How Hair Shedding And Hair Loss Differ
While hair shedding and hair loss share a commonality, there’s also a key difference between hair loss and hair shedding. Hair shedding is a regular process that occurs within the body, while hair loss is related to something, either external or internal, that prevents the hair from growing in a healthy manner.
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The Ludwig Scale For Women
While the Hamilton-Norwood scale is popularly used to identify the various stages of hair loss among men, the Ludwig scale is used to identify hair loss patterns among women.
In 1977, Ludwig studied more than 400 women who had reported hair loss to create a classification system to determine hair loss’s various evolutionary stages. The Ludwig scale defines three broad stages of hair loss. In stage 1, the hair on the top of the head begins thinning. In stage 2, the scalp starts to become visible. In stage 3, all of the hair at the crown may be lost, resulting in baldness.
Ebling and Rook also developed a hair loss classification system with five stages. While its first two stages remain the same as the Ludwig system, during its stage 3, there is continued diffuse hair loss in the region, along with the initial hairline recession.
This classification is often considered an update over the Ludwig scale since it also accounted for hair loss in males. Some other classification systems for women include the Savin scale, which divided hair loss into eight stages, and the Olsen scale, which was similar to the Ludwig scale.
Excessive Hair Loss After Showering Or Brushing
Its normal to lose hair when you shower, brush or comb.
On average, people lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day, meaning that the four to five hairs you notice in your hands after shampooing your hair aren’t anything to be concerned about.
However, if you start to notice an excessive amount of hair falling out throughout the day, theres a risk that it could be the result of male pattern baldness.
Before you panic, its important to know that temporary hair loss can happen and that shedding a lot of hair for a day or two isnt necessarily a cause for alarm.
Less alarming yet common causes of hair loss range from high fevers to psychological stress to side effects of medication.
This type of hair loss is usually temporary, meaning youll notice a larger number of hairs in your hands and on your brush for anywhere from one to six months .
You might also notice loose hairs on your pillow in the morning.
If you notice a large amount of hair loss every day for a long time, you should seek medical advice.
After all, it may not take as long as youd think for a modest amount of daily hair loss from a full head of hair to turn into a receding hairline or a visible bald spot on your crown.
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Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia
Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia is a form of scarring alopecia that starts with patchy hair loss at the vertex and gradually spreads centrifugally. Patients may complain of tender or pruritic bumps in this location of the scalp. Long thought to be secondary to damage from chemical relaxers and hair dyes, CCCA disproportionately affects middle-aged women of African descent and was previously rarely reported in children . However, a recent pediatric case series suggests a familial mode of inheritance with earlier disease onset and greater penetrance in individuals of successive generations. A case series of six children with CCCA reported that the majority were of African descent, had no history of chemical treatment of hair, and had a positive family history of CCCA . Although still a rare cause of hair loss in children, a low threshold of suspicion should be maintained for young African American patients presenting with vertex hair loss and symptoms. To the best of our knowledge, CCCA has not been reported in children of non-African descent. Early treatment with topical or intralesional steroids can decrease inflammation to slow or halt disease progression. This highlights the importance of recognizing CCCA in children with a positive family history to control progressive scarring alopecia.
Youre Noticing Random Bald Spots
As we mentioned above, male pattern baldness can cause a bald patch to develop around the top of the head — an area thats often referred to as your crown.
In addition to male pattern baldness, other forms of hair loss may cause you to develop patchy areas or random bald spots on your scalp.
In addition to bald spots, this type of hair loss could also cause you to shed hair in a band-like pattern that straps around certain parts of your scalp. It can also affect your facial hair growth, resulting in small patches of missing hair in your beard area.
Other forms of hair loss, such as telogen effluvium, can occur after traumatic events or during periods of severe stress.
The good news, however, is that these forms of hair loss are usually temporary, meaning your hair should eventually grow back and fill in any bald spots or patchy areas.
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How To Style Your Thinning Hair
If your hair is beginning to thin, you can style it in a way that makes the hair loss less noticeable. This could include changing where you part your hair, cutting your hair shorter to create more volume, or adding some dimensional layers. This could give the illusion of thicker and fuller hair while hiding any hair loss you may have.
