Are you one of the millions of people who suffer from hair loss? If so, you’re probably looking for information on what causes hair loss, how to treat it, and how to prevent it from happening again. You’ve come to the right place.
This guide is designed to help you understand everything about hair loss, from
- Understanding the hair loss with the hair cycle
- What does hair loss mean for you?
- The common causes of hair loss
- Diagnosing the hair loss
- When to consider hair loss severe?
- What are the different best treatment options available?
So whether you’re just starting to experience hair loss or have been dealing with it for a while, this guide will help you take control of your situation. Thanks for reading!
Understanding the hair loss with the hair cycle
Everyday, we lose around 100 hairs from our head. This is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. In fact, it’s part of the hair growth cycle, which consists of three phases:
- The anagen phase: This is the growth phase, during which the hair follicle produces new cells and the hair shaft grows longer. It lasts for 2-6 years.
- The catagen phase: This is the transitional phase, during which the hair follicle shrinks and the hair shaft breaks off. It lasts for 2-3 weeks.
- The telogen phase: This is the resting phase, during which the hair follicle remains inactive. The old hair shaft falls out and a new one begins to grow in its place. It lasts for around 100 days.
Most of the time, we have more hairs in the anagen phase than any other phase. This is why we don’t typically notice when we lose a few hairs every day. However, when something disrupts the hair growth cycle, it can lead to hair loss.
What does hair loss mean for you?
There are many different types of hair loss, and each one has its own cause and unique set of symptoms. Here are some of the most common types:
- Androgenetic alopecia: This is the most common type of hair loss, affecting both men and women. It’s also known as male- or female-pattern baldness. In men, it typically starts with a receding hairline and progresses to complete baldness. In women, it usually starts with thinning hair on the crown or temples and progresses to overall hair loss.
- Alopecia areata: This is an autoimmune condition that causes patchy hair loss on the scalp, face, and body. It can affect people of any age, but is most common in teenagers and young adults.
- Telogen effluvium: This type of hair loss occurs when something disrupts the normal hair growth cycle, causing the hairs to enter the telogen phase too soon. It can be caused by stress, pregnancy, childbirth, medications, weight loss, or other factors. It typically results in diffuse hair loss.
Scarring alopecia: This is a type of hair loss that occurs when the hair follicle is destroyed and replaced with scar tissue. It can be caused by conditions like lichen planus, discoid lupus, and frontal fibrosing alopecia. It typically results in patchy hair loss.
The common causes of hair loss
There are many different factors that can cause hair loss, including:
- Hormonal changes: Hormonal imbalances can cause hair loss. Common causes include pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, thyroid problems, and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
- Medical conditions: Hair loss can be a symptom of certain medical conditions, such as lupus, diabetes, and anemia.
- Medications: Hair loss is a common side effect of certain medications, including chemotherapy drugs, beta-blockers, and antidepressants.
- Nutritional deficiencies: A lack of certain nutrients, such as iron or protein, can lead to hair loss.
- Autoimmune conditions: Autoimmune conditions like alopecia areata occur when the immune system attacks the hair follicles, causing patchy hair loss.
- Stress: Physical or emotional stress can trigger telogen effluvium, which causes diffuse hair loss.
- Genetics: Hereditary factors can play a role in hair loss. For example, male-pattern baldness is passed down from generation to generation.
How is hair loss diagnosed?
If you’re concerned about hair loss, talk to your doctor. They will ask about your medical history and perform a physical exam. They may also order blood tests to check for underlying conditions that could be causing your hair loss.
A dermatologist can also help diagnose and treat hair loss. They may perform a scalp biopsy, which involves taking a small sample of tissue from the scalp to be examined under a microscope.
When to consider hair loss severe?
Most of the time, hair loss is a gradual process. You might not even notice it until you have lost a significant amount of hair. However, there are some cases where hair loss is sudden and severe. Sudden, severe hair loss can be a sign of a more serious condition, so it’s important to seek medical attention if this happens to you.
If you’re concerned about your hair loss or you think you might have a more serious condition, make an appointment with your doctor. They will perform a physical exam and order tests to determine the cause of your hair loss. From there, they can develop a treatment plan that’s right for you.
How is hair loss treated?
The treatment for hair loss depends on the underlying cause. In some cases, such as telogen effluvium, the condition resolves on its own with time. Others, like alopecia areata, may require medication or surgery.
Treatment options for hair loss include:
- Minoxidil (Rogaine): This is a topical medication that is applied to the scalp to stimulate hair growth. It is available over-the-counter in 2% and 5% solutions.
- Finasteride (Propecia, Proscar): This is a prescription medication that is taken orally to inhibit the production of DHT, a hormone that causes hair loss.
- Hair transplants: In this procedure, hair follicles are removed from a donor area on the scalp and transplanted to the balding area of the scalp.
- Scalp reduction: In this procedure, the bald area of the scalp is surgically removed and the remaining skin is pulled together to close the area.
- Scalp flaps: In this procedure, a section of skin with hair follicles is removed from a donor area on the scalp and transplanted to the balding area of the scalp.
Hair loss can be a frustrating and emotionally distressing condition. However, there are many treatments available that can help regrow hair or improve the appearance of thinning hair. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options to find one that’s right for you.
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if you’re concerned about hair loss. They can perform a physical exam and order blood tests to check for underlying conditions. A dermatologist can also help diagnose and treat hair loss.