Laser devices: Brushes, combs, and other hand-held devices that emit laser light might stimulate hair growth. These devices might make hair look more youthful in some people. Because the FDA classifies these products as medical devices, the products do not undergo the rigorous testing that medicines undergo. The long-term effectiveness and safety for these devices are not known.
Each hair develops from a follicle — a narrow pocket in the skin — and goes through three phases of growth. Anagen (A), the active growth phase, lasts two to seven years. Catagen (), the transition phase, lasts about two weeks. During this phase, the hair shaft moves upward toward the skin's surface, and the dermal papilla (the structure that nourishes cells that give rise to hair) begins to separate from the follicle. Telogen (C), the resting phase, lasts around three months and culminates in the shedding of the hair shaft.
Aside from medication and lasers, some opt for hair transplants — a procedure where hairs are removed from another part of your body and then transplanted to the thinning or balding areas. Does it work? In a word, yes. Research suggests that most hair transplant recipients report are "very satisfied" with their results. While successful, transplants are also far more expensive than medications, foams, or lasers with costs averaging anywhere from $4,000 or $15,000.
Alopecia areata is thought to be a systemic autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks its own anagen hair follicles and suppresses or stops hair growth. For example, T cell lymphocytes cluster around affected follicles, causing inflammation and subsequent hair loss. It has been suggested that hair follicle in a normal state are kept secure from the immune system, a phenomenon called immune privilege. A breech in this immune privilege state is considered as the cause of alopecia areata. A few cases of babies being born with congenital alopecia areata have been reported.
In 2010, a genome-wide association study was completed that identified 129 single nucleotide polymorphisms that were associated with alopecia areata. The genes that were identified include those involved in controlling the activation and proliferation of regulatory T cells, cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4, interleukin-2, interleukin-2 receptor A, and Eos (also known as Ikaros family zinc finger 4), as well as the human leukocyte antigen. The study also identified two genes, PRDX5 and STX17, that are expressed in the hair follicle.
If you’re a gentleman who’s been noticing a receding hairline or is worried about balding, the first step is to schedule a visit with a doctor or dermatologist and make sure your hair loss isn’t a sign of a more serious health issue. “Not all hair loss is male-pattern hair loss,” explains Dr. Marc Glashofer, a board-certified dermatologist specializing in hair loss and practicing in northern New Jersey. A thyroid disorder, an autoimmune disease, or even a scalp issue could be making you look like Bruce Willis in Die Hard 2. But most hair loss is androgenetic alopecia, also known as male-pattern baldness, and fortunately (or not, depending on your perspective), it’s just a symptom of getting older.
I’m a dermatologist and am more interested in telogen effluvium these days because I have it bad–and this time it’s not because I just had a baby. I’m learning more about the gut-skin-hair connection and am suspicious that it has to do with the bacterial flora in your gut. You can learn more about changing your gut flora at BodyEcology.com. Her book is intense but I’ve decided to give it a try after recommending it and seeing it work so well with acne patients.
I want to first write that I am not a fan of hair transplants for women, I personally think that most women with androgenetic alopecia are NOT candidates for this procedure. Having said that, I get emailed all the time from women looking for a good hair transplant surgeon. If you are deadset on having a consultation, please visit the International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons. The IAHRS (http://www.iahrs.org) is an organization that selectively screens skilled and ethical hair transplant surgeons. Read my thoughts about hair transplants here.
There’s also a women’s version (Women’s Rogaine Foam) — but a three-month supply costs $22 more online. The only difference between the two products are the instructions; women are instructed to apply once a day instead of twice. If you’re a woman who doesn’t feel like paying extra for marketing, the men’s product will suffice. A cheaper generic version is Kirkland Signature Minoxidil Foam, but with a longer history on the market and more customer testimonials, Rogaine is our first choice.
Most people naturally shed about 50 to 100 hairs a day, but sometimes men and women can shed much more, leading to thinning hair, hair loss, and over time, baldness. The causes of this hair loss can be a result of hormones, underlying medical conditions, and even certain medications like antidepressants, high-blood pressure medications, and NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications). Sometimes, hair loss is purely genetic and can run in families.
Reviews.com has an advertising relationship with some of the offers included on this page. However, the rankings and listings of our reviews, tools and all other content are based on objective analysis. For more information, please check out our full Advertiser Disclosure. Reviews.com strives to keep its information accurate and up to date. The information in our reviews could be different from what you find when visiting a financial institution, service provider or a specific product’s website. All products are presented without warranty.
