Ask a Dermatologist Singapore: Common hair concerns and solutions

Hi everyone, welcome back to our segment: Ask a Dermatologist where we will be discussing all things skin, nail and hair with the dermatologist from Singapore, Dr Teo Wan Lin. Who do we have here? Well, this is Rachel and she’s going to be
our model today when we talk about hair and all the
problems associated with it. Now, do you have any burning questions about hair? Yes. I used to have blonde hair, like last year, so it’s like completely bleach but I had to cut everything off because it was too dry and my hair was too brittle. Maybe you want to go somewhere around there cause you know, hair bleaching and colouring is a huge trend right now? Absolutely. So these are all falling under the category
of chemical treatments of hair. Be it rebonding, perming, bleaching hair, dyeing hair They all involve some sort of chemicals that
affect the structure and hence the colour of hair. You know, we have Rachel, who also has coloured hair. As you can see, she has naturally coarse,
thick, black Asian hair. It’s also straight. And where her hair has become lighter, if you look at it carefully, It’s much finer compared to her virgin hair. Now, one of the things that I caution people
about when it comes to chemical treatments is that bleaching, generally, is never recommended. The reason is because it’s a very harsh peroxide treatment. And I mean, people who bleached their hair will tell you themselves, hair becomes really brittle and difficult to manage. Well, typically, if it is just the hair ends, you know that our hair shaft is actually made of dead keratin. Yes. So it’s not living. Your scalp is the only organ that is alive out of this whole thing. And it just you know, if you have very brittle hair, what you’ll find is that it may break off halfway at the hair shaft. Which could be what happened to you. And you know, I mean it’s quite rare. But I’ve had patients who were really unfortunate to have parts of their hair actually fall off after very harsh chemical treatments. So it can happen with rebonding, perming, bleaching and colouring methods. So at the end of the day, for a really healthy, nice, natural looking hair, I would advise against bleaching. Hair colouring, in general, If it is done by a proper colourist and if you don’t have a problem with hair dyes, so some people have allergic contact dermatitis to a certain substance in hair dyes, I don’t know if you’ve heard of that. So if you ever had rash on your scalp or on your face, a week after dyeing your hair, then you really should get a check-up by a dermatologist because it could be that you are reactive to the dye agent which is, PPD. So how many strands of hair do you lose everyday
Rachel? 100? Alright, so not many people actually count
the number of hair strands but all of us would have a rough idea. So I would always ask my patients, if you know, it’s like 20 to 30 strands, 50, 60, 70 or even like so many they can’t count or like some of them would just tell me straight up, 100s. But one of the ways you can actually tell is by measuring the thickness of your ponytail. So if you can just turn to the side, Rachel, when she ties a ponytail, so this diameter is one of the ways you can monitor yourself if you are really losing hair. So do you find that your ponytail is getting thinner? Yes.
Yup. Okay so this is one thing and of course, when
she is always tying her hair up, around the hairline, it could be pulled back And that’s actually called, traction alopecia. So some people have the habit of tying their
hair into very, very tight hairstyles I would advise against it, especially if you are doing it all the time. Because over a period, you can actually start losing hair that way as well. Do you notice more hair on your comb and on
your floor and on your pillow? Okay, when did this start? After I bleached my hair? I see. So these are some of the ways my patients
would be able to quantify if they are really losing a lot of hair or more hair than normal. You know, some people would have said, “Okay, it’s normal to lose 100 strands of hair a day” and that’s actually generally accepted to be true. However, anything more than what you are usually
losing, cause all of us, we lose hair, and you know what is your normal rate of losing hair. Anything that crosses that, and especially
if you have scalp symptoms, If you have any scalp greasiness, flaking
or pain, sensitive scalp, all these things point towards possibly a
medical condition. If you also have round, spots of hair loss. So these are the things that you should consult
a dermatologist for because they are more serious, underlying
scalp problems that can lead to hair loss. It’s a very common comment that I get
from my patient. So they will always attribute their hair loss
to like, “Oh you know, I bleached my hair, and after
that, my scalp started going bad” So that’s actually not true. Because bleaching itself does not cause hair loss. However it can cause hair loss by breakage. So when your hair becomes really brittle, like how I told you somebody’s hair basically erm, kind of truncated after it was damaged by chemicals. So you know, erm, that’s certainly not what
happened to her. Because her hair loss is more diffuse. It’s all over the scalp and it’s from the roots. In general, I would recommend for like healthy hair, you maintain a healthy scalp. Okay, so that means in our tropical climate, I personally believe that we should shampoo daily And if you do have oily scalp, or flaky scalp, please get it check up by a dermatologist. Because you could have a severe form of seborrheic dermatitis, which is a medical term for what lay people termed as dandruff. But dandruff, you know, when it’s really uncontrolled, uncontrolled seborrheic dermatitis, can actually lead to hair fall because of the inflammation. Yup, and then of course, if you have underlying health problems, sometimes thyroid imbalances, or anaemia, these things also have to be picked up on
a medical examination. So don’t just ignore your hair loss problem. So, for a healthy hair, you need to start
with a healthy scalp. So that’s all we have for today, and we’ll
see you next week.

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