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It’s become “trendy” to not wash your hair for several days; in fact, some believe it’s beneficial for the hair. While you shouldn’t over-wash your hair, under-washing—washing your hair once or twice a week—and camouflaging dirt and grime with dry shampoos isn’t good for your hair either. “Overuse of dry shampoos leads to clogged follicles, which, over time, can cause permanent damage leading to hair loss,” warns Halasz. “To prevent this from happening, try to wash your hair a minimum of every three to four days.” Learn all the tricks you need to know when using dry shampoo.
The test involves plucking about 50 hairs from the head, typically at the back of the scalp, so your dermatologist can look at them under a microscope and determine how much of the hair is in the resting, growth, and fall-out phases. Next, a vial of blood is sent to a lab to check hormone and nutrient levels ($100 and up, depending on insurance). If low levels of iron, or high levels of male hormones, like androgens, are contributing to your hair loss, for example, both can be treated through oral supplements or medication.
Hair transplant/surgery. A hair transplant or surgery is the quickest treatment for permanent cases of hair loss, although the most expensive. In pattern baldness, for example, where the top of the head is the most affected area, a hair transplant allows the surgeon to use existing hair to implant it into the bald sections of the head. It works by removing a graft or follicular sample in parts of the head that still have hair (usually this is the back of the head as this area is most resistant to hormonal changes), and placing this graft in the areas that are bald.
During a hair transplant procedure, a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon removes tiny patches of skin, each containing one to several hairs, from the back or side of your scalp. Sometimes a larger strip of skin containing multiple hair groupings is taken. He or she then implants the hair follicle by follicle into the bald sections. Some doctors recommend using minoxidil after the transplant, to help minimize hair loss. And you may need more than one surgery to get the effect you want. Hereditary hair loss will eventually progress despite surgery.
Certain medical conditions call for treatments and surgeries that help to cure the ailment. While these treat your condition, the side effects of the treatments can often damage the hair follicles and cause rapid hair fall. Treatments like chemotherapy to treat cancer, steroids, and medication for typhoid, heart diseases, depression, etc. are known to be responsible for extreme hair fall to the extent of causing baldness. Here’s a list of drugs that list hair loss as a possible side effect:
Natural oils such as coconut, olive, castor, almond, jojoba, sesame, etc., can be used to massage the scalp for countering hair fall and encouraging new hair growth. As we discussed, hair fall problems are majorly caused due to the health of your scalp. Using a hair oil treatment twice a week helps stimulate your scalp and improves the blood circulation, boosting the amount of nourishment that the hair follicles receive. It also helps keep away issues such as dandruff, dryness, and flaking. Not only do these treatments improve scalp health, but they also improve the strength of your hair and help keep it conditioned. But oil is not the only nourishing treatment your hair can receive. In fact, there are a number of remedies you can whip up in your kitchen to reduce hair fall.
A good daily multivitamin containing zinc, vitamin B, folate, iron, and calcium is a reasonable choice, although there is no good evidence that vitamins have any meaningful benefit in alopecia. Newer studies suggest that vitamin D may be somewhat helpful and worth considering. Specific vitamin and mineral deficiencies like iron or vitamin B12 may be diagnosed by blood tests and treated.
Finasteride is available on private prescription in a tablet form. It prevents the hormone testosterone being converted to another hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is known to shrink hair follicles. Blocking this action can help the hair follicles to return to their normal size. It usually takes three to six months of daily use to see an effect, and the process starts again if treatment is stopped.
Central centrifugal cicatricial (scarring) alopecia: This type of hair loss occurs most often in women of African descent. It begins in the center of the scalp. As it progresses, the hair loss radiates out from the center of the scalp. The affected scalp becomes smooth and shiny. The hair loss can be very slow or rapid. When hair loss occurs quickly, the person may have tingling, burning, pain, or itching on the scalp. Treatment may help the hair re-grow if scarring has not occurred.
Just as pregnancy hormone changes can cause hair loss, so can switching or going off birth-control pills. This can also cause telogen effluvium, and it may be more likely if you have a family history of hair loss. The change in the hormonal balance that occurs at menopause may also have the same result. “The androgen (male hormone) receptors on the scalp becoming activated,” explains Mark Hammonds, MD, a dermatologist with Scott & White Clinic in Round Rock, Texas. “The hair follicles will miniaturize and then you start to lose more hair.”
Do not subject your hair to frequent chemical treatments, excessive blow drying, ironing, and coloring, as it can lead to hair loss. If you color your hair and have been facing hair fall issues, it would be a good idea to take a short break before you put any more chemicals in your hair. Avoid hairstyles like tight ponytails, pigtails or braids on a daily basis. Using hair elastics to pull back hair tightly can cause hair fall.
"I recommend that everyone [with any hair loss] take finasteride," says Robert M. Bernstein, MD. Bernstein is associate clinical professor of dermatology at Columbia University and founder of the Bernstein Medical Center for Hair Restoration. "To patients who are younger,” he says, “I also recommend minoxidil. But the mainstay is finasteride. The data show that, over five years, it significantly retards hair loss in 85% of users."
Hair transplantation is usually carried out under local anaesthetic. A surgeon will move healthy hair from the back and sides of the head to areas of thinning. The procedure can take between four and eight hours, and additional sessions can be carried out to make hair even thicker. Transplanted hair falls out within a few weeks, but regrows permanently within months. Hair transplants, 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 the scalp. Several transplant sessions may be necessary.
Telogen effluvium - occurs mainly due to the body’s reaction to stress, brought about by, illnesses such as cancer, mental and emotional disturbances, medications such as blood thinners, hormonal imbalances, stress during childbirth and so on. In this condition hair thinning occurs on the scalp. The hair usually regrows after the stress period is over.
Just like pregnancy, birth control pills mess with your hormone levels, causing them to fluctuate. In response, you might experience hair loss. “Hormones can interrupt the natural pattern of the hair cycle, causing hairs to shed more quickly than usual or to grow with less vigor,” explains Dominic Burg, PhD, chief scientist for Advangen. Oftentimes the hormone responsible for this is an androgen, such as testosterone, which is why the American Hair Loss Association recommends low-androgen birth control pills for those who are at an increased risk for hair loss.
The third and fourth stages are known as telogen and exogen, respectively. In telogen, the hair is supposed to be at "rest" until it finally detaches itself from the follicle and enters the exogen or shedding stage. Once the hair is detached from the follicle, the follicle remains inactive for about three months, after which a new cycle begins again.