Prescription Medication That Can Regrow Hair
Another treatment option is to take prescription medication. The type of medication prescribed will depend on your:
Hair loss cause
Plans for getting pregnant
With any medication, side effects are possible. Ask your dermatologist about possible side effects that you might experience while taking one of these medications to treat hair loss. The medications include:
Finasteride : The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved this medication to treat male pattern hair loss. When taken as directed, finasteride can:
Slow down hair loss
Stimulate new hair growth
Finasteride is a pill that you take once a day. Taking it at the same time each day seems to produce the best results.
Finasteride: Before and after
This man took finasteride to treat his male pattern hair loss, and within 1 year , he had noticeable improvement. After 2 years , he had regrown most of his hair.
Like other treatments for hair loss, this, too, takes time to work. It usually takes about 4 months to notice any improvement.
Finasteride tends to be more effective if you begin taking it when you first notice hair loss.A dermatologist may also prescribe this medication to treat a woman who has hereditary hair loss and cannot get pregnant.
If finasteride works for you, you will need to keep taking it to continue getting results. Once you stop, youll start losing hair again.Before taking this medication, be sure to discuss possible side effects with your dermatologist.
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How To Strengthen Your Follicles And Slow Hair Loss
Regardless of your sensitivity to DHT, you will likely experience hair loss over time. Its part of aging, says Bauman. Look at the odds: 90 percent of 90-year olds have experienced significant loss. However, you can slow down the fall-out rate, and not just with Propecia, Rogaine, and transplants.
Start by getting good sleep, consistently. Cut back on smoking and drinking, both of which compromise the hairs fiber production. Bauman says to avoid certain medications, like antihypertensives , hormone treatments , statin drugs, mood modulators , all of which that can hinder the hairs growth and strength. And, as mentioned, avoid supplements like creatine, which will increase DHT production and thus accelerate loss.
In addition to behavioral changes, Bauman says you can slow hair loss by taking routine nutritional supplements. He recommends a professional-grade Biotin, called Viviscal Professional or Nutrafol Men. Nutrafol targets several possible triggers for hair loss and hair thinning, including inflammation, the effects of cortisol , free radical damage, and more. He also suggests using grooming products that contain caffeine , saw palmetto such as MiN New York daily shampoo, and green tea extracts like Paul Mitchells scalp care assortment. These can help strengthen the follicles and help prevent shedding, he says.
What Is Androgenetic Alopecia
Almost every woman eventually develops some degree of female pattern hair loss. It can start any time after the onset of puberty, but women tend to first notice it around menopause, when hair loss typically increases. The risk rises with age, and it’s higher for women with a history of hair loss on either side of the family.
As the name suggests, androgenetic alopecia involves the action of the hormones called androgens, which are essential for normal male sexual development and have other important functions in both sexes, including sex drive and regulation of hair growth. The condition may be inherited and involve several different genes. It can also result from an underlying endocrine condition, such as overproduction of androgen or an androgen-secreting tumor on the ovary, pituitary, or adrenal gland. In either case, the alopecia is likely related to increased androgen activity. But unlike androgenetic alopecia in men, in women the precise role of androgens is harder to determine. On the chance that an androgen-secreting tumor is involved, it’s important to measure androgen levels in women with clear female pattern hair loss.
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In Men How To Determine If Their Hair Loss Is Hereditary
Androgenetic alopecia in men is also often called as male pattern baldness or male pattern hair loss. And it is also the most common form of hair loss in men.
How do men get it?
The exact cause may still remain puzzling and is not fully understood yet. But experts have confirmed that it is an inherited condition.
Typically, men with this hair loss problem are genetically more sensitive to an androgen called dihydrotestosterone . In these men, its thought that DHT can contribute to shorten the growth of hair follicle .
As a result, the normal life cycle of hair follicle is affected. The duration of growing phase that typically takes about 3-6 years can be shorter by up to months or even weeks. At the same time, this is followed with the progressively production of fewer and finer hair follicles.
How do men know if they have hereditary male pattern hair loss?
