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Expert Advice, Hints & Tips from the Professionals

Florence Benech
Pharmacist
Director of Vichy Laboratories - Active Cosmetics

HAIR

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Dermatologist’s advice

When should I become concerned about hair loss?

Did you know?
Hair doesn’t grow continuously throughout your lifetime, but rather in successive cycles. Each cycle involves a growth phase, a resting phase and a regression phase before the hair dies, separates from the scalp and falls out.

The average man or woman loses approximately 30 to 80 hairs per day under normal conditions, with seasonal peaks in spring and especially in autumn. Losing over 100 hairs per day for a sustained period is considered excessive.

What to do
It is important to distinguish whether hair is falling out or breaking. If the hairs in your comb are fairly short and lack bulbs, the problem is breakage, not hair loss. To help make your locks more resilient, look for treatments specially designed for your hair type.

If you can run your hand through your hair and come away with more than 10 hairs that have intact bulbs, ask your pharmacist or dermatologist to recommend a hair loss treatment.

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Dermatologist’s advice

What causes hair loss?

Did you know?
Hair loss can be sudden or gradual, and isn’t always hereditary. There can be numerous underlying factors.

Among men, 95% of hair loss can be attributed to androgenetic alopecia – in other words, the root cause is both genetic and hormonal. Also known as “male pattern baldness”, this condition begins developing at puberty, and hair loss is particularly noticeable at the temples and crown of the head.

Androgenetic alopecia is less common in women, and can only be established by means of a hormonal evaluation. Women are also more susceptible to seasonal change (particularly in the autumn) and episodes of hormonal stress (puberty, pregnancy, menopause and so on) that can trigger hair loss.

What to do
As a general rule, avoid any aggressive treatment of the hair, such as extremely hot dryers, hair colour treatments and the like.
Men should take action immediately to avoid premature hair loss – in other words, as soon as hair around the temples begins to thin. Ask a pharmacist or dermatologist to recommend specific treatments. These will be all the more effective if you take action as early as possible.

Women should keep in mind that occasional hair loss due to temporary hormonal fluctuations – during puberty or pregnancy, for instance – tends to resolve itself. If it persists, however, ask your gynaecologist for advice.

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Dermatologist’s advice

How can I keep my hair healthy and looking good?

Did you know?
To look shiny and strong, hair needs to be healthy, both on the surface and deep inside. The outermost layer of the hair shaft is the cuticle, a protective envelope of overlapping cells arranged like tiles on a roof, held together by a “cement” of lipids and proteins. If the cuticle scales are in good condition and perfectly attached to the hair shaft, the hair appears soft and shiny. Inside the hair, the cortex is made up of fibres held together by a lipid–protein mixture. The cortex ensures that hair is strong.


What to do
Generally speaking, avoid repeated exposure to aggressive treatments (colouring, straightening, blow-drying and the like) that can damage the cuticle and the cortex fibres. These can make hair fragile and subject to breakage, causing it to lose its shine and softness. Wash with a gentle cleansing shampoo and gently dry your hair with a towel before using a dryer for as little time as possible. You can also make regular use of restorative treatments to smooth out the cuticle and strengthen your hair.

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Dermatologist’s advice

What’s the best way to treat dandruff?

Did you know?
Dandruff is the result of excessive peeling, or desquamation, of the scalp. Normally, scalp cells are naturally renewed and eliminated in the form of extremely tiny, invisible flakes. However, some factors can cause this process to intensify, with clusters of dead cells then forming two types of dandruff. Dry dandruff, which is small and fine, detaches and falls. Greasy dandruff, which has coarser and larger flakes, tends to stay in the hair and on the scalp.

What to do on a daily basis
Regardless of the extent of your dandruff, you should avoid using overly strong hair care products and washing or drying your hair at too high a temperature. Anti-dandruff shampoo developed for each type of dandruff will help eliminate the problem. You can also ask your dermatologist to make a specific diagnosis and help you find treatments that work.

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Dermatologist’s advice

What can be done about an itchy scalp?

Did you know?
Itching of the scalp can be attributed to a variety of causes, including nervousness, stress, dry skin, etc. In some cases, it can even be triggered by a disruption in the skin’s natural flora. Normally, the surface of the scalp provides a natural home for these micro-organisms, a sort of “local ecosystem”. When one of these micro-organisms develops more quickly and becomes predominant, the ecosystem is thrown out of kilter and itching can result. In addition, certain factors (humidity, overuse of gels, dietary imbalance, etc.) can allow the proliferation of Pityrosporum ovale, a type of fungus that irritates the scalp, causes itching and can result in the formation of dandruff.


What to do on a daily basis
To maintain the scalp’s ecological balance, it is essential to avoid overly harsh hair care treatments. Choose gentle shampoos, don’t keep wet hair under a towel or hat for too long, and use hair products only on the hair itself, not the scalp. With kind and gentle care, your scalp’s natural balance will be restored. If itching continues, however, ask your dermatologist to determine the cause.

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Dermatologist’s advice

What causes hair loss?

Did you know?
Hair loss can be sudden or gradual, and isn’t always hereditary. There can be numerous underlying factors.

Among men, 95% of hair loss can be attributed to androgenetic alopecia – in other words, the root cause is both genetic and hormonal. Also known as “male pattern baldness”, this condition begins developing at puberty, and hair loss is particularly noticeable at the temples and crown of the head.

