First, hair grows and gets longer in the anagen phase which can go on for several years. Then, during the ~10-day catagen phase, hair stops actively growing and separates from its follicle, which is what holds the hair in place beneath the skin. Finally, in the telogen phase, the follicle goes into rest mode for several months until the hair falls out. Then, the process starts anew.
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.
Wash your hair at least once every three days with a gentle hair cleanser or shampoo to remove all the accumulated dust, dirt, oil, and bacteria build up. Keep it clean at all times to avoid hair fall from clogged follicles. It is also important not to wash your hair more than thrice a week. Overwashing will strip your scalp and hair of the natural oils that are essential for healthy hair growth.
SOURCES: George Cotsarelis, MD, director, Hair and Scalp Clinic, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia. Andrew Kaufman, MD, assistant professor, department of dermatology, University of California, Los Angeles; medical director, Center for Dermatology Care, Thousand Oaks, Calif. Tom Barrows, PhD, director of product development, Aderans Research Institute Inc., Atlanta. Cotsarelis, G. and Millar, S.E. Trends in Molecular Medicine, July 2001; vol 7: pp 293-301. American Society for Dermatologic Surgery web site. American Academy of Facial and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery web site. American Hair Loss Council web site. Springer, K. American Family Physician, July 1, 2003; vol 68: pp 93-102. Hair Loss Help web site, "Interview with Dr. Ken Washenik from Bosley." Fuchs, E. Developmental Cell, July 2001: vol 1: pp 13-25.
But here's one thing that most people miss when they talk about hair loss: It's part of the natural process of the hair growth cycle. Shedding hair is normal, and losing hair as we age is normal. However, there are instances when we are shedding hair at an abnormally faster rate than usual - and this is something that we have to pay attention to. It's also perfectly understandable and acceptable that some people would like to reverse the hair loss that comes as part of the aging process.
In addition to your hairstyle, the processes you use on your hair, whether it’s to add color or texture, can have a detrimental effect. For example, harsh chemicals for bleaching and straightening, along with excess heat, can damage and even kill hair follicles, Burg points out. Additionally, excessive chemical treatments applied directly on the scalp can cause inflammation. “Inflammation can damage the follicle, which in turn to can lead to hair loss,” says Maria Halasz, CEO of évolis Professional. To prevent over-processing, she recommends limiting chemical treatments on the scalp to every four to six weeks. Check out these tips for people who use heat on their hair every day.
Consider other factors besides color. Color is important - your wig or hair piece should match your natural hair to look natural. However, consider also texture. You wig should feel like real hair; it should have a smooth and silky feel. For those that need full coverage, choose a wig that bounces to give the illusion of volume. A wig that has a lacing that fits your natural hair also helps in making sure that you have a more natural looking hairline.
“While nutritious eating isn’t going to bring your hair back by any means, eating plenty of protein-rich foods and healthy fats can make the hair that you still have look thicker and shinier.” Skimping on the B vitamins in particular can interfere with the formation of hair cells and, therefore, hair growth. The best sources of Bs are protein-packed foods like chicken, fish, eggs, and pork, as well as leafy greens such as spinach. (These foods are also good for melting belly fat, so it’s a win win).
It's no myth that excess stress can literally make your hair fall out. How does this happen? Well, it can raise androgen (male hormone) levels, which in turn can causes hair loss. "Stress may also trigger scalp problems, such as dandruff, disrupt eating habits and mess with the digestive system – all of which can have a negative impact on hair" says Anabel.
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:
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.
1. Minoxidil. It’s the only FDA-approved topical nonprescription medication that can claim to regrow hair — and it should be part of any hair-loss plan if you have serious thinning, says Rogers. Minoxidil has loads of research to back it, but it requires commitment. If you quit using it, your hair will start to lose ground again. Use a 5 percent strength, like Women’s Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Foam ($30), once daily to see results in three to four months, says Rogers.
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.
"Others are taking hair follicles out of human scalp and growing them with dermal papilla cells," Cotsarelis says. "If they grow in culture, you might be able to recombine them with skin cells and form new follicles. This would let you expand the number of follicles you get for a hair transplant. This may not be that far off -- five to 10 years, maybe. There's very good evidence you will be able to do that."
However, ketoconazole is still not FDA approved for hair loss treatment, which means it cannot be endorsed or marketed as such. Put simply, ketoconazole likely curbs hair loss, but additional research is needed for the FDA to give it approval. While it is safe to use as a supplement to our top picks, we wanted to recommend products with as much scientific backing as possible. So, we stuck with FDA approved minoxidil or FDA cleared laser treatments. But we’ll keep a close eye on products like ketoconazole shampoos and update as new research appears.
