'Nerdy' Swede wins faux – Nobel after green-hair find

17.09.2013 in TRICHOTALK

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A Swedish researcher has won the lg Nobel Prize for improbable research after he solved the mystery of why people’s hair was inexplicably turning green in southern Sweden last year.

Johan Pettersson, an environmental engineer from Trelleborg, was awarded the parody prize at Harvard University in Boston on Thursday.

“My children say that it’s only their dad who can win such a prize. They really think I’m a bit of a nerd,” he told Sveriges Television (SVT).

” A Swede who had previously won the prize called me to tell me. It was extremely overwhelming and he had to ring twice so it would sink in.”

Petterson’s discovery came after several formerly blonde inhabitants of Anderslov in southern Sweden suddenly had green hair.

The engineer came to the conclusion that it was the copper pipes that were to blame, as they weren’t properly coated in the new houses.

Hot water being left in the pipes overnight caused the copper to seep into the water system, leaving the tap water with five times as much copper as usual.

As copper has a naturally green dying effect, any residents in new houses in the area who showered using the tap water found they suddenly had green hair.

According to the prize’s official website, the lg Nobel Prizes honour achievements that first make people laugh then think.

“The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative – and spur people’s interest in science, medicine and technology.”

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COMBAT HAIR LOSS: How To Grow Your Hair Back (Part 4)




It is the hormones of course that trigger Androgenic Alopecia at the onset of puberty, resulting in hair loss and patterning in 90% of men and approximately 50% of women.  This is a major degenerative shift in the hair growth pattern universally referred to as Common Baldness or Male Pattern Alopecia and Female Pattern Alopecia.  Given that this change is genetically pre-determined, it is therefore extremely difficult to slow or reverse this very gradual but definite deterioration in these pre-determined areas of the scalp.  Androgenic Alopecia is triggered, as its name suggests, by the androgens (masculinising hormones present of course in both sexes).


At puberty the male sex hormone, testosterone, appears in both sexes and is partially converted by the enzyme 5-? reductase into the much more active form di-hydroxytestosterone (DHT).  It is this more active form DHT that causes miniaturisation and eventual loss of the hair follicle in pre-determined areas of the scalp in cases of Androgenic Alopecia.


The new hair that is produced by the dermal papilla has a slightly shorter growing (anagen) cycle and is smaller in both length and in its diameter.  The cycle is repeated, with each successive hair getting smaller and smaller, reverting eventually to the very fine baby (vellus) hair.  Eventually the dermal papilla ceases to function, hair growth production stops and the hair follicle finally atrophies and is lost.  These dormant dermal papillae can be reactivated by suitable chemical stimuli for up to about five years after hair production ceases before they are permanently lost.

The scalp shows the characteristic bi-temporal recession and movement of the front hair line in men with thinning of the frontal and crown areas, proceeding in the pre-determined stages, leading ultimately to complete baldness in some cases.


Women usually have a different pattern of hair loss.  The hairline is retained and thinning occurs behind the hairline on the frontal and crown areas and often the areas above both ears are affected.  Complete baldness in women is not normal, although it is possible for some women to experience hair loss in the male pattern.

There are a large number of treatments available for use for MPA and FPA and many clinically proven agents that will promote hair growth in cases of Androgenic Alopecia (and many more that will promote the growth of hair in unacceptable areas) and these treatments will certainly assist in stabilising the position and promoting modest re-growth but any changes are not dramatic, they are marginal at best and should be seen as “buying time”, delaying the onset of hair loss.  Probably the most effective treatments will buy you five years, possibly a little more, before you are back in the same position.  This result can certainly be worth achieving but you can liken it to trying to run back up the genetic down escalator.  The condition will revert eventually to its genetically pre-determined position.


