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.
I am 31; as a child I had beautiful brown smooth hair with a hint of a wave. As soon as I hit puberty at 13 (1st period on my 13th b-day), my hair turned wavier. Same year, I remember looking down on my legs horrified at the hair I had developed. Only 1 thought came to me: “NOT NORMAL!” Body hair on women is a tricky subject, though, with media heavily influencing what’s considered ‘normal’. My mom, similarly hairy, just told me it’s genetic and normal.
Without a doubt, poor nutrition (often caused by eating disorders and crash dieting) is a common trigger of temporary hair loss. If you don’t get enough protein in your diet, your body may respond by shutting down hair growth—resulting in hair loss. Great source of protein include red meat and dairy products, as well as quinoa, legumes, and nuts and nut butters (all great options for vegetarians). Hair loss can also be triggered by anemia, or a deficiency in iron. Getting enough iron (found in red meat) is key to treating this; often times, an iron supplement can help. If this is the cause of your hair loss, our dermatologists can do a simple blood test to confirm this.
There is no cure for the condition.[2] Efforts may be used to try to speed hair regrowth such as cortisone injections.[1][2] Sunscreen, head coverings to protect from cold and sun, and glasses if the eyelashes are missing is recommended.[2] In some cases the hair regrows and the condition does not reoccur.[2] In others hair loss and regrowth occurs over years.[2] Among those in whom all body hair is lost less than 10% recover.[5]
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
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.
As mentioned above, an autoimmune response is commonly associated with hair loss related to alopecia areata. Patients who have this condition see their body’s immune system attack their hair follicles. The patient’s hair follicles become very small and hair growth begins to stop.  A major symptom of alopecia areata is patchy hair loss, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, which says patients often first notice the problem when they see clumps of hair on their pillow or in the shower.
when i was 24, went to so. america to visit family. they hadn’t seen me since my last visit, which was when i was 17. there was a guy who i had liked and hung out with when i spent my 17th summer there and was excited to see him once again, “as an adult”. i think it was the second day or so of hanging out with him when he says to me: “hey, i noticed you’re losing your hair”. i was beyond embarrassed at that moment and all i could muster out was, “yeah, i know”. thanks for pointing it out there buddy. next came anger mixed with that embarrassment. i felt, and still feel, that people stare at my head and notice my thinning hair when they are talking to me. when i came back to the states a few weeks later, the first thing i did was make an appt with my pcp. she referred me to an endocrinologist who found my testosterone level slightly elevated. it was in the 70 range. i didn’t have masculinization going on so she told me she didn’t want to put me on medication and to return if i noticed in increase or changes in symptoms.
In contrast to trichotillomania, traction alopecia involves unintentional hair loss secondary to grooming styles. It often occurs in persons who wear tight braids (especially “cornrows”) that lead to high tension and breakage in the outermost hairs (Figure 10). Traction alopecia also occurs commonly in female athletes who pull their hair tightly in ponytails. The hair loss usually occurs in the frontal and temporal areas but depends on the hairstyle used. Treatment involves a change in styling techniques. Other hair-growth promoters may be needed in end-stage disease, in which the hair loss can be permanent even if further trauma is avoided.1
in the meantime, no matter how awful i feel, i have to remind myself that my hair is just a small extension of who i am. i can’t, and shouldn’t, regardless of what the public media says, allow myself to be so superficial. i have my health, my family, a boyfriend who loves me and thinks i’d still look “cute with a shaved head”. that’s what matters. not those who judge you by your hair. there are children, people dying from things that can be controlled, reversed, and/or prevented . the damn double standard of being born a woman. men look dashing, a la Patrick Stewart, with bald heads. society needs to accept the same for women. i have my moments of weakness, today especially. when i just want to ball up and sob and scream “why me”. but as long as i do my best, make sure my health is good overall, then i have to come to peace that it’s something i cannot control or prevent. i may be able to do so for a little while, but that alone is stressful. i’m just trying. thanks for reading. peace and love to you all.

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.”
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’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?
I just began reading this post this evening. My hair loss began when I was 18, currently 29. No bald spots, but it just keeps getting thinner and thinner and thinner. I have been to many doctors as well. Every PCP and family doctor have been of no help. After four dermatologists I have given up on that as well. I went to Hans Wiemann (in the St. Louis area) that offers laser treatments and hair transplants. The whole appointment was such a sales pitch that I was so aggravated and felt worse by the time I left. I have also tried an herbalist, chinese medicine, and a nutritionist/chiropractor. I try not to think about it, I really do, but let’s face it, that’s about impossible. I know my problem is NOT genetic, everyone in my family has a full head of hair. I’m healthy in terms of exercise and diet, I don’t take any medications, smoke, or drink. None of the doctors have ever found anything with blood work or urine samples. If anyone can suggest a doctor, specialist, anyone that can help in the St. Louis or Chicago area, PLEASE do let me know.

Hair loss often occurs in patients suffering or recovering from a medical condition or illness. Amongst a growing list of issues and concerns, hair loss can then lead to additional stress and anxiety as the amount of hair loss becomes more prevalent and noticeable to others. Although there are a vast number of health issues that result in hair loss, some of the most common diseases include:
Testosterone replacement is becoming popular for men. Cotsarelis warns that this may accelerate hair loss. Propecia might help -- but because it prevents testosterone breakdown, it might affect the dose of male hormone replacement therapy. Cotsarelis warns men taking both Propecia and testosterone replacement to make sure their doctor carefully monitors their testosterone levels.
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