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While there are many causes for hair loss, the most likely cause is genetics. Finding out whether or not hair loss is caused by genetics or another reason can help determine the best course of treatment.
At this point, the only truly effective medically proven way to arrest the hair loss process is to lower DHT levels. The American Hair Loss Association recommends finasteride as the first line of attack for all men interested in treating their male pattern baldness.
There are several options when it comes to conventional treatment of hair loss, all of which come with significant side effects unless you opt for a wig or hair piece. The most common conventional hair loss remedies include topical minoxidil, oral finasteride, topical or oral hormones and steroids, hair transplants, and hair restoration surgery. (13)
The loss of hair (alopecia) is a natural phenomenon in all hair-baring animals that normally occurs during the hair growth cycle. It is estimated that most individuals (assuming they have a full head of hair) lose about 100 scalp hairs over a 24-hour period. Hair loss can become a cosmetic problem when it occurs in the wrong place at the wrong time in the wrong individual. True hair loss should be distinguished from damage to the hair shaft, which may cause breakage close to the scalp. This sort of damage is often caused by exogenous chemicals used to alter the physical characteristics of the hair shaft (hair dye, etc.) or other forms of self-manipulation.
One method of hiding hair loss is the comb over, which involves restyling the remaining hair to cover the balding area. It is usually a temporary solution, useful only while the area of hair loss is small. As the hair loss increases, a comb over becomes less effective.
Skeptics (among them, Dr. Wesley) are starting to come around after a 2014 randomized double-blind study published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology found a “statistically significant” difference in hair density for women who used a laser comb compared with those who used a sham device. (“Comb” is something of a misnomer. The device looks like a hairbrush crossed with a cordless phone; it is glided back and forth across the scalp, roughly a half-inch at a time, usually about 15 minutes three times a week.)
Women who have just had a baby frequently experience abnormal hair loss that for the most part occurs short-term. They may lose their hair by shedding more often or in different patches on the head. This can be attributed to the fact that during pregnancy there is a rise in hormones that prevents hair loss. Many women actually experience fuller, stronger hair while pregnant due to pre-natal vitamins. However, post-delivery, the hormones resume back to normal, which allows the hair to fall out as part of its normal cycle. The regular hair loss that was delayed during pregnancy may then occur all at once.
An unhealthy scalp environment can play a significant role in hair thinning by contributing to miniaturization or causing damage. Air and water pollutants, environmental toxins, conventional styling products and excessive amounts of sebum have the potential to build up on the scalp. This debris can block hair follicles and cause their deterioration and consequent miniaturization of hair. It can also physically restrict hair growth or damage the hair cuticle, leading to hair that is weakened and easily broken off before its natural lifecycle has ended.
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?
You also want to eat foods high in omega-3 fatty acids—such as salmon and mackerel—two or three times a week, or sprinkle a tablespoon or two of freshly ground flaxseed onto salads or cereal each day.
To get Avodart, you will have to convince your doctor to give you a prescription. Personally, I have not tried the drug. But if you have extremely aggressive hair loss and believe it has a very negative impact on your life, talk with your doctor.
The American Academy of Dermatology says that once your dermatologist has determined the cause of your hair loss, he or she can tell you what to expect. Sometimes, the hair will begin to re-grow on its own. Other times, you may need to change what you are doing to allow the hair to start re-growing.
Also new is the HairMax Laser Comb. It’s a red light therapy hairbrush-like device that increases circulation and the biological march that makes hair. It’s only approved in men (though some women are using it) and in my experience, is not as good as minoxidil. But in one study, 45% of users reported improvement after eight weeks, and 90% saw improvement after 16 weeks.
Temporary or permanent hair loss can be caused by several medications, including those for blood pressure problems, diabetes, heart disease and cholesterol. Any that affect the body’s hormone balance can have a pronounced effect: these include the contraceptive pill, hormone replacement therapy, steroids and acne medications.
The Savin scale is a common measure that ranges from normal hair density to a bald crown (very rare). It’s helpful in documenting female pattern baldness – also known, as in men, as androgenic alopecia. Experts think genetics and ageing play a role, along with the hormonal changes of menopause. Hair may become thin all over, with the greatest loss along the centre of the scalp. A receding hairline is very rare in women.
Hair restoration surgery is another conventional treatment option and can be done in a few manners. One way is to remove bald scalp and bring the hair-producing scalp closer together to reduce the area of balding. Another form of surgery involves putting devices temporarily underneath the scalp to stretch the areas currently producing hair so that decreases the area of balding. There is also scalp flap surgery, which takes a piece of scalp producing hair and surgically puts it where there is balding.
But thinning hair and hair loss are also common in women, and no less demoralizing. Reasons can range from the simple and temporary—a vitamin deficiency—to the more complex, like an underlying health condition.
Emotional stress is less likely to cause hair loss than physical stress, but it can happen, for instance, in the case of divorce, after the of a loved one, or while caring for an aging parent. More often, though, emotional stress won’t actually precipitate the hair loss. It will exacerbate a problem that’s already there, says Dr. Glashofer.
An army of them. These also do not contain sodium laureth sulfate, a cheap foaming agent which causes irritation and inflammation. However, most of them don’t work. They are nothing more that snake oil. Here’s our guide to hair loss shampoos that actually work.
The hormones that we speak about when it comes to hair loss are the group of hormones called androgens. The three types of androgen hormones are testosterone, androstenedione and dihydrotestosterone, more commonly known as DHT. All of us have heard of testosterone and probably associate it with the male “macho” hormone. In fact, both men’s and women’s bodies contain all three of these hormones in some amount, and their imbalance can contribute to hair loss in both sexes.
Roughly 10-percent of all adult women suffer from iron deficiency, which may cause temporary hair loss. Luckily, anemia can be easily fixed with a daily iron supplement, which will also improve headaches, dragging energy levels, and low body temperature as well.
How worried should men be about the sexual side effects of finasteride? “What I tell men is that it’s not something they should stress about,” says Dr. Wolfeld, “but it is something they should be aware of.” In his experience, he notes only a roughly 5 percent incidence of sexual dysfunction reported by patients who take the medication.
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.
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But diffuse hair shedding linked to weight, anaemia, diet or thyroid problems is temporary, according to Glenn Lyons, the clinical director at the Philip Kingsley Trichological Clinic in London. The hair follicle isn’t damaged and the hair grows back automatically or once an imbalance is addressed.
Men who’ve tried it and spoke about on the internet also claimed it didn’t have much effect. This is, of course, anecdotal evidence. But there was never any hype about saw palmetto producing any significant results.
If your hair loss is caused by an underlying disease, treatment for that disease will be necessary. This may include drugs to reduce inflammation and suppress your immune system, such as prednisone. If a certain medication is causing the hair loss, your doctor may advise you to stop using it for at least three months.
While dermatologists are not exactly sure how it works, Minoxidil seems to improve scalp circulation and extend the “anagen” phase of the hair cycle. As such, it only works while you use it. After three months, the hairs that extended their natural life-cycle will begin to shed. In most men, the medication itself will not cause the hair to shed. (ROGAINE® uses Minoxidil.)