into a premature recovery period. As a consequence, the daily count of hair loss can rise dramatically."

Klenk noted that there are several challenges for the hair root.

"At first there is the hereditary postmenopausal hair thinning. From the onset of menopause the natural protection by oestrogens decreases and the impact of testosterone (also present in females) rises. During menopause women are suffering from similar kind of hair loss as men do from puberty."

He said another serious challenge is stress. "Hair roots are very sensitive to stress periods. Another kind of stress are strong diets or imbalanced diets. Women who undergo strong reduction diets experience a remarkable increase of hair loss. Lack of important trace elements such as zinc might be a result of imbalanced food or malabsorption of trace elements." Klenk, who said various studies have proved caffeine to be highly effective in stemming hair loss, has developed a range of caffeine-based products for hair loss in women called Plantur 39 and Alpecin for men. "It took some years to develop a suitable formula for caffeine. Today we have a lot of clinical studies which gave us proof of its successful use against hair loss. We also know a lot about the working mechanism of caffeine. And finally the very gentle formulas to supply the hair root with caffeine are the key of the shampoo's success. I'm convinced that in South Africans will appreciate the Alpecin and Plantur series, as the Germans have been doing for the last 12 years."

'It's a huge stress, fearing one's loss of attractiveness'

The caffeine complex of Plantur 39 is designed for the most common type of female androgenetic hair loss, said Klenk. "Its shampoo formula is very gentle to the scalp and improves its condition as well as improving the condition of the hair for good combing, strength and a lot of volume."

Klenk said young men are highly concerned about early balding. "It's a huge stress, fearing one's loss of attractiveness."

It's very easy for a man to check whether he is affected by androgenetic hair loss, he said.

"This hair loss is inherited and a brief look into the family history tells one about individual risk. If parents, uncles, grandparents etc. expressed a pattern of thinning hair, it's high time to prevent and counteract the very first symptoms of weakened hair. The earlier one starts treatment, the better your chance of saving your hair."

The Alpecin and Plantur shampoos are skin and scalp compliant and are recommended for daily use, said Klenk, adding that daily protection of the hair root is key.


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