Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder also known as "spot baldness" that can result in hair loss ranging from just one location (Alopecia areata monolocularis) to every hair on the entire body (Alopecia areata universalis). Although thought to be caused by hair follicles becoming dormant, what triggers alopecia areata is not known. In most cases the condition corrects itself, but it can also spread to the entire scalp (alopecia totalis) or to the entire body (alopecia universalis).
The normal cycle of hair goes through a phase of growth and rest. Each individual hair survives for an average of three and a half years. The growth phase of hair generally lasts two to three years, during which time it grows about half an inch a month. This growing phase is called anagen. This is followed by a resting phase called telogen, which lasts for about three to four months. Usually in its fourth year the hair falls out and is replaced within 6 months by a new one.
Other causes for hair loss or hair thinning can be stress, illness, poor diet, hormone imbalance or your body going into shock. Certain diseases and intensive medical treatment such as chemotherapy are also likely to result in hair loss, but it is best to consult your GP if you go bald at an alarmingly fast rate, especially if you have no family history of male pattern baldness.
Minoxidil is a lotion which has been known to work, but studies have shown it to be less effective than Propecia. It is a daily lotion applied directly to the scalp, and is also suited to women with hair loss. If you want to try the lotion, it is available to buy at LloydsPharmacy stores. Regaine is a branded hair loss treatment that contains Minoxidil as its active ingredient, and is available from pharmacies without a prescription.
Androgenic alopecia. In this condition, hair loss begins at the crown of the head, the top and center, forming the popular horseshoe shape. Because hair thinning seems to follow a particular path, the condition is also commonly referred to as pattern baldness. It is more common among males than females, and is generally thought to be due to genetics/heredity and the natural aging process (about 40% of men start to have noticeable hair loss in their 30s and lose about 65% of hair by the time they reach 60.).
Propecia (finasteride) is a 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor. It works by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone into 5 alpha-dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that plays an important role in hair loss. Propecia is a prescription medicine and is only approved for use in men. There are other 5 alpha-reductase inhibitors on the market but Propecia is the only one approved for androgenetic alopecia.
Taking hair supplements can be helpful for anyone who is experiencing hair loss or hair thinning. Dendy Engelman, MD, a board-certified dermatologic surgeon at Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery in New York City, previously recommended Nutrafol, a research-backed hair supplement, to Prevention. "This uses highly concentrated botanicals to address every stage of the growth cycle," she says. Nutrafol's hair supplements include vitamin E and ashwagandha (an adaptogen that helps balance cortisol levels in the body), among others.
Common types include: male-pattern hair loss, female-pattern hair loss, alopecia areata, and a thinning of hair known as telogen effluvium. The cause of male-pattern hair loss is a combination of genetics and male hormones, the cause of female pattern hair loss is unclear, the cause of alopecia areata is autoimmune, and the cause of telogen effluvium is typically a physically or psychologically stressful event. Telogen effluvium is very common following pregnancy.
3. Hair fibers. The best (and easiest) way to hide a widening part or sparse patch is with hair fibers. They’re tiny, charged fibers that adhere to your scalp (until your next shampoo). Toppik Hair Building Fibers ($25) come in a range of colors so you can easily find one that matches your own hair. (In a pinch, you can also brush a powdered eye shadow that matches your hair color along your part.)
Blow dryers, flat irons, and other devices: Frequent use of a blow dryer tends to damage hair. The high heat from a blow dryer can boil the water in the hair shaft leaving the hair brittle and prone to breakage. Dermatologists recommend that you allow your hair to air dry. Then style your hair when it is dry. Dermatologists also recommend limiting the use of flat irons (these straighten hair by using high heat) and curling irons.
Dull hair will be the next one on the list of common hair problems that are mentioned in this article. The dull hair will not only make you uncomfortable but also make you look older than your real age. Dull hair can be caused by chemical damage, heat styling damage, improper styling techniques, and sometimes environmental soils as well as stresses, which can roughen the hair’s cuticle.
Daily hair counts are normally done when the pull test is negative. It is done by counting the number of hairs lost. The hair from the first morning combing or during washing should be counted. The hair is collected in a clear plastic bag for 14 days. The strands are recorded. If the hair count is >100/day, it is considered abnormal except after shampooing, where hair counts will be up to 250 and be normal.
These medicines slow thinning of the hair and increase coverage of the scalp by growing new hair. They also thicken the shafts of your existing hair so that it grows in thicker. If you stop using the medicine, any hair that has grown in will gradually be lost. Within 6 to 12 months after you stop using the medicine, your scalp will most likely look the same as it did before treatment.
