Alopecia areata affects people of all ages including young children. It produces circular patches of hair loss that appear overnight. More patches appear over time and eventually about 5% of people affected lose every hair on their body. This includes eyebrows, eyelashes and even nose hairs. In some people, hair grows back, either in the same place or on a previously unaffected part of the scalp or body.
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.

The mission of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases is to support research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases; the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research; and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases.
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. 

Hello. Chris, I am so happy that you made an appt to see Dr. Redmond. How did it go? I really hope it helped. i have been on treatment now for almost 3 months. Dr. Redmond told me to be patient, that things could take a year to improve, but I do feel mostly that things have stabilized. In my work (i am a physician) I have seen alot of sad cases in the last few weeks. Young patients with major illnesses, some possibly incurable and fatal. It has made me really sad. It has also made me realize that regardless of what is happening to my hair, I have to try and be happy. I have to be thankful that I am healthy and have wonderful family and friends. Not that it is a consolation, but for us, our illness is on the surface and not life threatening…unless we make it by the psychological part. Thank you for everyone who has contributed to this website so that I can deal with the psychological part better. I am doing research into wigs now and will let all of you know when I have more info. Supposedly there is a soap opera star who was bald at 14 and has been wearing wigs for a long time. She has made a line of wig’s I think called Amy’s presence. It seems that she has led a happy life despite her hairloss. Once I found out more, I will let you know. I know its not a cure, but at least it is a remedy. One day at a time, I know we can all get through this. Be well.
Hair is a cutaneous appendage - just like sweat glands and oil glands.  As a result, dermatologists treat ALL forms of hair loss not just the most common form, androgenetic alopecia. There are many forms of alopecia - alopecia areata, telogen effluvium, lichen planopilaris, congenital hypotrichosis.....to name a few. The treatment and management of all hair loss disorders is an integral part of a dermatologist's training and board certification.  -Dr. Keaney
While female hair loss may not cause physical pain, it does cause mental anguish. Fortunately, in many cases, female hair loss can be successfully treated with today’s advanced nonsurgical and surgical treatment options. After a diagnosis has been confirmed, Dr. Yaker will create a customized treatment plan depending on one’s hair characteristics, the level of hair loss and the aesthetic goals of the patient.
Some of the skin disorders like lupus and sarcoidosis can cause hair loss. In case of lupus, the hair tends to get brittle and may fall out in patches. Lupus hairs or short, broken hairs usually appear above the forehead. Hair loss is not permanent in general here. Some individuals with lupus also develop a form of lupus known as discoid or cutaneous lupus that affects the skin. Scars that sometimes develop on the skin of the scalp may lead to hair loss. 

I just came across this website, I thought by chance but I think not! I have been having scalp pain, like my skull wanted to crack open. Then the tendersness of my hair folicals when the wind would blow. I started to loose lots of hair so went to my family doctor. All the test were done for Thyroid problems…all turned out what they call “normal”. Have you seen the wide range which is considered normal? How can this be when everyone is so different? I am loosing hair as I sit and write this message. The hair just gently falling onto my shoulder. I need to color my hair as it is time from the length of my silver roots but the last time I had my hair touched up, I thought I was going to die from the pain when the stylist tried to just shampoo the color off. Oh my God! Painful, painful. I used to be a stylist so you can imagine my shock when I was told it wasn’t my Tyroid!
If you find yourself snacking at night before bed, it may be because you're bored or anxious — not truly hungry — and eating makes you feel better. Try eating a healthy dinner a bit later in the evening. If your stomach is truly growling before bed, try a protein-based snack like a hard-boiled egg or a slice of cheese. A few spoonfuls of yogurt or some fruit is another good option. 
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.
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.
Alopecia areata occurs when your immune system attacks your hair follicles, causing varying degrees of hair loss. Alopecia areata usually starts with one or more small, round, smooth bald patches on your head, and can eventually cause complete hair loss on your scalp or even on your entire body. Full body hair loss is known as alopecia universalis.
*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.
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
Cicatricial alopecias tend to cause permanent hair loss. These disorders destroy hair follicles without regrowth and follow an irreversible course.21 It is likely that they involve stem-cell failure at the base of the follicles, which inhibits follicular recovery from the telogen phase.21 Inflammatory processes, including repetitive trauma as in trichotillomania, also may lead to stem-cell failure. Other processes may be caused by autoimmune, neoplastic, developmental, and hereditary disorders. Among these are discoid lupus, pseudopelade in whites, and follicular degeneration syndrome in blacks. Dissecting cellulitis, lichen planopilaris, and folliculitis decalvans also may cause scarring alopecia. Some disorders respond to treatment with intralesional steroids or antimalarial agents.21 Patients with these conditions should be referred to a physician who specializes in hair loss disorders.

