How Is Hereditary Hair Loss Treated
Losing your hair slowly is a normal part of the ageing process for most men and some women. Treatment is not usually necessary. However, hair loss that occurs rapidly or early in life can be distressing. If you wish to slow or stop the progression of hair loss, there are treatments available.
Treatments for hair loss include:
- medicines, both local and oral
- wigs, hairpieces or hair transplantation.
Hair loss that is caused by a temporary situation such as illness, medication, stress or insufficient iron will stop when the cause is resolved. Read more about abnormal hair loss.
The Hair Growth Cycle
There are three phases that the follicle goes through during the growth cycle . They are anagen , catagen , and telogen .
Hair growth only occurs when follicles are in anagen phase. The majority of your follicles are in anagen at any given time, and healthy follicles will remain in anagen for years at a time.
The next phase is catagen, which only lasts a few weeks to a few months.
The final phase is telogen, which is when the majority of hair shed occurs.
As youll see below, this cycle plays into many forms of hair loss. Now, lets look closely at some of the most common types.
Hair Thinning Vs Hair Loss
Hair loss and hair thinning are two terms that are synonymous with losing your hair. In fact, many people use both terms interchangeably. While hair thinning and hair loss are two related terms, their problems are completely different.
Hair loss refers to when hair begins to shed as it relates to the natural cycle of each hair follicle, this is usually caused by several factors including medications, stress, hormonal imbalances, or if there is an underlying medical condition that competes with keeping the hair healthy. It usually leads to abnormalities in the hair shaft and may eventually lead to androgenetic alopecia in women or male pattern hair loss in men.
Hair thinning is a milder form of hair loss whereby the hair shaft starts growing thinner and finer, thus causing a protuberant hair growth cycle in both men and women. It is referred to as Female Pattern Thinning or Male Pattern Thinning.
Thinning hair can be observed in both genders, but the pattern in which it happens is different. In men, it typically starts on the crown or receding hairlines before later spreading inwards. In the case of thinning in women, it is generally observed on top of the frontal region. Women start thinning around their part line and start diffusing out. Men usually start on the crown or front and the two areas usually meet to create a more evident hair thinning and sometimes only the scalp shows for advanced cases of hair loss for men.
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What Causes Hair Loss
A person can experience hair loss from a variety of biological, environmental, or psychological causes. These include:
- Hormones, such as an overproduction of androgens as well as hormonal changes from childbirth and pregnancy.
- Illnesses, such as lupus, diabetes, iron deficiency, anemia, or certain eating disorders can all affect hair loss.
- Genetics can increase a persons chance of male or female pattern baldness.
- Certain medications, including chemotherapy drugs, blood thinners, certain blood pressure medications, and oral contraceptives can also lead to thinning hair or hair loss.
- Trauma to the scalp, including surgical scars, head injuries, or other skin conditions of the scalp.
- Autoimmune conditions, such as alopecia areata, attack healthy hair follicles, but hair can be regrown.
- Diet or malnourishment can contribute to hair loss.
- Cosmetic procedures, like bleaches, tight braiding, or chemical treatments to hair can cause significant damage to the scalp, leading to follicle damage or hair loss. However, it is important to note that damage to hair alone does not often lead to baldness.
Key Points About Normal Hair Loss
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Are There Complications/side Effects Of Treatment
Minoxidil may irritate your scalp and cause dryness, scaling, itching and/or redness. See your dermatologist if this happens.
With Minoxidil you might also see hair growing in other places other than your scalp . Wash your face after you apply Minoxidil and make sure you avoid other areas when you apply it.
What Support Is Available With Hereditary Hair Loss
Hereditary hair loss is a normal part of the ageing process. However, when baldness occurs suddenly or early in life it can be distressing. Hair loss is particularly upsetting for women. Talking with others who have experienced hair loss may help. If you need to talk to someone, ask your doctor about counselling sessions available in your area or for a referral to a counsellor.
