What Are The Warning Signs Of Hair Loss
It can be hard to tell if youre losing hair especially if your hair loss happens gradually.
Instead, you may notice that your ponytails dont feel as thick, or that your scalp is more visible.
If youre unsure, ask your stylist if they have noticed any differences. This is especially important for women who are experiencing hair loss in areas that are difficult to see without someone elses help, such as the top of the scalp.
If you or your stylist suspect hair loss, make an appointment with a dermatologist. Generally, the sooner you act, the more hair you can save.
Cancer Treatment Is A Trigger
Radiation and chemotherapy used to treat cancer are some of the common causes of hair loss in women. Both therapies harm hair follicles in addition to killing cancer cells. People undergoing cancer treatment often experience dramatic hair loss as a result of these therapies. They may wake up with clumps of hair on their pillow or they may lose large amounts of hair in the shower. Rapid hair loss in women often starts within 2 weeks of beginning treatment. It may be worst between 1 to 2 months into therapy. The scalp may be extra sensitive during this time. It may be irritating to wash, brush, and comb hair. The good news is that once cancer treatment is over, hair tends to grow back.
How Do I Tell If My Hair Is Shedding Or Thinning
Its the question I ask myself most mornings: How exactly do you figure out if your hair is actually thinning or if youre just shedding a little more than usual? You lose about 50 to 100 hairs every day, which is about 0.001 percent of your hair, says Burg. Now, when you notice that amount doubling or tripling, thats an indication that your hair cycle is too short. Reminder: If your hair cycle speeds up, it goes through its resting and falling stages too quickly, which can lead to less hair on your pretty little head.
Other than monitoring the amount of hair you lose in the shower or on your hair brush, youll want to check your ponytail , your part , and your scalp . If you are noticing any of the above, dont freak, heres what you can do next:
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What Not To Look For
The three signs above are good indicators that you should think about taking action to stop your hair loss.
However, there are also commonly repeated “signs” of baldness that arent as reliable for identifying hair loss. These include:
An itchy scalp, which may have one or more causes, such as dandruff, but which generally does not indicate long-term hair loss.
Thin-looking hair after you swim or shower, which is more often a result of your hair clumping together and revealing your scalp than real hair loss. To accurately check for hair loss, its always best to compare photos of your hair when its dry and unstyled.
A widows peak, which is a dominant genetic trait and may be an indicator of hair loss or susceptibility to hair loss.
A few hairs on your pillow or bar of soap, which are completely normal and not a reliable indicator that youre losing an abnormal amount of hair.
A depigmented bulb on hair that falls out naturally. This just indicates that the hair was in the telogen phase when it fell out, and doesnt mean that it wont grow back as normal.
A bald grandfather on a certain side of your family. Scientists still dont know exactly how male pattern baldness is inherited, and a bald father or grandfather is no guarantee that you will also go bald.
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Hair Loss In Black Women: Tips From An Expert
Almost half of black women experience some form of hair loss. However, few doctors are familiar with black hairstyling practices, leaving many women to sort through unhelpful or even harmful advice on their own.
Dermatologist Crystal Aguh, one of just a small group of dermatologists across the country specializing in hair loss, offers these tips to help women protect their hair and recognize common warning signs of hair loss.
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There Are Things You Can Do To Prevent Hair Loss
If you notice your hair is thinning and it bothers you, there are some easy ways to make it appear fuller and simultaneously help prevent more hair loss or breakage. For instance, as SELF explained previously, its important to:
Wash as often as you need tobut no more. Both under- and overwashing can affect the volume and feel of your hair. Not washing enough causes a buildup of product and oil that can weight your hair down. But washing too frequently can strip the hair of its natural oils, making it more dry and prone to breakage. Experts recommend sticking to washing about two or three times per week and adjusting as needed for your particular situation.
Always use conditioner after shampooing. Conditioner makes your hair shinier and helps reduce static electricity, both of which helps thinning hair look fuller and glossier. But remember: A little goes a long way, and too much will weigh hair down.
Try leave-on products. Leave-in conditioners and detanglers help keep your hair moisturized throughout the day and protect against the effects of heat styling that otherwise can cause thinning and breakage.
Use hair masks for deep conditioning. If your hair tends to be dry and brittle, an occasional deep-conditioning mask may be just what it needs to regain some life and strength. These can also help hair look shinier.
How To Stop Hair Thinning
Now, onto the solutions. Peter offered up some valuable tips on how to treat thinning hair. First up limit heat as much as possible. Heat styling be kept at a minimum as it leaves hair dehydrated and prone to damage, If you are going to use heat though, a heat protectant is a must.
Likewise, chemical treatments should be avoided i.e colouring, bleaching, straightening, perming., so if youre a slave to your regular full head of highlights, it may be worth cutting back and seeing if your hair improves.
In terms of styling, he says to avoid or reduce styling hair in tight styles such as braids, twists, buns or ponytails and to avoid twisting or rubbing hair, so loose styles that dont pull on the scalp are the way to go.
Editors tip: While you cant get back the hair that youve lost, volumising hair products can help to reverse the visible effects and cover up any sparser areas.
