Thinning hair and hair loss – Hair loss affects men and women alike. In fact, some studies estimate that over 50% of women experience some degree of hair thinning at some point in their lives. What causes hair loss? And what can you do to prevent or treat it?
Hair loss occurs when the follicles stop producing new hairs. This happens naturally as part of aging, or because of hormonal changes. Menopause, pregnancy, childbirth, stress, illness, medical conditions, medications, thyroid problems, and certain types of cancer also contribute to hair loss.
There are two main types of hair loss: alopecia and telogen effluvium. Alopecia refers to hair loss from the scalp, whereas telogen effluvius refers to hair loss from other parts of the body. The cause of both forms of hair loss is unknown. There are several treatments for hair loss, including topical creams, pills, laser therapy, and surgery.
- Alopecia Areata (AA) is a condition where patches of hair fall out without any apparent reason. It usually starts on the head but may occur anywhere on the body. AA is not contagious. It is an autoimmune disease.
- Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is a common form of baldness that begins during puberty. AGA is caused by genetic factors. It is characterized by progressive miniaturization of the hair shafts.
- Anagen Effluvium (AE) is a temporary type of hair loss that occurs when there is too much shedding of the hair. AE is often seen after chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
- Chemotherapy-induced alopecia (CIA) is hair loss due to chemotherapy drugs. CIA typically occurs within 3 months of starting chemotherapy.
- Dandruff is a dry, flaky skin condition with itching and red bumps. Dandruff is most commonly associated with oily skin.
- Telogen effluvium (TE) is a temporary type hair loss that occurs when the hair follicle stops producing hair. TE is often triggered by emotional stress, illness, or medication side effects.
Your Hair Says a Lot About You
Hair loss isn’t just a cosmetic issue; it can change how people perceive you. And while some types of hair loss are temporary, there are many reasons why you could experience permanent thinning hair. Whether it’s due to genetics, stress, illness, or poor nutrition, here are five things you should know about hair loss.
1. Your hair says a lot about you
When we lose our hair, we feel vulnerable. But what exactly does our hairstyle say about us? “A lot,” according to Dr. Lillian Kim, board certified dermatologist and founder of Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery Institute. She explains that hair color, texture, length, and style all tell us something about ourselves. If you’re balding, for example, you might want to consider changing up your look. “If you’ve been wearing short haircuts, think about growing out your hair longer,” she suggests. “You’ll look younger.”
2. There are different kinds of hair loss
There are three main categories of hair loss: male pattern baldness, female pattern baldness, and alopecia areata. Male pattern baldness affects most men over 50 years old, while women tend to start showing signs of female pattern baldness around age 30. Alopecia areata causes patchy hair loss, usually on one side of the head.
3. Genetics play a role
Genetics plays a big part in whether or not you develop hair loss. “Some people inherit certain genes that make them prone to hair loss,” says Dr. Kim. “But hair loss doesn’t always run in families. Some people don’t have family members who suffer from hair loss.”
Hair Loss Isn’t Just a Guy Thing
For most people, losing their hair is a sign of aging. But it turns out that women are just as likely to experience thinning hair as men. And while there are some common causes of hair loss — such as stress, thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies — it’s important to know what’s normal and what’s not.
The average person loses about 50 hairs per day. That number varies depending on how much you exercise, whether you take certain medications or eat certain foods. Some women even notice thinning hair during pregnancy.
But hair loss doesn’t always mean something serious is wrong. If you start noticing bald spots on your head or feel like your hair is falling out too quickly, see your doctor. There are many different types of hair loss, including male pattern baldness, female pattern baldness, alopecia areata and telogen effluvium. Different conditions require different treatments.
How Does Hair Grow?
Your scalp contains about 100, 000 hairs each with a lifespan ranging from 2 to 6 years. Most of your hair is actually growing at any given time, and you lose 50 strands per day. How does it grow?
How Much Hair Loss Is Normal?
