Cholesterol and hair loss

THINGS TO REMEMBER

  • The discovery that there may be a link between bad cholesterol and androgenetic hair loss is relatively recent.
  • Several clinical studies have verified and confirmed this link, without yet being able to establish its cause with any certainty.
  • One thing is certain at a local level: bad cholesterol can clog the blood vessels that feed the hair roots.
  • Local treatments to promote blood circulation to the hair follicles are then required.

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CHOLESTEROL AND HAIR LOSS

It all started with a somewhat surprising clinical finding: men who are at risk of a cardiovascular accident often also suffer from a hair loss in men. In 1982, a vast study on the subject was undertaken in the USA. It lasted 11 years and involved 22,071 volunteer practitioners*. The results validated the clinical observation that the more men tend to lose their hair, the greater their risk of one day developing a cardiovascular problem.

* Details of the study. Practitioners agreed to fill in a questionnaire including various information: state of their hair (according to the Hamilton scale), possible heart problems, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, etc. The same questions were asked every year until 1993. Results: compared with their non-bald colleagues, the risk of developing a cardiovascular accident was respectively :
+ 9%, for practitioners whose foreheads were just balding,
+ 23%, for those whose upper skull was largely sparse,
+ 32%, for those whose baldness affected the entire top of the head,
+ 36%, for those with total baldness.

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What's more, the risk tripled again when cholesterol levels were too high.
(Lotufo PA, Chae CU, Ajani UA, Hennekens CH, Manson JE. Male pattern baldness and coronary heart disease: the Physicians' Health Study. Arch Intern Med. 2000 Jan 24;160(2):165-71).

Reference
+ 9 % of risks
+ 23 % of risks
+ 32% of risks
+ 36% of risks
Several other studies were subsequently carried out on men and then on women. They all came to the same conclusions: the hair loss is strongly associated with hypercholesterolaemia. So where does this association come from? Two hypotheses have been put forward. To date, neither has been confirmed and research is continuing.

HYPOTHESIS 1

Cholesterol, as a precursor of steroid hormones and therefore of androgens, is thought to increase the production of DHT (dihydrotestosterone), a hormone derived from androgens and responsible for hair loss in genetically predisposed individuals.

HYPOTHESIS 2

On the contrary, it is DHT that increases cholesterol (and blood pressure, for that matter). This would explain why women, who produce 20 times less androgens than men, are less prone to severe hair loss and heart problems.

SYMPTOMS OF CHOLESTEROL IN THE HAIR

As far as the scalp is concerned, in cases of proven androgenetic hair loss, high levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) do not go down well with hair renewal. We often see this at the Centre Clauderer during our in-depth hair diagnosis.

There's a logical explanation for this phenomenon: just as LDL can clog coronary arteries, it could clog the microblood vessels that feed the hair follicle. It could also contribute to solidifying the sebum inside the follicle, a bit like limestone does in a duct. The cascade of consequences: reduced irrigation and asphyxiation of the root, thinning and poor anchoring of the hair in the follicle, premature hair loss.

ANTI-CHOLESTEROL TREATMENTS AND SCALP

There's a real paradox with cholesterol-lowering drugs: some of them can cause side-effects on the scalp: irritation, itching and ... hair loss! Below is a list of the main drugs involved:

BEFIZAL®, fibrate
CADUET®,
lipid-lowering drugs in combination
CIPROFIBRATE Gé, fibrate
CRESTOR®, statin
ELISOR®, statin
FEGENOR Gé, fibrate
FENOFIBRATE Gé, fibrate

INEGY®,
lipid-lowering drugs in combination
LIPANOR®, fibrate
LIPANTHYL®, fibrate
LIPIREX Gé, fibrate
LIPITOR®, statin
LIPUR®, fibrate
LODALÈS®, statin
NIASPAN®, nicotinic acid

PRAVADUAL®, statin
PRAVASTATIN Gé , statin
SECALIP Gé, fibrate
SIMVASTATIN Gé, statin
TAHOR®, statin
VASTEN®, statin
ZOCOR®, statin

TREATMENT ADVICE FOR HAIR LOSS

If your cholesterol level is too high and you are losing your hair, there are a number of steps you can take to stabilise your hair loss.

  1. First of all, follow the diet prescribed to you, without any deviations.
  2. If your medication is on the above list, we recommend that you check with your doctor to see whether it could be changed for another molecule that would not have side effects on hair.
  3. AT LOCAL LEVEL, IT IS ESSENTIAL :
    1. To "purge" your hair follicles of the impurities generated by the combination of cholesterol and solidified sebum. This will allow your roots to recover the space they need to grow. Read the Clauderer approach treating the 3 vital functions of hair
    2. Strengthen your roots with subcutaneous active ingredients that will help them build hair regrowth  more vigorous and longer-lasting. Once we have diagnosed your hair and its roots, we will be able to advise you on the appropriate hair treatment for your particular condition.
Jean-François Cabos

Jean-François Cabos is the creator of a unique hair care method based on the research he coordinated, which led to the publication of the book "Cheveux, Racines de Vie" with Hélène Clauderer by Robert Laffont (Collection "Réponses/ Santé").

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