The main symptom of alopecia areata is hair loss. Hair usually falls out in small patches on the scalp. These patches are often several centimeters or less. Hair loss might also occur on other parts of the face, like the eyebrows, eyelashes, and beard, as well as other parts of the body. Some people lose hair in a few places. Others lose it in a lot of spots.
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.
“While nutritious eating isn’t going to bring your hair back by any means, eating plenty of protein-rich foods and healthy fats can make the hair that you still have look thicker and shinier.” Skimping on the B vitamins in particular can interfere with the formation of hair cells and, therefore, hair growth. The best sources of Bs are protein-packed foods like chicken, fish, eggs, and pork, as well as leafy greens such as spinach. (These foods are also good for melting belly fat, so it’s a win win).
Minoxidil (Rogaine). This is an over-the-counter (nonprescription) medication approved for men and women. It comes as a liquid or foam that you rub into your scalp daily. Wash your hands after application. At first it may cause you to shed hair as hair follicles. New hair may be shorter and thinner than previous hair. At least six months of treatment is required to prevent further hair loss and to start hair regrowth. You need to keep applying the medication to retain benefits.
If you do decide to start treatment to save your hair, a good place to start is with minoxidil, more commonly known as Rogaine. Don’t expect this hair-loss treatment to create luscious locks; minoxidil is better at slowing down or preventing more loss rather than promoting hair growth. But, according to Dr. Amy McMichael, professor and chair of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Department of Dermatology, it is effective “if used as recommended, with evidence of improvement seen around six to nine months.” Simply massage the foam or solution into your scalp once or twice daily, and for best results, use a formula with 5 percent concentration.
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.
When healthy hair is pulled out, at most a few should come out, and ripped hair should not be distributed evenly across the tugged portion of the scalp. In cases of alopecia areata, hair will tend to pull out more easily along the edge of the patch where the follicles are already being attacked by the body's immune system than away from the patch where they are still healthy.[11]
The HairMax Ultima 12 LaserComb ($395) makes for a great addition to any hair loss regimen — provided you can afford it. Dr. Wolfeld notes that it’s a popular option in his practice. “Some people like the action of combing something through their hair,” he says. “They find that to be a little bit easier to do as part of their routine in the morning.” Dr. Khadavi also recommends using a laser treatment of some kind in conjunction with other treatments. “Lasers do help in stimulating the hair into the growth phase. We don’t know the exact mechanism of how it works, but it definitely helps.”
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I’m 28 and suffer from patches of hair loss. recently it has become so bad that i can no longer leave my hair down. it is really distressing for me, especially as I have recently met a guy and I’m not sure whether I should tell him about it or not. Currently when I meet him, I back brush my hair and try my hardest to cover the gaps; this ultimately means i am making things worse for my hair! I dont know what to do
Men’s Rogaine Extra Strength Solution is the liquid version of our top pick. It didn’t make our final cut because it includes propylene glycol, which causes irritation in roughly one-third of its users. With that said, Dr. Wolfeld finds that it can be even more effective in practical daily use. In his experience, “the solution can penetrate and get into your scalp a little bit better” than the foam — especially if you’re not taking the time and effort to apply the foam correctly. This seems crazy to us since the foam so quickly dissolved into a liquid in our tests, but if you’re worried, try a one-month supply of the liquid and make the switch to foam if you notice any irritation.
Thank you Diana. If you find out any more information, I would appreciate it. I have a dermatologist across the street from the Skin and Cancer Institute. I’m still not sure who to start with, the dermatologist or an endocronologist. I left a message for my PCP today to see if she is comfortable working with female hair loss or if not if she could refer me to someone who specializes in it. I will let you know what I hear back. In the meantime, thanks for your support. Take care.
Re-growing hair: It is likely that the hair will grow back even without treatment. It may fall out again, though. Most patients lose their hair more than once before the disease goes away for good. Even people who lose all the hair on their scalp and body can have their hair grow back. When hair loss is widespread (lots of hair loss on the scalp and/or body), there is a greater chance that the hair will not re-grow.
