Age-onset thinning, or “miniaturization,” refers to a progressive decrease of the hair shaft’s diameter and length. This happens at least in part because of androgens like dihydrotestosterone (or DHT), a derivative of the male hormone testosterone that causes hair follicles to literally shrink in diameter. This type of hair thinning is referred to as androgenic alopecia, and it occurs in an equal pattern all over the scalp. However, pregnancy, ovarian cysts, medications, emotional or physical shock, and birth control pills can all affect hormone levels, making it complicated to pinpoint the reason for hair loss. For example, polycystic ovarian disease can exacerbate androgens and manifest as thinning, in which case you could treat the condition and fix hair loss. Get your hormone levels checked to see if an underlying health issue is the root cause.
Protein: When the body does not get enough protein, it rations the protein it does get. One way the body can ration protein is to shut down hair growth. About 2 to 3 months after a person does not eat enough protein, you can see the hair loss. Eating more protein will stop the hair loss. Meats, eggs, and fish are good sources of protein. Vegetarians can get more protein by adding nuts, seeds, and beans to their diet.
I’m 42 and I noticed my front top and sides thinning about a year ago – a lot coming out when brushing after washing. I went to the doctor who happened to be African-American (I’m caucasion) and she actually asked me if I wore “corn rows” a lot! Needless to say, she was worthless and just prescribed me something for dandruff, which I do not have! I went to an endocrinologist to see if my thyroid or menopause was the problem – tests turned out honky dorie! Now I can see through the top of my head when the sun shines on it (scar-y) and I’m having to cover over the temple areas with sweeps of hair from the other side (interesting, the right side is much thinner). I will say that I’ve gone through hell and back with a mentally ill young adult but if it was stress, wouldn’t it have come out quicker than just in the last year (I’ve been dealing with his illness for 7 years now)?? I’ve heard that sometimes it takes 2 or 3 blood tests and doctors to finally see that one has thyroid problems. Is this the experience of others, and would I be throwing my money away by seeing my general practitioner?
in between all these years, i also tried some homeopathic methods. i read dr. andrew weil’s book on health and used to take 2000mg of alpha-linolenic acid either by evening primrose oil, grapeseed oil or borage oil. it didn’t regrow my hair but i do feel that it helped stall it. only problem is that after a year or so it stopped working for me, but it may help some of you out. there’s a connection, according to dr. weil, between alpha-linolenic acid and hair. i’ve also used homemade rosemary water and washed my hair with it, but it only helps with making me smell like the bush it comes from.
Alopecia areata is not contagious.[9] It occurs more frequently in people who have affected family members, suggesting heredity may be a factor.[9] Strong evidence of genetic association with increased risk for alopecia areata was found by studying families with two or more affected members. This study identified at least four regions in the genome that are likely to contain these genes.[14] In addition, alopecia areata shares genetic risk factors with other autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and celiac disease.[3] It may be the only manifestation of celiac disease.[15][16]
in between all these years, i also tried some homeopathic methods. i read dr. andrew weil’s book on health and used to take 2000mg of alpha-linolenic acid either by evening primrose oil, grapeseed oil or borage oil. it didn’t regrow my hair but i do feel that it helped stall it. only problem is that after a year or so it stopped working for me, but it may help some of you out. there’s a connection, according to dr. weil, between alpha-linolenic acid and hair. i’ve also used homemade rosemary water and washed my hair with it, but it only helps with making me smell like the bush it comes from.
