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Beauty Q & A

Clinics Get to the Roots of Problem Hair

February 01, 1985

Hair and scalp authority Philip Kingsley heads his own trichological clinics in New York and London. His full line of hair products, including vitamins, is available at Elizabeth Arden, where he will be available for consultations Tuesday.

Question: What goes on at a trichological clinic?

Answer: People used to think of trichology as growing hair on billiard balls. That's only part of it, if any. We don't even purport to grow hair on bald heads. A trichologist's job is to make a person's scalp and hair as healthy as possible.

When a person comes to my clinic for consultation, we build up an effective picture of why his hair is as it is. We go into every aspect of his life as it would affect his hair: nutrition, general health, metabolic imbalances, stress, anemia and so on. We also find out what he's been doing from an external viewpoint, not only what he's been applying in terms of shampoos, bleaches, perms, conditioners, sprays and tints, but how he washes his hair, how he conditions it, how he dries it. Some people come to me with absolutely diabolically abused hair. We have people with various types of hair loss. We also have hundreds of people who come to us with wonderful hair who want to keep it wonderful.

Q: What's the most common problem you see?

A: Thinning hair and hair in bad condition. Of course, hair out of condition is easily curable. Sometimes thin hair is curable, depending on what is causing it. A very common cause, which is self-inflicted, is traction hair loss, a type of hair loss due to pulling the hair by brushing it too hard, by rolling it too hard, by wearing it in tight ponytails and braids, by straightening it.

But probably the most common cause of hair loss is a metabolic disturbance. If that's the case, then we work with a person's doctor. In my clinic in London, we have a research group with an endocrinologist, dermatologist and pharmacologist.

Q: In your nutritional studies, which foods have you found are bad for the hair?

A: Foods high in animal fat. Too much cheese, too much butter, too much fatty meat--they're all bad because their cholesterol content aversely affects hair follicles.

Q: What foods are good for the hair?

A: The usual good foods like fresh fruits, salads, whole grains, low-fat proteins and lots of water. In other words, a healthy diet. We have discovered a hair-loss condition that we have named carbohydrate anorexic alopecia, a hair loss due to a lack of complex carbohydrates. We see it in women who have been on low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets over a long period of time.

Q: Does the L.A. life style have an effect on hair?

A: Regular exposure to the sun has the same effect as putting a bottled bleach on the hair. I see more dry hair in Los Angeles than anywhere else in the U.S.


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