If you have been drinking the “diet” version of your favourite carbonated drink, it’s time to reconsider that choice. Pooja Chhabra, trichologist from TK Trichokare, told us this is one of the lesser known foods that is causing hair loss in some people.

“There has been many studies and research done around sugar-free drinks and sugar replacements. One of the studies points towards aspartame, found in artificial sweeteners, which has been studied for side effects including hair loss,” Pooja explains.

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Pooja is medically-trained and specialised in trichology in the last two years. She has been practising trichology in TK Trichokare, a 12-year-old trichological centre, known to be the first in Singapore that provides customised European herbal hair remedies validated by certified trichologists, and with products validated by professional herbalists.

While she said that nothing has been proven for now and studies are still going on, the most logical theory she has to explain this is based on a research she read. It says that aspartame contains phenoalanine, a type of methyl group responsible for giving the sweet taste in food products. When it goes into our body, this group breaks off to form methanol, which then transforms into formaldehyde, which can affect protein structures and DNA, including our hair follicles.

Some studies explain that this can force hair cycle to speed up, entering into telogen stage (the stage when hair falls) earlier than it should.

What should we do if we suspect diet soda is costing our hair?

Pooja says that you should stop drinking diet soda immediately. “If you have to indulge in sweet drinks, go for natural sweeteners instead. Coconut water, fresh fruit juices, and honey water are good replacements that are delicious and nutritious. You definitely have to make changes in your diet to see improvements in your hair,” she advises.

But if you are have been seeing excessive hair loss, perhaps you shouldn’t just place the blame on diet soda. Yes, diet soda is a common reason for causing hair loss, but it’s not the only factor. Pooja explains that there are a multitude of reasons why hair loss happens, and each individual needs to find out what is causing hers/his in order to find the right solution to resolve it.

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“There are patients that I’ve met who try to self-diagnose and self-treat, resorting to home remedies – some you may have heard before – like applying hard liquor on the scalp. Others believe that they can simply purchase off-the-shelf treatment to help themselves. But I’ll tell them that they should let a professional help them if they really want to see results. A trichologist is someone who is trained to assess and treat hair problems, and understands everything about hair,” she says.

What’s the edge trichological centres have?

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Using advanced equipment, a trichologist will be able to assess the exact factors that are causing your hair loss problem – sometimes there are more than one. For instance, you may feel that your hair is greasy, but your scalp may be dry – a trichologist will be able to give you a clearer picture to your problems. Then, a customised solution is designed that will precisely treat the problem.

How is it like to see a trichologist?

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To set your mind at ease, we sent our writer, Tiara to visit Trichokare to tell us what her experience feels like:

I’ve never seek a trichologist before, and it never crossed my mind that I had scalp problems. I’ve noticed that my hair feels oily sometimes, but I never thought much about it. I wash my hair once every two days and was told that that’s the problem.

The most important thing for me is that they managed to identify what scalp problem I had and addressed it. I enjoyed the whole experience from the scalp mask, the hair wash and the massage. The therapist really gave my scalp a good wash. Together with the products used, I was really amazed at the results because my scalp looked way cleaner than it did pre-treatment.

Just for Daily Vanity readers!

Try the Trichological Scalp Treatment (worth SGD138) at just SGD42. Click on this box to redeem.