Dermatologists Can Distinguish Between Hair Loss And Hair Shedding
If you are concerned by the amount of hair falling out, you dont need to suffer in silence. You can turn to a dermatologist for help. These doctors specialize in diagnosing and treating the skin, hair, and nails. A dermatologist can tell you whether you have hair loss or excessive hair shedding. Some people have both.
A dermatologist also can find the cause or causes and tell you what you can expect. Effective treatments options are available for many types of hair loss. The sooner treatment begins, the better the prognosis.
Early Signs Of Balding And How To Stop Hair Loss
Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
One of the keys to stopping hair loss is learning about the common signs of baldness and taking action as early as possible. Simply put, the earlier you take action to prevent hair loss, the more hair youll be able to save.
Unfortunately, identifying hair loss isnt always easy. With many myths about balding circling the internet, it is easy to mistake normal hair loss for male pattern baldness.
Luckily, there are some real signs of male pattern baldness that you can use to identify and deal with hair loss. Learn about hair loss treatments from Hims.
How Is Hair Loss In Women Treated What Medicines Or Supplements May Help
Treatment depends on the cause of your hair loss.
- In cases where the loss is due to stress or hormone changes like pregnancy, there might be no treatment needed. The hair loss will stop after a period of time.
- In cases of hair loss being due to hair styling practices, like tight braids or ponytails or certain chemicals, treatment means not doing the things that caused the damage.
- In cases due to nutritional deficiencies, you might be told to take supplements. For instance, you might be told to take a multivitamin and three to five milligrams of biotin daily.
- Minoxidil is approved for treating FPHL. The 2% or 5% solution can be purchased in stores. However, you have to follow directions exactly and use the product indefinitely. Dont use this product if youre pregnant, if you plan to get pregnant, or if youre breastfeeding.
- The HairMax Lasercomb® low light laser is approved by the US FDA to treat FPHL. Another FDA-approved laser product is the Theradome LH80 PRO® helmet and low light laser helmets and caps.
Other medications that have been studied, but not approved, for hair loss in women include:
- Spironolactone and other anti-androgens.
- Other light treatments.
It is important to note that premenopausal women should not take medications for hair loss treatment without using contraception. Many drugs, including minoxidil and finasteride, are not safe for pregnant women or women who want to get pregnant.
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What Is The Outcome For Someone Who Has Hair Loss
With an accurate diagnosis, many people who have hair loss can see hair regrowth. If you need treatment for regrowth, the earlier you start, the more likely you are to see regrowth.
Its important to understand that:
Not every type of hair loss can be treated, but a dermatologist may be able to prevent further hair loss.
It can take months before you see results from treatment.
No one treatment works for everyone, even two people with the same type of hair loss.
Sometimes, hair loss is stubborn and requires trying different treatments before finding one that works.
Self-care also plays an essential role in preventing and treating hair loss. To find out what dermatologists recommend, go to Hair loss: Self-care.
Images1,2: Getty Images
3: Property of the American Academy of Dermatology, A to Z Video Series
4: Image used with permission of Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology: J Am Acad Dermatol. 1998 39:578-89.
ReferencesAdil A, Godwin M. The effectiveness of treatments for androgenetic alopecia: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2017 77:136-141.
American Academy of Dermatology:
Research demonstrates potential of platelet-rich plasma therapy for hair loss News release issued March 1, 2019. Last accessed May 22, 2019.
New generation of laser and light therapies could provide future treatment options for skin, hair and nail conditions, News release issued March 16, 2012. Last accessed May 22, 2019.
What Are The Effects Of Female Pattern Hair Loss
Many studies have shown that hair loss is not merely a cosmetic issue, but it also causes significant psychological distress. Compared to unaffected women, those affected have a more negative body image and are less able to cope with daily functioning. Hair loss can be associated with low self-esteem, depression, introversion, and feelings of unattractiveness. It is especially hard to live in a society that places great value on youthful appearance and attractiveness.
