What Causes Hair Loss
Many instances of hair loss are linked to genetics. If you have a family history of hair loss or balding, you may be more likely to experience these issues with age. Hair loss can also occur due to changes in hormones, particularly during pregnancy and menopause, and because of any thyroid issues. Stress may play a factor in hair loss as well.
Medical conditions and medications have been linked to certain types of hair loss. Alopecia areata, for example, is a common condition that causes hair loss in patches. Infections can have a similar effect. If youre taking medications for conditions like depression, heart disease, and high blood pressure, hair loss could be a side effect. So, its important to talk to your doctor about any concerns. Hair loss is a common side effect for cancer drugs like chemotherapy, as well as cancer treatments like radiation to the head region.
Medically reviewed by Patrick Carroll, MD
If youve noticed your hairline starting to recede or your hair beginning to thin, one of the most important steps you can take in stopping any further hair loss is getting in touch with a hair loss doctor.
Hair loss can start as early as your teens, and some men experience the early signs of male pattern baldness in their 20s or 30s. The point is, with baldness, the earlier you take action and seek treatment, the more of your hair youll be able to keep.
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.
Healthy Habits To Prevent Hair Loss In Women
There are other things you can do at home for the health of your hair and scalp. These approaches may be particularly helpful if your hair loss is caused by:
- telogen effluvium second most common form of hair loss diagnosed by dermatologists, occurring when theres a change in the number of hair follicles that are growing hair
- trauma to the hair from hair styling
- dietary deficiencies
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Types Of Alopecia Areata
There are three main types of alopecia areata:
- Patchy alopecia areata. In this type, which is the most common, hair loss happens in one or more coin-sized patches on the scalp or other parts of the body.
- Alopecia totalis. People with this type lose all or nearly all of the hair on their scalp.
- Alopecia universalis. In this type, which is rare, there is a complete or nearly complete loss of hair on the scalp, face, and rest of the body.
Patients Who Are Eligible To Be Scheduled For A Hair Loss Clinic Appointment Should Have One Of The Following Issues:
- Patients with a clinical diagnosis by a dermatologist OR biopsy-proven scarring alopecia:
- Lichen planopilaris
- Dissecting cellulitis of the scalp
- Scarring alopecia or scarring hair loss
- Chemotherapy induced hair loss
For less severe forms of hair loss or for patients who are not eligible for our Hair Loss Clinic appointments, you may request a consultation with one of our general dermatologists.
At Mass General Dermatologys Hair Loss Clinic, our board-certified dermatologists are highly specialized in the diagnosis, management and treatment of hair loss that affects both adolescents and adults. For most people, it is normal to shed 100-150 hairs a day however, if you are noticing bald spots or excessive hair loss, it may be a sign of alopecia.
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How To Prevent Hair Loss In Men
Hair loss in men is more common than in women. According to the American Hair Loss Association, about 85 percent of men have thinning hair by the time they reach 50. Hair loss in men is typically caused by genetic male pattern hair loss, androgenetic alopecia, aging, or low testosterone levels. If youre concerned about hair loss, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments:
to promote hair growth. By promoting circulation in the area of growth, your hair may grow more quickly if you gently massage your scalp every time you wash your hair.
Treatment For Hair Loss Includes
Available as a cream or ointment that is applied to the scalp and washed off daily.
Injections of cortisone into the scalp can be used to treat alopecia areata. This type of treatment is repeated on a monthly basis.
Used in male-pattern hair loss it a pill form taken on a daily basis. Finasteride is not indicated for women and is not recommended in pregnant women. Treatment is effective within 6 to 8 months of treatment.
A dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon takes tiny plugs of skin, each which contains a few hairs, and implants the plugs into bald sections. The plugs are generally taken from the back or sides of your scalp.
Oral contraceptives or spironolactone can be used for female-pattern hair loss associated with hyperandrogenemia.
A non-prescription medication approved for androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata. Minoxidil comes in a liquid or foam that is rubbed into your scalp twice a day. This is the most effective method to treat male-pattern and female-pattern hair loss.
This process is the decreasing of the area of bald skin on your head. As time goes, the skin on our head becomes flexible and stretched enough that some of it can be surgically removed.
Treatment options such as follicle transplant, scalp flaps, and alopecia reduction are available.
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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.
Add In Collagen Protein
Collagen is a protein that is packed with amino acids, including glutamine. It gives your hair its strength, your skin its elasticity, supports healthy bones and joints, and helps maintain gut health. Your body produces collagen on its own, however, your production of it decreases as you age and if you are chronically ill or stressed your ability to produce it is reduced.
I add The Myers Way® Collagen Protein into my smoothie each morning! Its great for your overall health, especially if you are healing a leaky gut, and it can be particularly helpful for those dealing with thyroid hair loss.
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Sudden But Temporary Changes
The second most common cause of hair loss is called telogen effluvium . Its temporary and happens when theres a change in the number of follicles that grow hair and are in a resting state.
For example, women may lose hair in the months after childbirth or another stressful event. You can sometimes identify TE hair loss by looking at the strand. Telogen hairs have a bulb of keratin at the root.
TE is generally caused by anything that may shock the body and disrupt the hair lifecycle. There may be a considerable delay up to three months before you notice the effects of the change.