Below are also some support groups you may find helpful.
NZ Alopecia Facebook support groupNZ Alopecia website Information from fellow New Zealanders living with alopecia. Links to support groups, personal experiences through to information about wig subsidy.Wigs and hairpieces subsidy Information from the Ministry of Health regarding wigs and hairpieces subsidy for people who suffer from serious hair loss because of a medical condition or from certain cancer therapies.
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Causes Of Androgenetic Alopecia In Women
As the name indicates, this hair loss is related to the action of hormones called androgens. These hormones are important for both men and women, as they regulate functions such as sex drive and, yes, hair growth.
Testosterone, which is the predominant androgen, converts to Dihydrotestosterone when it comes in contact with the Type II 5-alpha reductase enzyme. This enzyme is found in a hair follicles oil glands.
Researchers have found out that DHT attacks follicles, shrinking them and eventually inhibiting hair growth.
But, why doesnt hair loss happen to every person then? Perhaps some women have higher levels of testosterone? It is not clear but it seems that the amount of androgens is not the problem but rather how sensitive your scalp follicles are to the effects of DHT. People who are more sensitive will have more hair follicles destroyed and thus, more hair loss.
The truth is that medical experts do not fully understand the process of pattern baldness in neither men nor women. However, they have determined that pattern baldness in women is usually associated with three events:
- Family history of Androgenic Alopecia or any other type of alopecia
- Hormonal conditions related to changes in levels of estrogens. Lower levels of estrogens would alter the estrogen: testosterone ratio.
- Variations in the AR gene
These photos show the hair loss progression of two women diagnosed with androgenetic alopecia.
Hair Loss During Menopausal Transition
Hair loss during the menopausal transition can be just as dramatic as menopausal hair loss. The two are both related to the same changes in hormone levels. The menopausal transition is the time leading up to menopause and can last several years. During the menopausal transition, fluctuating hormones can cause some of the same symptoms typically associated with menopause.
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Hair Loss Treatment For Women #: Boost Scalp Circulation
Healthy scalps grow healthy hair, so make sure that youre taking care of yours! Give your scalp a refresh with our Scalp Follicle Treatment & Volumizer. This nourishing treatment soothes and moisturises dry and irritated scalps with organic aloe leaf juice, mint oil, cloudberry fruit extract, and olive oil extract. Mint oil also encourages increased blood flow to the scalp, nourishing your hair follicles with all the vitamins and minerals they need for healthy hair growth.
To maximise your results, combine the Scalp Follicle Treatment & Volumizer with our Scalp Massage Brush. Our Scalp Massage Brush has soft silicone bristles that gently exfoliate the scalp and increase circulation.
Scalp Follicle Treatment & Volumizer
Cosmetic Options For Hair Loss
When medical treatments fall short, women can also consider cosmetic options to make up for lost hair, such as wearing a wig. At the other end of the spectrum is hair transplantation, a surgical procedure that moves active follicles from the back of the scalp to areas where the hair is thinning. Once transplanted, the hair grows normally.
Hair transplantation is typically performed as an outpatient surgical procedure. In appropriate patients, it can be extremely successful, but it wont work for everyone, says Dr. Scott. One drawback is the expense: it can cost thousands of dollars and is not covered by insurance. The procedure also requires recovery time. And it may not be appropriate for women who have diffuse thinning across the whole scalp. Its more effective in treating smaller, more defined areas of balding.
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How Can You Prevent Female Pattern Baldness
The causes of female pattern baldness are not fully understood although its thought it is a genetic condition. The hereditary nature of this type of hair loss makes prevention more difficult. To help keep your hair as healthy as possible you can:
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
- Take vitamin supplements
- Try not to damage hair by perming or straightening it or having extensions
- Wear a hat to avoid sun damage
How Common Is Hair Loss In Women
Many people think that hair loss only affects men. However, it is estimated that more than 50% of women will experience noticeable hair loss. The most significant cause of hair loss in women is female-pattern hair loss , which affects about one-third of susceptible women, which equals out to some 30 million women in the United States.
