There’s no cure for baldness, but there are ways to hold on to what you’ve got. The six dermatologists and the clinical studies point to three methods: minoxidil, laser treatments, and prescription finasteride. The key is finding the combination and hair loss regimen that works for you. A doctor is your best bet for that kind of guidance — but we found a few trustworthy products that will work for most people.
Who hasn’t had a loss scare? All of us, at some point, start to fear that we might be losing too much hair. While most of the time it’s just a false alarm, and our hair’s routine shedding, in some cases, it is more than that. But what could be causing the unexpected hair loss?
Losing sleep over your receding hairline or thinning mane? You’re not the only one. By the age of 35, two-thirds of American men will experience some degree of considerable hair loss, according to the American Hair Loss Association. Even worse: By 50, approximately 85 percent of men have significantly thinning hair. While genetics play a big role, you can still have some control over the situation. Here, a few things you can do that don’t involve lasers or surgery.
In order to properly diagnose the reasoning behind hair loss, there are tests that can be performed to pinpoint the triggering factor(s). The tests can eliminate the possibility of certain conditions and help in finding a cause for those disorders that are treatable. Sometimes with testing for hair loss, it’s a process of elimination to get to the root of the problem.
If you are a woman and you are experiencing male pattern baldness, abnormal hair growth on your face and body, or an irregular menstrual cycle. There may be an underlying hormonal disorder responsible for your hair loss.
The follicles on the sides of the scalp are more genetically resistant to DHT, which is why male pattern baldness often results in a “crown” of hair. But its downsides are serious. “With women, finasteride is not an option,” says Dr. Wolfeld. “It’s not FDA-approved for women to take, so we don’t prescribe it.” In fact, due to the drug’s effect on hormone levels, pregnant women are advised to not even touch broken or crushed tablets.
Limit your use of hair dryers. Heat weakens hair proteins. Constant heating and drying can lead to brittleness and fragility that can cause hair loss that would not have occurred otherwise. Natural drying is best for you hair, so aim to dry it naturally more often than drying it with heat.
Research for hair loss treatments is ongoing, and new companies are sprouting up to take on the issue. Many of these companies are developing products and services that are still undergoing clinical trials, but for many the results have been promising.
Anagen. The growth phase of hair. An unknown signal tells follicle stem cells to do their thing. Next, the permanent part of the follicle — the dermal papilla — gives the go signal to hair matrix cells. Those cells grow wildly and become pigmented, creating a new hair shaft. At any given time, 90% of hair cells are in this stage.
Many women with hair loss suffer in silence, altering their hairstyle to hide thinning or patches. But the sooner you seek care, the better the chances of successfully treating it, says Mary Gail Mercurio, MD, associate professor of dermatology at the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y.
Sometimes the evidence lies in your scalp. The dermatologist may remove a small piece of the scalp. This is called a scalp biopsy. A dermatologist can quickly and safely perform a scalp biopsy during an office visit. A scalp biopsy can be essential to solving the case. Sometimes, a blood test is necessary.
There’s a common pattern with socially constructed beauty norms. Society insists women do a ridiculous thing to look good (see: unnaturally small waists; looking awake and vibrant 24/7; heels as standard formalwear.) Women, being people, clamber to find short-cuts to accomplish said thing as easily as possible (see: corsets; makeup; removable heels.) The arms race continues until the norm goes away (see: menswear-for-women) or a harder-to-imitate beauty trend emerges (balayage).
Other reasons for hair loss include extreme stress; physical trauma like surgery or intense illness; dramatic weight loss over a short period of time; and taking too much Vitamin A, Roberts says. And hair loss can occur a couple of weeks to six months after any of these experiences.