While pregnant, many women notice that their mane becomes thicker, fuller, and shinier, thanks to a surge of pregnancy hormones. However, once they deliver, this flood of hormones leaves their body at a rapid pace, often leaving them with little time to adjust. One side effect of this depletion of hormones is hair loss. Thankfully, for many women, their hair goes back to normal a few months postpartum. Check out these other surprising ways you look different when you’re pregnant.
Sex hormone testing revealed that my estrogen levels were declining and that was making a mess of my hair. Another common sex hormone imbalance is estrogen dominance, too much estrogen relative to progesterone. Don’t forget testosterone testing too…yes high testosterone can cause hair loss but so can low testosterone. Harvard-trained MD Dr. Sara Gottfried had this to say about testosterone in her article The Horrors of Hair Loss for The Huffington Post:
The scalp contains a natural oil called sebum, which helps keep the skin lubricated. Sebum is produced by the sebaceous glands. Sometimes these glands work overtime and produce too much oil, leading to a greasy scalp. Greasy hair can look dull, limp, and lifeless, and it may be more difficult to manage. To treat greasy hair, try washing with a gentle shampoo that is specially formulated to control sebum.
Medications and vitamins: Cancer chemotherapy, which attacks hair follicles in its attempt to kill all fast-growing cells around the body, is a well-known reason for hair loss. Other medications’ side effects include hair shedding as well, such as some that treat high blood pressure and gout (a painful joint condition caused by a buildup of uric acid). Excessive levels of vitamin A also contribute.
Hair practices. Our hair is one of the strongest and most elastic parts of our body. One strand of a healthy hair can be twice as strong as a copper wire of similar thickness. However, not all hair types are equal. Unfortunately, hair care practices and styling can lead to scalp damage and unnecessary pressure on the hair follicles, resulting in hair breakage and loss.
There are few scientifically proven and FDA-approved treatments for hair loss. There are thousands of unproven claims and products to help with hair regrowth. Many conditioners, shampoos, vitamins, and other products claim to help hair grow in some unspecified way. Nioxin has been a popular brand of shampoo for hair loss, but there is no compelling evidence showing it is any more effective than regular shampoos. These products are usually harmless but generally not scientifically proven and therefore potentially useless. To slow down hair loss, there are at least four potentially effective, basic options. These include medications like Minoxidil, and Propecia, which are for long-term use. Stopping these drugs does not seem to worsen or exacerbate the prior hair loss. The patient will simply revert to the state he would have been in had he never started treatment.
Minoxidil (Rogaine) is available over the counter and available in 2%, 4%, and 5% concentrations. It may be something of a nuisance to apply twice daily, but it has been shown to help conserve hair and may even grow some. Minoxidil tends to grow very fine small hairs wherever it is applied. It is important to avoid running the liquid onto the face or neck where it can also grow hair. It is marketed for women at the 2% concentration but may be used in higher strengths as directed by a doctor.
Promote natural hair growth by eating a good hair loss diet. Here are five of the top foods for hair growth, including nuts (which contain omega-3 fatty acids, biotin, vitamin E and copper), oysters (rich in zinc), sweet potatoes (omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, and vitamins A, B, C, K and E), eggs (a good source of protein, plus biotin, other B vitamins, zinc, selenium, sulfur and iron), and spinach (iron, beta-carotene, folate, vitamin A and vitamin C).
Not surprisingly, treatments with 5 percent minoxidil work better than treatments with 2 percent minoxidil. A randomized clinical trial published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology in 2002 found that, in men with androgenetic alopecia, “5 percent topical minoxidil was clearly superior to 2 percent topical minoxidil and placebo in increasing hair growth.” The difference was actually pretty astounding — after 48 weeks, the men who used 5 percent minoxidil experienced 45 percent more hair growth than the men who used the 2 percent treatment.
DR. WRIGHT: If stomach acid is low, protein isn’t efficiently digested – and hair and nails are made up of… protein! If we are deficient in protein, our bodies know that we can live without hair or nail proteins, but we can’t survive without heart muscle proteins or other important body proteins. So if we are short in supply of protein, the hair or nails are the first to go.
For those concerned that the existing treatments lack a certain sci-fi quality, behold the Laser Comb. The Laser Comb recently became only the third hair loss treatment to receive FDA approval. And it is the first that doesn’t use drugs or surgery. By stimulating follicles with a low-level laser, the hand-held device was shown in test trials to increase hair volume in a majority of patients.
