The problem: If taken regularly over more than three months, antiinflammatory painkillers can cause extra shedding of the hair and hairthinning in three per cent of cases.
The solution: Try changing to another anti-inflammatory drug. It is a matter of trial and error as to which anti-inflammatories have a lesser effect. Some people can be more susceptible to one type than another.
The problem: Antibiotics are known to reduce haemoglobin and also lower vitamin B levels, sometimes making hair fall out faster. The illness being treated can also be the cause of hair loss.
The solution: Take vitamin B supplements when on antibiotics.
The problem: Many androgenic oral contraceptives (containing male hormones) can lessen hair.
The solution: There are some brands of oral contraceptive pills that are anti-androgens and help hair growth, including Dianette, Marvelon, Mercilon and Cilest.
The problem: Anti-depressants have been linked to extra hair loss. It is not known why the drugs trigger hair loss. In some cases women experience it as a result of extreme stress and depression, so they go on Prozac, which also causes hair loss.
The solution: Only a tiny percentage of people are affected. ‘I would not recommend anyone avoid anti-depressants because of the tiny risk of losing hair,’ says Philip Kingsley.
The problem: Cholesterol inhibitors including Lipitor and Effexor can cause an increase in hair shedding in one per cent of cases.
The normal hair shedding rate for an average person is 100,000 hairs in four years, which is 25,000 hairs a year, 2,000 a month, 500 a week and around 70 a day. Faster shedding rate combined with slower replacement hair results in thinner hair.
The solution: ‘It is normal for hair to fall out seasonally, usually in spring and autumn,’ says Philip Kingsley. Up to six weeks is fine. After that, seek advice. For anyone to notice hair loss they will have had to lose 15 per cent of their hair.
The problem: Almost everyone associates chemotherapy with hair loss. The drugs that kill off the cancer cells also kill the cells in the hair follicle.
Hair will always grow back after chemotherapy. However, it might not grow back the same as it was before treatment – straight hair may grow back curly and vice versa.
The solution: There is no alternative to chemotherapy. Some hair loss is inevitable but you can minimise it by bandaging ice packs around the head before and during treatment. This restricts the flow of chemical therapy around the head.
The problem: As women get older, their hair volume reduces naturally because the hair follicles microscopically shrink and produce smaller hair. Hormone replacement therapy can exacerbate the problem by acting in a similar way to the androgenic pill.
The solution: HRT pills that aren’t androgenic include Premique, Femapak, Femoston, Indivina and Tridestra. These will not cause hair-thinning but should not be used for this reason alone because they may be linked to fluid retention and weight gain.