Why And How Do Medications Cause Hair Loss
Drug-induced hair fall is often due to an alteration of the normal hair growth cycle caused by the pharmaceutical. Some drugs directly damage the hair follicles and some drugs disrupt the growth phases, making them longer or shorter.
Usually, each follicle goes through 3 main phases when growing hair:
The Anagen phase is the active hair growth phase. It may last between 2 and 7 years. This is when your hair grows longer.
The Catagen phase is a short transitional phase that lasts about 2 weeks. This is when the hair stops growing longer but it is still attached to the follicle.
The Telogen phase is the resting and shedding stage that lasts about 2 to 4 months. This is when the hair starts detaching from the follicle until eventually the hair shaft and bulb detach and fall. This gives room for a new hair strand to grow from the same follicle and the cycle starts once more.
Based on this explanation, medications cause two types of hair loss:
But If We Get Too Much D3 It Can Cause Problems Tiredness Inability To Lose Weight
But right behind its role in calcium metabolism is actually thermoregulation.
The vitamin D3 molecule has a few peculiar features that make it most suitable for this role.
Its well known that ultraviolet light will make vitamin D3 from cholesterol on the skin but this is technically incorrect:
What Other Factors Or Habits Can Contribute To Hair Loss
Other aspects of your life can contribute to thinning hair.
Emotional or physiological stress can cause a type of hair loss called telogen effluvium. This usually happens 3 to 5 months after the stressor, and hair grows back to normal in most people.
There Are Different Types Of Hair Loss Genetic And Reactive
There’s a chance you’re genetically predisposed to hair thinning, which means you may see a progressive, gradual reduction in hair volume. “In these instances, certain hair follicles are sensitive to male hormones and this sensitivity causes follicles to gradually shrink and produce slightly finer and shorter hairs with each passing hair growth cycle.” Explains Anabel Kingsley.
This means your hair loss is the result of a trigger. “Excessive daily hair shedding is not reliant on having a genetic predisposition, it occurs as the result of an internal imbalance or upset, such as a nutritional deficiency, severe stress, crash dieting or an illness” says Anabel Kingsley.
How Can I Prevent Hair Loss
There are things you can do to prevent further hair loss. Dont wear tight hairstyles like braids, ponytails, or buns that put too much pressure on your hair. Over time, those styles permanently damage your hair follicles.
Certain beauty regimens can worsen or cause hair loss.
If youre currently losing hair, use a gentle baby shampoo to wash your hair. Unless you have extremely oily hair, consider washing your hair only every other day. Always pat the hair dry and avoid rubbing your hair.
Styling products and tools are also common culprits in hair loss. Examples of products or tools that can affect hair loss include:
- blow dryers
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Formaldehyde In Keratin Hair Products May Cause Hair Loss And Scalp Irritation
Some keratin hair-smoothing treatments done in the salon have formaldehyde or formaldehyde releasers in them . Many people have reported hair loss and scalp irritation using these products. The Food and Drug Administration issued a consumer update about this but has yet to ban these products.
Class action lawsuits have been filed against products with DMDM hydantoin for possible hair loss and scalp irritation. This includes:
Unilever TRESemmé keratin shampoo and conditioners
Straight Arrow Products Mane n Tail shampoo and conditioners
The Cosmetic Ingredient Review has stated that formaldehyde is safe to use as a preservative in cosmetic products at low concentrations, but not in hair straighteners, since more chemical is released into the air. Despite this, California recently banned several chemicals from cosmetic products, including some types of formaldehyde. These have also been banned by the European Union, and they are starting to be prohibited by some major U.S. retailers.
Stress Can Cause Temporary Hair Shedding
Even if you never developed a fever or COVID-19, you may still see hair shedding. Emotional stress can also force more hairs than normal into the shedding phase. And who isnt feeling more stressed and anxious during the pandemic?
Again, the hair shedding begins about two to three months after the stress starts.
While seeing your hair fall out in clumps can add to your stress, its important to try to de-stress. Only when the stress ends will the excessive hair shedding stop.