What a helpful website, thank you ladies for sharing. I am 55 and am loosing hair by handfuls when I shampoo. I have been using Minoxodil extra strength for about 5 years and it was helping but not anymore. I also have been taking Nioxin hair vitamins and they helped for the first 3 years but not now. I am going to check out Dr Redmond like several of you recommended and head to Sallys for hair extensions also. Does anyone know of a good Dermotologist or Endo Dr. in Humble or Kingwood Tx area? Karen


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.
I have been amazed and appreciate alot of peoples’ comments and experiences on hair loss. I recently found out that i have PCOS through an endocrinologist. I went in for an infertility consultation. Still working through that. I do have thinning hair on the top of my head and my hair has become really dry in general. I have type 4b/4c hair (kinky/tightly coiled). With PCOS you have to treat each symptom. I am wondering, if i am focused on infertility right now, am i also able to check in with a dermatologist and treat both? It seems likely that the answer is no. Just curious if anyone is going through this or has gone through this and can give any helpful advice.
My scalp is pain-free but has on occasion flared again but 1/100 of the original pain. My scalp still needs frequent shampooing (I could go weeks without it before) to keep the dermatitis at bay. My hair and scalp are still fairly dry and brittle despite aloe for moisture, avocado oil to moisturize and seal in moisture and Behentrimonium Methosulfate to close cuticles, provide slip and halt hair snapping, BUT the breakage is 90% better. I’m still too afraid to go back to humectants though I know they’re amazing as moisture-retainers for dehydrated hair. I have spots of completely missing hair towards my hairline that hasn’t and will probably never regrow but I’m focusing on nursing everything else back to health.

I’m so glad I came across this site. I’m 41 and started to lose my hair in Aug 2011. It started out as two bald spots in the back near the hairline. I went to a Dermatologist who started me on steroid injections, Topicort, and hair, skin and nails vitamins. After a few months, they didn’t seem to help. I went to my Internal Medicine md. He ordered all types of blood tests, $4,000 worth, which all but my Vitamin D came back normal. I started a Vitamin D supplement. He suggested I live my life and be happy. I then went to an Integrative Medicine md, who ran more blood tests that came back normal, urine tests that came back normal, and had me do a GI Repair Kit. I even tried going gluten free. I take a multivitamin, Omega 3, B Complex, Vitamin D 10,000 units, and hair, skin and nail Vitamins. I’ve cut out fast food and processed food. Drinking lots of water. Not exercising like I should. I began to gray in my twenties and have been dyeing my hair for years. The Dermatologist told me it didn’t cause the hair loss. I went months without dyeing my hair just to see if it would help. Nothing has helped or stopped my hair loss. I have now lost most of the hair in the back and on the left side over my ear leading to the front. A month a go I noticed a huge bald area on the right side in the front. I have been so depressed and self-conscious about my hair loss. I have been staying in the house and avoiding gatherings for fear of someone noticing. After spending lots of money and not getting any answers, I feel so helpless. I purchased a wig, but since my remaining hair is long and covers the bald areas, I haven’t started wearing it yet. It is a comfort knowing that I’m not the only one going through this. People don’t seem to understand. I know I’m not my hair, and my hair doesn’t make me, but it is a very traumatic thing to go through. I’ve decided to take my Internal Medicine md’s advice and to just live my life. I can’t continue to be depressed over something I can’t control. I wish everyone luck and I will continue to follow.
"This is an oral, prescription-only medication with the brand name Propecia that’s also FDA approved to treat hair loss," says Spencer. Male pattern hair loss occurs when a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) prevents hair follicles from getting the nutrients they need. Finasteride works by blocking the production of DHT, which protects the follicles.
You ARE the same inside, but you are also different… you’ve been through a lot and it is so difficult to to stay strong through this experience. I won’t even go into the hair stuff, because it sounds to me that this is not what your post is about. You need to get some really solid support and find something other than your hair to focus on. You need an awesome hair system…and support system. From there, I hope and pray for you, that you will be able to find happiness and balance in your life again. You are a glorious human…don’t doubt that for a moment!
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.
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!