Biotin is a very popular supplement recommended by many doctors, pharmacists, health food stores, TV shopping channels, health websites and more when it comes to hair loss. To find some of the best supplement brands for me to try in my quest for thyroid wellness, combing the internet for customer reviews of various brands has been an important part of my process. I’ve read mixed reviews about biotin. Some users love biotin and others find no improvement or they complain about adverse reactions like acne breakout. Biotin didn’t make a significant difference for me but it might work for you and some brands get incredible reviews like this one.
A few studies support the use of red ginseng, sometimes called panax ginseng (about $25), for hair regrowth. It can have an anti-apoptotic effect on the hair, Rogers says, meaning it slows cell death so hair follicles can grow for a longer period of time. But before taking any of these supplements, it’s important to consult your doctor; a lab test can confirm whether you need a particular supplement or if taking it will just be a waste of time and money.
Alopecia mucinosa - also known as follicular mucinosis is an autoimmune disorder. It causes inflammation of the hair follicles which can result in scarring or non-scarring hair loss. This condition can affect any part of the body and can affect both children and adults. If treated early, the hair will grow back. If the condition is too severe, the hair will not grow back.
Harsh hairstyles or treatments: Hairstyles that consistently use rubber bands, rollers or barrettes, or pull hair into tight styles such as cornrows, can inflame and scar hair follicles. So can incorrectly used chemical products such as dyes, bleaches, straighteners or permanent wave solutions. Depending on the degree of damage, resulting hair loss can be permanent.
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.).
The only nonchemical option offered up by the dermatologists I spoke with — short of a surgical hair transplant or platelet-rich plasma therapy, which is like Kim Kardashian’s vampire facial but for your scalp — was the laser comb. First cleared by the FDA in 2009, the HairMax LaserComb is a handheld laser device that is designed to promote hair growth. As the manufacturer explains in a letter to the FDA, “The device provides distributed laser light to the scalp while the comb teeth simultaneously part the user’s hair to ensure the laser light reaches the user’s scalp,” which, in turn, stimulates the hair follicles.
A diet that is poor or lacking in certain nutrients, particularly iron, protein, and vitamin B, which are essential in the production of keratin, can cause a long telogen phase and a very short anagen stage. On the other hand, excess supply of vitamin A in the body, especially those taken through supplements, can prove to be toxic and can cause a range of adverse body effects including loss of appetite, fatigue and consequently, hair loss.
Hair lost to male-pattern and female-pattern baldness won't grow back on its own, but there are medications that can help slow hair loss and even regrow hair. Minoxidil (Rogaine) is a topical medicine that is available over the counter to treat men and women. Finasteride (Propecia) is a pill that is available to men only by prescription. Injectable cortisone may also help regrow hair lost to certain conditions.
The term "ringworm" or "ringworms" refers to fungal infections that are on the surface of the skin. A physical examination of the affected skin, evaluation of skin scrapings under the microscope, and culture tests can help doctors make the appropriate distinctions. A proper diagnosis is essential to successful treatment. Among the different types of ringworm are the following: tinea barbae, tinea capitis, tinea corporis, tinea cruris, tinea faciei, tinea manus, tinea pedis, and tinea unguium.
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Male pattern baldness involves a receding hairline and thinning around the crown with eventual bald spots. Ultimately, you may have only a horseshoe ring of hair around the sides. In addition to genes, male pattern baldness seems to require the presence of the male hormone testosterone. Men who do not produce testosterone (because of genetic abnormalities or castration) do not develop this pattern baldness.
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.)
The best fix by far for replacing lost hair is a transplant. Back in the day, docs used plugs that resembled cornrows (definitely not natural looking). Today, guys have more options. You can go for “the strip method” where a doctor surgically removes a strip of hair from the back of your head, dissects every hair graft under a microscope, and then plants the individual grafts onto hair-thin areas of your scalp with tiny incisions.
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.
Just letting go is possibly the most challenging of the available options. It’s also the cheapest and ultimately the most effective in the struggle with hair loss. Given the imperfections of surgical, medical, and technological options, there are many who advocate simple acceptance. (BaldRUs.com is one of several sites devoted to embracing the scalp's natural fate.) What's more, the health benefits of happier mirror time -- and fewer years of harmful anxiety -- just might offset the loss of those Samson-like powers.
Drugs.com provides accurate and independent information on more than 24,000 prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines and natural products. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Data sources include IBM Watson Micromedex (updated Nov 1st, 2018), Cerner Multum™ (updated Nov 1st, 2018), Wolters Kluwer™ (updated Oct 31st, 2018) and others. To view content sources and attributions, please refer to our editorial policy.