Hi, my name is Kim, but I guess you already figured that. My story begins when I was a child, but it started getting bad when I was ten. When I was little my mom would notice that I had little bald spots. The doctors just said “she’s not getting enough iron” and they would send me home. My mom would take me home and increase my iron intake and my hair would grow back within two weeks. When I was 10, my hair loss started happening on the back of my head just above my neckline, and we tried increasing my iron, yet nothing. We tried for three months, but it only got worse. Then, my once beautiful locks of hair started coming out more and more all over my head. It was embarrassing because I could not wear pony tails like other girls, I couldn’t curl it, I couldn’t go swimming without a swim cap, and mostly, I couldn’t be a kid. When I turned 11, my mom took me to a dermatologist who couldn’t diagnose it clearly, but he said I had alopecia. He also said that we didn’t catch it in time and that it was all doomed to fall out. He prescribed me Olux and sent me home. I tried it but it caused my scalp to turn red back there where it had all come out, and on different spots on my head. Mind you I was still a little kid and still had to go to school, only to be mocked by the shame and horror that I had to endure as a young girl. Kids are mean, and they too will find every way in their power to ridicule you given the chance. I hated middle school because it was a very bad experience for me. I couldn’t do anything the other kids could physically, and I felt very out of place. My mom found another dermatologist that we went to, and he said that if we had not used the Olux, my hair could have been saved and fully regrown. But by the time we did get to this doctor, I barely had any hair left on my head. My 12th birthday was the day that he prescribed me to take 1200 mg of biotin twice daily, and to take four pills of prednisone a day. Within two months, we noticed little hairs growing from my scalp, a miracle! But we also noticed that my appetite was dangerously increased. I went from being a size 2 in women’s pants to a size 15 in those two months as well. I was so puffed out from the swelling that the prednisone caused that I couldn’t wear shoes that I had to put my feet in. I went from 120 lbs to 170 lbs as a 12 year old. I was only fortunate that my school allowed me to wear a hat to cover my “progress in distress”to allow myself and others to pay attention to the teachers in class, not my lack of hair. By the time summer came around my grandma took me to a wig store and bought me my first real hair wig. When I got back to school that next august, my peers thought that my hair had grown back, well, at least some of them did. Some of them had conspiracies that I was an alien trying to blend in, while others tried to plot to snatch it away from me. I knew people were planning to do this because I saw the way they watched me, looking at my every move, waiting for the chance to intercept. I stayed paranoid that they would do this.
The best fix by far for replacing lost hair is a transplant. Back in the day, docs used plugs that resembled cornrows (definitely not natural looking). Today, guys have more options. You can go for “the strip method” where a doctor surgically removes a strip of hair from the back of your head, dissects every hair graft under a microscope, and then plants the individual grafts onto hair-thin areas of your scalp with tiny incisions.
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I understand how you feel, I really do. I’ve spent so much time crying that I’m certain all my tears could have filled up an olympic size swimming pool by now. You must not give up hope, even when it seems there is none. It is so important. Without that I don’t know how I would get by. Once you say what city/state you are in, I really hope someone can recommend a good doctor. I think that is part of your despair, that you haven’t really been heard out by a physician and received the bloodwork you want and are entitled to.
Hi, I am now 25, I have been losing my hair for the past 6 years. I did find an excellent Dermatologist in Orlando, FL Dr. Crotty who helped me alot in this whole process. He started me on a regimen of 3,000 mmg of Biotin daily. I also did Kenalog shots (which is a steroid). He did localized injections in the scalp and also in the hip. I also was prescribed Olux E Complex foam to put in my hair twice daily. I had to stop using the Kenalog b/c I thought I was getting headaches from it ( IT WAS NOT THE KENALOG – (TMJ/Migraines). This three regimen combo produce amazing results for me, within months. Unfortunately, my hair has now started coming out in the front and on the right side but I changed my insurance and cannot find a in network doctor that will treat the Alopecia. I am very tempted to just Pay OOP for Dr. C. So anyone living in the Orlando area suffering from this condition please contact his office. They are the most caring individuals ever also. I love them!!!!!
The topical sensitizers, diphencyprone or squaric acid dibutylester, have been used in those suffering from recalcitrant alopecia areata or those with more than 50% hair loss. The goal of treatment is to create an allergic contact dermatitis of the scalp. This alteration in the immune response occasionally is accompanied by hair regrowth. The efficacy of the topical sensitizers has been demonstrated in both young children and adults, but it probably works less than half the time. Recent success using oral janus kinase inhibitors, including tofacitinib, ruxolitinib, and baricitinib, have been shown to be efficacious in severe, extensive alopecia areata in adults, but long-term therapy has potential side effects. The durability of response to these medications is variable, and most patients experience recurrence of hair loss after discontinuation. Perhaps topical therapy with these types of drugs may be available in the near future. 

