Thinning Hair is My Biggest Fear: Gina Tan shares Tips on Concealing and Treating Thinning Hair in Singapore

Published on Jul 02, 2021

No matter the hairstyle, having thick, luscious hair you can run your hands through is every woman's dream. For curly haired ladies with excessive volume, this is another story altogether but for the rest of us, having thick vibrant hair is a hallmark of youth and vitality that we all aspire to. 

There's just something about thick hair that make us feel that bit more feminine and attractive.  Understandably, dramas, music videos and even commercials all around the world (whether US, UK, Korea, Japan or Singapore) tend to feature women with full heads of hair. 

The sad news is our hair often lose some of that lusciousness as we add more candles on our birthday cakes. While some of us are too engrossed in our day to day lives to notice, others get reminded of their thinning hair daily.

Yep, we're talking about celebrities and influencers who face the scrutiny of cameramen and even fans every single day. Whenever hair thins out (or when they pop a zit), someone will definitely make a comment about it. 

They don't mean to be negative but it just doesn't look as good on camera if the actress has thinning hair. ~ Gina Tan

Gina Tan would know, after all, she recently made her comeback into showbiz after a decade-long hiatus. 

Gina Tan
I used to have a full head of luscious hair when I had my debut album at 18. But after years of childbearing, my hair has thinned out quite a bit. I wouldn't be so bothered if I had stayed off camera but going back to acting has required me to reexamine how full my hair looks. After all, you can always apply makeup on your face but hair - its not so easy to get it looking voluminous ~ Gina Tan

How does she deal with thinning hair and what hacks does she use to conceal it? We talk to Gina to find out more.

Hello, I'm Gina! You may have seen me on Sing 浪 2021 Concert recently.

But most people probably remember me as Mrs Wang on Lion Mums 3 or Mdm Mao on Last Madame. I wasn't always acting as the stern and cold matriach though; in my younger days, I was the dewy-eyed girl with the breakout album You Are So BeautifulSister in 1994.

Not the long haired romantic type but the girl with the wild, cute crop. 

My hair may be short then but it gave off a youthful beauty that I miss so much now. I remembered the many times I cut and coloured my hair and it would still feel full and voluminous.

Nowadays, my hair just looks like this.

In one word, THIN.

All thanks to pregnancy and regular use of styling products ever since I came back to showbiz. In fact, I've been losing even more hair in these couple of years due to stress and COVID as well. Some part of me fear that if the hair loss continues... my hair would become so thin that I won't be able to take on any more roles onscreen anytime soon.

This got me panicking and asking stylist friends for help on how I can conceal my thinning hair.

Expert Tips on Concealing Thinning Hair

1) Get a good haircut: A cut that is out of shape can make the hair look flat at the crown. A good cut would hence be crucial in popping up the volume at certain parts of the hair to make it look more voluminous. 

2) Use volumizing powder / dry shampoo: Not sure if you've heard of them... volumizing powder / dry shampoo can be applied to the hair to reduce oil and grime while at the same time create noticeable lift, texture and volume. Remember to wash them off thoroughly though, or else it can clog the scalp and cause more hair fall!

3) Consider hair extensions: Many celebrities and influencers actually use hair extensions to make their hair look fuller. As much as it is an option, I'd prefer not to do so as it can be really hard (and costly) to maintain these hair extensions in hot and humid Singapore - particularly when I have to change my hairstyle at times to suit the onscreen image.

These hacks can be absolute lifesavers when I need the volume boost immediately but as you may notice, most of them are temporary. Wash off the dry shampoo or remove the hair extensions and it's gone... in fact, the hair extensions and volumizing powder can actually stress the scalp more and cause hair fall later on.

Ultimately, I knew I needed to invest the time and resources to make sure that I have enough natural hair on my head. So guess what I've been up to? Scalp Treatments of course!

The results are not as instant as when you get hair extensions but I certainly saw a difference when I consistently went down for treatments.

So yes, I guess you can say that I'm somewhat obsessed with them.

Name any major hair growth and scalp centre in Singapore and I've probably been there - that's how seriously I take my treatments.

Whenever I hear about new scalp treatments to improve scalp health or slow down hair loss, I'll go down, try it for a few months and see if it works for me.

You won't get any dirt from me on scalp centres because every one of them has its pros and cons (service, pricing, quality of treatment e.g.) but recently, I uncovered one whose effectiveness really blew me away.

Most of the scalp centres I've been to tend to focus more on service as well as herbal ingredients and not so much the machines that penetrates the ingredients into the scalp. In fact, most of them offers at most iontophoresis to help penetration of the ingredients.

Scalp Electroporation (SEP) Effectiveness for Thinning Hair

But as you can see, prevailing technologies have already advanced so much that ingredients can now be delivered directly to the subcutaneous tissue via something called Scalp Electroporation or SEP . This means 17X deeper penetration and more effective results within a shorter time.  

The moment I heard about it, I knew I had to try SEP at the only hair centre in Singapore that offers this: Papilla Haircare

I made my first appointment at Papilla on 22nd January . Within 7 sessions, I had already noticed a difference in my scalp. 

Very obviously, I had less hair on the bathroom floor and I'm seeing more baby hair as well! It isn't just my scalp that's cheering; my hair has also become stronger as it is not as susceptible to breaking as it once was.

It does however take discipline to head to Papilla every 2-3 weeks so I really appreciate their streamlined 60-min process that make it easy for me to incorporate this treatment into my filming schedule.

Want to know what they actually do during the process? Follow me!

Step 1: Consultation and Analysis

If it's your first visit, the staff will get you to fill up a consultation form to better understand your history and your concerns.

Scalp Consultation at Papilla Haircare

When ready, the therapist here will do a scan of your scalp to better understand your scalp condition and recommend the right treatment for you.

