Jimenez, J. J., Wikramanayake, T. C., Bergfeld, W., Hordinsky, M., Hickman, J. G., Hamblin, M. R., & Schachner, L. A. (2014). Efficacy and Safety of a Low-level Laser Device in the Treatment of Male and Female Pattern Hair Loss: A Multicenter, Randomized, Sham Device-controlled, Double-blind Study. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 15(2), 115–127.
Please note that in January 2016 the Endocrine News published this article January 2016: Thyroid Month: Beware of Biotin which stated that taking biotin supplements could cause falsely high and falsely low results in a variety of laboratory tests, including thyroid lab tests because biotin interferes with the test platform used for particular laboratory tests. If you are taking biotin and your thyroid lab results begin to change and not make sense in terms of your clinical symptoms speak with your doctor about doing a retest of your thyroid labs after several days of discontinuing your biotin supplement to be sure there is no interference.
Cicatricial or Scarring alopecia - hair loss occurs when inflammation damages and scars the hair follicle and replaces it with scar tissue. The inflammation that destroys the follicle is under the skin surface so affected areas of the scalp may show little signs of inflammation. It is not known what triggers or causes this inflammation. If the inflammation destroys the stem cells and sebaceous glands, then hair loss is permanent.
Thinning hair in women is worth investigating for more than its impact on physical appearance. While many conditions that lead to temporary hair loss will go away without treatment or with simple lifestyle measures, others may be signs of potentially irreversible loss or health conditions. Others yet may respond well to treatments to promote regrowth, so starting sooner rather than later is key.
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’.
*Photograph used with permission of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. This photograph was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Vol. # 60, Gathers RC, Jankowski M, Eide M, et al. “Hair grooming practices and central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia,” 660-8. Copyright Elsevier (2009). Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Traumas such as childbirth, major surgery, poisoning, and severe stress may cause a hair loss condition known as telogen effluvium, in which a large number of hairs enter the resting phase at the same time, causing shedding and subsequent thinning. The condition also presents as a side effect of chemotherapy – while targeting dividing cancer cells, this treatment also affects hair’s growth phase with the result that almost 90% of hairs fall out soon after chemotherapy starts.
Minoxidil: This medicine is applied to the scalp. It can stop hairs from getting thinner and stimulate hair growth on the top of the scalp. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved minoxidil to treat hair loss. It is the only hair re-growth product approved for men and women. A dermatologist may combine minoxidil with another treatment.
Trichotillomania, classified as an “impulse control disorder,” causes people to compulsively pull their hair out. “It’s sort of like a tic, the person is constantly playing and pulling their hair,” says Dr. Glashofer says. Unfortunately, this constant playing and pulling can actually strip your head of its natural protection: hair. Trichotillomania often begins before the age of 17 and is four times as common in women as in men.
Nutrient deficiencies are a common issue for those of us with hypothyroidism. Not only are nutrients essential for thyroid function, but they also play an important role in keeping the hair on our heads from falling. A good quality multi-vitamin is important and of course a healthy diet is essential, but still nutrient testing is important because many like me will require additional supplementation to bring us to optimal. Testing should include iodine, zinc, selenium, vitamin D, B12, and magnesium.
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:
Post surgery care is important if you've undergone a hair transplant or surgery. Expect some swelling of the face and on the scalp a couple of days after the procedure. To fast track hair growth, you may be asked to use Minoxidil or Finasteride. Saline is applied on the grafts for a few days, while you will be prescribed to use a diluted shampoo that is softer and less harsh on the scalp. Hair growth in the transplanted areas becomes visible in three - six months.
If a pregnant woman comes in contact with crushed or broken Finasteride tablets, wash the contact area right away with soap and water. If a woman who is pregnant comes into contact with the active ingredient in Finasteride, a healthcare provider should be consulted. If a woman who is pregnant with a male baby swallows or comes in contact with the medicine in Finasteride, the male baby may be born with sex organs that are not normal.
Some hair loss can also result from the psychological condition trichotillomania. “People with this condition compulsively pull out their hair when they are stressed or even when they are concentrating, e.g. studying hard,” says Burg. “Sometimes the individual doesn’t know they are pulling their hair out, doing the activity absent-mindedly, and only notice once the bald patches appear.” Over time the hair follicles can become so damaged that they die and leave permanent bald patches. Find out why you shouldn’t pull out gray hairs either.
There are numerous ways to categorize hair loss. One must first examine the scalp to determine if the hair loss is due to the physical destruction and loss of hair follicles (scarring or cicatricial alopecia). If the scalp appears perfectly normal with plenty of empty hair follicles, this is called non-scarring hair loss. On the other hand, cicatricial alopecia permanently destroys the follicles. Non-scarring hair loss also happens in situations where there is physical or chemical damage to the hair shaft, resulting in breakage. Occasionally, it may be necessary to do a biopsy of the scalp to distinguish these conditions. Sometimes, a physician may pull a hair to examine the appearance of the hair shaft as well as the percentage of growing hairs (anagen phase). This article will concentrate on the non-scarring types of hair loss.
With sufficient vitamin C, every component related to hair growth gets a boost, which enhances the effects of other essential nutrients. One study from 2006 analyzed patients with androgenic alopecia who were treated with vitamin C and found significant growth stimulation in the hair and scalp, which indicates a link between it and hair follicle growth. In this study they also found that men with male pattern baldness (alopecia areta) saw significant results after supplementing with Vitamin C.
Some companies market special hair growth vitamins and supplements that you can buy to make it easier for you to stay healthy and help prevent hair loss. In general, however, all you need to do is make sure that you are getting enough protein in your diet (eating lots of protein-rich foods like dark green leafy vegetables, fish, eggs and beans), and the right levels of iron, zinc and vitamin A. B, C and folic acid.
Laser treatments. Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is used for the prevention and reversal of hair loss. Also known as red light therapy, cold laser, and soft laser, it is a form of light/heat treatment (therefore generally safer) that is used on cases of pattern baldness and alopecia areata. The procedure uses a device that emits light that penetrates into the scalp. The more commonly used lasers are the excimer, helium-neon and fractional erbium-glass. The procedure can increase the blood flow in the scalp to stimulate the follicles that are in resting or dormant phase to go into anagen, and at the same time, prevent the production of DHT, which destroys the hair follicles.
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.
There is no hard and fast answer. With Regaine Extra Strength results may be seen after 8 weeks. Clinical studies have shown that for Regaine Regular Strength or Regaine Gel for men regrowth can occur as early as 16 weeks. But remember that everyone is different so you need to be patient. Studies suggest that Regaine should be tried for 6-12 months before deciding whether to continue.