If you are a man with male pattern baldness, the problem usually starts at the front hairline, causing receding hairline. The front hairline will gradually recede and eventually may cause M-shape.
In some cases, thinning hair on the crown may start first. It then may be followed by receding hairline. Or both receding hairline and thinning hair on the crown occur together at the same time.
Overtime, the problem may get worse if left untreated, causing horseshoe see the following picture!
In What Cases Is This Technique Carried Out
A biopsy is performed as a diagnostic test to establish with precision the causes of hair loss in a patient, and the type of alopecia that he/she presents. But a scalp biopsy for hair loss is performed only when necessary, and always by decision of the hair surgeon when he/she cannot accurately determine the pathology that the patient presents and what is causing the alopecia.
Normally, this type of procedure is performed when the hair loss pattern is different from that of male pattern hair lossinherited baldness, which is the most common cause of alopecia – or when other symptoms are observed, such as tumours. Scalp biopsy for female hair loss cases is also common due to the difficulty in the diagnosis.
There are many different types of alopecia, and as we mentioned before, sometimes it is not easy to make a diagnosis from the mere external observation of the scalp and hair. Among the types of alopecia that usually require a biopsy for its correct diagnosis, there are the following:
- Lichen planus on the scalp
- Pseudopelade of Brocq
- Queratosis follicularis spinulosa decalvans
By using a scalp biopsy, it is possible to obtain valuable information that will help the specialist to determine what characteristics the patient’s alopecia has therefore, it is important to correctly identify the affected area and carry out the procedure on it. We must emphasise that a biopsy is a barely invasiveand painlessprocedure that only lasts a few minutes. Let’s see it in more detail.
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How To Distinguish Androgenetic Alopecia And Chronic Telogen Effluvium
This is a good study to reference: Distinguishing Androgenetic Alopecia from Chronic Telogen Effluvium When Associated in the Same Patient .
While you can do this test in your sink, I would recommend getting a hair catcher to gauge your progress moving forward.
When evaluating if a treatment is efficacious or not for you, having a reference of your baseline shedding levels before and after starting treatments will be very useful.
When determining if a hair is miniaturized or not, it more or less breaks down to the length of the hair.
Hairs that are 5 centimeters or longer are considered healthy, non-miniaturized hairs, at least as that is the standard outlined in the clinical study linked above.
Hairs that are 3 centimeters or less are considered miniaturized hairs.
Patients who had alopecia areata, scarring alopecias, or had very short clipped hair were excluded of course.
If your hair isn’t 3 cm to begin with, obviously this test will be useless for you.
When patients appear to have male pattern baldness, they shed shorter and thinner telogen hairs as a result of androgen induced miniaturization.
When hairs are 3 cm or shorter, they are called vellus hairs.
Hair diameter was determined to be an irrelevant metric to look at because diameter and length proved to vary in parallel.
The shorter the hair, the thinner it was too, so measuring the length proved to be all that was necessary to make a diagnosis.
The less miniaturized hairs you shed the better.
How To Stop Thinning Hair: Hair Loss Treatment For Women
Medications are the most common treatment for hair loss in women. They include the following:
Minoxidil . This drug was initially introduced as a treatment for high blood pressure, but people who took it noticed that they were growing hair in places where they had lost it. Research studies confirmed that minoxidil applied directly to the scalp could stimulate hair growth. As a result of the studies, the FDA originally approved over-the-counter 2% minoxidil to treat hair loss in women. Since then a 5% solution has also become available when a stronger solution is need for a woman’s hair loss.
Clearly, minoxidil is not a miracle drug. While it can produce some new growth of fine hair in some not all women, it can’t restore the full density of the lost hair. It’s not a quick fix, either for hair loss in women . You won’t see results until you use the drug for at least two months. The effect often peaks at around four months, but it could take longer, so plan on a trial of six to 12 months. If minoxidil works for you, you’ll need to keep using it to maintain those results. If you stop, you’ll start to lose hair again.
Some women find that the minoxidil solution leaves a deposit that dries and irritates their scalp. This irritation, called contact dermatitis, is probably caused not by the minoxidil itself, but rather by the alcohol that is included to facilitate drying.
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