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
^ Lenane P, Pope E, Krafchik B (February 2005). "Congenital alopecia areata". Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (Case Reports. Review). 52 (2 Suppl 1): 8–11. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2004.06.024. PMID 15692503. We believe AA should be classified not only as an acquired but also a congenital form of nonscarring hair loss. It may well be more common than is thought because of lack of recognition
Blow dryers, flat irons, and other devices: Frequent use of a blow dryer tends to damage hair. The high heat from a blow dryer can boil the water in the hair shaft leaving the hair brittle and prone to breakage. Dermatologists recommend that you allow your hair to air dry. Then style your hair when it is dry. Dermatologists also recommend limiting the use of flat irons (these straighten hair by using high heat) and curling irons.
I look forward to seeing you both there. There are quite a few ladies that have experiences with different wigs and head coverings, including a really wonderful stylist that works with women who are losing their hair. She can also be of great help for those looking into different wig or hair system options. Her name is Mystique and here is her page:
I know how upsetting it is to start to notice thinning hair. Mine has been thinning for the last two yrs. I am not longer able to style my hair at all because of lack of thickness. I know in my case its memopause, plus some meds I am on. I do take biotin, and would appriciate any advice on shampoos that might help make the hair look thicker. I No loner put bleach in my hair, but do you a color with no bleach. I have gotten my self a little hair peice that clips on, and going to have it colored, trimed for me, and use that when going out.. Some hair pices a are very, very, nice. I would suggest you look into them untill some cure comes about. My Partner in Life brought it for me because he knows how upset I have been about my Hair.. Nice guy for sure. Good luck to all.. This is a place that I hope every woman finds who is having this problem.
My name is Leslie and IO was recently diagnosed with pcos. My hair has been falling out for about two years! I am African American and I have always had thick healthy hair now you can see my scalp. I started using a product called regrow and my bald spots are filling in but my hair is still thinning! I was fortunate enought to have a child in 2003 I have been trying to have another child for 3 years with no luck can somebody help me with my thinnig hair and infertility……..I don’t even feel like a woman anymore.
I’m 26 and started losing my hair (in the course of about a month) one year ago. I’ve seen three doctors about it. The General practitioner just pulled my hair and said it looks like my hairloss had already righted itself. Well, I didn’t believe her. So I went to a derm and he said he saw little regrowth hairs so it was just temporary hairloss and if, for some reason, I haven’t regrown my hair in to a noticable length in a year to come back to him for more bloodwork. (I had gotten my thyroid checked in my yearly physical and they said it was just slightly elevated . However, they told me this was not enough to put me on medication that they would check it again in one year) It has been one year and I think my hair is actually getting thinner. I’m just panicking. I’ve always had thick, straight as a board hair like another woman on this post had said, and now it is very thin, breaks easily and is ‘kinky’. I don’t understand why its kinky, why would my really long hairs that took years to grow now start to be damaged and kink when they fall out? I never got split ends, I never had short hairs fall out and when my hair did fall out in its normal pattern it would always fall out in one long, straight, thick strand. Does this mean I have a miniaturization of my follicles that has been going on for years? That maybe my hair strands are growing back thinner? I agree with another girl on this site that said she feels like there is no hope now. I was assured by my derm that my hair loss would not get worse. This helped me to cope a bit because instead of looking like someone with thick hair, I just had to look like someone with thin, wispy hair. I thought maybe I could deal with that, as long as I didn’t have to go bald. Well as much as this site has encouraged me in that ‘misery loves compay’ I now see that there are very few solutions and left untreated it can make us bald! I might also mention that I was never on birth control, and have no idea why I just suddenly started losing my hair. However, I have always had PMS and heavy periods. I guess I just want to know, is this for sure a problem with my hormones? Is it because my thyroid is slightly elevated? Should I even bother going to a doctor anymore? How can women as young as 18-30 be getting this problem? I guess I just am in that panic mode, where I really just want some reassurance that the odds of this getting better are good. I’ve past that one year mark of when I’m supposed to know if it was temporary or not and so now that sense of panic is renewed. Is this just going to keep getting worse? What do I do!? I hope some of you have some comments that could help me out. Thanks for listening to me rant.