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What Are The Post
After the hair transplantation, you might be asked to take rest for a couple of days. You might be required to wear a surgical hair cap over your head to prevent infections. Usually, the recovery period is very minimal, and you can get back to your normal activities within a few days. In the case of hair weaving, you might have to visit the centres occasionally to take care of the bonding or to change the style.
Can Certain Hairstyles Or Treatments Cause Hair Loss
Yes. If you wear pigtails or cornrows or use tight hair rollers, the pull on your hair can cause a type of hair loss called traction alopecia. If the pulling is stopped before scarring of the scalp develops, your hair will grow back normally. However, scarring can cause permanent hair loss. Hot oil hair treatments or chemicals used in permanents may cause inflammation of the hair follicle. This can result in scarring and hair loss.
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Hair Loss Can Develop Elsewhere Aside From Your Scalp
While hair loss usually affects the scalp, some conditions can cause hair loss on other areas of the body. Alopecia areata is a disease that can cause hair loss anywhere on the body where hair grows. People who have alopecia areata often have hair loss on their scalp, but they can also lose part of their:
A few people who have alopecia areata lose all the hair on their body. When this happens, the disease is called alopecia universalis.
Frontal fibrosing alopecia is another disease that causes hair loss on the scalp and elsewhere. Some people lose their eyebrows, eyelashes, or hair on other areas of the body.
Its also possible to keep the hair on your head and lose it elsewhere. The friction from wearing tight clothing, shoes, or socks can cause hair loss where you have continual rubbing.
Where Do I Go To Seek Help
Your first stop would be to see your general practitioner who can perform a medical workup to exclude other reasons for hair loss. Your GP can refer you to a dermatologist for further management of FPHL. Sometimes, it may be necessary for your doctor to perform a scalp biopsy to confirm this diagnosis.
It is important to seek reliable information and advice from authoritative sources as there are many bogus treatments that are expensive and do not work.
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Hair Shedding Often Stops On Its Own
Its normal to shed between 50 and 100 hairs a day. When the body sheds significantly more hairs every day, a person has excessive hair shedding. The medical term for this condition is telogen effluvium.
Excessive hair shedding is common in people who have experienced one the following stressors:
Lost 20 pounds or more
Experiencing lots of stress
Had high fever
Recovering from an illness, especially if it included high fever
Stopped taking birth-control pills
Most people notice the excessive hair shedding a few months after the stressful event. For example, a new mom can see excessive hair shedding about two months after giving birth. The shedding usually peaks about four months after giving birth. This shedding is normal and temporary.
As your body readjusts, the excessive shedding stops. Within six to nine months, the hair tends to regains its normal fullness.
If the stressor stays with you, however, hair shedding can be long lived. People who are constantly under a lot of stress can have long-term excessive hair shedding.
How Is Hair Loss Diagnosed
Persistent hair loss often indicates an underlying health issue.
Your doctor or dermatologist can determine the cause of your hair loss based on a physical examination and your health history. In some cases, simple dietary changes can help. Your doctor may also change your prescription medications.
If your dermatologist suspects an autoimmune or skin disease, they might take a biopsy of the skin on your scalp.
This will involve carefully removing a small section of skin for laboratory testing. Its important to keep in mind that hair growth is a complex process. It may take time to determine the exact cause of your hair loss.
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What Is Female Pattern Hair Loss
Female pattern hair loss is a distinctive form of diffuse hair loss that occurs in women with androgeneticalopecia. Many women are affected by FPHL. Around 40% of women by age 50 show signs of hair loss and less than 45% of women reach the age of 80 with a full head of hair.
In FPHL, there is diffuse thinning of hair on the scalp due to increased hair shedding or a reduction in hair volume, or both. It is normal to lose up to 50-100 hairs a day. Another condition called chronictelogeneffluvium also presents with increased hair shedding and is often confused with FPHL. It is important to differentiate between these conditions as management for both conditions differ.