Now the hormones may be masters of the biological universe but they are by no means the only agents or conditions that can affect hair growth and many of these can have a substantial, sometimes devastating effect.  We need to consider conditions that have both a negative effect, i.e. they must be present and correct to achieve normal hair growth and without them hair growth will be adversely affected. In the second group, the agents or situations that can positively affect hair growth, they can increase the growth response above what would normally be expected.  This is the second group, the “positive effect” group.

We will consider the first group, the “qualifying” group; they are necessary, but only to return to the genetic “norm”, but it is vital that they are in place and we will, of course, look then at the second group, the genetic “boosters”, the fireworks, the ones that can lift you, within reason, above the genetic norm.  It is important to understand their significance and the way in which they fit into the overall pattern of hair growth.

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Who are you calling a carrot top, Tesco? JANE ASHER speaks out in defence of redheads

17.12.2009 in TRICHOTALK

Tesco has withdrawn a Christmas card from sale after the mother of three children with red hair claimed it was offensive.

The card showed a child with red hair sitting on the lap of Santa Claus under the banner: ‘Santa loves all kids. Even ginger ones.’

I haven’t come across the card myself – but I did see the supermarket giant’s apology.


Caused offence: The Tesco card which pokes fun at redheads

And I must confess to being rather torn between sighing as I rolled my eyes in disbelief at people’s oversensitivity – and raging around the house, pounding my silent, balled fists in the air in fury at another slight on gingers.

Yet again, we redheads have been abused and maligned!

Those of you lesser mortals, with so-called ‘ordinary’ or ‘normal’ hair colouring, have no idea of the torments and prejudice that we of the redhead gene have to undergo on a regular basis.
At an early age, when I desperately wanted to be like everyone else, I quickly learned that I was different, and that, unlike most physical peculiarities, people felt no need whatsoever to refrain from letting me know it. Why did they feel they had the right to call out names in the street (‘Oi Ginger!’ ‘Wotcher Carrot-top!’ as well as other not so funny witticisms) or to pull my long red locks in the classroom and laugh at my freckles?

On a list of factors that put off potential employers, red hair comes alarmingly high on the list.

Without any justification we are considered unreliable and bad-tempered (well, wouldn’t you be if you were constantly battling such misconceptions?).

The truth is that the qualities of stubbornness, resolve and sheer bloody-mindedness that are admired as leadership qualities in those with dark-hair are interpreted entirely differently in us carrot-tops.

But what fools! Because what is so painstakingly obvious – and yet so consistently ignored – is that the continual barracking we endure all through our lives has created a magnificent strain of tough, forthright and dependable beings who have a far larger capacity to withstand the wear and tear of everyday life than the boringly monochrome-topped majority.


 Proud to be ginger: Jane Asher

The snide comments and crass nicknames that we hear from the moment we are old enough to understand language soon toughen our ginger-haired hides until very little can hurt us.

Research has even shown that we feel pain more acutely than others (a seventh more, apparently) – simply because of the excess production of a particular molecule (pheomelanin) that stimulates pain receptors in the brain – so just see how brave we have to be as we battle through life!

Blondes, brunettes and greys can sure dish it out – but can they take it? Not on your life!

Look at what happened when a crown princess of our number – the magnificent Anne Robinson – made a few derogatory remarks some years ago about the Welsh.

The wimps went scurrying back to their hills in distress. Not that it’s just the colour we have to cope with. The texture of our hair is as wayward as our personalities.

As a teenager, I spent many dangerous hours with my bushy hair spread on the ironing board as I attempted to press it straight under strips of newspaper – and I tried every patent smoothing remedy then available.

On one special date – when I was about 15 – I even tried glueing the ends of my fringe into what I hoped was a seductive little quiff across my forehead. I still squirm when I remember the terrible moment when the poor young man tried to push the hair out of my eyes in a fond gesture – and found the hair attached immovably to my head. I never did explain.

As for our skin – little do you know the torments and misery those of us with red hair suffer. We just can’t take the heat.

Memories of childhood holidays are dominated by problems with the sun: I was always the only child on the beach with a shirt and trousers over their swimsuit.
I’d fight against it, ripping them off and building my sandcastle with white shoulders bared to the feeble rays of a wind-swept Essex beach just so I could look like the rest.