Hopeing somebody may be able to help or even point me in the right direction. I am 21 years old and have a medium length graduated bob,longest layer being shoulder length. Since march this year I noticed the right side of my head felt a lot thinner then the left. So due to this i started to sleep on my left side, havent dyed my hair since april,stopped straightening my hair everyday, let my hair dry naturall, you name it I tried it. However it has now got to the stage that the middle layer of my hair has completly broken off and is only about 4 inches long. I am absolutly heart broken about it, and also cannot understand . I do not want to have to cut all my hair off as it has taken me years to grow out an awful hair cut and do not suit short hair at all so all in all feel very upset and worried. If there is anybody that can help I would really appreaciate it.
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.
Diffuse female hair thinning and hair loss during premenopausal age is usually not heredity. It is usually caused by hormonal imbalances seeing in PCOS or thyroid disorder, nutritional deficiency (low iron), and stress. Women with PCOS produce high levels of androgens such as testosterones and DHEAS. The ratio of LH and FSH is also more than 2. Make sure you get your sex hormones check if you notice your hair thinning. 

Alopecia areata is a disease that attacks your hair follicles (the part of your skin that makes hair). In most cases, hair falls out in small, round patches about the size of a quarter. This causes only a few bare patches. Some people may lose more hair. In only a few people, the disease causes total loss of hair on the head or loss of all body hair.
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?
I am a mom with a daughter who is 18 years old. In December 08, her hair dresser commented that she had a bald spot at the back of her head. I have urged her to see a physician and finally today she went. I received a phone call from her crying so hard I struggled to understand her. The physician, not a specialist, in a 3 min visit told her she had alopecia and that she was going to go bald. She was told there is nothing she can do to treat this illness.

There are numerous diseases that can affect the hair and scalp. Hair loss can be caused by a variety of conditions. Diseases such as alopecia areata, anemia, male/female pattern baldness, and infections of the scalp can all cause significant difficulty and loss of daily well-being. Stanford Dermatology has established a special clinic focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders of the hair.

Its been 1.5 years since my problem started. I noticed first the texture became course or wiry. Then I wore a hair net and hard hat for 8 years I don’t know if that helped with my condition or not. Then I went to got my hair highlighted within 1 week my hair broke off to 1/2″ just in front the rest was full. Since then I have tried all kinds of hair therapy. The texture changed to being normal but I have Nice shiny almost bald spot on my head. Nothing I tried helped in regrowth. Went over all my mess with my doctor she said no should damage my hair. Also it grows but as soon as it starts looking decent I have breakage. What to do what to do.


One of the first research studies linking alopecia with celiac disease was published in 1995. Italian doctors had noticed that several of their patients with alopecia also had celiac disease and that in one of these patients—a 14-year-old boy—the missing hair on his scalp and body completely regrew after he adopted a gluten-free diet. This boy's case and a few others prompted the doctors to screen a large group of alopecia patients for celiac disease.
Once male-pattern baldness starts, it’s not going to stop until every last hair on your head has shrunk or shed, though the rate at which this happens differs from person to person and depends on genetics. And since the grind of hair loss is unending, it’s important to start treatment as soon as your hairline starts bothering you. If you’re looking for a more quantitative metric, Dr. Paul McAndrews, clinical professor of dermatology at the USC School of Medicine and member of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, assures me that “you have to lose half your hair before the human eye can tell.” (Of course, if you don’t care about losing your hair and are fine with going full Prince William and shaving your head, go for it. We’ve got some recommendations for razors and hair trimmers to help you out on that front.)
I have been losing my hair over this past year but within the last 6 months it has changed texture and still falling out! Now my hair is very coarse and kinky! For 42 years I had long straight-as-a-board hair and now I look like a poodle! Every time I comb or brush my hair handfuls of hair comes out! My hairdresser, gyno, GP and 3 dermatologists have told me it was normal to lose this amount of hair! Many contribute it aging but I find that hard to believe. Finally, my most recent derm said I was low in iron and said that might be a factor. Now, I’m going in to see if I might be anemic. My gyno ran the same tests and said all seemed normal! It’s the most frustrating and stressful event, especially when everyone tells you things are “normal”! Has anyone experienced their hair texture changing over a short period of time? Thanks-