The most common pattern is one or more well-defined spots of hair loss on the scalp. If alopecia occurs in an ophiasis pattern (hair loss involving the temporal and posterior scalp) or if large areas of the scalp are involved for long periods of time, the prognosis is worse. A more generalized form of hair loss is referred to as diffuse alopecia areata where there is widespread dramatic thinning of the scalp hair. Occasionally, all of the scalp hair is entirely lost, a condition referred to as alopecia totalis. Less frequently, the loss of all of the hairs on the entire body, called alopecia universalis, occurs.

The course of typical alopecia areata is not predictable with a high likelihood of spontaneous remission. The longer the period of time of hair loss and the larger the area involved, the less likely the hair will regrow spontaneously. Therefore, there are a variety of treatments, but none of these can confidently be predicted to impact the course of this disease. Local steroid injections intracutaneously may be very helpful in restarting the hair growth cycle in treated areas. Steroid creams, lotions, and shampoos have been used for many years but are of limited benefit at best. Although oral systemic steroids are known to induce hair growth in affected patients, their long-term use is contraindicated because of the likelihood of undesirable side effects.


I have had hair loss for the past several years. I have seen both endocrinologists and dermatologists. I had one derm who was good, but I unfortunately moved. She put me on minoxidil 5% and spironolactone. I am now seeing and endo but he has me on Synthroid and I was very interested to read on this site that it can actually be a cause of hair loss! If anyone can recommend a doctor in Chicago i would appreciate it. I see there are 2 other people asking for recommendations but I haven’t seen responses to them. Thanks!
The scalp is where each hair follicle receives its blood supply, allowing it to grow strong. If you show your scalp a little TLC and make sure it's nourished, hydrated and healthy, then your hair will be stronger and more resistant to breakage, promoting healthy growth. Foods packed with vitamin E, like almonds, walnuts and raspberries or strawberries, are great for promoting scalp circulation, as are vitamin C-rich foods like kiwis and broccoli. Walnuts also are a great source of zinc—zinc deficiency can cause shedding—so they’re extra powerful.

Though, it is important to point out that a lot of these companies are developing procedures that involve implanting hair, which means there is a chance they will be expensive — as we mentioned before, traditional hair transplants are costly. But a few companies and products such as Follicum’s FOL-S-005 and Fidia Pharma’s Brotzu Lotion are being designed as topical treatments.
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.
Hi: I am 61 yrs old. ( Although my hair has been thinning gradually I am all of a sudden shocked about how much of it is gone. I don’t loose a lot–between 10-15 a day probably but I see small areas without any hair grow where I usede have hair sa. I am sure that I am not growing any hair anymore. I have not seen any doctors about it yet but from reading about it I know my hair loss/thinning is due to many medications I have been using that I need to use; antidepressant/tyroid/cholesterol but most mportantly glaucoma medication which my doctor has increased the dosage due to the aggresive nature of it. Of course I am gong to talk to him as well as my family physician. But readign what ting has been very helpful. I will post my findings when I know more. Thanks everyone
Anti-androgens. Androgens include testosterone and other "male" hormones, which can accelerate hair loss in women. Some women who don't respond to minoxidil may benefit from the addition of the anti-androgen drug spironolactone (Aldactone) for treatment of androgenic alopecia. This is especially true for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) because they tend to make excess androgens. Doctors will usually prescribe spironolactone together with an oral contraceptive for women of reproductive age. (A woman taking one of these drugs should not become pregnant because they can cause genital abnormalities in a male fetus.) Possible side effects include weight gain, loss of libido, depression, and fatigue.
Lisa, don’t know if you are out there and reading this but I called my dermatology office today. I have worked with them since about 2003/2004 when I had severe cystic acne (it is about as bad as hair loss in dealing with it) and together the nurse and I were successful. I have hope, I got in to see her tomorrow and I’m taking all the meds/vitamins I am taking. Call Arizona Skin & Cancer Institute, they are in Chandler AZ right by Chandler Regional. I’ve been in tears all day because a clump came out. I thank God for my beautiful children who were there for me through the acne and my mom. You just listen to me talk about what I am going through. Getting through work was hard today. Anyway, Lisa call them and try to get in. I don’t know if I will have success but I’ve done a lot a research and I know what to ask. I did look up symptoms of protein deficiency – strange I had great hair in October 07 and my nails were really hard and now they are brittle and breaking and my hair is falling, I also went through a couple of weeks of this werid swelling of my arms, legs, feet, hands in April. And have been constipated, and my running isn’t giving me the usual firm legs, all signs of not enough protein. Maybe I’m grasping at straws but anyway…hope you are doing ok.
Spironolactone, an aldosterone antagonist with antiandrogenic effects, works well as a treatment for hirsutism and may slow hair loss in women with AGA, but it does not stimulate hair regrowth. Estrogen may help to maintain hair status in women with AGA, but it also does not help with regrowth. Few controlled studies have examined the many non–FDA-approved hair growth agents such as cyproterone acetate (not available in the United States), progesterone, cimetidine (Tagamet), and multiple non-prescription and herbal products. A full discussion of approved and unapproved treatments for AGA can be found elsewhere.6,7 In all forms of alopecia, hairpieces and surgical transplants can produce satisfactory results but are expensive.
Hello ladies, I’m 32 yrs old and suffering from hair thinning. My hair just seems to have stopped growing. It’s now half of what it used to be 2 years ago! GP did some extensive tests, nothing came out. Might be birth control (on Quasense for 2 years – hair thinning started after that) but can’t stop it (it’s the only BC that’s worked for my very horrible cramps). Anyway, any suggestions for doctors (dermatologists/endo/any other) in San Francisco Bay Area or somewhere in California?
“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.”