In-office laser light treatments or at-home handheld devices, such as the HairMax LaserComb, supposedly grow new hair by stimulating blood flow to the area (think: an amped-up version of a scalp-stimulating shampoo). Just don’t expect the device to make your noggin go from looking like George Costanza’s to Jerry Seinfeld’s. “These lasers won’t grow any new hair. If anything, they may just help you hang on to some of the hair that you already have a bit longer,” says Dr. Joyce.
Graccey, you are spot on with the PPD allergy. It is amazing how difficult it is to connect the dots. It took me a year to figure it out. It caused 2 very aggressive cases of TE, my hair is not coming back on it’s own. I have been using Johnson and Johnson baby shampoo (I put one baby aspirin in it to balance the PH level because it is very alkalinity and the baby aspirin is an acid that brings it down, a lot of research to figure that one out too, but I just put the baby aspirin in an ounce of filtered water to dissolve and pour it in the baby shampoo) but anyway it was the only thing I wasn’t sensitive to and yes you are right it is something that continues to progress and makes you sensitive to all chemicals. I went a year without coloring my hair to allow it to rest. And now I will only foil it leaving 1/2″ of roots showing. This has devastated me beyond. I have just started using rogaine and the hairmax comb (for scalp health) I don’t think the comb helps with hair regrowth but it does seems to help with scalp health. It is a miracle I can use rogaine but it does seem to be helping. I use the women’s 2% every other night. Good luck with your regrowth. You are right on with the PPD and I think it is much more common than people think!
I too visited the infamous-overpriced Dr Redmond from NYC. I’m on spiro and all the meds for 7 months, going on 8. Forget regrowth, forget halting of shedding, the rate of hair shedding refuses to slow. (I’m also certain its PCOS and not lupus that causing my hairloss, thoroughly medically investigated my hairloss. ) At the start of my treatment, I cut my hair to bout 5 inch lenght, so I’d easily be able to tell thinning versus halt versus regrowth. And all I can say is, I have less hair than I started with. Unfortunately even a physicians intervention is incapable of helping me. To all those out there, atleast this approach before scratching it off your list, its the least you can do.
About 2 years ago my hair started thinning. I thought it was because I was in college and stressed. At that point I started going what is known as “CG” in the curly hair world. I no longer color, flat iron, use sulfates and I rarely blow-dry and use silicones. I use shampoos and conditioners with beneficial ingredients, not fillers. After 1.5 years on this Curly Girl routine, I experienced some relief and noticed my hair getting thicker. That lasted a couple months and now I’m back to losing a ton of hair. One day I counted 160 hairs…that was on a decent day. I’m sure I’ve lost 2x that amount before. My hair is noticeably thinner, drier, and it knots. It NEVER use to knot. I think my hair has become finer too, but I’m not positive. It just feels more fragile.
Lisa, don’t know if you are out there and reading this but I called my dermatology office today. I have worked with them since about 2003/2004 when I had severe cystic acne (it is about as bad as hair loss in dealing with it) and together the nurse and I were successful. I have hope, I got in to see her tomorrow and I’m taking all the meds/vitamins I am taking. Call Arizona Skin & Cancer Institute, they are in Chandler AZ right by Chandler Regional. I’ve been in tears all day because a clump came out. I thank God for my beautiful children who were there for me through the acne and my mom. You just listen to me talk about what I am going through. Getting through work was hard today. Anyway, Lisa call them and try to get in. I don’t know if I will have success but I’ve done a lot a research and I know what to ask. I did look up symptoms of protein deficiency – strange I had great hair in October 07 and my nails were really hard and now they are brittle and breaking and my hair is falling, I also went through a couple of weeks of this werid swelling of my arms, legs, feet, hands in April. And have been constipated, and my running isn’t giving me the usual firm legs, all signs of not enough protein. Maybe I’m grasping at straws but anyway…hope you are doing ok.