"Dr. Yaker was extremely personable as well as knowledgeable on hair and hair health. With his treatment plan that was tailored to my needs and requests, I have noticeable thicker and fuller hair within three months! His enthusiasm towards his work was very comforting. He truly puts the patient at the center of care he delivers and it doesn't go unnoticed! I would highly recommend him as your physician if you are struggling with the appearance of your hair!"


Hello I gave up years ago and have been wearing hair pieces. If u live in Nj I know someone who will come to your house or you can go to his and he will make you a custom piece depending on your needs. I started the journey again because I noticed that my daughter is starting to resemble me. I want to get treAted so that I have an answer for her. I really can’t afford dr. Redmond but I am giving it a try. I will share my experience.
Several types of hair shaft abnormalities can lead to hair loss. These conditions cause strands of hair to thin and weaken, making them vulnerable to breaking. The hair loss doesn’t occur in the follicle but as a result of a break somewhere along the hair shaft, which is the visible part of a hair strand. This can result in overall thinning, as well as in many small, brittle hairs.
I also suspect, as you suggest, that the trichodynia is a result of rapid hair loss. I share your frustrations with how very little we dermatologists know on the subject. The only observational study on Trichodynia and chronic telogen effluvium involved only 8 patients. Only one of those eight went on to have androgenetic, permanent hair loss. The numbers followed is pathetic!
Hi, I cannot afford to go to see Dr. Redmond even though I live in NY (he’s just too pricy, I have no insurance, etc…) but I’m going to see the ob/gyn towards then end of the month to get help because I’m convinced I have PCOS (literally all the symptoms) and I was wondering, what birth control is best for hair? I’ve read Dr. Redmond’s site before and I could have sworn that Yaz or Yasmin kept popping up in the faqs section or somewhere on that site as good bcp for hair loss. I realize some people experienced hair loss after going off those pills, but if you have hair loss prior to bcp, I could have sworn Dr. Redmond listed those as good at helping hair loss and I thought some women claimed (elsewhere, not on his site) that they’ve regrown some hair after going on Yasmin. Sorry if I’m rambling, but does anyone know? Thanks. If I have PCOS, which I’m sure I do, I’m pushing for Spironolactone because I’ve read of a bunch of women who’ve had great success at regrowing hair with it, and one story on this site about a woman named “Jen” had great results. I think it took her 2 years, and she allegedly grew back 90-95% of her hair (also taking Metformin, dieting and exercising, and using Nizoral shampoo) so I’m trying to remain optimistic. It’s not just being 27 & single that makes me horrified at losing hair, though it doesn’t help, I’d still be freaking out if I was 57. If I could regrow even 30% to 50% I’d be elated. Because ultimately, I’m holding out hope for stem cells to be all of our “saviors.” Lol. There are 3 companies working on adult stem cell therapies for hair loss (from what I’ve seen here and elsewhere, they are Histogen, Follica, and Aderans) not to mention a Cairo Dermatologist who has successfully helped children with alopecia areata/totalis regrow significant amounts of hair, though only in one study and the results are only preliminary. Who knows. But still, fingers crossed that I can get these stupid hormones under control and stop my daily horror at washing my hair and seeing my once beautiful hair fall away. I always took my hair for granted and often complained about it, but I’d give anything for my thick long hair back. I had fine hair always, but tons of it and I always wore it long. Now I wear it pulled back in a bun to hide as best I can all that scalp showing through. Thanks for this site, it’s keeping me from going off the deep end.

