What Is Hair Loss
The American Academy of Dermatology notes that 80 million men and women in America have hereditary hair loss .
It can affect just the hair on your scalp or your entire body. Although alopecia is more prevalent in older adults, excessive hair loss can occur in children as well.
Its normal to lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day. With about 100,000 hairs on your head, that small loss isnt noticeable.
New hair normally replaces the lost hair, but this doesnt always happen. Hair loss can develop gradually over years or happen abruptly. Hair loss can be permanent or temporary.
Its impossible to count the amount of hair lost on a given day. You may be losing more hair than is normal if you notice a large amount of hair in the drain after washing your hair or clumps of hair in your brush. You might also notice thinning patches of hair or baldness.
If you notice that youre losing more hair than usual, you should discuss the problem with your doctor. They can determine the underlying cause of your hair loss and suggest appropriate treatment plans.
Relax And Reduce Stress To Help Your Hair Grow
You may not know it, but stress affects your health in a number of different ways. It can zap your energy, make you feel physically ill, and even cause your hair to fall out.
Thats right, stress can play a role in contributing to thinning hair. On its own, stress-related hair loss is usually temporary and may grow back over time.
Hair Loss In Women Different Than In Men Now Assured Better Treatment
with Enrico Carmina, MD, and Brad Anawalt, MD
There is good news for any woman who is experiencing female pattern hair loss and your health care practitionera new diagnostic tool is available to direct targeted treatment decisions to the specific reason causing this problem.
The Multidisciplinary Androgen Excess and PCOS Committee released guidelines to focus clinical attention on central scalp hair loss, providing a path to improved well-being and quality of life for millions of women.1
Women who experience hair thinning are assured better diagnosis and targeted treatment given release of new clinical guidelines. Photo: 123rf
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Can Hair Loss Be Prevented Or Avoided
There is no way to prevent male-pattern baldness because it is a genetic trait, meaning you inherited a gene for baldness from your parents.
Some other causes of excessive hair loss can be prevented. For example, you could prevent hair loss by not styling hair too tightly in a way that puts too much pressure on your scalp. You also can talk to your doctor and avoid taking medications that could cause hair loss.
Hair Loss Treatments That Can Help
While research into new hair loss medications and scalp creams are constant, only two products have been consistently effective:
Minoxidil â Also known as Rogaine, Minoxidil is an over-the-counter solution you apply twice-daily to your scalp. It works by increasing blood circulation to the affected area of your scalp, thickening and strengthening the hair follicles. Both men and women can use Rogaine. Results usually show after four to eight months of application.
âIf people use it twice per day religiously, it works. If they only use it once a day or skip a day, less so. Rogaine can be sticky, messy, and uncomfortable on the scalp, so the compliance rate is not that great,â says Kahen.
Finasteride â Finasteride is a prescription pill that addresses genetic hair loss by preventing testosterone from being converted to a substance called DHC which weakens hair follicles. An FDA-approved medication for male pattern baldness, Finasteride is taken once daily and if used consistently, has a high success rate at slowing down genetic hair loss.
While âresults are very predictableâ with both medications, some side effects do arise which can include skin irritations and headaches with Minoxidil, and decreased libido or sexual dysfunction with Finasteride, explains Susan Bard, MD, and a dermatologist in New York.
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Be Mindful Of Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills are a form of contraception that works by suppressing ovulation and/or making it more difficult for a fertilized egg to implant into the lining of the uterus. Hormonal hair loss in women may occur when women start or stop taking certain kinds of contraceptives. The hormones that make birth control pills effective may also cause hair thinning in women who use them. You are more likely to experience this side effect from birth control pills if you have a family history of hair loss. Stopping the pill is also a cause of hair loss in women. Hormones are not the only medication that may be associated with hair loss. Blood thinners and blood pressure medications may do it, too. So can drugs used to treat depression, heart disease, and arthritis.
How To Address Hair Loss In The Early Stages
Did you know that approximately 85% of American men will experience some level of androgenic alopecia by age 50? Perhaps knowing youre not alone isnt enough to make you feel better, but understand that advancements in medical science have made it more likely to stop the signs of balding from progressing.
A study in 1998 examining male pattern hair loss in men aged 18 – 49 found that 42% experienced moderate to extensive hair loss, and this got worse with age .
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Fungal Infections Cause Loss Of Hair In Patches
In some cases, a scalp infection may be causing your loss of hair. Ringworm is a fungal infection that is especially common in children. Ringworm of the scalp, called tinea capitis, can cause your scalp to become scaly and your hair to fall out, usually in patches. This fungal infection is easily treated with anti-fungal medication, which will stop the loss of hair.
How Does Hair Grow
Hair grows on most parts of the skin surface, except palms, soles, lips and eyelids. Hair thickness and length varies according to the site.
- Vellus hair is fine, light in colour, and short in length
- Terminal or androgenic hair is thicker, darker and longer
A hair shaft grows within a follicle at a rate of about 1 cm per month. It is due to cell division within the hair bulb at the base of the follicle. The cells produce the three layers of the hair shaft , which are mainly made of the proteinkeratin .
Hair growth follows a cycle. However, these phases are not synchronised, and any hair may be at a particular phase at random.
The three main phases of the hair cycle are:
Hair length depends on the duration of anagen. Short hairs have a short anagen phase of around one month. Anagen lasts up to 6 years or longer in scalp hair.