While female hair loss may not cause physical pain, it does cause mental anguish. Fortunately, in many cases, female hair loss can be successfully treated with today’s advanced nonsurgical and surgical treatment options. After a diagnosis has been confirmed, Dr. Yaker will create a customized treatment plan depending on one’s hair characteristics, the level of hair loss and the aesthetic goals of the patient.
Taking hair supplements can be helpful for anyone who is experiencing hair loss or hair thinning. Dendy Engelman, MD, a board-certified dermatologic surgeon at Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery in New York City, previously recommended Nutrafol, a research-backed hair supplement, to Prevention. "This uses highly concentrated botanicals to address every stage of the growth cycle," she says. Nutrafol's hair supplements include vitamin E and ashwagandha (an adaptogen that helps balance cortisol levels in the body), among others.
Trichotillomania is a psychiatric impulse-control disorder.17 The mean age of onset is eight years in boys and 12 years in girls, and it is the most common cause of childhood alopecia.1,15 Although any part of the body can be involved, the scalp is the most common. Patients also may eat the plucked hairs (trichophagy), causing internal complications such as bowel obstruction.18 The hair loss often follows a bizarre pattern with incomplete areas of clearing (Figure 9). The scalp may appear normal or have areas of erythema and pustule formation. A scalp biopsy may be necessary to rule out other etiologies, because patients may not acknowledge the habit.
My hopes and prayers are for all of us… that somewhere a doctor, an organic chemist, SOMEONE… ANYONE… will care enough to actually research this. Thank you, all of you, for your tears, suggestions and sharing. I WILL NOT WEAR A WIG… WHAT LIES BEHIND US, WHAT LIES AHEAD OF US, PALES IN COMPARISON TO WHAT IS INSIDE OF US. WE ARE STRONG, VIBRANT… WE WILL PREVAIL.
Men, oh yeah, different ball game. Just think how much money is spent on prostate research and medication versus female cancers!!!!! This IS a male society, but just smile, that makes you feel better. Do not let this get under your skin. KNOW who you are with or without hair, you are one fabulous person, loving and shining your light on this world. Step into that, claim it, own it. Whoever is unkind to you, just love them, bless them and wish them well. They have a bigger problem than you, trust me. And the WILL bump into it one day and not know what hit them.
I am scared to find out whether I have PCOS…I was hoping to find out about my insulin as I sensed a major blood sugar problem for years, but I took the news surprisingly poorly. I’m more stressed than before and am terribly depressed. The doctor, by the way, had zero to say about it all. Nothing. His words “Ask your gynocologist, I am just a lowly MD.” [gasp]
Hi Lisa, hope you were able to speak with your doctor. I also talked at length with my mom and sister and feel a little better. My mom has hair but it is very thin but I forget she has had surgeries and takes a lot of meds for various conditions and she knows this has caused her hair loss. My sister has PCOS and that has made her hair thin out. I had a good appt with my dermatology nurse. She sat and talked with me and listened and was very interested and caring. I cried for about half the visit. She examined my head and does see the thinning but it isn’t consistent for androgentic alopecia and there aren’t any just out of nowhere hairloss in the family (she seemed more concerned with females than male relatives). What I haven’t stated is that I don’t handle stress well, the last time I underwent major stress was with the acne and she thinks it has taken on another form. To be as brief as I can besides taking two night classes, working full time, single mom no help from their dad ( a teen daughter and preteen son!), major stress at work, separated/divorced, financial stress, found out my dad’s prostate cancer came back, aging parents (they can’t take care of things like they used to and I’m living with them and it’s on me now), and just found my ex husband (not my kids’ dad) has lung/brain cancer and we aren’t on speaking terms and we work for the same company, oh yeah and I have new boyfriend. The last of this list happened all this month. I know I haven’t been eating well, and with the constipation if I’m severely stressed it runs right through me, then I know its bad. So she and I decided to go with biotin & a multivitamin, see my PCP she really wants me back on anti anxiety pills, I will still see him but I want to talk to him more at length because it can cause hairloss, we are continuing my 200 mg of aladactone, my orthotricyclen, eat better, I do have regrowth in my bangs. She is very concerned about my mental health (my BFF says to me “how is my ball of nerves today?” that’s how bad I am!). I know I just need to manage it better and talking to her was the first step because she too went through a stress shedding period (I do remember it, it was a year ago) and her hair is coming back in. She said it will come back for me. But for my own psychological health she said for me to get the rogaine foam for men and use it, just so I can see regrowth faster. She said they say not to use if for women because of the pregnancy issue and that isn’t a factor for me. I also had burning and itching but with the use of Nioxin it is better. She also said only wash my hair once a day (I usually do twice), and use low heat for my hair. She is going to see me in three weeks.
Ann, I’m so sorry to hear about your home. That breaks my heart for you. I wish you the best in recovery of your home and blessings on your finances. But I do have to say I think that only losing 20 sounds like a dream! I absolutely know that my TE was triggered by PPD in hair dye. I only wish that I would have figured it out sooner. I was forewarned with itching for a year, no dandruff flaking or anything just itching and that was my body trying to heal itself against the allergy and the all hell broke lose on my head! Please keep me posted propecia; I wouldn’t even look for any improvement for 6 months though. But please be here when you do see it! Have a blessed day!
I recently noticed I was loosing hair on the front of my head, I started using the rogain Foam and after a month my hair started falling out even more. It’s gotten really bad, I can see my entire scalp now and my hair is falling out in chunks. Rogain advised you loose hair making room for new ones to grow, has anyone had any experience using rogain? Is This normal?