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The Difference Between Hair Loss And Hair Shedding
Hair loss and hair shedding are two different conditions. They might look the same but the underlying reasons behind these two hair conditions are completely different.
Hair shedding is a natural and normal process. However, when there is excessive hair shedding, it is categorized as hair loss, which is an abnormal condition. Hair loss occurs when an internal or external factor such as heredity, harsh hair care products, medication, etc., hinders its growth. It is also known as anagen effluvium. Major reasons causing hair loss are heredity, medication, hormonal changes, medical conditions, etc.
Hair shedding usually occurs as a result of some stressful event such as losing weight, pregnancy, recovering from an illness, etc. Unlike hair loss, excessive hair shedding usually stops when its trigger factor disappears.
The terms hair shedding and hair loss are often used interchangeably, but diagnostically, they mean different things. In many cases, excessive hair shedding is a temporary condition. At times, treatments are required.
The easiest way to determine whether you are experiencing hair shedding or hair loss is to give it time. If you notice that hair has stopped growing at certain places for 2-3 months or more, then it is likely a case of hair loss. Hair loss requires medical treatment and it is best to visit your dermatologist for a comprehensive consultation.
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Hair Loss In The Anagen Phase
Some medications that cause hair loss affect hairs in the growing stage. The most notable example is chemotherapy drugs.
Hair loss can begin within 25 weeks of starting chemotherapy. However, individuals who receive the same drugs and undergo the same treatment can still have different hair loss experiences.
In rare cases, medications that contain the following ingredients can also cause hair loss during the anagen phase:
- boric acid
Colchicine , which doctors use to treat gout, can also sometimes cause the loss of hairs in the growing stage.
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Promise Of Recognition That Hair Loss Is Often A Sign Of A Medical Condition
This report provides a commonsense approach that is very useful, and because it helps to distinguish hair loss due to androgen overproduction from other causes, women can better understand what medications might be useful and what benefit to expect or hope for, Dr. Anawalt says.
One bit of advice that Dr. Anawalt was especially happy to see:
A recommendation that women worried about hair loss try the hair pull test. Try to pull gently on the end of a group of 50 hairs in multiple areas of the scalp, he says. It is normal to have 0-2 hairs come out per pull. More than that suggests telogen effluvium, which does not respond to anti-testosterone therapy but may reflect altered thyroid hormone or estrogen levels or a nutritional deficiency.
There are also some caveats that women must understand about hair loss, Dr. Anawalt notes.
- Hair loss due to aging isnt reversable.
- Treatment with minoxidil results in only modest improvement of hair growth.
- Anti-androgen treatment offers benefits only to women with either high levels of circulating blood testosterone or evidence of excess testosterone production.
The guidelines nicely describe emerging evidence of the important growth factors for hair, and we might see effective treatments for hair loss for women and men based on further investigation and development of treatments related to these growth factors, says Dr. Anawalt.
Neither doctor has any financial conflicts with regard to this article.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- What is causing my hair loss?
- Is there a treatment that will work for me?
- How long will it be before my hair grows back?
- Will my hair grow back the same, or will the texture be different?
- I have a fungal infection. How long will it take for the medicine to start working?
- Should I change my hairstyle?
- Can I do anything to make my hair look fuller?
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Hair Loss: Common Causes And Treatment
T. GRANT PHILLIPS, MD W. PAUL SLOMIANY, MD and ROBERT ALLISON, DO, Washington Health Systems Family Medicine Residency, Washington, Pennsylvania
Am Fam Physician. 2017 Sep 15 96:371-378.
Patient information: See related handout on hair loss.
Patients with hair loss will often consult their family physician first. Hair loss is not life threatening, but it is distressing and significantly affects the patient’s quality of life. The pattern of hair loss may be obvious, such as the bald patches that occur in alopecia areata, or more subtle, such as the diffuse hair loss that occurs in telogen effluvium. As with most conditions, the physician should begin the evaluation with a detailed history and physical examination. It is helpful to determine whether the hair loss is nonscarring , which is reversible, or scarring , which is permanent. Scarring alopecia is rare and has various etiologies, including autoimmune diseases such as discoid lupus erythematosus. If the follicular orifices are absent, the alopecia is probably scarring these patients should be referred to a dermatologist. This article will discuss approaches to nonscarring causes of alopecia.
