Hair Loss: Shann Christen Talks Hair Health and Happiness
* Disclaimer: Results may vary from person to person
One of the biggest beauty issues clients face is hair thinning and loss. Both men and women struggle with thinning hair, leading to decreased self-esteem and increased anxiety. Celebrity hairstylist and licensed trichologist Shann Christen is an expert when it comes to hair loss. After facing the issue himself, Shann discovered trichology – the scientific study of hair and scalp health – and after 12 years of study, he earned his degree in Trichology from Comunicazione e Tecnina per il Business in Italy. Now, Shann helps his clients successfully combat hair loss and increase the overall health of their strands by focusing on the nutrition of the hair and scalp.
Beauty Launchpad recently caught up with Shann to discuss the common causes of hair loss, how it can be prevented, and what to do once hair loss has already occurred:
Beauty Launchpad: What are the most common causes of hair loss?
Shann Christen: In men – Excessive DHT (male pattern Balding); in women – DHEA (steroid) (female pattern balding)
BL: What are the different types of hair loss?
SC: There are many reasons we lose our hair outside of the two listed above;
- Natural oils (sebum) is at the top of the list! We often mistake the natural oils as being hydrating; this is a false belief and if not cared for, can lead to hair loss. The oils play a minor roll in helping the water that hydrates our hair not to evaporate but plays no part in moisturizing! The natural oils are a hydrolipidic film that collects dirt, debris, toxins, pollution, bacteria, virus and all kinds of free radicals. When we do not properly cleanse the hair of this intoxicated sebum it will eventually impact the scalp and hair into hair loss (easily preventable with proper care).
- Lactic acid – when we sweat from the scalp (humidity, gym, hats, etc.) and allow this sweat to dry without washing, this sweat forms lactic acid. Just as we experience in the body’s muscles after working out, lactic acid appears and corrodes keratin, literally eating away at the fibers of the hair and leading to severe hair loss (easily preventable with proper care).
- Aging – As we age the body needs more and more nutrients to maintain optimal performance. We also know that the body puts the nutrition of the hair last, so as we age the hair receives less and less of the trace elements it needs to actually grow stronger and healthier, like we did in our youth. Aging also creates scalp undulation, aka “tight scalp”, which is a hardening of the scalp’s connective tissue. A tight scalp can strangle the papilla, blocking the hair from receiving what little nutrients and oxygen it can, eventually killing the hair and creating hair loss. (Easily fixed, but requires us to change our belief from hair being dead to the belief that hair is alive, is a part of the human body, and that it needs proper daily care.
- Stress – It may be a hard one to understand, but a large percentage of women who suffer hair loss could link it to a time period of great emotional, physical, or spiritual stress. When we experience stress, our bodies release chemicals, which course through the body, causing severe damage. We now understand that stress leads to not only hair loss but cancer and disease. It is important that we manage the emotional stress, know the limits of our physical situation and make “happiness” a priority (no matter how “simplistic” that may sound).
- Hormones/pregnancy – I group these together because they relate to each other so much. We have hair and skin because of our hormones (DHT type I/DHT type II). However, imbalanced hormones, such as Hyperthyroidism or post-pregnancy can and will lead to hair loss. During pregnancy, hormones favor the life cycle of the hair and extended the life of all hair on the scalp; women experience a type of “thickening” and accelerated growth. But!… after the favorable hormonal situation, ALL the hair affected will experience a massive shed, making up for what did not shed throughout the pregnancy and lactation.
- Medications/Pollution/Sun – Hair, being a part of the “living body,” is affected by all toxins and UV rays. Hair color and chemical services, blow dry, cosmetics, etc. all create weaknesses through the hair and scalp. This vulnerability increases hair loss and breakage.
BL: How does hair loss differ in men and women?
SC: Men suffer hair loss usually form 3 main causes:
- male pattern balding
- lactic acid
- natural oils
Women suffer from many causes, starting with all that effect men, and:
- hormonal imbalance
- scalp unduration
Men tend to wear more hats, take more outdoor jobs where they are exposed to the sun or cause them to sweat, they workout more and so on. Women, although they do suffer from male pattern balding, tend to suffer stress, hormones, and DHEA, more commonly than men. Women color and chemically service their hair, they style using blow dyers and heat irons and wear longer styles than men, so there are many more situations for women to suffer hair loss.
BL: Can hair loss be prevented? If so, how?
SC: The best way to manage and treat hair loss is first through proper diagnosis. Determining the cause of hair loss is crucial to the treatment and recovery. For example: hormonal hair loss – it is important to know if the excess DHT is being caused by testosterone or the DHEA steroid. Women can be effected by both (looking at the fallout pattern will help to determine this). If you are going to have a major surgery, start a medication, or use hormone replacement, it is possible to prepare and protect the scalp to minimize, control or prevent stress damage to the life cycle of the hair. BioMethod is a complete line dedicated to preserving and promoting the life of the hair.
BL: Can thinning hair be reversed once it has begun?
SC: Yes! With treatment and the right support, all “thinning” can be helped. With that being said, there does come a point when hair can not be restored, so timing is important.
BL: What are some of the best ways to manage hair loss once it has started (i.e. preventing future hair loss, concealing thinned hair, etc.)?
SC: Once you identify the true nature of your hair loss, an individualized treatment plan can be started. First we must understand that hair is alive and is a part of the living body, therefore it needs proper health care, it needs nutrients, vitamins and minerals (FOOD), it needs to breathe!! It also needs a healthy environment in which to grow (a healthy and fertile scalp). Maintaining the healthy status of the hair’s life cycle will ensure strong, manageable and shiny hair. Throughout the recovery process it may be helpful to break out a couple of head bands, barrettes or clips to use to style in a way as to conceal a thinning area.
BL: How does BioMethod Hair Systems help treat hair loss?
SC: The BioMethod formulas are designed to combat the causes of hair loss, whether by balancing oil production, removing impurities from the scalp, or helping combat the negative actions of hormonal imbalances. BioMethod formulas are highly advanced at targeting the different hair loss causes. These advanced formulas isolate the active ingredients. Science shows us that when we combine too many active ingredients into one product we lose effectiveness; the formulas become weak and ineffective. By separating the active ingredients, we not only preserve their action but we are able to “power-up” each of them.
For example, the Energisant Pro cleanser contains the same cleansing action as Fortifiant +, but;
Energisant has a “power-up” treating issues of the scalp.
Fortifiant+ has a “power up” treating the issues of the hair.
By breaking free of the concept of one product that does everything, we are able to really treat and regrow hair naturally and effectively.
BL: How can hairstylists help clients suffering from thinning hair and/or balding?
SC: Educate! When we realize that we can cause damage with what we do to our hair, we can understand that the needs of our clients go beyond the superficial value of the hair and its needs. We need to tell our clients to wash regularly, to remove the oils, and we need to understand what we biologically do when we are lightening hair so as to avoid damage or the “chemical haircut.” Hairstylists see many people who are suffering from thinning/hair loss, so having products that combat hair loss would be very helpful. We are currently expanding to have BioMethod products in hair salons across America.
When we nurture our hair and it grows healthier, we feel better about ourselves, ultimately, leading us into happiness!
HAIR IS NOT A VANITY, BUT AN EMPOWERMENT!
* Disclaimer: Results may vary from person to person