Greying Hair: Should You Use Dye?

Greying Hair: Should You Use Dye?

You may have noticed that a recent trending hair colour is an ashy platinum shade – and it looks fabulous! This is an interesting twist when you consider that people have been covering up grey hair for so many years. In fact, most of the population – both...
Traction Alopecia – The Preventable Epidemic

Traction Alopecia – The Preventable Epidemic

There is a hair loss condition that has consistently remained present in society and yet not been addressed. A condition that is utterly preventable and yet incredibly prevalent. It is called Traction Alopecia and now research is finally being done to clearly illustrate the damaging effects of aggressive styles such as weaves, braids, locs and tight ponytails that cause it.

Now, John Hopkins University researchers have published a study in the journal of the american academy of dermatology that identifies significant association of tight hairstyling with hair loss. The study is one of the first to finally illustrate the importance of having a strong knowledge of hair styling techniques applied to the hair, to understand the causative factors of hair loss and therefore how to best manage the condition and provide invaluable advice ongoing.

Here at the Fulham Scalp & Hair Clinic we’ve known that the continuous pulling force put on the follicle can cause it to produce weaker and weaker hairs, before eventually giving up completely leaving scarred follicles behind.
We’ve also known that aggressive styling on chemically processed and heat damaged hair can lead to even faster hair loss and breakage.
All this damage is preventable if patients are willing to change the way they style their hair and seek treatment sooner rather than later.

For years and years we continue to see patients arrive at our clinic, in desperation for their edges and hairline, and the number of traction alopecia diagnoses we reach every week hasn’t diminished, stemming mainly from black women.
​Afro hair is more fragile but is by no means less healthy or able to grow than european hair. When both hair types are put under tension from heavy extensions and damaged by heat they both become fragile, however these aggressive styling techniques are currently far more common amongst black women, and as a result this group suffers disproportionately from traction alopecia.

We need to change this and it starts with educating ourselves and being clear about what will and wont cause damage to our hair.
Tight hairstyles day in, day out WILL cause damage to the follicle.
Single braiding the hair, particularly with long/heavy braids WILL cause damage to the follicle.
Weaves and extensions, attached tightly and left in WILL cause damage to the follicle.
Direct heat to the hair from blow driers and straighteners WILL weaken the hair shaft and result in breakage.
Chemical relaxers, perms  and permanent colours applied incorrectly and at too high a strength WILL weaken the hair shaft, result in breakage and may also result in chemical burns.

Think about how many of the above you may be guilty of all at the same time. Now ask yourself, does your hair really feel as healthy and strong as it should?

Early intervention in treating traction alopecia can have incredible results and hair can regrow once more, but if left untreated it can scar and hair loss will be permanent. If you are worried about your hair and suspect you may have traction alopecia, please get in touch so that we can offer clear, expert advice.

Let us avoid the avoidable and enjoy strong hairlines and beautiful growth.

Our best wishes,

​Teresa and Eleanore

The Itch Scratch Cycle

Itch, scratch, rub, massage, pinch, poke, scrape.  They have all offered relief to an itch, but what damage could these actions be causing behind the scenes?

When we scratch our scalps we’re not thinking about the state of our fingernails, the sensitivity or our scalp or the breakage we may be causing to our hair. All we care about is instantly satisfying that itchy, irritating sensation, and therein lies the problem. With such a short term goal of relief in mind it’s hard to weigh up the long term effects of constantly itching one’s scalp. 


Dirty fingernails are the worst offenders, but they don’t deserve all the blame. Over the years I have seen combs, keys, pens and pencils, clips, pins, chop sticks, credit cards and even scissors being used to scratch an itch. None of these objects are known to be thoroughly cleaned all the time (although one would hope that the chopsticks are on the top of the list), so the likelihood that they are harbouring harmful bacteria to be transferred to the scalp is also high. Severe scratching can break the skin and transfer harmful bacteria, resulting in a messy, smelly and uncomfortable bacterial infection of the scalp.

My top tips for an itchy scalp

1. Don’t let it fester
Just because your friend says their scalp itches all the time and it’s no big deal doesn’t mean it’s normal. If your scalp is itchy, there will be a reason for it. Get it treated and the itch will go away and you will have reduced you chances of getting a bacterial infection to zero.

2. Get it diagnosed
Itching may feel all the same, but the causes can vary greatly, from sensitivity of the scalp to an oil to head lice infestations. Knowing what is causing your itch means you know the best way to treat it in the fastest time. There are specific products to be used on fungal infections such as ring worm and dandruff, bacterial infections such as folliculitis and infestations such as head lice and mites. Using the right product and treatment plan is paramount to treating the itch fast and preventing any further effects.

3. Know your scalp
If you have suffered from an itchy scalp in the past and have figured out the cause, it’s simple logic to avoid that in the future. If you are prone to a sensitive scalp there are a few things that you should consider avoiding as it can lead it irritation, such as oils or heavy hair dressings and perfumed shampoos and conditioners. If a product doesn’t say hypoallergenic on it, even if it is organic and “natural” it can still cause irritation if you are prone to allergies.


The more your scratch an itch, the more inflamed and irritated the skin becomes and the itchier it remains. The “itch scratch cycle” can exaggerate a relatively simple and treatable condition into a serious infection that, if left untreated, can result in scarring and hair loss. Nobody should lose hair over an itch!


Thank you,

Teresa Angelina Richardson, MIT

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