If you’re a gentleman who’s been noticing a receding hairline or is worried about balding, the first step is to schedule a visit with a doctor or dermatologist and make sure your hair loss isn’t a sign of a more serious health issue. “Not all hair loss is male-pattern hair loss,” explains Dr. Marc Glashofer, a board-certified dermatologist specializing in hair loss and practicing in northern New Jersey. A thyroid disorder, an autoimmune disease, or even a scalp issue could be making you look like Bruce Willis in Die Hard 2. But most hair loss is androgenetic alopecia, also known as male-pattern baldness, and fortunately (or not, depending on your perspective), it’s just a symptom of getting older.
As I mentioned before, the causes of hair fall are innumerable, and so it becomes crucial to get to the root of the problem. The best way to go about dealing with the problem would be to get the correct diagnosis to begin with. This can be made simpler by finding the areas where thinning is most prominent and also monitoring how much hair you are losing whenever you comb or shampoo. Consult a physician to find out whether you have any underlying medical issues causing the hair fall.
And though this treatment appears to be safe and somewhat effective, it’s hard to tell who will react well to this low-level light therapy, which is why the doctors I spoke with were hesitant to fully endorse it. “We’re not sure what the optimal power is, what the optimal wavelength is, we don’t even really know the mechanism of action of how this is working,” says Rieder. Plus, it doesn’t work on everyone. “There are subpopulations of patients who do respond to low-level laser light, but this is not easily predictable,” explains McMichael, though she adds that the risk of using the LaserComb is low.
Instead, Advanced Hair Studio offers hair loss tablets that inhibit DHT production through naturally occurring ingredients, such as herbs. Our Serenoa 320 capsules and Advanced Hair and Scalp Antioxidant use natural ingredients, including the plant extract Serenoa as well as Fallopia japonica, Zinc, Biotin, Silicon and Ascorbic acid to reduce DHT production and create a healthier scalp.
If you do decide to start treatment to save your hair, a good place to start is with minoxidil, more commonly known as Rogaine. Don’t expect this hair-loss treatment to create luscious locks; minoxidil is better at slowing down or preventing more loss rather than promoting hair growth. But, according to Dr. Amy McMichael, professor and chair of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Department of Dermatology, it is effective “if used as recommended, with evidence of improvement seen around six to nine months.” Simply massage the foam or solution into your scalp once or twice daily, and for best results, use a formula with 5 percent concentration.
Hair multiplication. Similar to the idea of cloning, this treatment involves taking out donor cells from the hair follicles and then growing and multiplying them in a laboratory. Once sufficient samples have been multiplied, these hair cells are then injected into the bald patches to stimulate hair growth. As a relatively new treatment, hair cloning is still in its research phase.
3. Scalp tonic. Serums with peptides or procyanidins (a class of antioxidants) such as niacinamide can help support overall scalp health and reduce inflammation, which is a major component of hair loss, says New York City dermatologist Doris Day. Try René Furterer Triphasic Progressive Concentrated Serum ($82), Julien Farel Magnifique Delay the Gray Hair & Scalp Serum ($135), or Day’s own Rapid Regrowth Serum ($55) once daily before massaging a minoxidil product into the scalp (there’s no need to wait for it to dry in between). “In addition to being anti-inflammatory,” Day says, “scalp tonics help minoxidil penetrate the scalp better and can minimize potential irritation from it.”
You might think, "It's just hair", but think about this: What would you do if you wake up one day without a single strand of hair on your head? However, as we've mentioned, hair loss is a natural physiological process. In the hair growth cycle, old hair has to be shed in order for new hair to grow. As we age, our body's capacity to produce hair also slows down, similar to when our bones stop growing at a certain point in our lives.
Egg mask. Eggs are one of the riches sources of protein, which is the building block of keratin, as well as other minerals like zinc, iron, selenium, phosphorous and iodine. Mix an egg white with a tablespoon of olive oil and honey to make a paste. Apply it on your hair and leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse and shampoo using cold water. You can apply this egg mask on your hair once a week.
When it comes to hair health, what you put in your body is just as important as what you put on your hair. Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet becomes crucial as soon as you notice hair fall. Foods that are rich in Zinc, Iron, Vitamins A, B complex, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, and proteins should be consumed. These foods by themselves may go a long way in curbing hair fall as more often than not, hair fall is directly related to a vitamin/mineral deficiency. A healthy diet will also help keep your hair moisturized and nourished, leading to lesser hair fall, fewer split ends, and curbed breakage.