But first, disinfection to make sure that everything is clean. 

Scalp Consultation at Papilla Haircare

The person you see here is Amelia, the therapist who has been attending to me for the past 7 sessions. 

Scalp Consultation at Papilla Haircare

Here is where she will do her routine diagnosis of the scalp to see my current scalp condition and what I should focus on today. 

Scalp Consultation at Papilla Haircare
Have I been good or naughty over the past 2 weeks?

This always feels a little bit like an exam because what I eat and what I do actually do reflect in my scalp health.

Scalp Consultation at Papilla Haircare

Without me telling her exactly what happened, Amelia can guess when I've had late nights and when I'm stressed just looking at the scalp pictures alone - that's how knowledgeable she is! 

Scalp Consultation at Papilla Haircare

But I'm never stressed here because Amelia doesn't pass judgment and is always patient - always explaining what I can do to build good scalp habits back at home and explaining how this treatment can help. 

Scalp Consultation at Papilla Haircare

Though everything sounds complicated, Amelia goes the extra mile to explain what's going on in layman terms, even drawing to help me better understandg - something I'm grateful for. 

Scalp Consultation at Papilla Haircare

Step 2: Exfoliation

Just like how every facial starts with exfoliation, the scalp treatment here starts with clarifying the scalp so that subsequent serums can penetrate more deeply. 

Exfoliation and Scalp Serum Application For Thinning Hair at Papilla Haircare

In this step, the inhouse regeneration scalp mask contain ingredients that help to unclog hair follicles in a gentle manner. 

Inhouse Papilla Regeneration Scalp Mask

To make sure that it cleanses my scalp thoroughly, the staff here are trained to massage it in with long strokes at specific acupressure points, so it feels really good! Whenever I'm here, I'll take the chance to catch forty winks as it's incredibly stress-relieving. 

Exfoliation and Scalp Serum Application For Thinning Hair at Papilla Haircare

Once completed, she will escort me to the wash basin where I'll be given yet another round of pampering scalp massage. 

Exfoliation and Scalp Serum Application For Thinning Hair at Papilla Haircare

Step 3: EV-Cytokines - Scalp Serum Application

With my scalp now clean, I'm ready to receive the highlight of the session: EV-Cytokines. 

EV-Cytokines Serum spotted in Papilla Haircare

EV-Cytokines sound very futuristic and well, it is! Inside this small glass bottle are cultured stem cells that have the biosignalling power to get my existing hair cells to work harder. 

Exfoliation and Scalp Serum Application For Thinning Hair at Papilla Haircare

But first, it is extracted from the bottle and inserted into this vaporizer. 

Exfoliation and Scalp Serum Application For Thinning Hair at Papilla Haircare
Exfoliation and Scalp Serum Application For Thinning Hair at Papilla Haircare

The EV-Cytokines is then delivered directly to the scalp via the vaporizer. 

Here is where Papilla differs from the rest. While many other scalp centres would simply massage the serums onto the scalp, Papilla uses the state-of-the-art SEP machine to do so. 

Scalp Consultation at Papilla Haircare

Just in case you wonder what the SEP machine does, it releases low levels of currents to push the serums deeper within the epidermis and into the subcutaneous fat. 

Yes, this is FDA approved and is absolutely safe!

Scalp Eletroporation Activator

Do you see the "Patient Skin Impedance" over there? The lower the skin impedance, the more ideal as the current can deliver the serum more deeply into the scalp.

I often see the therapist checking the bar to make sure that they run the SEP through areas that have more impedance for a longer period of time.

Exfoliation and Scalp Serum Application For Thinning Hair at Papilla Haircare

Though it looks pretty comfortable, this process stung a little for me at the beginning. Over time though, the stinging became less as my scalp became healthier.

Good news for sure!

Step 4: LED light therapy

No, I'm not going to interview for a James Bond movie. 

LED Light Therapy to Accelerate Hair Growth at Papilla Haircare

In order to calm my scalp after SEP, the therapist arranged for me to undergo a LED light therapy. As safe as this treatment is, she prepared sunglasses for comfort and protection since I'll be sitting underneath this for about 15 minutes. 

LED Light Therapy to Accelerate Hair Growth at Papilla Haircare

I actually can't feel anything in this step but apparently, they use a combination of red and blue light to help accelerate hair growth. 

The red LED light has the effect of penetrating to the base of the hair follicles to stimulate the cells, papilla and matrix to produce more energy and encouraging those cells to generate new hair growth from previously dormant follicles. It also stimulates production of collagen, ATP and new capillaries that improve blood flow to the scalp and fuel growth of cellular structures. 

The blue LED light on the other hand calms the scalp and also kills any bacteria in the process. 

Exfoliation and Scalp Serum Application For Thinning Hair at Papilla Haircare

Once the 15 minutes was up, it was time for the usual blowdry. 

Step 5: Final scan

My scalp always feels super clean after the treatment here. 

Scalp Consultation at Papilla Haircare

But it's nice to know that this is not just a feeling.

When I look at my scalp through the scan, I could see that the dead skin and sebum are all gone!

It's nice to know that my scalp looks so much cleaner and is now in the optimal state for new hair growth with all the biosignalling from the EV-Cytokines.

Can you see how much my scalp condition has improved after coming for treatment consistently over the past few months? 

I'm also seeing more baby hair close to my hair line... yay!!

Even without looking at the scan, I already find my hair looking more voluminous in selfies.

Thank you Amelia and the team at Papilla Haircare for taking care of my scalp over the past few months and making the experience wonderful each time. I'll be definitely be coming back religiously to make sure I maintain the results.

Thank you for listening to me share and I hope that my experience combatting thinning hair can help you! If you ever see me at Papilla, do say hi!! 

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