Wow, I just started doing some research on this because I have been having problems with my hair thinning on the top of my head for several years, along with some sensitivity. I went to my internal medicine Doctor and he didn’t say much, which struck me as odd… he referred me to my women’s doctor who was slightly more sypathetic but offered no suggestions other than to see a dermatologist. I have been putting it off because I feel like I am getting the run-around. I see that I am not alone!
In answer to which doctor should I see for my hair loss, my opinion is that you should probably see both. Most doctors don’t know enough about hair loss as it is, so seeing doctors in different specialties may actually help you get a better, more accurate diagnosis. I am sure there are various conditions of hair loss that might be better served by seeing one more than the other. Perhaps a dermatologist would be better suited in determining if the cause was an infectious skin condition such as ringworm or scaring alopecia, and an endocrinologist may be better at diagnosing hormone related hair loss. The truth is, any doctor whether it is an endocrinologist, dermatologist, or general practitioner with a strong interest and knowledge in hair loss can make a proper diagnosis and work with you on the the treatment they think will produce the best results. The operative words here are “interest and knowledge.”
However, ketoconazole is still not FDA approved for hair loss treatment, which means it cannot be endorsed or marketed as such. Put simply, ketoconazole likely curbs hair loss, but additional research is needed for the FDA to give it approval. While it is safe to use as a supplement to our top picks, we wanted to recommend products with as much scientific backing as possible. So, we stuck with FDA approved minoxidil or FDA cleared laser treatments. But we’ll keep a close eye on products like ketoconazole shampoos and update as new research appears.
Minoxidil should be applied twice daily, and one year of use is recommended before assessing its efficacy.6,7 Women also may benefit from adjunctive treatments such as estrogen (hormone replacement or oral contraceptives) or spironolactone (Aldactone). In men, minoxidil may work better in areas with higher concentrations of miniaturized hairs, and its efficacy may be increased by the synergistic use of once-daily tretinoin (Retin-A) applied at separate times during the day.6,8 Minoxidil does not work on completely bald areas and has relatively few side effects; a dosage of 2 mL per day of a 2-percent solution costs about $10.00 to $12.50 per month.
At RHRLI, we’ve seen clients who deal with all types of hair loss and there are several types of hair loss related to autoimmune diseases. We want you to know all about the relationship between autoimmune conditions and hair loss. And if you’re looking for a permanent solution to your hair loss or thinning hair, we have one. It’s called the ARTAS® system and it uses state of the art robotic technology to give you a fuller, healthier head of hair.
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.
It’s really great reading this website. No one in my life truly understands what hair loss does to a woman emotionally. I completely thought I was blowing it out of proportion when I first became obsessed with my hair loss when I was 19. I am 24 now and have lost a little bit more hair but it is not immediately noticeable. I also appreciate that people share my sentiments about how unwilling doctors are to help us with this problem- they do not care about helping us solve the problem- only throw solutions at us for us to figure it out on our own–mostly to figure out they don’t work! I am going to try to see an endocrinologist and hope he/she can help. Although I have lost a lot of hair, I still have enough to cover my scalp left so I may not be able to talk, but I think what we think people see and what they actually see is completely different. I know we’re all beautiful women and I just try to think of hair loss as preparing me for getting old! (at which time I’m sure to have a crisis as well). Well, I will continue reading this site for hope and support. Thank you!
There can be several factors behind hair loss such as environmental effects, aging, too much stress, excessive smoking, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalance, genetic factors, scalp infections, use of wrong or chemically enriched hair products, certain medicines and medical conditions like thyroid disorder, autoimmune diseases, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), iron-deficiency anemia, and chronic illnesses.
Too much stress is bad for health and beauty, but did you know there’s a known connection between stress and hair loss, too? Constant stress can cause cortisol levels to spike, which can contribute to increased hair shedding. To relieve stress and its damaging effects on your hair, try meditation, regular exercise, keeping a regular sleep schedule, or any other activity that helps you decompress.