About 2 years ago I lost approximately 50% of my hair and the quality went from thick, strong, straight, healthy hair to thin, weak, frizzy, kinky dry hair that not only sheds but breaks and flakes off pieces at my ends. My skin has become very dry and my nails have become weak also. I went to an endocronologist that put me on 125mg spironolactone which had been increased slowly over a period of a year. He also decided he wanted to give me a layered approach by adding on 2 other medications over a year, one was Glumetza ER 500mg twice a day and Actos 15mg once a day. He said my DHEA was a little high and that these drugs used for off label treatment would help grow my hair back. My hair stopped falling out and a little grew back but the quality of my hair was still very sickly almost like someone on a chemo drug. I was concerned about my liver and stopped taking the drugs, unfortunately my hair started shedding again.
A medical event or condition, such as a thyroid imbalance, childbirth, surgery, or a fever, typically triggers this type of hair loss. Telogen effluvium may also occur as a result of a vitamin or mineral deficiency—iron deficiency is a common cause of hair loss in women—or the use of certain medications, such as isotretinoin, prescribed for acne, or warfarin, a blood thinner. Starting or stopping oral contraceptives (birth control pills) may also cause this type of hair loss.
Hi Everyone I thought I was the only person with major hairloss because everywhere I look all I see is beautiful heads of hair. I am 34 years old and my hair started thinning 7 months ago at first I thought it was just my ponytail getting thinner but my hair became horrible with split ends and dryness too (I have always had extremely healthy hair and never had split ends) – I thought I had burnt my hair using a straightener and that’s why it was thinning. However it has gotten worse and worse and I finally visited a doctor. I have had full blood tests for thyroid issues, hormone levels, cholesterol etc etc all were perfectly normal, I had a thyroid antibody test which was at the high end of normal but still within normal range, I had a thyroid function test which was within normal limits however he thought I did have some slight inflammation ie thyroiditis. My doctor said this isn’t causing the hair loss either. I have loads of energy, don’t get tired, eat well am normal weight range the only other thing I have noticed is my eyelashes seem stunted in growth (not thinned out though) and my eyebrows have thinned on the outer edges. My last two nails on both hands have a dark (looks like they have lifted slight) strip just below the white nail part. I am booked to have a stress test, pelvic ultrasound and to see an endocrinologist also to rule out all other possible reasons for hairloss. I am now getting to the point of embarrassment to go out it is soooo thin on top particularly on one side of temple and majorly down the centre where I used to part my hair. HELPPPPPP!!!!!
A little farther up the follicle is the mysterious feature called the bulge. That's where follicle stem cells live. When they get the right set of chemical signals, these self-renewing cells divide. They don't divide like normal cells, in which both halves become new cells that keep splitting and developing. Only one half of the follicle stem cell does that. The other half becomes a new stem cell, and stays put for future regeneration.

