Signs Of Female Hair Loss
If you start noticing more hair on your brush than normal, resist the urge to panic. Hair loss is more common than you think, regardless of age or sex. But how do you know if there is a bigger concern behind your hair loss? And what can you do to stop it–or at the very least–slow it down?
Losing your hair is not the end of the world, even though it might feel like it. In fact, female pattern hair loss is quite normal as we age. Nevertheless, there are many ways you can slow down the process and even help your hair regrow. In this article, we will talk about the causes of hair loss in women along with the signs that you should look out for. Then, we’ll explain how you can start preventing female hair loss today.
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.
What Is Considered Female Pattern Baldness
Female pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is a hereditary condition that occurs when the hair follicle becomes damaged or slows down growth. While it’s similar to male pattern baldness the main difference of female pattern baldness is where the thinning occurs on the scalp.
For women, the thinning often begins in the middle of the scalp and the crown, and can eventually affect the entire scalp. Whereas for men, thinning of the hair generally begins at the temples and the crown.
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Ringworm And Hair Loss
Ringworm is a fungal skin infection that causes patches of hair loss. The official medical name for ringworm on the scalp is tinea capitis. The infection starts out as a small pimple that grows larger. Affected areas are itchy, red, inflamed, scaly patches with temporary baldness. The skin may ooze. People may have one or more bald spots. Ringworm is more common in children, but adults can get it, too.
The fungus triggers hair loss by causing hair to become brittle and to break off. The skin often appears most red around the edge of the lesion, with a more normal appearing skin tone in the center. That is one of the reasons the condition is called ringworm. The condition is contagious with skin-to-skin contact. It is also transmissible by infected combs, hairbrushes, unwashed clothing, and surfaces in gyms, showers, and pool areas. Your doctor can treat ringworm with oral antifungal medication. Ringworm on the scalp is one potential cause of hair loss in women that is reversible.
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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When Should You See A Doctor For Hair Loss
Each person knows their hair the best and needs to pay attention to any changes that are happening.
If you notice pro-longed differences with your hair, the first recommended step is to see a family physician. A doctor can check iron and thyroid levels and review any medications you are taking before referring you to a specialist.
If hair loss goes beyond six months or theres hair loss on the scalp accompanied by eyebrow loss or eyelash loss or body hair loss then I encourage patients to really seek the advice of a specialist, Donovan adds.
Exosomes For Female Hair Loss
Exosome therapy is a cutting-edge hair loss treatment that takes stem cell-based hair restoration to the next scientific level. While stem cells are whole cells with the ability to turn into any type of cell in the body, exosomes are biological messengers which transfer important information from cell to cell.
Originally used in medicine to regenerate skin on the faces of patients with third degree burns, exosomes provide the instructions that motivate the stem cells to repair damaged hair follicles so they can regrow thick health hair.
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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
Medications To Treat Hair Loss
Treatment depends on the underlying cause, says Dr. Scott. Sometimes simply addressing a medical condition prompting hair loss will be enough for the hair to regrow. In other instances, a woman might consider a medication like minoxidil , which helps with certain types of hair loss, or another treatment to replace or regrow lost hair.
A newer option being used to treat hair loss is platelet-rich plasma injections. For this treatment, the doctor draws your blood, divides it into its separate components, recombines the blood fluid with a high concentration of platelets , and introduces the resulting preparation back into the scalp.
The science on this isnt totally worked out. We still dont completely understand the mechanism behind PRP, but growth factors contained in platelets can stimulate regeneration of hair follicles and other tissues as well, says Dr. Scott.
In addition, low-level LED laser lights have been found to be helpful in regrowing hair in some cases. Its likely that even more treatments will be developed in the near future.
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You Lost A Lot Of Weight Very Quickly
Sudden weight loss is a form of physical trauma that can result in thinning hair. This could happen even if the weight loss is ultimately good for you. It’s possible that the weight loss itself put unnecessary stress your body, or that not eating right can resulted in vitamin or mineral deficiencies. Loss of hair along with noticeable weight loss may also be a sign of an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia.
This type of hair loss, too, will correct itself once after a while. “Sudden weight loss seems to shock the system and you’ll have a six-month period of hair loss and then it corrects itself,” says Dr. Hammonds.
Intense Emotional Or Physical Stress
When you’re experiencing something stressful or traumaticnot your average day-to-day stress, but something big and life-altering like a divorce, a death in the family, a significant job change, or a big moveyou may experience a temporary halt in hair growth as your body puts its resources toward getting you through said big event.
“Hairs dont all grow at the same rate,” Dr. Schlosser explains. “Some are growing, some are resting, and some are actively being shed. When you have these conditions, your body halts hair growth, and then things get restarted and all these hairs that have been halted start to get pushed out at the same time.” The same thing can happen with physical stress and trauma, like having a big operation, being hospitalized, or even losing a significant amount of weight very quickly.
Usually this type of hair shedding is temporary. But if it bothers you, check in with a dermatologist to learn more about styling changes and products you can use to make your hair look and feel fuller.