I paid for it of course, spending much of the time covered in itchy weals and calamine lotion.

In those days it was essential to get tanned. While friends turned glorious shades of honey, I simply added freckles to a dead-white background. My redheaded son once dyed his hair jet black while on holiday and was stopped by the authorities at the airport on his way home for looking suspicious.

The orange roots and pale eyelashes coupled with the raven locks just didn’t fit any of the passport officials’ normal parameters.

Lily ColeNicole Kidman

Red beauties: Lily Cole, left, and Nicole Kidman

A certain amount of colouring, however, is a part of my life. Before making up my face each morning, my pale lashes, brows and ghostwhite face can make it quite hard for me to pinpoint my whereabouts in the mirror. (After one of my regular lash-dyes, my husband says I look like a ‘restored painting’.)
And nowadays my hair itself is, of course, boosted by the bottle.

Redheads fare no better in fiction than in real life. As soon as you see that redhead in a TV drama, you just know he’s going to be the weasly, suspicious character, and despite the fabulous efforts of both Nicole Kidman and Lily Cole, the flame-headed girl in a film is still likely to be a temptress and ‘no better than she should be’, as my mother would put it.

Incidentally, you may have noticed how much redder Nicole Kidman’s hair was allowed to be when she starred in Moulin Rouge – perfectly acceptable for a prostitute, of course.

So this latest travesty of justice – courtesy of the country’s biggest retailer which, frankly, should know better – doesn’t surprise me one bit.

It’s just one more insult against this exciting dynamic minority who frighten people so much for being different.

Fellow gingers, don’t let them get you down: if there’s one thing we have in bucket-loads, it’s a sense of humour.

So you can stuff your apology, Tesco – one little card is nothing in our history of vilification: we can take it. Until global warming causes us all to become extinct – Vive la Rouge!

NOW! Hair loss is a thing of the past. TAKE ACTION TODAY and speak to a Westminster Trichologist before it is too late!

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Advert 'offence' over ginger hair

16.12.2009 in TRICHOTALK


The ASA said it implied “people with ginger hair were unattractive”
Virgin Media have been accused of using an advert which was prejudicial against people with ginger hair and likely to cause them offence.

The ad for a programme called “Dating in the Dark”, asked the question, “How do you spot a ginger in the dark?”

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it considered the ad was unlikely to be interpreted to be light hearted in tone.

The authority ruled the advert should not be used again.

In its response to the authority, Virgin Media said the advert was not intended to cause offence but to promote the programme “Dating in the Dark” by reflecting participants’ comments and emotions.

Not offensive

It said the premise of the programme was to challenge people’s perceptions of attractiveness and encourage decisions based on personality as well as looks.

Another ad had featured the text: “He says he works in radio. I just hope he doesn’t have the face for it.”

Virgin Media said the advert which appeared in The Metro newspaper was a one-off and although it did not intend to show it again, it did not accept it was offensive.

The Metro said they felt the ad was suitable for publication because their readers were young, intelligent, professionals in major British cities.

Tesco trouble

The ASA ruling followed an apology by Tesco for selling a Christmas card that apparently mocked people with ginger hair.

The card carried the slogan: “Santa loves all kids, even ginger ones.”

Tesco said it removed the card from all its stores.

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Tesco apologises over 'ginger jibe' Christmas card

16.12.2009 in TRICHOTALK


A Christmas card has been withdrawn from two Tesco stores in York after complaints that it makes fun of children with ginger hair.

The card shows a child with ginger hair sitting on the lap of Santa Claus, and the words: “Santa loves all kids. Even ginger ones.”

Davinia Phillips, 30, of York, whose three daughters are redheads, said she found the card offensive.

NOW! Hair loss is a thing of the past. TAKE ACTION TODAY and speak to a Westminster Trichologist before it is too late!

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