It is likely that several genes determine susceptibility to baldness. Some of these genes come from your mother’s side and some from your father’s side of the family. Identical twins lose hair at the same age, at the same rate and in the same pattern. This indicates that genetic factors are more important than environmental factors in causing hair loss.
Periods of prolonged or severe illness can affect the hair. “As with extreme stress and extreme diets, this also comes down to the body preserving its energy balance and shutting down non-essential functions in order to battle the illness more effectively,” Berg says. “In fact, physicians have used an inspection of the fingernails and hair quality as part of standard examinations of overall health for many years. Changes in these features provide some clues about the length and severity of illness.” Other diseases, such as diabetes and lupus, can also cause hair loss. Check out these other things your hair can reveal about your health.
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Traction alopecia. Unlike the other two that are caused by genetic or natural factors, this condition is self-caused and occurs most in women. Hair loss happens because of the continuous and constant pulling on the hair that puts pressure on the follicles. Pressure on the hair, brought about by wearing tight hair styles, braiding, weaving, or even hair treatments like bleaching, causes the follicles to loosen their grip on the shaft and eventually cause hair to fall out, leaving bald spots on the scalp or very thin hair strands.
While trauma can come on suddenly and unexpectedly, you may be able to help manage ongoing stress in your life with exercise, like yoga, or mindfulness techniques, like meditation. Some researchers are even exploring these alternative healing modalities in relation to reversing hair loss. The idea is that yoga and meditation may help regulate blood sugar and enhance circulation, promoting regrowth.
Again, as we've mentioned at the start, these treatments and cures are dependent on the cause and type of hair loss. While massage oils and a hair spa treatment can work on hair loss in men caused by a skin or scalp infection, these may not work for cases of pattern baldness that are hereditary or caused by DHT associated with male hormones. Even medications like minodixil and finasteride cannot offer a permanent cure. In cases of permanent hair loss like pattern baldness, sometimes the best type of cure is simply management of your condition.
Hair grooming, but more importantly, having a head-full of hair is as important to men as it is to women. To women, it may be an important accessory of beauty, and for men, it adds to a sense of manliness, enhances their looks and makes them more appealing and attractive to women. Balding to men is associated with aging (only old men are expected to lose hair) and therefore, having hair on one's head is a sign of virility and masculinity.
The psychology of hair thinning is a complex issue. Hair is considered an essential part of overall identity: especially for women, for whom it often represents femininity and attractiveness. Men typically associate a full head of hair with youth and vigor. Although they may be aware of pattern baldness in their family, many are uncomfortable talking about the issue. Hair thinning is therefore a sensitive issue for both sexes. For sufferers, it can represent a loss of control and feelings of isolation. People experiencing hair thinning often find themselves in a situation where their physical appearance is at odds with their own self-image and commonly worry that they appear older than they are or less attractive to others. Psychological problems due to baldness, if present, are typically most severe at the onset of symptoms.
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).
2. Volumizing shampoos and treatments. Typically, these work by depositing ingredients, like wheat protein and keratin, that adhere to the hair shaft to a) thicken it and b) create spaces between hairs so you look like you have more of it. Try Kiehl’s Rice & Wheat Volumizing Shampoo ($18) with hydrolyzed wheat protein; Rogers likes Redken Cerafill Defy Shampoo and Conditioner ($20 each) with ceramides that bulk up hair.
Contact immunotherapy. Another drug that can be administered for cases of alopecia areata is contact immunotherapy and is recommended for severe cases. Diphenylcyclopropenon (DPCP) is applied on the scalp every week, and the dosage of the drug is increased over time until a mild allergic reaction is observed, which signals that the drug is taking effect. Regrowth may be observed within three months from the beginning of treatment.
3. Surgical hair replacement. If you opt for hair transplantation (which runs $5,000 and up), your dermatologist or hair-replacement surgeon will remove single hair follicles from the back of the head, near the nape of the neck, where your hair is fullest. Once those follicles are harvested, they are then dissected and reimplanted into an area of the scalp where hair is thinning. The procedure takes anywhere from three to six hours, and newly implanted hair will usually begin to grow on its own 3 to 12 months after the treatment session. Traditionally, hair transplantation required removal of an entire strip of scalp, Sadick says, but this new follicle-by-follicle technique looks more natural when it heals and allows patients to get heads of hair as dense-looking as before they started losing it.
Correct ferritin levels maximize your hair’s “anagen” or “growing” phase and encourage your hairs to grow to their full length. When you aren’t getting enough iron through your diet, your body takes ferritin stored in non-essential tissue, like your hair bulb, and gives it to essential tissue, such as your heart. Because your hair bulb is where all your hair cells are produced, this leeching of ferritin can cause your hair to shed before it reaches its maximum length.
Tissue expansion. In this procedure, a material called a tissue expander is inserted under portions of the scalp with hair. Saline water is injected for six to eight weeks in order to expand or stretch this portion of hair-bearing skin. The bags are eventually removed and the expanded hair-bearing skin is cut away and moved to the adjacent bald area. This is typically used to address hair loss as a result of burns or injuries on the scalp.
Cyclosporine is used to suppress the immune system in psoriasis and other immune-mediated skin conditions. Although cyclosporine helps hair regrowth in alopecia areata, the risks of using it may outweigh the benefits, as oral cyclosporine can suppress the immune system and increase the risk of serious infection. Other common adverse effects are hypertension and renal impairment, but these are usually reversible.
If you’re a lady and can remember the one difference in directions (or just scope out the instructions online) we recommend saving the cash. Similarly, you could go generic with Equate Hair Regrowth Treatment for Men or Costco’s Kirkland Signature Hair Regrowth Treatment Minoxidil Foam for Men. These alternatives offer the same percentage of active minoxidil and near-identical inactive ingredients for as little as half the price — a great option for both genders.
