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What Causes Hair Thinning And Loss

What Are The Myths About Hair Loss

What causes hair loss and hair thinning in women?

Myths about hair loss are widespread. Nothing in the following list is true:

  • Youre losing hair because you shampoo it too much, or because youve colored it or gotten a perm.
  • Dandruff causes permanent hair loss in women.
  • Stress causes permanent hair loss in women.
  • If you shave your head, your hair will grow back twice as thick.
  • If you stand on your head youll increase circulation, stimulating hair growth.
  • If you brush your hair 100 strokes a day that will make your hair healthier.
  • Hats and wigs cause hair loss in women.
  • Hair loss only affects intellectual women.

Hair Loss Medical Treatments

For simple hair thinning rather than male or female pattern baldness, most doctors would not consider prescription treatment for hair loss unless it was causing major psychological distress. But if they were found to be necessary, available hair loss treatments include:

  • Minoxidil applied daily as a liquid or foam, this can take 3-4 months to work.
  • Finasteride – taken as a daily pill.
  • Steroid cream – if hair thinning is due to significant scalp inflammation, steroid creams may be used to reduce this.

Dandruff Or Scalp Psoriasis

When the skin on the scalp is inflamed and itchy, its obviously tempting to scratch it. But that may cause your hair to shed more than usual.

Dandruff is the most easily treated cause of hair loss, Dr. Fusco says, because you can treat it with over-the-counter products, like a shampoo containing zinc pyrithione or exfoliating ingredients such as the classic Head & Shoulders Classic or Oribe Serene Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo . “Consistency is the trick,” Dr. Fusco says, so it’s important to find a shampoo and conditioner you like enough to use regularly.

But other conditions can also cause itchiness and scalp flaking, including seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis . Treating these issues may take more time and effort than dandruff, so its important to check in with a dermatologist if you think you may be dealing with one of these conditions.

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Lack Of B Vitamins Can Cause Hair Loss

Lacking certain vitamins and minerals may also lead to thinning hair or hair loss in women. Some dermatologists believe that not eating enough red meat or following a vegetarian diet may affect hair loss.

Red meat and other animal foods are rich in iron, a mineral that supports hair and body growth. Women are already prone to iron deficiency due to blood loss during menstruation, so not taking in enough iron in the diet may lead to deficiency.

Eating disorders, like anorexia nervosa, may also lead to vitamin deficiencies and thinning hair. In particular, deficiencies thought to affect hair include those in zinc, amino acid L-lysine, B-6, and B-12.

Treatment For Hair Loss Is Out There

Diffuse Thinning: The Cause and How To Fight It

Most cases of increased shedding will gradually resolve on their own without treatment, Dr. Schlosser says. But if your hair doesn’t return to its normal fullness within nine months, see a doctor for an evaluation to find out whether something else is going on. And if you have other worrying symptoms, like itching, pain, burning, flaking, or redness, you should seek help sooner.

See your primary care provider or go directly to a dermatologist who specializes in treating hair loss. They can determine what type it is and what the right treatment approach is for you based on which therapies are currently available for your specific issue.

In addition to changes in products and hairstyling habits, your doctor may prescribe topical treatments to treat hair loss, like minoxidil, or direct you to an over-the-counter version, like Rogaine . They might also recommend treatments like platelet-rich plasma injections , which can be helpful for some patients, SELF explained previously. If youre curious about your options, check in with your doctor or dermatologist.

All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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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.

Medical And Other Conditions

If hair follicles are uniform in size, or if the hair loss is sudden, it is likely to be caused by something other than heredity, like a medical condition, Rogers says.

There are a wide range of conditions that can bring on hair loss, with some of the most common being pregnancy, thyroid disorders, and anemia. Others include autoimmune diseases, polycystic ovary syndrome , and skin conditions such as psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis, Rogers says.

Though there has been a link between menopause and hair loss, Roberts says she doesnât think there is a direct correlation. It could be that menopause and hair loss just occur at the same age.

Other reasons for hair loss include extreme stress physical trauma like surgery or intense illness dramatic weight loss over a short period of time and taking too much Vitamin A, Roberts says. And hair loss can occur a couple of weeks to six months after any of these experiences.

âSomeone can have surgery and be just fine and then two weeks later their hair starts falling out,â Roberts says. âIt can be very scary when it starts falling out in big clumps.â

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What Is The Prognosis/outlook For Women With Hair Loss

Your diagnosis determines the prognosis:

  • Anagen and telogen shedding may stop with time.
  • Treat any diseases associated with hair loss.
  • Disguise or cover your hair loss using a wig or hat.
  • Early treatment of alopecia may reduce the speed of thinning and may promote regrowth.

While hair loss is not itself dangerous, women with hair loss tend to be very upset by the changes to their appearance. These negative feelings can affect self-esteem and social lives. Recent studies suggest that FPHL can be associated with conditions that include metabolic syndrome, endocrine disorders and diabetes.

How To Facilitate Hair Regrowth

Hair Talk- Reasons And Causes of Hair Loss-Hair Thinning-Receding Hair and Bald Spots

If youre experiencing hair loss, its critical that you identify the cause before you try to treat it.

Remember, hair loss can have many causes, not just rapid weight loss or nutrient deficiencies.

If the hair loss is caused by a deficiency in one or more nutrients like zinc or iron, correcting the deficiency or deficiencies may stop the loss and lead to hair regrowth .

If a restrictive or crash diet thats not giving your body enough calories or nutrients is to blame, its essential to stop the diet immediately and begin fueling your body correctly with a balanced diet rich in nutrient-dense foods.

If you have a nutrient deficiency, food alone may not be enough to replenish your nutrient stores and a supplement may be necessary. However, research suggests that if you dont have a nutrient deficiency, supplements might not benefit hair loss .