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.
Hi, I am now 25, I have been losing my hair for the past 6 years. I did find an excellent Dermatologist in Orlando, FL Dr. Crotty who helped me alot in this whole process. He started me on a regimen of 3,000 mmg of Biotin daily. I also did Kenalog shots (which is a steroid). He did localized injections in the scalp and also in the hip. I also was prescribed Olux E Complex foam to put in my hair twice daily. I had to stop using the Kenalog b/c I thought I was getting headaches from it ( IT WAS NOT THE KENALOG – (TMJ/Migraines). This three regimen combo produce amazing results for me, within months. Unfortunately, my hair has now started coming out in the front and on the right side but I changed my insurance and cannot find a in network doctor that will treat the Alopecia. I am very tempted to just Pay OOP for Dr. C. So anyone living in the Orlando area suffering from this condition please contact his office. They are the most caring individuals ever also. I love them!!!!!
The best fix by far for replacing lost hair is a transplant. Back in the day, docs used plugs that resembled cornrows (definitely not natural looking). Today, guys have more options. You can go for “the strip method” where a doctor surgically removes a strip of hair from the back of your head, dissects every hair graft under a microscope, and then plants the individual grafts onto hair-thin areas of your scalp with tiny incisions.
Hi! Any recommendations for doctors that care about or specialize in hair loss in South Carolina (or NC or GA for that matter–I can travel.) I am very glad to have found this site. I am 3 months into using 5% Rogaine and taking 50 mg of Spiro. I have noticed a decrease in shedding but no regrowth.Very very very stressful problem to have. So nice to have ideas and support here.

I do not believe birth control pills nor rogaine to be an appropriate long lasting answer for hair loss. I do not want to be on drugs for a length of time. Luckily, I have researched how the answer possibly lies within your lifestyle. What you eat, How much you exercise, how much sleep you get and stress you have. As for hormone-caused hair loss, the adrenal gland produces a 1/4 tsp of hormones per year. If you go slightly under or over that amount, a hormone imbalance is the result. If you use table salt, or are on a low-salt diet…you may be negatively affecting your hormones.

And though this treatment appears to be safe and somewhat effective, it’s hard to tell who will react well to this low-level light therapy, which is why the doctors I spoke with were hesitant to fully endorse it. “We’re not sure what the optimal power is, what the optimal wavelength is, we don’t even really know the mechanism of action of how this is working,” says Rieder. Plus, it doesn’t work on everyone. “There are subpopulations of patients who do respond to low-level laser light, but this is not easily predictable,” explains McMichael, though she adds that the risk of using the LaserComb is low.
When alopecia areata is associated with celiac disease, treatment with a gluten-free diet allows for complete and permanent regrowth of scalp and other body hair in many people, but in others there are remissions and recurrences.[15] This improvement is probably due to the normalization of the immune response as a result of gluten withdrawal from the diet.[15]

So far, I’ve only been on the Propecia for about three weeks. I don’t notice any side-effects thus far. I am taking 2.5 mg of Proscar, to be exact. I feel good and have not noticed any difference in my hair. I continue to lose about 20 hairs when I shower and brush it each day. That may not sound like a lot but I have already lost so much of my hair, that I think that represents more hair loss than it sounds. At least it is stable for now…I thank GOD that it is not getting worse. I DO have re-growth but it is fine and “wispy” as you said. It is not the same as the rest of my “normal” hair but hey, at least some of it is growing back in. Slowly and finer. That seems to support the AGA diagnosis. The thing that really drives me crazy is that I still don’t know WHY the TE started in the first place. The TE unmasked the AGA, but why the damn TE and what from here? Anyway….I digress and obsses!

^ Martinez-Mir A, Zlotogorski A, Gordon D, Petukhova L, Mo J, Gilliam TC, Londono D, Haynes C, Ott J, Hordinsky M, Nanova K, Norris D, Price V, Duvic M, Christiano AM (February 2007). "Genomewide scan for linkage reveals evidence of several susceptibility loci for alopecia areata". American Journal of Human Genetics. 80 (2): 316–28. doi:10.1086/511442. PMC 1785354. PMID 17236136.


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.


Our other recommendation is the HairMax Ultima 12 LaserComb. The comb uses low-level lasers to stimulate hair follicles and modulate dihydrotestosterone (DHT) — a hormone that causes the most common type of hair loss. While it sounds like something from a sci-fi movie, the treatment works, and the dermatologists we consulted reported that their patients saw thicker and longer hair when combined with our top pick. The only catch: The comb isn’t as effective as minoxidil treatments, and at nearly $400, it’s a much bigger investment. Still, it’s the best option if you’re looking for a non-invasive, non-chemical treatment.
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