The trick about all of these hair-loss products and treatments is that they’ll stop working as soon as you stop using them. “They have to be ready for a lifetime commitment,” says Rieder. But, just like brushing your teeth, as long you keep on keeping on with the scientifically proven preventative treatments, those hairs on your head should be just fine.


I would like to encourage you to join the Network if you have not already. There are so many wonderful women in this beloved Network that would love to hear your stories. The emotional toll that hair loss can have on women can be devestating and knowing that we are not alone helps to set us on a firmer foundation as we walk this journey called “hairloss.”

Honestly, for female pattern baldness (what I have) I don’t think there really is any effective treatment — the only hope is learning to cope psychologically. (Just my humble opinion) So I don’t totally “hate” him for not being able to help me medically regarding the hair — but he was such a let down. I really expected more. (he’s an excellent dermatologist, for skin things at least)
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.
Many factors can contribute to hair disorders. Alopecia, or hair loss, may be caused by medical conditions such as lupus, thyroid disorder, protein or iron deficiencies, or hormonal imbalances.  Hirsutism -- abnormal hair growth in women (such as a beard or chest hair) -- may be caused by ovarian, adrenal, thyroid or pituitary conditions. Identifying the cause, and treating the condition are our goal. 
Alopecia areata is not contagious.[9] It occurs more frequently in people who have affected family members, suggesting heredity may be a factor.[9] 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.[14] In addition, alopecia areata shares genetic risk factors with other autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and celiac disease.[3] It may be the only manifestation of celiac disease.[15][16]
Not surprisingly, treatments with 5 percent minoxidil work better than treatments with 2 percent minoxidil. A randomized clinical trial published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology in 2002 found that, in men with androgenetic alopecia, “5 percent topical minoxidil was clearly superior to 2 percent topical minoxidil and placebo in increasing hair growth.” The difference was actually pretty astounding — after 48 weeks, the men who used 5 percent minoxidil experienced 45 percent more hair growth than the men who used the 2 percent treatment.
I have been amazed and appreciate alot of peoples’ comments and experiences on hair loss. I recently found out that i have PCOS through an endocrinologist. I went in for an infertility consultation. Still working through that. I do have thinning hair on the top of my head and my hair has become really dry in general. I have type 4b/4c hair (kinky/tightly coiled). With PCOS you have to treat each symptom. I am wondering, if i am focused on infertility right now, am i also able to check in with a dermatologist and treat both? It seems likely that the answer is no. Just curious if anyone is going through this or has gone through this and can give any helpful advice.
About one-third of women experience hair loss (alopecia) at some time in their lives; among postmenopausal women, as many as two-thirds suffer hair thinning or bald spots. Hair loss in women often has a greater impact than hair loss does on men w, because it's less socially acceptable for them. Alopecia can severely affect a woman's emotional well-being and quality of life.
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!!!!!!!!!!!!
You lose up to 100 hairs from your scalp every day. This is normal, and in most people, those hairs grow back. But many men – and some women – lose hair as they grow older. You can also lose your hair if you have certain diseases, such as thyroid problems, diabetes or lupus. If you take certain medicines or have chemotherapy for cancer, you may also lose your hair. Other causes are stress, a low protein diet, a family history or poor nutrition.
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