Most people lose between 50100 and 10200 hairs per day. This amount varies depending on how often you shower, what products you use, whether you wash your hair every day or just once a week, and how much shampoo you use. If you notice any unusual symptoms, check with your doctor. You may want to keep track of your daily hair loss over several days to see if there’s anything abnormal about it.
What Are the Roots of Hair Loss?
Hair loss is often caused by hormonal imbalances or thyroid problems. But it can also be due to stress, illness, or genetics.
Can You Measure Hair Loss?
There is a standard way to define hair loss. And it’s called the Norwood Scale. This scale measures how much hair you lose over a period of time. It ranges from 0 to 4. A score of 0 indicates no hair loss; a score of 1 indicates thinning hair; a score of 2 indicates mild hair loss; a score 3 indicates moderate hair loss; and a score of 4 indicates severe hair loss.
The Norwood Scale isn’t perfect though. For one thing, there’s no standard definition for what constitutes “thinning.” But it does give us some insight into why men and women experience different types of hair loss.
Women tend to experience androgenetic alopecia (AGA), a genetic form of hair loss. AGA affects both sexes, although it tends to affect women more frequently. In fact, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, 80% of women suffer from some type of hair loss during their lifetime.
Men are usually born with thicker hair, and most people don’t notice any changes until they hit puberty. Then, as testosterone levels rise, hair follicles begin producing less hair. As we age, our body produces less testosterone, and our hair begins to fall out.
But there are ways to help prevent hair loss. Read on to learn more.
Hair Loss Trigger: Thyroid Problems
Thyroid problems are often associated with hair loss. In fact, it’s one of the most common causes of male pattern baldness. However, there are many other triggers that can cause hair loss, including thyroid issues.
What Is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism occurs when your body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. This hormone regulates metabolism, energy levels, brain function, growth and development, among other things. When you don’t make enough thyroid hormone, your body stops producing normal amounts of testosterone. Testosterone helps keep hair follicles strong and growing. As a result, hair starts falling out.
Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism
The following are some of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism:
• Weight gain
Hair Loss Trigger: PCOS
PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. This syndrome affects about 5% of women. Women with PCOS tend to develop irregular periods, excess body hair growth, acne, weight gain, and sometimes infertility.
The cause of PCOS is unknown, although some researchers think it could be related to insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps regulate blood sugar levels. In people with PCOS, the cells that produce insulin become less sensitive to insulin. As a result, the pancreas produces too much insulin, causing high blood sugar levels.
Some studies suggest that certain foods can trigger hair loss in people with PCOS. These include dairy products, caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, and wheat. So, if you notice that you’re losing hair, try cutting out those triggers. Also, talk to your doctor about taking supplements like zinc and vitamin B12 to help prevent further hair loss.
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STORY: “How To Make Your Own Homemade Laundry Detergent”
Laundry detergents are one of the most common household chemicals we use every day. But did you know there are over 2 billion pounds of laundry detergent used each year in the United States alone? And according to the EPA, laundry detergent contains up to 30 different ingredients, including phosphates, chlorine bleach, ammonia, perfumes, dyes, surfactants, fragrances, enzymes, and preservatives.
Hair Loss Trigger: Alopecia Areata
Alopecia areata is a common form of hair loss that causes patches of baldness. While it typically occurs on the scalp, it can affect anywhere else on the body. In fact, people with alopecia are at risk for developing additional types of hair loss. For example, while most men lose some hair around the sides of their head over time, those with alopecia may develop male pattern baldness.
While there isn’t much you can do to prevent alopecia areta, there are ways to treat it once it begins. If you suspect you might have alopecia aretha, talk to your doctor about how best to manage your condition.
Hair Loss Trigger: Ringworm
Ringworm is caused by a fungus called Trichophyton tonsurans. This fungus grows best in warm, moist conditions such as those found inside homes and cars. Once it infects hair follicles, the fungus spreads quickly throughout the body. Ringworms typically cause an itching rash on the head, neck, shoulders, chest, arms, legs, feet, buttocks, and groin. They also cause red bumps and bald patches.