SORT: KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE
Topical minoxidil is safe and effective for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia in women.
SORT: KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE
Topical minoxidil is safe and effective for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia in women.
How Is Abnormal Hair Loss Treated
Treatment depends on the cause of your hair loss. For example, any infection will be treated. If your medicines appear to be causing your hair loss, your doctor may stop them. Hair loss caused by a medical condition will stop when you recover from that medical condition. Deficiencies of either iron or vitamin B12 can be treated by your doctor. Alopecia areata itself is usually treated with corticosteroids, powerful anti-inflammation medicines. These are used as local injections, creams or tablets. A skin consultant will advise you about this treatment.
If you wish to slow or stop the progression of hair loss, there may be treatments available such as medicines or hair transplantation. The latter therapy does not have the custom generated some 30 years ago, partly because of its cost and the few practitioners of that art. There are over-the-counter products available, eg, Regaine, while doctors may prescribe minoxidil or finasteride in some cases.
Complementary and alternative therapies, such as acupuncture and ultra-violet therapy, have been promoted by some health advocates. However, the evidence does not exist that these are effective options.
You may consider wearing a wig. Your doctor will help you find a source. See also information on the wigs and hairpieces subsidy.
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Female Pattern Hair Loss And Te
Data on vitamin D in female pattern hair loss and TE contradict data derived from studies indicating that women with FPHL or TE have lower levels of vitamin D than controls, and studies showing no correlation or even opposite results . To elucidate the role of vitamin D in FPHL and TE, additional large-scale trials are necessary .
How To Get A Healthy Intake Of Vitamin A
The best way to avoid taking too much Vitamin A is to get it through food, rather than supplements. Red, yellow, orange and dark green vegetables are all great sources of Vitamin A. You can also get it from eggs, liver, fortified milk and cereals. Eat a healthy, balanced diet and youll get all the Vitamin A you need, and your body will be able to process it I a normal manner rather than storing excess amounts which could lead to serious health complications.
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The Thyroid Disease Connection
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that rests in the front base of the neck. It secretes thyroid hormones that are used by every cell in the body. There’s a connection between hair loss in women and thyroid disease. Imbalances in thyroid hormone levels are a common reason for hair loss in women. Too much thyroid hormone and too little thyroid hormone may both trigger hair loss. Other symptoms of hyperthyroidism include weight loss, rapid heart rate, inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, and anxiety. In addition to hair loss, hypothyroidism may be associated with weight gain, fatigue, feeling cold, slow heart rate, and constipation. Luckily, thyroid hormone imbalances are easily detectable with blood tests. Treatment helps alleviate symptoms, including hair loss.
Science Behind Hair Loss Simplified
Hair is made of keratin, a structural protein that is also found in your skin and nails too.
Produced in the hair follicles right at the outside layers of your skin, a hair strand is a product of hair follicles lifecycle.
A hair follicle is produced, then it grows for a while, then it slowly dies and new hair replaces it.
So around 50-100 hair follicles in your scalp die every day and are replaced with new ones.
When a hair follicle dies, it falls out, which is what you see when you comb through your hair. Your hair falling out is the most natural thing in the world, and as long as the new hair grows to replace the lost ones, youre OK.
You only go bald if one of these two situations are present:
1 Youre losing more hair than you can reproduce
2 Youre reproducing less hair than you lose
I know these two sound like the same thing, but theyre not.
You can either be losing hair fast or producing new hair slowly, which both result in a number of hair follicles permanently reduced.
And all the reasons behind hair loss cause either of these two situations. Identifying what it is is up to you or your dermatologist.
Now lets see all the reasons that might be causing the gap between dead and born hair follicles:
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