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Living With Hair Loss
Losing your hair can be devastating. Many people consider a thick head of hair a symbol of youth and vitality. So losing it no matter how young you are can make you feel old. It can make you feel less attractive. It can lower your overall self-esteem.
Remember that it is okay to feel what youre feeling. It is also okay to seek out a strategy for stopping or even reversing hair loss. Wanting hair doesnt mean that you are vain. You should not feel guilty about doing something about your hair loss.
If adequate treatment is not available for your type of hair loss, you may consider trying different hairstyles or wigs, hairpieces, hair weaves or artificial hair replacement.
Vitamins Minerals And Other Supplements
If your blood test reveals that youre not getting enough biotin, iron, or zinc, your dermatologist may recommend taking a supplement. If youre not getting enough protein, your dermatologist can tell you how to boost your intake.
You should only take biotin, iron, or zinc when your blood test shows that you have a deficiency. If your levels are normal, taking a supplement can be harmful. For example, if you take too much iron, you can develop iron poisoning. Early signs of this include stomach pain and vomiting.
Other supplements meant to help with hair loss tend to contain a lot of one nutrient. Because this can cause you to get too much of the nutrient, many dermatologists recommend taking a multivitamin instead.
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How Is Hereditary Hair Loss Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask you questions about your hair loss, including the pattern of your hair loss and whether you have any other medical conditions. Your doctor will also examine your hair. No tests are needed to diagnose hereditary hair loss, but blood tests may be done to rule out other conditions that can cause hair loss.
Can Hair Fall & Hair Loss Be Treated
Hair fall and hair loss may be due to various different reasons. Effective treatments for some types of hair loss are available. You might be able to least slow it down and sometimes, even reverse it upto an extent. With some conditions, such as alopecia areata and telogen effluvium, hair may regrow without treatment within a few months to a year or so.Sometimes, hair fall can be prevented . However, if the hair loss is due to certain causes, there is no option but to treat it. Treatments for hair loss include medications and surgery. Lets review some of the best options available.
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What Is Alopecia Areata
A common skin condition, alopecia areata usually starts as a single quarter-sized circle of perfectly smooth bald skin. These patches usually regrow in three to six months without treatment. Sometimes, white hair temporarily regrows and then becomes dark. The most extensive form is alopecia totalis, in which the entire scalp goes bald. Its important to emphasize that patients who have localized hair loss generally dont go on to lose hair all over the scalp. Alopecia areata can affect hair on other parts of the body, too .
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks its own hair follicles. Most patients, however, do not have systemic problems and need no medical tests. While people frequently blame alopecia areata on stress, in fact, it may be the other way around that is, having alopecia may cause stress.
Under normal conditions, scalp hairs live for about three years they then enter the telogen, or resting, phase. During the three-month telogen period, the hair root shrivels up into a small club, then the hair falls out. It is therefore normal to lose about 100 hairs every day, more of them on days when shampooing loosens the hairs that are ready to fall out. The body then replaces the hairs.
- severe illness,
Rogaine Makes The Hair
Usually only 30 to 40% of patients experience significant hair growth, the Merck Manual says.
You may start seeing it work in about four months, but it can take up to eight to 12 months to really jumpstart hair growth. It also might irritate your scalp, cause more facial hair to appear, or trigger a rapid heart rate.
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What Are Causes And Risk Factors For Hair Loss
Because there are many types of hair loss, finding the cause can be challenging. This review will cover the most common causes of hair loss occurring on normal unscarred scalp skin. The medical term for hair loss is alopecia.
Most hair loss is not associated with systemic or internal disease, nor is poor diet a frequent factor. Hair may simply thin as a result of predetermined genetic factors and the overall aging process. Many men and women may notice mild physiologic thinning of hair starting in their 30s and 40s. Life vicissitudes, including illness, emotional trauma, protein deprivation , and hormonal changes like those in pregnancy, puberty, and menopause may cause hair loss.
Several health conditions, including thyroid disease, iron deficiency anemia, and secondary syphilis, can cause hair loss. While thyroid blood tests and other lab tests, including a complete blood count , on people who have ordinary hair loss are usually normal, it is important to exclude treatable causes of hair loss.
Patchy hair loss
Some conditions produce small areas of hair loss, while others affect large areas of the scalp. Common causes of patchy hair loss are
Why Does Hair Fall Out
The hair on your head goes through a life cycle that involves growth, resting, and shedding. Its common for people to lose around 100 hairs a day.
If you experience more sudden loss, loss in patches, or overall thinning, you may want to see your doctor.
Some shedding is temporary and may respond well to changes in diet, certain treatments, or lifestyle changes. Other loss may be more permanent or not stop until an underlying condition is treated.
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Changing Your Hair Care May Help
Some hairstyles and hair care habits can damage hair, leading to hair loss. If your dermatologist finds that this may be causing your hair loss, your dermatologist can recommend changes that will help you stop damaging your hair.
Youll find tips that dermatologists give their patients at:
When Hair May Regrow On Its Own
Yes, your hair may regrow on its own. This can happen if you recently:
Had a baby
Recovered from a major illness or had surgery
Underwent cancer treatment
Lost 20 pounds or more
Developed a mild case of a disease called alopecia areata, which causes your immune system to attack your hair follicles
Got rid of psoriasis on your scalp
Your dermatologist can tell you whether your hair may start to grow again on its own.
Sometimes to see regrowth, you need to make some changes.
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Key Points About Normal Hair Loss