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.
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.
Alopecia areata is not contagious. It occurs more frequently in people who have affected family members, suggesting heredity may be a factor. 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. In addition, alopecia areata shares genetic risk factors with other autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and celiac disease. It may be the only manifestation of celiac disease.
*All medications have both common (generic) and brand names. The brand name is what a specific manufacturer calls the product (e.g., Tylenol®). The common name is the medical name for the medication (e.g., acetaminophen). A medication may have many brand names, but only one common name. This article lists medications by their common names. For information on a given medication, check our Drug Information database. For more information on brand names, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
Just found this site today and want to thank everyone who is sharing. I don’t have the words for how devastated I feel about losing my beautiful, beautiful hair. Thank you for the information and fellowship here. I have a wonderful internist, but she hasn’t been able to help, (been dealing with PCOS for 12 years now and severe hair loss since Feb 2008). Will be looking for an endocrinologist and a dermatologist now too. Hope I can give back some day with good news.
Current evidence suggests that alopecia areata is caused by an abnormality in the immune system that damages hair follicles. This particular abnormality leads to autoimmunity, a misguided immune system that tends to attack its own body. As a result, the immune system attacks particular tissues of the body. In alopecia areata, for unknown reasons, the body's own immune system attacks the hair follicles and disrupts normal hair formation. Biopsies of affected skin show immune lymphocytes penetrating into the hair bulb of the hair follicles. Alopecia areata is occasionally associated with other autoimmune conditions such as thyroid disease, vitiligo, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and ulcerative colitis. The diagnosis or treatment of these diseases is unlikely to affect the course of alopecia areata. Sometimes, alopecia areata occurs within family members, suggesting a role of genes.
Low-level laser light brushes, combs and other devices which are FDA-cleared for both men and women are available without a prescription. Although it’s not clear how the devices work, it’s thought to “stimulate the hair follicles’ energy cells to be more active,” Francis said. They’re also foolproof, telling you when and how far to move the device and they even automatically shut off.
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"Despite some of the claims, a shampoo or conditioner won’t be able to stop or slow hair loss, nor help with a receding hairline or thicken hair that’s becoming thinner," says trichologist Anabel Kingsley from The Philip Kingsley Trichology Clinic in London. "At best, a thickening shampoo will make hair temporarily thicker for a short period of time, but they certainly won’t help with hair loss or thinning."
Results from several small studies suggest that biotin supplements may improve thinning hair and brittle nails. Less commonly known as vitamin H, biotin is part of the B complex vitamins, which help your body metabolize fats and protein. Some experts even recommend a daily supplement for everyone since it’s generally safe and pretty hard to get too much of it.
I wanted to say I have been to both a GYN here and a hair loss dermatogist here in Lake Mary FL, with no results, so I am still looking for another derm that knows something about hair dye allergys. I have had my hormones tested, the dr said that my estro was high, but she expected that since their is no period. I am only 45 , I used to have very thick coarse hair. Had a bad eposide of itching, then hair lost last year. I told the derm that I suspected the hair color. They did not seem intested, said that hair loss comes with age. I have now had another spell, of bad rashing. It is the hair dye. From my reseach it can have PPD, in it almost all do. Check the web for PPD allergy. As you color you can become more and more subseptable to it. My hair stylist always commented on the hair loss. I think that hormones changing can effect it also. You can become allergic to this chemical at any time. It is hard to connect the dots. Dr.’s don’t seem interested. Natualist, I tried accupunture and non homotherphy, no noticable difference.. I have tried Jason hair shampoo, not much luck with that either. BUT look for PPD/free hair colors…and test before using, that will save some hair from falling. So far I have found a Wella, Yo Colors, Reflex, Nauture Pat It usually happens a week later, not right after coloring FYI…What does work is Botin…..
One more disease that causes hair loss is male pattern baldness. About two out of three men, experience hair loss by their age of 60 and most of the time, the hair loss is because of male pattern baldness. Such type of hair loss, caused by a combo of genes and male sex hormones, usually follow a classic pattern where the hair recedes at the temples, thus leaving an M-shaped hairline.
Furthermore, Penn dermatopathologists developed an even more advanced method called the HoVert technique for diagnosing hair loss and other disorders from a scalp biopsy. The technique uses a unique horizontal and vertical testing approach that provides a greater amount of information to the referring dermatologist than standard industry longitudinal scalp biopsies.
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.
As the name suggests, androgenetic alopecia involves the action of the hormones called androgens, which are essential for normal male sexual development and have other important functions in both sexes, including sex drive and regulation of hair growth. The condition may be inherited and involve several different genes. It can also result from an underlying endocrine condition, such as overproduction of androgen or an androgen-secreting tumor on the ovary, pituitary, or adrenal gland. In either case, the alopecia is likely related to increased androgen activity. But unlike androgenetic alopecia in men, in women the precise role of androgens is harder to determine. On the chance that an androgen-secreting tumor is involved, it's important to measure androgen levels in women with clear female pattern hair loss.
According to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, since 2004, the number of female surgical hair restoration patients worldwide increased 24 percent. Modern surgical hair restoration procedures such as Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) allow surgeons to take hair from the back of the head (genetically permanent hair zone) and transplant it to the areas where balding has occurred. The reason why the hair does not fall out once transplanted in its new location is because those hair follicles take on the same characteristics as the hair in the area where it originated, the genetically permanent zone. Both approaches result in lasting outcomes. In order to know if you are a candidate, Dr. Yaker will go over your medical history and examine your hair and scalp. He will determine if you have ample, good quality hair in the permanent hair zone in order to be able to relocate those hair follicles to the areas of hair loss.
There is no cure for the condition. Efforts may be used to try to speed hair regrowth such as cortisone injections. Sunscreen, head coverings to protect from cold and sun, and glasses if the eyelashes are missing is recommended. In some cases the hair regrows and the condition does not reoccur. In others hair loss and regrowth occurs over years. Among those in whom all body hair is lost less than 10% recover.
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.