The most common symptom of ringworm is itching. In some cases, patients develop small blisters filled with clear fluid. These blisters usually occur on areas where skin folds or hair follicles rub together.
If you notice any of these symptoms, see a dermatologist immediately. Ringworm can spread easily via direct contact with infected individuals or objects. You cannot catch ringworm from someone else; however, it can be transmitted through close personal contact.
Hair Loss Trigger: Childbirth
A lot of women experience hair loss while pregnant. This is due to hormonal changes caused by the growing baby. However, you don’t have to worry about losing your hair permanently. You can regain it once you’ve given birth.
Hair Loss Trigger: The Pill
Women who take birth control pills are losing hair faster than those who don’t. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that women taking oral contraceptives lose up to 50 hairs per month compared to 25 hairs lost monthly among women who aren’t taking the pill. Researchers believe that hormones in the pill cause the hair follicles to shrink and shed.
The findings come from a small study involving just 19 women. However, researchers say it’s possible that the same effect could occur in men.
Hair Loss Trigger: Crash Diets
A lot of people are trying to lose weight fast — without eating healthy foods. But it doesn’t always end well. Many crash dieters experience significant hair loss. This is because nutrients like vitamin B12, zinc, iron and folic acid are essential for maintaining healthy hair growth. And while some supplements can help you feel fuller longer, they won’t necessarily prevent hair loss.
In fact, many popular fad diets don’t work long term. They’re just temporary solutions to deal life’s problems. When you eat less food, your body goes into starvation mode. Your metabolism slows down, causing you to burn fewer calories. You might start losing weight quickly, but eventually you’ll gain it back.
And even though we know what causes hair loss, there isn’t one single cause. There are multiple factors involved. For example, genetics play a role. Some people are born with thinning hair. Others inherit genes that make them prone to baldness.
Other common triggers include stress, illness, hormonal changes, medications, nutritional deficiencies, thyroid disorders, certain medical conditions, and environmental toxins.
Hair Loss Trigger: Tight Hairstyles
Cornrowed hair is one of those things you either love or hate. For some people it looks great; for others it just doesn’t look good. But what do you know about the effects of wearing cornrows and tight hairstyles? We asked our readers to tell us how cornrows affected their hair and whether they had experienced any problems. Here are some of the most common complaints we received:
1. Hair loss
Some women reported losing strands of hair after wearing cornrows for extended periods of time. One woman wrote: “I’ve been wearing my hair in cornrows since I was 13 and I noticed that over the years I’m losing hair.” Another reader told us she lost her hair because of cornrows. She added: “My hair was fine and straight when I got my first set of cornrows. After a few months, I began noticing thinning around my crown area. My hair is now curly and coarse. I don’t want to cut off my beautiful curls!”
Another problem many women complained about was irritation caused by cornrows. Some readers said they developed rashes under their braids, while others said they suffered from itching. A third person said: “I used to suffer from severe itching when I wore cornrows. Now I use a moisturizer every night and I never itch anymore.”
Headaches are another issue that many women mentioned. One reader said: “When I wear my hair in cornrows, I always feel like there’s something wrong with my head. I think it’s probably because of the tightness of the braid.” Others claimed that wearing cornrows gave them headaches. They said: “I have chronic migraines and I am constantly having headaches when I wear cornrows. I usually take them out during the day, but sometimes I forget and end up sleeping in them overnight.”
Hair Loss Trigger: Cancer Treatment
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy cause permanent damage to cells throughout the body. This includes the hair follicles, which leads to hair loss. During chemotherapy, patients lose about 50% of their hair. Radiation therapy causes even greater hair loss.
There are many treatments available to treat hair loss. These include medications, topical products, wigs, and hair transplants. If you experience hair loss while undergoing cancer treatment, talk to your doctor about what options are best for you.