FPHL presents quite differently from the more easily recognisable male pattern baldness, which usually begins with a receding frontal hairline that progresses to a bald patch on top of the head. It is very uncommon for women to bald following the male pattern unless there is excessive production of androgens in the body.
Varying severity of female pattern hair loss
What Are The Common Causes Of Hair Loss In Women
What causes hair loss?
- Hair style: Your style of hair can cause hair loss when your hair is arranged in ways that pull on your roots, like tight ponytails, braids, or corn rows. This type of hair loss is called traction alopecia. If hair follicles are damaged, the loss can be permanent.
- Vitamin deficiency.
- Over processed scalp hair .
What causes anagen effluvium hair loss?
- Toxic substances, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy and some medications. These cause sudden hair loss that can occur anywhere on your body. It happens to hair in the growth stage. Sometimes, this type of hair loss can be permanent if your hair follicles are damaged.
What causes telogen effluvium hair loss?
- Extreme physical stress or shock to your body: This causes temporary hair loss. This category includes events like losing a lot of weight, surgery, anemia, illness and having a baby.
- Extreme emotional stress: mental illness, the death of a loved one, etc.
- An abnormal thyroid.
- Medications and supplements: blood pressure medicines, gout medicines and high doses of Vitamin A.
- Hormone changes caused by pregnancy, menopause or birth control pills.
What causes FPHL ?
- Genes: Your familys genes can cause thinning of hair along the top of your head.
- Aging: Hormone changes as you age can cause balding.
- Menopause: This type of hair loss often gets worse when estrogen is lost during menopause.
There are also some conditions that affect hair loss:
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Is Vitamin D Deficiency Hair Loss Reversible
Vitamin D supplements could help if a vitamin D deficiency is contributing to your hair loss. Vitamin D can come in a pill, or it can be applied to the skin through creams like calcipotriol, a psoriasis drug that has shown promise in treating hair loss.
âSupplementing vitamin D can often be helpful since most people are deficientâalong with other key nutrients, typically iron, vitamin C, and biotinâin restoring hair loss. It certainly helps thicken existing hair,â Levitan says. âThe amount to take varies on the individual’s needs, based on who they are, sun exposure, and other medical problems.â
Getting 10 to 30 minutes of sun exposure is a way to get vitamin D, but this could raise skin cancer risks. The amount of sun needed to form Vitamin D will vary depending on your skin type, how much skin is exposed, and where you live. According to Levitan, getting between 800 and 2,000 IUâor 20 to 50 microgramsâof vitamin D daily is usually enough, and âtoo much can cause toxicity.â Some people require 5,000 IU daily to maintain optimum blood levels and Vitamin D should be taken in the morning with Magnesium for maximum bioavailability.
Hair Loss: Diagnosis And Treatment
Dermatologist examining a patient with hair loss
To find out what’s causing your hair loss, a dermatologist may use a tool called a dermascope to get a closer look.
Effective treatment for hair loss begins with finding the cause. To get an accurate diagnosis, it helps to see a board-certified dermatologist. These doctors have in-depth knowledge about the many causes of hair loss and experience treating the diverse causes.
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Should I Have Any Hormone Tests Done
Blood tests include female and male sex hormone levels as well as thyroid function, as part of the diagnostic workup.
The majority of women affected by FPHL do not have underlying hormonal abnormalities. However, a few women with FPHL are found to have excessive levels of androgens. These women also tend to suffer from acne, irregular menses and excessive facial and body hair. These symptoms are characteristic of the polycystic ovarian syndrome although the majority of women with PCOS do not experience hair loss. Less often, congenital adrenal hyperplasia may be responsible.
How Can Hair Loss In Women Be Prevented
Preventing hair loss is not possible when it is due to disease, aging, heredity or physical stressors like injuries. You can prevent hair loss caused by caustic chemicals or tight hairstyles by avoiding them. You might be able to prevent some hair loss by eating a healthy diet that provides necessary nutrients in terms of vitamins, minerals and protein. You can stop smoking.
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