If you’re like most people, hair loss (also known as alopecia) is a condition you dread. While this condition isn’t a major health concern in many instances, it can affect your mental health and self-esteem, especially if it occurs on your head. And to be clear, hair loss can occur in any part of the body. But why does hair loss occur? How can it be prevented? What treatment options are available? In this article, we provide answers to these questions.
Hair loss is a normal process. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), most people lose between 50-100 hairs daily. However, new hair grows in to replace them at the same hair follicles. Hair loss becomes a concern when you lose hair at a rate greater than they regrow. This can occur when some follicles stop producing hair, and the hair shafts become finer.
Your risk of experiencing hair loss increases as you age. Little wonder over half of all men over 50 have some degree of hair loss, just as women are more likely to experience hair loss after menopause. However, teenagers can experience hair loss too.
Certain types of hair loss are hereditary. So if you have a family history of baldness, certain sex hormones can trigger hair loss as early as puberty.
Hormonal changes may also lead to temporary hair loss. Examples include childbirth, pregnancy, and stopping the use of birth control pills.
Medical conditions like thyroid disease, ringworm, and alopecia areata can also result in hair loss. Furthermore, medications used to treat conditions like high blood pressure, depression, and cancer can cause hair loss as a side effect.
If you notice significant hair loss, you should visit your dermatologist. Prolonged hair loss is usually indicative of an underlying health condition.
Your doctor or dermatologist will carry out a physical examination and take a look at your health history to identify potential causes. In some instances, only a simple dietary change will be prescribed.
But if your dermatologist suspects that your hair loss steams from skin or autoimmune disease, a biopsy of the scalp will be tested in the laboratory to confirm.
Choosing the right treatment is highly dependent on the cause of your hair loss. That’s why proper diagnosis is important. Here are some of the common treatment options for hair loss:
This is usually the first course of action dermatologists take. Currently, there are two officially approved prescription drugs by the FDA that can be used to treat hair thinning. They include: minoxidil and finasteride.
Minoxidil is effective for treating androgenetic alopecia (also known as male-pattern baldness in men). It is directly applied to the area of thinning hair. It takes between 6 to 12 months for hair condition to improve. Minoxidil has to be applied for life. If not, hair loss will reoccur.
Finasteride, on the other hand, is an oral medication that is used when people find little to no success with minoxidil. Potential side effects include decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, and growth of breast tissue.
When medications do not work, you might have to turn to medical procedures.
Hair transplant surgery
Hair transplant surgery is a common choice among people with inherited baldness. And it involves shifting small plugs of skin with hair to bald areas of the scalp.
Scalp reduction is another medical procedure that can help with hair loss. It involves removing part of your scalp that lacks hair and then closing it off with areas of your scalp that have hair.
Proactive Wellness offers a robust hair rejuvenation procedure that utilizes the combination of Platelet Rich Plasma, the New Life Regenerative (NLR) Restor and RExO products, Mircroneedling, and Cord Blood IV. Clinical studies so far have shown that applying these biologics is effective for hair restoration.
Several people try a whole range of home remedies to combat hair loss. However, most are not backed by science, neither are they approved by the FDA. But here are some suggestions that might help.
Eating hair-healthy foods
Protein, certain fats, vitamins, and minerals are important for healthy hair growth. For instance, eggs can help boost protein and vitamin B levels with may boost hair growth. Fatty fish and walnuts are rich in omega-3, which may also improve hair growth. Brazil nuts contain selenium, an important mineral for maintaining healthy hair. Since hair loss can also be caused by a vitamin D deficiency, eating foods like beef liver, cheese, and mushrooms that are rich in vitamin D can help restore hair growth.
Applying essential oil may also help with hair loss. Some of the oils aromatherapy practitioners suggest may boost hair growth include rosemary oil, peppermint oil, lavender oil, thyme oil, and tulsi oil.
Here are some tips that can help you prevent hair loss:
- Do not wear tight hairstyles like ponytails, buns, or braids as they put too much pressure on your hair, which can permanently damage hair follicles over time.
- Use gentle baby shampoo to wash if you have delicate hair.
- Avoid styling products like hairdryers, coloring products, hair straighteners, bleaching agents, and relaxers.
- Eat hair-healthy foods like those identified in the previous section.
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