Dr. Dina Strachan is the founder and director of a popular New York City Dermatology practice, using her experience and knowledge to provide entertaining and intriguing talks that advise on health, beauty, cultural issues, technology and personal strength. Hair loss and scalp health is a continued concern for many of her patients and continues to be one of the most popular topics she speaks about at many of her public appearances.
MODERN met with Dr. Dina (as she is known) to learn how her experiences can help salon professionals when advising their own clients. We were joined by François Hourcastagnou, CEO at Ales Group, USA and Romain Alès, Chairman of the Supervisory Board Alès Groupe and Son of Patrick Alès, founder of Alès Group. Dr. Dina is an Ambassador for the Phyto brand, known for botanical hair care, environmental awareness and how plants can be used to reveal hair’s natural beauty.
Dr. Dina responds MODERN's FIVE QUESTIONS in this informative Q and A:
What are some of the most common causes behind hair loss? There are many causes of hair loss. More common types are androgenetic alopecia (aka male or female pattern hair loss), alopecia areata, traction alopecia, telogen effluvium, central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA), and hair breakage from grooming practices. There are several others.
Is hair loss more prevalent among men or women and why? Both men and women experience hair loss. Which gender experiences hair loss more commonly depends on the type. Differences in presentation may be due acceptance as well as to causes of the hair loss which differently affect the genders. For example, although the most common type of hair loss, androgenetic alopecia, reportedly affects men more commonly, it also tends to present more severely and differently in men therefore some women who may have it may not be recognized as having this condition. It is also more acceptable for men. Traction alopecia and CCCA are associated with certain grooming practices more commonly chosen by women. Another type of hair loss, frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA), is more common in post-menopausal woman, and is thought to have a hormonal cause. More recently it has been associated with a history of reaction to facial cosmetics, which again, are more commonly used by women.
What is your approach to hair loss improvement? When it comes to treating hair loss, one of my main goals is to determine the cause. Hair loss isn’t just an issue of vanity—it can be a sign of an underlying medical problem, a deficiency or the side effect of a drug. Some types are caused by behaviors. Also, some types of hair loss can result in the destruction of the hair follicle resulting in permanent damage—so it’s important not to delay the correct diagnosis. Before one goes down the path of trying to treat it’s important to know what is going on. My approach includes getting a history, doing an examination, and then based on that perhaps also doing a scalp biopsy or ordering some blood tests. Of course, healthy grooming practices are important to address and prevent hair loss.
What are the best products to use to address hair loss? In terms of products for people with hair loss, I believe in products that don’t do harm, and that support and restore hair and scalp health. Many people have dry and damaged hair from hair grooming practices, so I often recommend products that repair and hydrate the hair. My go to is Phyto 7. Shampoos should not be too drying. Scalp health, especially preventing inflammation, has become increasingly recognized as important in the hair loss community. Whereas hair damage is many times from shampooing too much, scalp problems often come from styling practices that encourage shampooing too infrequently. Use of products that support scalp health, whatever hair style we choose, seems to be increasingly important with respect to hair loss.
What are the best practices to maintain hair and scalp health? Just like with the rest of our skin, a healthy head of hair and scalp is a beautiful head of hair and scalp. It does not have to be complicated to achieve this. Here are my recommendations: A. If you are experiencing hair loss, or a scalp problem, have a board-certified dermatologist with expertise in hair loss determine why. It might be a medical problem that specifically needs to be addressed. B. Shampoo with a frequency with respect to your hair type. Straighter hair tends to get oiler and is less fragile so it may require, and can tolerate, more frequent shampooing—even daily. Curly or kinky hair tends to be drier and fragile, so daily shampooing is not recommended, however, for scalp health weekly shampooing is recommended. Especially is you shampoo less frequently, using a product to reduce scalp inflammation may be needed. C. Use a daily leave in conditioner to keep hair supple and reduce breakage. This is most important for those with curly, kinky, color treated, or chemically processed hair. D. Deep condition weekly or every other week—especially those with curly, kinky, color treated or chemically processed hair. E. Diet also affects hair and scalp health. Especially make sure to get adequate protein, iron, vitamin D, biotin and zinc in your diet. F. Be gentle with your hair styling. If your high style is too tight, and the heat used in styling is too hot, then you could be causing hair and scalp damage. I don’t agree with Beyonce. When it comes to hair and scalp health, pretty shouldn’t hurt.