Managing hair loss is just as important as treating it. Now that we've talked about the different treatment options and cures available to reverse hair loss and promote increased growth, let's talk about how you can manage your condition and at the same time prevent further hair loss. The first is more psychological, while the second is more practical.
Finasteride is one of the few hair loss treatments to be clinically tested, FDA approved and proven to work for the majority of men. In fact, 83% of the men who take the medicine have successfully stopped male pattern baldness and kept the hair they already have. And 65% of the men who take finasteride have even experienced a noticeable regrowth of lost hair over the course of three months.
With those pinned down, it wasn’t hard to determine which don’t actually work. Pretty much all the “active” ingredients listed in ineffective treatments — from biotin and zinc to emu oil and saw palmetto — have never been proven, and are instead marketed based on logical-seeming correlations. It would make sense that biotin, a B vitamin readily found in hair, skin, and nails, could help hair grow more quickly. And caffeine is a stimulant that works in coffee, so rubbing some on your scalp might wake some of those sleepy follicles… right?
Hair styling products from shampoo, conditioner, to hair dye, bleach, gels and perm and straightening products may contain chemicals that can damage the scalp and cause the shaft to break, resulting in hair thinning. Beware of these products that contain toxic chemicals such as arsenic, thallium, meadow saffron (colchicum autumnale), and lead. These chemical ingredients can manipulate and disrupt the natural hair growth cycle, for example, shortening the anagen phase of growth. Hair procedures like hair relaxing and permanent waving, while do not lead to permanent hair loss, can damage the quality of the hair and make it more prone to hair breakage.
Low ferritin (the stored form of iron) is one of the most common causes of hair loss in women. Given low ferritin is also a common problem for hypothyroid people, it is important to have iron testing including ferritin especially if you are experiencing hair loss. It is not enough to be told by your doctor that your iron levels are ‘normal’. Ferritin levels are not always tested. Get a copy of your lab results and be sure ferritin has been specifically tested. Even if ferritin is within the ‘normal’ range that doesn’t make it ‘optimal’.
Vigorous styling and hair treatments over the years can cause your hair to fall out. Examples of extreme styling include tight braids, hair weaves or corn rows as well as chemical relaxers to straighten your hair, hot-oil treatments or any kind of harsh chemical or high heat. Because these practices can actually affect the hair root, your hair might not grow back.
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.
Procepia and Finasteride will only prevent hair loss and aid hair regrowth for the duration of your treatment. As soon as you stop taking them, any hair loss you would have had during that time will happen within a few months of ending the treatment. A doctor needs to check whether you can use either medication. You can order your treatment online from Superdrug and get your prescription from one of our online doctors, who will review your order.
There are several different types of medication you can buy to help treat hair loss. Procepia and Finasteride are currently the only approved drugs you can take that will effectively treat hair loss. The active ingredient in both treatments (finasteride) works by blocking DHT (the male hormone dihydrotestosterone) that causes hair loss by shrinking hair follicles on your scalp. It has been proven to lead to hair regrowth or to stop hair loss in around 9 out of 10 men in clinical trials.
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Medical conditions and medications. A common medical condition that also causes hair loss is hypothyroidism, which can happen in both men and women. Patients suffer from an underactive thyroid gland, which is responsible for producing the hormone, thyroxin, which performs important bodily functions, such as the regulation of body temperature, proper utilization of carbohydrates and fats, and production of protein. Since protein is an important nutrient for the production of keratin, inadequate protein supply in the body due to an underactive thyroid means that hair growth in the follicles is slow. In men especially, hair loss is one of the first signs of hypothyroidism.
fatigue, insomnia, chronic pain, headaches, migraines, anxiety, depression, weight gain, joint inflammation, gastrointestinal issues (constipation or diarrhea), tendonitis, bursitis, low libido, fibromyalgia, irritability, anger, fidgety, nervous, addictions, obsessive, frequent urination, heart disease, blood pressure problems, light-headedness, and dizziness upon rising from a bed or chair
Once male-pattern baldness starts, it’s not going to stop until every last hair on your head has shrunk or shed, though the rate at which this happens differs from person to person and depends on genetics. And since the grind of hair loss is unending, it’s important to start treatment as soon as your hairline starts bothering you. If you’re looking for a more quantitative metric, Dr. Paul McAndrews, clinical professor of dermatology at the USC School of Medicine and member of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, assures me that “you have to lose half your hair before the human eye can tell.” (Of course, if you don’t care about losing your hair and are fine with going full Prince William and shaving your head, go for it. We’ve got some recommendations for razors and hair trimmers to help you out on that front.)
Another type of baldness that goes with hair styling can be permanent: Wearing your hair in a style that pulls too tightly can cause something called traction alopecia. Traction alopecia can permanently damage the hair follicles if you wear a style that pulls on your hair for a long time. if you are getting your hair styled and it hurts, ask the stylist to redo it so that it is no longer painful. Pain is a sign of too much traction on the hair.
Has your doctor told you that your blood sugar levels are too high? Low thyroid is one potential cause of diabetes, and it may be your red flag to have your thyroid re-evaluated. When my doctor once mentioned that my blood sugar was at the high pre-diabetic level and suggested starting diabetes medication, I asked for 6 months to try replacing my regular multivitamin with this one Designs for Health Metabolic Synergy (created by a nationally prominent doctor specializing in blood sugar) and by my follow-up appointment my blood sugar was completely normal and diabetes medication was not needed (what a relief).
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