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Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia
Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia may occur as a result of hair products or styling techniques that damage hair follicles. The use of hair relaxers, blow dryers, curling irons, and hair extensions can cause central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, as can the process of creating a permanent wave, or a perm.
The frequent application of oils, gels, or pomades can also cause this condition, which may be reversible if you stop using these hair products or styling techniques. Our dermatologists may recommend taking medication to help hair grow back.
Hair Loss Treatment For Women #: Detangle Gently
Another option for treating baldness in women is to be extra careful when detangling wet hair. Hair is most fragile when its wet, and if you treat it too roughly, that hair can break off and further worsen hair loss.
We recommend applying a leave-in treatment to wet hair before detangling, like Hair Strengthening & Protection Oil. This leave-in treatment moisturises and protects hair with a combination of natural nourishing oils. Then gently comb through hair using a Detangle Wet Brush. This unique silicone brush is designed specifically for use on wet hair. Thanks to its flexible, smooth silicone bristles, the Detangle Wet Brush glides effortlessly through snarls with zero breakage.
Hair Strengthening & Protection Oil
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Female Pattern Hair Loss
In women, hair slowly thins all over the scalp, but the hairline usually doesnt recede. Many women experience this type of hair loss as a natural part of aging, although hair loss may begin any time after puberty. Female pattern hair loss can cause hair to thin dramatically, but only rarely does it lead to baldness.
How Can I Tell If I Have Female Pattern Hair Loss
Its best to make an appointment to see a dermatologist. Dermatologists are the experts in diagnosing and treating hair loss. A dermatologist can tell you whether its FPHR or something else that is causing your hair loss. Other causes of hair loss can look like FPHL, so its important to rule out these causes.
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What Is The Relationship Between Hair Loss In Women And Menopause
During menopause, you might see one of two things happen with your hair. You might start growing hair where you didnt before. Or, you might see the hair you have start to thin. One cause may be changing levels of hormones during menopause. Estrogen and progesterone levels fall, meaning that the effects of the androgens, male hormones, are increased.
During and after menopause, hair might become finer because hair follicles shrink. Hair grows more slowly and falls out more easily in these cases.
Your healthcare provider will do a thorough examination and take a detailed history to help you deal with changes in hair growth. You may be directed to have your iron levels or thyroid hormone levels tested. Your medications might be changed if what you take is found to affect hair loss or growth.
How Is It Diagnosed
If youve noticed thinning hair on your scalp, see your doctor or a dermatologist. If you dont already have a dermatologist, the Healthline FindCare tool can help you find a physician in your area. Your doctor will examine your scalp to see the pattern of hair loss. Testing generally isnt needed to diagnose female pattern baldness.
If they suspect another type of hair loss, they may also perform a blood test to check your levels of thyroid hormone, androgens, iron, or other substances that can affect hair growth.
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What Questions Might Your Healthcare Provider Ask To Diagnose And Categorize Your Hair Loss
Your healthcare provider might ask about your habits:
- What kinds of hair products do you use?
- What kinds of hair styles do you wear?
- What types of food do you eat ?
- Do you have a habit of pulling your hair out ?
They might ask about your history:
- Has anyone in your immediate family experienced hair loss?
- Is there anything stressful going on in your life?
- What medications and supplements do you take every day?
- Has hair loss ever happened to you before?
- What foods are in your diet?
And, they might ask about your observations:
- How long have you been losing hair?
- Have you been shedding more?
- Have you noticed hair loss in places other than your scalp, like your eyebrows? Leg and arm hair?
- Does anything worsen your hair loss?
- Does anything improve your hair loss?
- Have you noticed hair loss occasionally or has it been going on continuously?
- Have you noticed if your hair growth has changed?
- Has your hair been breaking more often?