A healthcare provider can identify the cause of your hair loss and help you come up with a plan to get your hair growing again.

Summary

To prevent hair loss, avoid crash and restrictive diets, fuel your body properly, and supplement before and after weight loss surgery. Work with a qualified healthcare provider to identify the cause of hair loss and to find a plan to facilitate hair regrowth.

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Ready To Get Your Hair Back

Youre a special, unique individual, and the underlying factors that are contributing to your hair thinning are unlike anyone elses. In order to suggest treatments that may work, our provider performs a thorough evaluation and talks to you in-depth about your health, your life, and your goals.

If youre ready to find out how we might help, book an appointment at our office in Rockville, Maryland.

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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.

Try not to pull, twist, or rub your hair. Make sure youre eating a balanced diet that includes adequate amounts of iron and protein.

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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Managing Major Hair Loss

There are many things you can do to disguise sudden hair loss in women that is severe. You can use a hat, scarf, or bandana to cover your head. If you have bald areas, consider getting a weave or concealing the bald area with a hairpiece. Wigs can be very natural looking. They fit so well you can even wear them while you are working out at the gym or swimming. If hair loss causes severe distress and it is affecting your self-esteem or ability to carry out daily activities, seek the help of a therapist.

  • Composite image: photo by Image Source, illustration by Peggy Firth and Susan Gilbert for WebMD
  • Composite image: photo by Alix Minde/PhotoAlto, illustration by 3D4Medical.com
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  • Emmanuel Faure / The Image Bank
  • Steve Pomberg, Anna Webb/ WebMD
  • Anna Webb / WebMD
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  • REFERENCES:

    Pcos Can Be A Trigger

    You

    Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition in women in which the body manufactures more androgens, or male hormones, than it normally should. It is a potential cause of hormonal hair loss in women. Women who suffer from this condition may grow facial hair and extra body hair. One of the other symptoms of this condition is thinning of hair on the head. Women affected with PCOS may also experience weight gain, acne, menstrual irregularities, ovulation problems, depression, and infertility. Hair thinning may be the only outward sign that a woman is suffering from this condition.

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    What Support Is Available With Abnormal Hair Loss

    Hair loss can be distressing and difficult to accept initially. 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 the 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.

    Underlying Causes For Hair Loss

    Numerous problems can trigger female hair loss. Some are external, such as taking certain medications, frequently wearing hairstyles that pull the hair too tight, or even a stressful event such as surgery. In other cases, thinning hair is triggered by something going on inside the body for instance, a thyroid problem, a shift in hormones, a recent pregnancy, or an inflammatory condition.

    Hair loss may also be genetic. The most common genetic condition is known as female-pattern hair loss, or androgenic alopecia. Women with this condition might notice a widening of the part at the top of the head, often beginning when a woman is in her 40s or 50s. You might experience this if you inherit certain genes from one or both parents. Hormonal shifts that occur during menopause may also spur it.

    Another trigger for hair loss in women is an inflammatory condition affecting the scalp. That might be eczema, psoriasis, or a condition called frontal fibrosing alopecia, which typically causes scarring and hair loss sometimes permanent at the front of the scalp above the forehead.

    Other common causes of hair loss include overuse of damaging hair products, or tools such as dryers and other devices that heat the hair. Underlying illness, autoimmune conditions such as lupus, nutritional deficiencies, or hormonal imbalances may also cause hair to shed.

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    What Causes Hair Loss

    First, your doctor or dermatologist will try to determine the underlying cause of your hair loss. The most common cause of hair loss is hereditary male- or female-pattern baldness.

    If you have a family history of baldness, you may have this type of hair loss. Certain sex hormones can trigger hereditary hair loss. It may begin as early as puberty.

    In some cases, hair loss may occur with a simple halt in the cycle of hair growth. Major illnesses, surgeries, or traumatic events can trigger hair loss. However, your hair will usually start growing back without treatment.

    Hormonal changes can cause temporary hair loss. Examples include:

    • heart problems

    A physical or emotional shock may trigger noticeable hair loss. Examples of this type of shock include:

    • a death in the family
    • extreme weight loss
    • a high fever

    People with trichotillomania have a need to pull out their hair, usually from their head, eyebrows, or eyelashes.

    Traction hair loss can be due to hairstyles that put pressure on the follicles by pulling the hair back very tightly.

    A diet lacking in protein, iron, and other nutrients can also lead to thinning hair.

    Articles On Hair Loss

    4 Ways Dehydration Causes Thinning Hairline | Hair Loss Tips

    Hair grows everywhere on the human skin except on places like the palms of our hands and the soles of our feet, our eyelids and belly buttons, but many hairs are so fine they’re virtually invisible. Hair is made up of a protein called keratin that is produced in hair follicles in the outer layer of skin. As follicles produce new hair cells, old cells are being pushed out through the surface of the skin at the rate of about six inches a year. The hair you can see is actually a string of dead keratin cells. The average adult head has about 100,000 to 150,000 hairs and loses up to 100 of them a day finding a few stray hairs on your hairbrush is not necessarily cause for alarm.

    At any one time, about 90% of the hair on a person’s scalp is growing. Each follicle has its own life cycle that can be influenced by age, disease, and a wide variety of other factors. This life cycle is divided into three phases:

    • Anagen — active hair growth that generally lasts between two to eight years
    • Catagen — transitional hair growth that lasts two to three weeks
    • Telogen — resting phase that lasts about two to three months at the end of the resting phase the hair is shed and a new hair replaces it and the growing cycle starts again.

    As people age, their rate of hair growth slows.

    There are many types of hair loss, also called alopecia:

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