The complex actions of genetics, DHT, shifting of hormone ratios and age-related volume loss can commonly occur in women in their 40’s and 50’s. However, just like in men, genetic hair loss can appear at all ages after puberty.  In fact, hair loss occurs with relatively high frequency even in women in their 20’s and 30’s. The majority of women with female pattern hair loss initially develop diffuse thinning over the front and top of the scalp, while maintaining the frontal hairline. This thinning may present with a widening through the central part line while others may present initially with either episodic or continuous hair shedding, prior to any noticeable decrease in hair volume. In addition, thinning may also be seen throughout the scalp, including the temple areas as well as the back and sides.

Your doctor might also suggest the prescription pill finasteride, sold under the brand name Propecia and also in generic versions. Although the drug is not federally approved for use in female patients, some doctors have observed good results in postmenopausal women. But women who are planning to have children should not take this drug because it can cause birth defects.

Side effects and concerns: Minoxidil is safe, but it can have unpleasant side effects even apart from the alcohol-related skin irritation. Sometimes the new hair differs in color and texture from surrounding hair. Another risk is hypertrichosis — excessive hair growth in the wrong places, such as the cheeks or forehead. (This problem is more likely with the stronger 5% solution.)

In our research and our conversations with experts, one name kept popping up repeatedly: Rogaine. As the first topical brand FDA-approved to help regrow hair (all the way back in 1988), Rogaine benefits from more than 20 years of clinical trials and consumer feedback. Rogaine was the first brand to offer a 5 percent minoxidil foam solution when it debuted Men’s Rogaine Unscented Foam in 2006, and virtually every treatment developed since (for both men and women) has been an imitation or derivation of that formula.

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.
Oral immunosuppressants, like methotrexate and cyclosporine, are another option you can try. They work by blocking the immune system’s response, but they can’t be used for a long period of time due to the risk of side effects, such as high blood pressure, liver and kidney damage, and an increased risk of serious infections and a type of cancer called lymphoma.
In-office laser light treatments or at-home handheld devices, such as the HairMax LaserComb, supposedly grow new hair by stimulating blood flow to the area (think: an amped-up version of a scalp-stimulating shampoo). Just don’t expect the device to make your noggin go from looking like George Costanza’s to Jerry Seinfeld’s. “These lasers won’t grow any new hair. If anything, they may just help you hang on to some of the hair that you already have a bit longer,” says Dr. Joyce.
A directed history and physical examination usually uncover the etiology of hair loss. The history should focus on when the hair loss started; whether it was gradual or involved “handfuls” of hair; and if any physical, mental, or emotional stressors occurred within the previous three to six months3  (Table 1). Determining whether the patient is complaining of hair thinning (i.e., gradually more scalp appears) or hair shedding (i.e., large quantities of hair falling out) may clarify the etiology of the hair loss.4
Many medical conditions can cause hair loss, with thyroid disease a common culprit. Thyroid problems include both an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) and an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism). Because hair growth depends on the proper functioning of the thyroid gland, abnormal levels of thyroid hormone produced by this gland can result in hair changes, along with many other side effects, if left untreated. When there is too much thyroid hormone, the hair on your head can become fine, with thinning hair all over the scalp. When there is too little of this hormone, there can be hair loss, not just on the scalp, but also anywhere on the body.
So in closing, I echo my initial sentiments that I would always suggest seeing more than one doctor if possible. Look for one that is not only knowledgeable but one that also cares. Hair loss is not the same thing has having a blackhead removed from your back and requires more sensitivity and emotional understanding on the part of the physician. Ask a lot of questions and do your own research, even after receiving your “diagnosis.” Doctors are people and make mistakes too, this is your body and you have to be comfortable with the treatment. 