Hi,this is really tough for me and I don’t know what to say. I have always lost a lot of hair but I had a ton of hair. However,my mom commented that she noticed that it has thinned out more than usual and it has. And today, I just took picture of the top of my head and see a spot. Like you Lisa, I am completely freaked out, I am two weeks away from my 34th birthday. Sorry, Lisa I don’t know of any doctors except for my dermatologist that I am calling tomorrow and I found an endocrinologist through United Healthcare that I will call. I’m so upset that the crying just won’t stop. What worries me is that I’ve been on aladactone for about a year for acne (but was only at 50 mg) BUT she did up the dosage about 5 months ago (but only consistently take at the 200 mg for 3 months). But my fear is that the aladactone didn’t help prevent it for me. But the thinning out has been noticeable since about May/June of this year so maybe there is hope. Now, I have to put in there I went through a very stressful period from March until now. And had a rapid weight loss of 35 pounds (went from 168 to 133) and I’ve been doing a lot of running. But my concern is my sister has female pattern balding and so does my mom so I am very worried. My sister said the doctor said to up her protein and get super b-12 complex which I started two weeks ago, my sister said she has seen some regrowth. Today, I went and got biotin, magnesium and iron. And bought Nioxin shampoo as i heard it help give the appearance of more hair. I am calling the doctors tomorrow in hopes that it really was just my rapid weight loss, I have to admit I was under a lot of stress and barely eating, I’m eating better now though but again it runs in my family and I am completely freaked out. Lisa if I have any success I will let you know who my doctors were. Know that I too, live in Phoenix and am going through the same thing. It is hard, now I am afraid my boyfriend will leave me. Keep faith.
I had embolization and an angiogram for an AVM on my jaw. I was told there would be some hair loss because of the radiation (The size of a quarter). Well I have lost all but 1/3 of my hair left …not the area of a quarter! Has anyone ever had this happen? My doctor says the hair should grow back, but it has been three months and it is still coming out and no new growth. I don’t know what to do! Any suggestion? As with many women my hair was a part of my identity. I am not bragging but people remember me as the girl with all the hair. I realize we are more than our hair, but it makes me so sad!
The only nonchemical option offered up by the dermatologists I spoke with — short of a surgical hair transplant or platelet-rich plasma therapy, which is like Kim Kardashian’s vampire facial but for your scalp — was the laser comb. First cleared by the FDA in 2009, the HairMax LaserComb is a handheld laser device that is designed to promote hair growth. As the manufacturer explains in a letter to the FDA, “The device provides distributed laser light to the scalp while the comb teeth simultaneously part the user’s hair to ensure the laser light reaches the user’s scalp,” which, in turn, stimulates the hair follicles.
Rogaine’s foam squirts out just like hair mousse and is applied with “cool, dry hands.” Applying means working the foam down to the scalp where you want to see thicker growth — for it to work, “it has to get into your scalp,” Dr. Wolfeld explains. “If it sits on your hair, it’s not really as effective.” Once massaged, it dissolves into a watery liquid that leaves a tingly sensation, “but no burning!” one of our balding testers was happy to discover.
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.
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.
While you won’t find a miracle shampoo on the market, nioxin and some other products can help keep your scalp in tip-top shape to improve the look of any hairs you do have left on your head. In fact, feeding your hair with the proper nutrients both inside and out can make it appear healthier, so you might consider using products with natural herbs, such as rosemary and mint.
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
I have struggled with my hair for a long time now. I am quickly approaching my 40s and I have bad hair quality. Recently, I have also noticed that my hair has stopped growing as it used to. A few years ago I went to the salon on a monthly basis. Now, it takes me almost two months before I even need to cut my hair! I am desperate and I really need help right now. Hair is one of the most important parts of a woman and I don’t want to give up on this one. I went to the doctors but they didn’t found anything wrong with me. The exams I took showed that I am healthy and there’s no reason for this to even happen to me. Please, I really need hair advice urgently!!!!!!!!!!!!
Interesting reading all the stories, I had great hair until 15 years ago,and then the texture of my hair drastically changed. It be became “dead hair” wirery. I call it it my chicken feathers just taking its time to fall out which it has done over a long period of time, but I now have bald spots on the sides and thinning in my bangs. I started buying wigs years ago knowing that this was something that was inevitable. I’ve had all the tests and tried all the products, nothing..just curious if anyone else has had the “dead hair” issue
I’m going to see an endocrinologist, a trichologist, a hematologist and a gastroenterologist and maybe this Dr. Redmond. I’m done with ‘hair loss experts’ pushing cosmetic surgery and trying the all around approach. My insurance is crap, but….Anyway, thanks all for your stories and knowing I’m not alone in hair loss and the fight against disinterested medical establishment. xxx