Androgenetic alopecia is less common in women, and can only be established by means of a hormonal evaluation. Women are also more susceptible to seasonal change (particularly in the autumn) and episodes of hormonal stress (puberty, pregnancy, menopause and so on) that can trigger hair loss.

What to do
As a general rule, avoid any aggressive treatment of the hair, such as extremely hot dryers, hair colour treatments and the like.
Men should take action immediately to avoid premature hair loss – in other words, as soon as hair around the temples begins to thin. Ask a pharmacist or dermatologist to recommend specific treatments. These will be all the more effective if you take action as early as possible.

Women should keep in mind that occasional hair loss due to temporary hormonal fluctuations – during puberty or pregnancy, for instance – tends to resolve itself. If it persists, however, ask your gynaecologist for advice.

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Dermatologist’s advice

What’s the best way to treat dandruff?

Did you know?
Dandruff is the result of excessive peeling, or desquamation, of the scalp. Normally, scalp cells are naturally renewed and eliminated in the form of extremely tiny, invisible flakes. However, some factors can cause this process to intensify, with clusters of dead cells then forming two types of dandruff. Dry dandruff, which is small and fine, detaches and falls. Greasy dandruff, which has coarser and larger flakes, tends to stay in the hair and on the scalp.

What to do on a daily basis
Regardless of the extent of your dandruff, you should avoid using overly strong hair care products and washing or drying your hair at too high a temperature. Anti-dandruff shampoo developed for each type of dandruff will help eliminate the problem. You can also ask your dermatologist to make a specific diagnosis and help you find treatments that work.

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Gynaecologist’s advice

Can taking the pill cause hair loss?

Did you know?

Hair loss is often caused by an iron deficiency, a condition that needs to be diagnosed by your doctor.
Taking a contraceptive pill can give you the impression that your hair is more oily. Discuss the matter with your gynaecologist, who can always prescribe another pill that is less androgenic.

What to do

To maintain healthy hair it is important to take regular care of it, avoiding harsh hair care treatments and always choosing a product that is suitable for your hair type and your particular needs (dandruff, itchy scalp, hair loss, etc.).

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Nutritionist’s advice

Are there specific foods that will make my hair look better?

Did you know?

Any protein sources that are rich in sulphur amino acids (such as seafood, cruciferous vegetables, legumes, meat, milk and egg yolks), along with B-group vitamins and zinc, will help hair grow and look healthy. Conditions like iron deficiency or poor intestinal absorption can result in hair loss, however. If you suffer from these conditions, you’ll need to allow 4 to 6 months for your locks to recover. Dietary deficiencies can be identified via blood tests.

What to do

The best thing you can do to take care of your hair is to eat a well-balanced diet. Don’t shun red meat, because its sulphur amino acids play a role in producing keratin. Supplement your diet with brewer’s yeast, which is rich in vitamins B and E. Eat plenty of fish, vegetables and fruit to benefit from their vitamins and minerals. And drink at least 1.5 litres of water every day.

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Pharmacist’s advice

What shampoo should I choose for my hair?

Did you know?

There are basically three types of hair: normal, dry and oily.
Normal hair is shiny and soft to the touch. It is easy to comb and style.
Dry hair is dull and often fragile or brittle. It lacks sebum, produced by the sebaceous glands, which normally provides a lubricating microfilm that protects the hair. Without sufficient protection, hair loses its softness and elasticity and becomes easily damaged.
Oily hair is the other extreme: excessive sebum production makes it lacklustre, heavy and difficult to style.

What to do

To choose the right shampoo, you need to know your hair type. Ask your pharmacist for advice. You can then be directed to the shampoo that is best for your scalp (normal, oily, dry, sensitive, etc.) and your particular type of hair (dry, fine, thick, etc.).

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Pharmacist’s advice

What shampoo should I choose for my hair?

Did you know?

There are basically three types of hair: normal, dry and oily.
Normal hair is shiny and soft to the touch. It is easy to comb and style.
Dry hair is dull and often fragile or brittle. It lacks sebum, produced by the sebaceous glands, which normally provides a lubricating microfilm that protects the hair. Without sufficient protection, hair loses its softness and elasticity and becomes easily damaged.
Oily hair is the other extreme: excessive sebum production makes it lacklustre, heavy and difficult to style.

What to do

To choose the right shampoo, you need to know your hair type. Ask your pharmacist for advice. You can then be directed to the shampoo that is best for your scalp (normal, oily, dry, sensitive, etc.) and your particular type of hair (dry, fine, thick, etc.).

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Pharmacist’s advice

How often should I wash my hair?

Did you know?

Contrary to common belief, there is no ideal pattern for hair washing – it varies from one person to another. It depends on hair type and also on external factors. In addition, modern living – especially in urban environments that tend to have high levels of pollution – often means that hair is exposed to substances that leave it dull and may also stimulate sebum secretion. As a result, hair may become drier or oilier, depending on the individual.

What to do

First of all, choose a shampoo that is suitable for your type of hair. You can wash your hair daily if you feel the need to do so, but in that case choose a gentle product designed for frequent shampooing.

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Psychologist’s advice

Can the stigma of baldness be overcome by talking about it?

Did you know?

Lush locks are considered by women as a symbol of femininity, while men see having a full head of hair as key to their attractiveness. Both men and women may find their self-esteem affected by even a moderate degree of hair
loss.

What to do

It is important speak to a specialist so that you can analyse the extent of the stigma you might be experiencing as a result of hair loss. A dermatologist can also help diagnose the cause of the hair loss and identify specialised treatments that you can use to try and remedy it.

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