I’m so glad you saw my post, and wrote back. Thank you again for writing about your experience. At the time I read it, I knew that was the path I had to go. I have a treatment plan, and intend on it being a successful one (I’m so trying to go from being a negative person to being positive, it really makes a difference). I have joined the network, and hope you do as well,. Angela, is right, there is so much caring, understanding and sharing of knowledge here, that so help with the emotional part of this thing called hairloss.
The general medical consensus around laser treatments — caps and combs alike — is that low-level laser light therapy stimulates the cells within the hair follicle. These devices may also increase cell metabolism to promote thicker and more durable hair shafts, something that neither minoxidil or finasteride can do. To use the HairMax Ultima, all you have to do is glide the device over your scalp slowly. Treatments should take about eight minutes, and you should do it three days per week for the best results.
I am scared to find out whether I have PCOS…I was hoping to find out about my insulin as I sensed a major blood sugar problem for years, but I took the news surprisingly poorly. I’m more stressed than before and am terribly depressed. The doctor, by the way, had zero to say about it all. Nothing. His words “Ask your gynocologist, I am just a lowly MD.” [gasp]
I am 18 years old and about a month ago i noticed my hair falling out increasingly fast. It has scared me to death. I’ve gone to see my general practitioner and he said that hair goes through shedding stages and that it is normal. It is definitely not normal for me. I insisted that he check my thyroid and my results came back normal. My family just repeatedly tells me that I’m crazy and have no reason to worry. I have just purchased an apartment with my friends and will start college in the fall. I am terrified to begin my new life with a hair loss problem. My hair has always been my best feature. It has always been thick, healthy, beautifully wavy, and I have always received compliments on it. I am emotionally devastated to watch my hair fall out in large amounts just from taking a shower or brushing my hair. It is nice to know that I’m not crazy, or alone. Thank You All!

Telogen effluvium is the second most common type of hair loss. It is predominantly seen in women between the ages of 40-70, but may occur at any age. Its symptoms include excessive thinning, shedding, and balding and it may happen abruptly. Common causes of sudden hair loss include changes in hormone levels such as with child birth, menopause, poor nutrition, medical conditions such as iron deficiency anemia and hypothyroidism, medications, severe illness or infection, major surgery, and even extreme levels of stress.

Hair: It’s a natural part of being a human. But when the temperature climbs, and skin is exposed, it’s one of those things that a good many of us want to control. This week, we’re tackling hairlessness, not just the process of hair removal (electric shavers and ingrown-hair treatments and aesthetician-approved tweezers) but also what to buy when you’re losing your hair, and even how to take care of a Sphynx cat. Here, we’re talking to dermatologists and hair-loss doctors about hair-loss treatments that actually work.


@Amanda P. I regrew my hair and you can too. -I've been bleaching my hair on and off since forever. My hair wouldn't grow any longer it would just snap off. I've dreamed about having thick, long hair. And when I say dreamed, I mean it quite literally. So i decided to do something about it. My friend suggested Biotin when we were talking about my hair loss.
Finally people who understands what I am going through …I am in a desperate search for doctors in the Miami/Boca Raton, Florida area. Can anyone help? I dont know yet what has been causing my hair loss…I had been loosing some hair throighout the years, and sometimes it gets lees severe but lately has just gotten worse and there is no stopping it seems. I had mt Tyroid checked by PCP a coulpe months ago and my iron level also looked normal …getting desperate. Would appreciate some help.
What a helpful website, thank you ladies for sharing. I am 55 and am loosing hair by handfuls when I shampoo. I have been using Minoxodil extra strength for about 5 years and it was helping but not anymore. I also have been taking Nioxin hair vitamins and they helped for the first 3 years but not now. I am going to check out Dr Redmond like several of you recommended and head to Sallys for hair extensions also. Does anyone know of a good Dermotologist or Endo Dr. in Humble or Kingwood Tx area? Karen
I just came across this website and would welcome any recommendations on hair loss specialists in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA. I have an appointment with my family doctor in a couple weeks, and I’m sure she’s going to run blood work. I’m a 55 yo female and have been experiencing large amounts of hair loss in the past few months. I am generally in good health with the exception of some “structural” issues (scoliosis, etc.). Thank you!
I”m sitting here reading all your letters hoping that you’ve helped someone and hoping that you can help me, too. I’m 48 and all my life I’ve been told how beautiful my hair was. I now live in S Florida and within the last couple of years I stopped styling my hair because of the heat and the humidity. I usually wear it in a ponytail (never tight – I’m sure that’s not the problem). About a year ago I noticed athat a lot of hair was on the back of my car seat.I mean A LOT.When I went home to NY I tried to style my hair like I used to and it didn’t work. It just layed there.The more I looked I noticed how thin it was. I came back to Fl and went to a dermatologist who barely looked at me and told me to try rogaine.
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