The truth is, the amount of propylene glycol in hair loss treatments is not likely to cause any real harm and the FDA has given the chemical approval for many uses. But even though it is safe, we wanted to ensure that our top picks would be as comfortable to use as possible. So when Dr. Khadavi told us that “a third of my patients get irritated from minoxidil products because of propylene glycol,” we decided to cut any treatments with it. In any case, it’s the minoxidil that helps curb hair loss and not the propylene glycol.
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).
The finding occurred after doctors prescribed a 25-year-old man with alopecia universalis the drug because they had heard it had treated a similar condition in mice, according to a statement from Yale University. After three months of treatment, the man had completely regrown the hair on his scalp, and he had visible eyebrows, eyelashes, facial hair, as well as hair elsewhere on his body.
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Pregnancy may cause many changes in the scalp hair. As the hormones fluctuate during pregnancy, a large number of women feel their hair thickens and becomes fuller. This may be related to change in the number of hairs cycling in the growth phase of hair growth, but the exact reason is unknown. Quite often, there may be a loss of hair (telogen effluvium) after delivery or a few months later which will eventually normalize.
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.
4. Tinted dry shampoo. Camouflage spots where you’re seeing more scalp than you want to (your hairline, a widening part, a thinning crown) and add volume with a colored dry shampoo (try Orlando Pita Color Boost Dry Shampoo in Light or Dark Tones, $22). But be sure to give your scalp a vigorous shampoo during your next shower — dermatologists recommend keeping your scalp free of styling products so you’re not clogging already taxed pores.
Hormonal changes and medical conditions. A variety of conditions can cause permanent or temporary hair loss, including hormonal changes due to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and thyroid problems. Medical conditions include alopecia areata (al-o-PEE-she-uh ar-e-A-tuh), which causes patchy hair loss, scalp infections such as ringworm and a hair-pulling disorder called trichotillomania (trik-o-til-o-MAY-nee-uh).
Hair may be all about vanity but hair conditions, such as hair loss and balding may have emotional, mental and psychological repercussions: insecurity, the loss of self-confidence, humiliation or embarrassment, self-imposed isolation out of fear of what people might think of how we look with that missing part of ourselves. Hair issues are more than vanity.
The cause of female-pattern hair loss is unknown, but doctors said there is a strong genetic component. The risk can come from male or female relatives. Though it looks as if the hair is falling out, that's not really what's happening. Cotsarelis said hair follicles are becoming smaller and producing hairs that may be so small that you can't see them. Women tend to retain more normal, thick hairs than balding men do.
Disruption of the hair growth cycle. Some major events can alter the hair's growth cycle temporarily. For example, delivering a baby, having surgery, going through a traumatic event, or having a serious illness or high fever can temporarily cause shedding of large amounts of hair. Because the hair we see on our heads has actually taken months to grow, a person might not notice any disruption of the hair growth cycle until months after the event that caused it. This type of hair loss corrects itself.
As long as the new hair that grows from that follicle is the same as the one it replaces, the hair density will remain constant. In patterned hair loss, hormones affect the follicle, making it smaller and the new hair becomes shorter and finer than the one it replaces. Eventually, the new hairs are so short and fine they become invisible and the scalp becomes bald.
Other medical conditions — most commonly telogen effluvium and seborrheic dermatitis — can also cause hair loss, but most people can trace their follicular woes back to androgenetic alopecia, so we focused our search there. We started with more than 200 products, including all-natural solutions and high-tech gadgets, while skipping treatments that focus only on volumizing or thickening hair. We also limited our scope to the scalp, and left out specialty products designed only for eyebrows or beards.
decrease in your blood Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) levels. Finasteride can affect a blood test called PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) for the screening of prostate cancer. If you have a PSA test done you should tell your healthcare provider that you are taking Finasteride because Finasteride decreases PSA levels. Changes in PSA levels will need to be evaluated by your healthcare provider. Any increase in follow-up PSA levels from their lowest point may signal the presence of prostate cancer and should be evaluated, even if the test results are still within the normal range for men not taking Finasteride. You should also tell your healthcare provider if you have not been taking Finasteride as prescribed because this may affect the PSA test results. For more information, talk to your healthcare provider.
Scalp reduction is the process is the decreasing of the area of bald skin on the head. In time, the skin on the head becomes flexible and stretched enough that some of it can be surgically removed. After the hairless scalp is removed, the space is closed with hair-covered scalp. Scalp reduction is generally done in combination with hair transplantation to provide a natural-looking hairline, especially those with extensive hair loss.