Possible triggers of TE hair loss:
- high fever
- emotional stress
- crash diets, lack of protein, eating disorders, and so on
Taking certain medications, like retinoids, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, antidepressants, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may also lead to TE. The good news is that this type of hair loss is typically reversible, and eventually the TE hairs will start growing again on the scalp.
When To See A Dermatologist For Hair Loss
Hair loss is a common reason for a visit to the dermatology office. Losing hair is a normal part of our biology. It is absolutely normal to lose anywhere between 50-150 hairs every single day. However, if your hair is falling out in clumps, if you notice circular areas of hair thinning or you are simply concerned about your hair shedding it is time to make an appointment with us.
We lose hair for many reasons. One of the most common reasons someone is after a major stressor or life event. This type of hair loss, called Telogen Effluvium, generally occurs 90 or so days after the event. A common scenario might be after having a baby, major surgery with general anesthesia, loss of a loved one or even an event such as an illness or change in jobs. This type of hair loss is characterized by overall thinning all over the scalp, without clumps of hair loss. Although this condition generally resolves on its own within a year, there are some strategies to help and your provider can walk you through all of the options.
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Why See A Hair Transplant Surgeon
A hair transplant surgeon is a medically licensed dermatologist who has completed both medical school and a minimum 5-year residency, during which rigorous surgical training is completed. Here are a few reasons why patients should see a hair transplant surgeon for a hair loss diagnosis:
Finding a Miami Specialist and Hair Loss Clinic
At the Hair Transplant Institute of Miami, we represent South Floridas finest transplant surgeons, registered nurses, microscopists, and staff. We hold your pursuit of a full head of natural, healthy hair in the highest regard. To learn more about our Institute:
Hair Loss As A Symptom Of Thyroid Problems
Growing hair is more complex than you think. Your blood vessels, skin cells, and oil glands are all responsible for strong and healthy hair. However, when your hormone production is disrupted, specifically the output of hormones T3 and T4 , it affects the life cycle of each strand of hair. This includes the development of hair at the root, how long it grows before falling out, and its replacement by new growth.
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What Are You Waiting For
If youve clicked on this blog and read all the way down here, you have your reasons to believe that you are experiencing some sort of thinning of hair.
If youre not sure, however, or you just want to get an expert opinion about your condition, you can consult your local dermatologist or click below to get a free online consultation:
Stop Hair Loss for Good:
Understand the reasons behind your hair loss and prevent it from progressing with an expert dermatologist.
When Hair May Regrow On Its Own
Yes, your hair may regrow on its own. This can happen if you recently:
Had a baby
Recovered from a major illness or had surgery
Underwent cancer treatment
Lost 20 pounds or more
Developed a mild case of a disease called alopecia areata, which causes your immune system to attack your hair follicles
Got rid of psoriasis on your scalp
Your dermatologist can tell you whether your hair may start to grow again on its own.
Sometimes to see regrowth, you need to make some changes.
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What Treatment Will A Hair Loss Doctor Prescribe
These medications work by blocking hormonal hair loss and regrowing your hair for a thicker, stronger and healthier hairline. Each works slightly differently you can learn more about the differences in our guide to Minoxidil vs Finasteride.
Sometimes, you might also be recommended a topical DHT blocker or anti-hair loss shampoo for extra protection.
If your hair loss is caused by stress or another health problem, your hair loss doctor might be able to prescribe something to treat the underlying condition. In some cases, they might refer you to a specialist for a specific treatment to end the underlying problem and the hair loss.
How Do I Know If I Have Hair Loss
Signs of hair loss can greatly vary from person to person, but you may notice more hair collecting in your hairbrush or in the shower drain, or thinning hair on your scalp. A dermatologist can help you understand if you have hair loss, excessive hair shedding, or both, along with identifying the underlying causes.
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What Kind Of Doctor Treats Hair Loss
When you notice signs of hair loss, what type of doctor should you see? Its a common first question for nearly every man or woman who first notices signs of thinning, balding, or shedding. Hair loss treatment is a multi-million dollar business, and it seems theres no end to the number of different specialists, shampoos, and pills that promise to restore areas of balding scalp. Selecting the right physician will make it easier to get an accurate hair loss diagnosis from the start, which will provide the framework for an efficient treatment regimen.
Before taking a closer look at the different types of doctors who are capable of telling you more about your hair loss, it helps to explore a few of the most common reasons why men and women lose their hair. With the following causes in mind, it becomes easier to see why certain specialists are more capable of providing an expert diagnosis than others.
A few reasons for hair loss include:
- A skin condition
- Prescription medications
At our Institute, we assess each of these factors with comprehensive methodology. Our surgeons implement the most advanced technologies available to get to the root of your hair loss and develop a personalized treatment plan.
The results speak for themselves. Click the following link to view images of real patients, before and after hair transplant procedures.
Different Kinds Of Stress Can Cause Hair Loss
If youve been under emotional or physical stress, it may lead to hair loss. Things like a death in the family, major surgery, or a serious illness may cause the body to shut down certain processes like hair production.
Theres around a three-month delay between when a stressful event happens and when you might see hair loss, so you may not pinpoint the trigger right away.
However, if you are experiencing thinner hair, consider different events or situations in your life that may have caused you considerable stress. Hair loss due to stress is generally temporary. Hair may begin growing again after the event has passed and the follicle starts producing again.
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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.