Does living in Dubai cause hair loss?

Fact or myth? We uncover the truth behind this common Dubai complaint
Does living in Dubai cause hair loss?
By Salma Awwad
Thu 16 Oct 2014 12:29 PM

How many times have you heard people complaining about experiencing a sudden increase in hair loss since moving to Dubai? We’re not talking about the average 150 hairs a day, but a gasp-worthy number of strands left behind in the shower or on your hair brush.

It is definitely a common complaint and one that I have felt personally more than I would like to admit. Living in New York, I had lustrous locks that didn't need to be treated like a porcelain doll and were able to withstand the daily abuse I put them through with styling products and blow drying sessions.

But since I moved here two years ago, it has morphed into a completely different animal. I look around and see so many people with long thick tresses and think to myself that it must be just me; I must be doing something wrong. After endless experimentation with ointments, supplements and multiple filters in my shower I decided that it was time to seek expert advice and get to the bottom of this query: Does living in Dubai cause hair loss?

We sat with Lars Skjoth, the founder of the Harklinikken group of clinics, a series of hair restoration specialised facilities located in Denmark, Germany, the US and now also Dubai.

“This is not a myth. Living in Dubai does indeed cause hair loss to many people. Since we opened here in Dubai we’ve seen almost 8000 people already. It is crazy,” he said.

Surprisingly, there are more women than men visiting the clinic. Over 70 percent of the patients are women and around 15 percent of them are below the age of 21. 

According to Skjoth, his discovery started when a Sheikh and Sheikha came to see him 11 years ago in his Copenhagen-based clinic. They followed all his instructions and returned three months later with what seemed like a revelation. The improvement was drastic and a vast number of referrals followed. Over 100 people came to see him from the GCC within the next three months and their cases where more severe than what Skjoth was used to seeing.

“I figured that there were some things in the region that make you more prone to hair loss. There are a lot of things going on in the region that are naturally related to the environment. One thing is the desalinated water, but also the nutritional quality. The crop that is being produced here is different because it grows in red sand and heavily exposed to fertilisers, pesticides and many other things. There are a lot of aspects here that have influences on the nutritional levels and the hormone system,” he explained.

Skjoth has been doing this for 23 years and has personally treated over 60,000 patients. Among his patients are an increasing number of international celebrities including royalty, entertainers, and business tycoons. (He shared a few very interesting ones but I cannot mention their names).

I felt relieved to know that I was not alone in this battle. After visiting countless dermatologist and nutritional experts with no avail, it is certainly reassuring to have someone who is so deeply versed on the causes and treatment of hair loss to be based right here in Dubai.

As it turns out, not all hair loss is equal. There are four distinct categories:

Physiological hair loss: This can be caused by stress factors, malnutrition, anemia, scalp disorders, bad water quality, hair product chemicals, hair strengtheners, hair extensions, hair pulling and more. Harklinikken’s treatments have proved to be very efficient for this category

Mild androgenic alopecia (hereditary hair loss): Some hair follicles “shrink” in one of the typical male pattern of hereditary hair loss. The result is that hair quality is gradually reduced. At this stage there is still hope for the hair because the hair quality has not yet been reduced so much that it cannot be rescued by the Hårklinikken customised products.

Almost as many women as men develop hereditary hair loss, but women’s hereditary hair loss pattern are often different than men’s.

Advanced androgenic alopecia: At this stage, the hair follicles reduced are so significant that these hairs can no longer be salvaged. Here you reach the point where the depletion is irreversible, and one must either accept the situation or choose a Harklinikken hair transplant.

Hair loss caused by illness and or medication: Hair loss in this category, may be caused by autoimmune disease where the body forms antibodies against his hair which often results in bare spots (alopecia areata) or total baldness (alopecia Totalis). There may also be hair loss caused by other diseases – metabolic disorders, eating disorders and more.

So what does the treatment entail?

“If you see our lab, the extracts and everything is tailor made for you. They are also constantly altered throughout the life of your treatment,” he said.

After the first consultation, you take home a custom-built extract, shampoo and conditioner. Additional styling products are also available but optional. Application and quantity is explained to you, demonstrated and even handed out in print, so there is absolutely no room for error.   

The average price for the treatment is a very affordable AED500 ($137) a month and the number of success cases and testimonials are endless.

On a personal note, I just started the treatment and intend to follow it vehemently, hopeful that this decision might lead to the end of my overdrawn quest to finding a solution once and for all.

To be continued…

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