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The Top Causes Of Female Hair Loss & How To Treat Them
Hair loss in women is a complicated matter. And, as with any medical condition, diagnosing the underlying cause of the hair loss is the first step to finding the best treatment for it.
Most people think of hair loss or baldness as a mens issue because it is more widely talked about. But more than 50% of women will also experience noticeable hair loss at some point in their life. Unfortunately, most women are too embarrassed to discuss their situation, or to seek help.
But if a woman finds that the part in her hair is widening, she is developing bald spots, or she is shedding more than 125 hairs per day, she is experiencing hair loss and should see a dermatologist right away. At Goldenberg Dermatology in NYC we offer several treatments to stop hair loss and restore hair growth in women and the sooner they are started, the better the results!
What Are The Myths About Hair Loss
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.
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Crohns Disease And Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
Inflammatory bowel diseases , like Crohns disease, ulcerative colitis and celiac disease, are still not fully understood, nor is the connection between IBD and hair loss.
Regardless, research shows that the immune system is involved in the mediation of inflammatory bowel diseases, and this might be one way IBD can contribute to hair loss. Often, immunosuppressant medications are given to help manage IBDs, and these might also contribute to hair loss.
Also, people who are dealing with inflammatory bowel diseases often have trouble absorbing adequate vitamins and minerals, so dietary deficiencies might also cause hair loss. And then theres stress. Stress and IBD are often joined at the hip, and stress can have some pretty major impacts on our follicles, too.
What Causes Female Pattern Hair Loss
FPHL has a strong geneticpredisposition. The mode of inheritance is polygenic, indicating that there are many genes that contribute to FPHL, and these genes could be inherited from either parent or both. Genetic testing to assess the risk of balding is currently not recommended, as it is unreliable.
Currently, it is not clear if androgens play a role in FPHL, although androgens have a clear role in male pattern baldness. The majority of women with FPHL have normal levels of androgens in their bloodstream. Due to this uncertain relationship, the term FPHL is preferred to female androgenetic alopecia.
The role of oestrogen is uncertain. FPHL is more common after the menopause suggesting oestrogens may be stimulatory for hair growth. But laboratory experiments have also suggested oestrogens may suppress hair growth.
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How Do You Treat Female Pattern Baldness
While there is no cure for female pattern hair loss, treatments are available.
Health Canada and U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved topical treatments like Minoxidil or Rogaine, have been used for more than 30 years to treat thinning hair and hair loss.
A doctor can also recommend hair transplants or a newer treatment called Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy which uses a patients blood cells to accelerate healing in a specific area.
If you want to go the non-medical route you can use hair pieces or wigs to camouflage the hair loss.
Hair Loss In All Ages
Although certain causes of hair loss might be more common at specific times of life, many of them can happen at all ages. For example, hormone imbalances, infections, vitamin deficiencies, and autoimmune diseases affect women of all ages and these may lead to hair loss. There are also rare inflammatory conditions that cause permanent damage to hair follicles.
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Heres How The Hair Growth Cycle Works:
Ok, its science-y but very cool, basically each hair follicle on our scalp undergoes three stages of a life cycle, explains Dr Wong.
AnagenThis is the active growing phase, which can last between 2-7 years during which the hair becomes longer and thicker.
CatagenAfter anagen, the hair follicle moves into the short transitional phase called catagen when the hair fibre stops growing, followed by the resting phase telogen which lasts around 3 months.
TelogenDuring telogen the old hair is gradually pushed up towards the skin surface before it is then shed naturally and replaced with a new emerging anagen hair.
On a typical head of hair each follicle is at a different stage at different times so you probably wont notice it happening. Very cool. This cycle continues repeatedly throughout our lifetime and each hair follicle is cycling independently of neighbouring follicles meaning that human hair growth is asynchronised, says Dr Wong.
Its important to note that hair loss is a very common problem for women much more so that people realise. “Research shows that at least 1 in 3 women will suffer from hair loss or reduced hair volume at some point in their lifetime,” says Anabel Kingsley. So, if you are losing strands, it’s important not to freak out, your mane willrecover. In the meantime, here’s everything you need to know…
What Are The Symptoms Of Alopecia Areata
Alopecia areata mostly affects hair, but in sometimes it can cause changes to the nails. People with the disease are usually healthy and have no other symptoms.
Alopecia areata typically begins with sudden loss of round or oval patches of hair on the scalp, but any part of the body may be affected, such as the beard area in men, or the eyebrows or eyelashes.
After a bare patch develops, several possible things may happen:
- The hair grows back within a few months. It may look white or gray at first but may regain its natural color over time.
- More bare patches develop. Sometimes hair grows back in the first patch while new bare patches form.
- Small patches join to form larger ones.
- In rare cases, all body hair is lost.
In most cases, the hair regrows, but more hair loss may follow.
Nail changes such as ridges and pits occur in some people, especially those who have hair loss over more parts of their body.
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