Alopecia areata is characterized by a localized area of complete hair loss (Figure 5). This may extend to the entire scalp (alopecia totalis) or the entire body (alopecia universalis)12,13 (Figure 6). Alopecia areata is probably secondary to an autoimmune reaction involving antibody, T-cell, and cytokine-mediated losses.14–16 The trait appears to be polygenic, affecting 0.1 to 0.2 percent of the population, with men and women equally affected.14 On microscopic evaluation, “exclamation-point” hairs are found, in which the proximal hair shaft has thinned but the distal portion remains of normal caliber (Figure 7). Spontaneous recovery usually occurs within six to 12 months, with hair in areas of re-growth often being pigmented differently.1,13 Prognosis is not as good if the condition persists longer than one year, worsens, or begins before puberty. Persons with a family history of the disorder, atopy, or Down syndrome also have a poorer prognosis.1 The recurrence rate is 30 percent, and recurrence usually affects the initial area of involvement.12 Thyroid abnormalities, vitiligo, and pernicious anemia frequently accompany alopecia areata.1,12,14
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.
Eva if you can look at some of Pilar’s post she mentions in one of them a dr she sees in NYC. She loves her and the dr has done a lot for her. I would say there is no doubt it is the Retin A that has caused your loss, but it is probably Telogen Efflivium which is temporary and the recovery is nothing like they say it is. Especially if your scalp is miserable because there is a lot of inflammation that will need to calm down before everything can reset itself. Please try to find her post where she list the derm she sees. She loves her.
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.
The Rogaine rep we spoke to explained that the different packaging (and therefore different prices) has to do with the FDA-approval process: “We discovered in clinical trials that the hair loss patterns between men and women are different,” she said by way of explanation. “Men typically have that bald spot on the crown of their head, where women generally have a general thinning throughout, but concentrated more on the top of the head. So for FDA approval, we had to come up with two different, gender-specific products, so the directions were more explanatory.”
“A scalp biopsy is the gold standard for diagnosing hair loss,” said Dr. Marc Avram, a dermatologist in private practice with offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn. “The test examines the follicles themselves and can help determine whether the hair loss is genetic, inflammatory, infectious or due to an unusual physical or emotional shock to the system.”
A hair growth cycle consists of three phases. During the anagen phase, hair grows actively. This phase may last for years. During the catagen phase, hair stops growing and separates from its follicle, which is the structure beneath the skin that holds the hair in place. The catagen phase lasts about 10 days. During the telogen phase, the follicle rests for two or three months, and then the hair falls out. The next anagen phase begins as a new hair grows in the same follicle. Most people lose 50 to 100 hairs per day as part of this natural cycle.
Some other autoimmune diseases can also lead to hair loss. Lupus, which affects many different systems of the body, is one of them. Symptoms include fatigue, headache, painful joints, anemia, abnormal blood clotting, and hair loss, according to the website LiveStrong. The disease is usually triggered by environmental factors like exposure to the sun. Hashimoto’s disease, which occurs when the immune system attacks the thyroid gland causing an underactive thyroid, can also result in hair loss.
Triamcinolone acetonide (Kenalog), 0.1 mL diluted in sterile saline to 10 mg per mL, is injected intradermally at multiple sites within the area to a maximum dosage of 2 mL per visit.6 The main side effect, atrophy, can be minimized by not injecting too superficially and by limiting the volume per site and the frequency of injection (no more often than every four to six weeks).6 Because spontaneous resolution often occurs in patients with alopecia areata, assessing treatment response can be difficult. Intralesional steroids should be discontinued after six months if no improvement has been noted.
Speaking of a new style: Don’t choose one that’s so high maintenance that it needs to be heat styled daily—the damage you’ll do with too much hot tool usage can leave strands damaged and fried, and breaking before it can grow to a certain length. Plus, thinner hair tends to break easier, so you want to avoid any extra damage-inducing practices at all costs. Make a conscious effort, too, to brush more gently, and use a moisturizing and reparative hair mask to hydrate hair and nourish the scalp—where hair gets most of its strength.
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 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-