Hair Loss Trigger: Extreme Stress
People who lose lots of hair because of extreme stress usually recover within one year. But if you don’t treat it properly, it could happen again. And there’s nothing you can do except watch what you eat.
A recent study found that people who lost up to 50% of their body weight during a stressful period experienced temporary hair loss. Researchers believe the reason for this is related to the fact that stress hormones cause blood vessels to constrict, resulting in less oxygen being delivered to the scalp. This causes hair follicles to shrink and eventually fall out.
The good news is that most people experience some degree of hair thinning at some point in life, even though it doesn’t always show. If you’re experiencing noticeable hair loss, however, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. You might want to consider seeing a dermatologist, since he/she can perform tests and prescribe medications to help prevent further hair loss.
Treating Hair Loss: Medicine
Women with alopecia are often told that they’re just “growing old.” But it turns out that there are some things you can do about your hair loss.
Minoxidil, used for hypertension, high blood pressure, erectile dysfunction, and baldness, is one such treatment. Minoxidil increases circulation to the scalp, helping to stimulate growth while reducing shedding.
For women with thinning hair due to pregnancy, childbirth, or menopause, there’s Rogaine. This topical solution contains minoxidil and moisturizes the skin around the head.
If you’ve been diagnosed with female pattern hair loss, you might find that certain medications work best for you. If you’re interested in trying something else, talk to your doctor.
Treating Hair Loss: Lasers
Laser therapy is one of the most popular methods used to treat hair loss. But there’s no evidence that it works faster or better than traditional therapies like minoxidil or finasteride. And while many people are willing to spend hundreds of dollars on laser treatments, there’s no proof that they work.
In fact, some studies suggest that laser therapy actually makes hair loss worse.
But some dermatologists say that laser therapy does offer benefits over other treatments. They claim that it helps stimulate blood flow to the scalp, which promotes healing.
And some experts recommend laser therapy as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.
So what exactly is laser therapy?
The basic idea behind laser therapy is simple. A beam of light hits the skin, causing it to heat up. This causes blood vessels to expand and increase circulation. In turn, this increases the amount of oxygen and nutrients flowing to the cells.
This process stimulates cell regeneration and restores damaged tissue.
Hair Transplants in Women
Follicle harvesting involves shaving away the donor area and extracting the follicles, which are then implanted into the recipient area. This technique works best on people with thinning hair or balding areas. Because it takes longer to grow hair, women often choose to wait until there is significant thinning before undergoing transplantation.
The procedure itself usually lasts about one hour and requires general anesthesia. Afterward, patients must wear a bandage over the harvested area for several days. They’ll likely experience some swelling and bruising, and the donor area will look like it had been shaved. Recovery time varies depending on how many grafts are performed and where the surgery took place. Some patients report needing pain medication for up to three months afterward.
Hair-Loss Products and Devices
Before you buy anything related to hair loss, make sure it’s safe and effective. You might want to check out the Federal Trade Commission’s Web site, where you can find information about the safety and effectiveness of hair-loss products and devices.
The agency provides consumer education resources, including tips on how to choose a product, what to look for when buying over-the-counter treatments, and how to recognize fake claims.
You can also contact the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates cosmetics, drugs, medical devices, and dietary supplement products sold in the United States.
Style TIps for Thinning Hair
Thinning hair is one of those things you never really think about until it happens. But once it does, it can make you feel self-conscious. If you’re experiencing thinning hair, here are some tips to keep your look looking good.
Ask your stylist if there’s any way to cover bald spots or thin areas.
Use a styling product for thinned hair to hide bare spots.
Keratin fiber hair cosmetics can actually help conceal thinning hair.
How to Handle Major Hair Loss
Hair loss is common among women, especially during menopause. But there are many ways to treat thinning hair. If you’re dealing with major hair loss, talk with a doctor about treatment options. You might want to consider wigs, hair pieces, or even a hair transplant.