A great option for those with fine hair, the TRESemmé Collagen+ Fullness Shampoo and Conditioner are infused with collagen and glycerin to plump up strands and provide instant fullness. The shampoo also contains micellar technology for gentle cleansing, too, so wont strip your hair of its natural oils.
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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 To Handle Major Hair Loss
It can be a challenge. If thin areas are easy to spot, consider a weave, a hairpiece, a scarf, or a hat. Good-quality wigs are more comfortable than ever — and they rarely have bad hair days. If hair loss affects your job or social life or makes you not want to leave the house, talk with a counselor.
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Give Your Hair The Nutrition It Needs To Thrive
Diet should always come first, so, select whole grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, which are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids to nourish your hair roots.
Meats and dark green leafy vegetables are good sources of iron. If your hair is thinning, however, then a multivitamin and mineral supplement is also a good idea to guard against nutrient deficiencies.
Before taking supplements, see your doctor to rule out related problems such as iron-deficiency anemia, malabsorption of nutrients, and hormone imbalances, including type 2 diabetes and thyroid problems which may need further investigation.
Garlic has beneficial effects on circulation by dilating small blood vessels and increasing blood flow to the peripheries such as the scalp and nail folds by as much as 55 percent. Platelet clumping is significantly decreased after a dose equivalent to half a clove of garlic and lasts for three hours. Some of the ingredients in garlic are as potent as aspirin in this respect.
You can also stimulate circulation and increase the flow of nutrients to hair follicles by massaging your scalp regularly with your fingers, at least once a day. Concentrate on areas where your scalp seems tightly bound down to the underlying bone, to help improve any constriction to blood flow.
And Here’s What You Can Do To Fix It:
Ok, so now you know what triggering the hair loss, here’s how to deal with it…
Recognise the problem
Hair loss doesn’t happen fast, our strands grow in cycles, which means it can take up to 3 months for hair to fall out after a trigger has caused it. “If you notice excessive daily hair shedding for longer than 3 months, see a trichologist or your GP, there could be an underlying factor that needs to be addressed”, Anabel advises. “Very importantly, try not to panic. Telogen effluvium is almost always self-eliminating and hair will start to grow back as usual once any internal imbalance is put right”.
Change up your diet
1) Get More Protein
“Hair is made of protein, making adequate daily intake of protein rich foods essential. Include at least a palm sized portion of protein at breakfast and lunch .” Anabel recommends.
2) Complex carbohydrates are essential
“They provide our hair with the energy it needs to grow. Snack on a healthy carbohydrates if longer than four hours is left between meals as energy available to hair cells drops after this amount of time.”
That being said, Anabel explained that if you are losing your hair because of something other than diet, like stress or an illness, changing what you eat will not remedy it.
Take a supplement
Anabel recommends looking out for the following ingredients: Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3, Copper, Zinc, Selenium, and the essential amino acids, L-Lysine and L-Methionine.
Head message = more than self-care
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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.
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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Male Or Female Pattern Hair Loss
Androgenetic alopecia is a frequent cause of hair loss. It affects an estimated 50 million men and 30 million women in the United States.
According to the Genetics Home Reference, the likelihood of experiencing androgenetic alopecia increases with age. Although it can affect teenagers, over half of males aged 50 and older have some degree of hair loss. It is most likely to affect females following menopause.
Often, people who have androgenetic alopecia have family members with the same condition.
In males, hair thinning tends to occur from the hairline to the back of the head. In females, it tends to affect the crown of the head.
Could Your Hair Loss Be Stress
Excessive levels of stress can cause hair loss in men and women. Many people do not realize that stress can have a physical impact on your body. Severe stress over the course of a few months can lead to extreme fatigue during the day and hair loss.
If you start to notice your hair thinning, eliminating stress is a great first step. You can start engaging in more activities you enjoy and try to decrease the number of extreme stressors in your life. If stress was the cause of your hair loss, then when your stress level decreases, it’s likely that your hair will grow back.
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Causes Of Thinning Hair
Its not entirely clear what causes thinning hair in men.
We do know that male pattern baldness has something to do with androgens. These are hormones responsible for controlling bodily processes that happen during and after puberty, including hair growth.
Testosterone is the most well-known androgen. An androgen called DHT is most involved in hair growth. High levels of T and DHT may influence the speed of your hair cycle, which can lead to thinning hair.
First, heres a quick refresher on hair growth:
- Your hair grows out of little capsules in your skin called follicles.
- Each follicle supports the growth of a single hair by a little under half an inch per month for about 2 to 6 years this is called the anagen phase.
- The follicle eventually shrivels up and cuts the hair off from the blood supply underneath, pushing the hair out permanently this is called the catagen phase.
- The follicle spends a few months resting and eventually generates a brand-new hair this is called the telogen phase.
- The process restarts back at the anagen phase and goes through the same phases again.
- These phases go on for many years until a follicle eventually cant produce any more hairs.
Its believed that the androgen receptor gene may increase T and DHT levels and speed up this cycle.
But a 2017 study found that at least 200 other possible genes may contribute to your chance of male pattern baldness.
Some environmental and lifestyle factors can also affect hair loss, including: