Yes, absolutely. There are certain hair treatments, as well as styles, that can trigger hair loss: tight braids, pigtails, hair weaves, and cornrows can all trigger temporary hair loss called traction alopecia. Chemical relaxers; overuse of chemical colorants; hot-oil treatments; overuse of flat irons, curling irons, or even hot blow-dryers can all damage hair at the root, causing it to fall out. If you are experiencing hair loss, its best to schedule an appointment with our office so that we can help diagnose your issue and determine how best to your hair loss.
Alopecia areata is believed to be an autoimmune disease resulting from a breach in the immune privilege of the hair follicles. Risk factors include a family history of the condition. Among identical twins if one is affected the other has about a 50% chance of also being affected. The underlying mechanism involves failure by the body to recognize its own cells with subsequent immune mediated destruction of the hair follicle.
It may take some time to find the right dosage of thyroid hormone to get your thyroid under control. If you're uncomfortable with the look of your hair while treatment is underway, there are options to consider. Wearing a hair piece or wig or getting a new hairstyle can help camouflage hair loss as you wait for the results of thyroid treatment to begin. Ask your doctor if it makes sense to try a topical medication that helps spur hair growth like mixoxidil (Rogaine).
Duke’s dermatologists diagnose and treat hair disorders, such as hair loss (alopecia), excessive hairiness (hirsutism), and abnormal hair growth (hypertrichosis). We understand that abnormal hair growth can be distressing and affect your self confidence. We work closely with you to diagnose the cause of your condition, and develop a personalized treatment plan that meets your medical needs, improves your condition, and helps you regain a positive self-image.
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.
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.
SOURCES: George Cotsarelis, MD, director, Hair and Scalp Clinic, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia. Andrew Kaufman, MD, assistant professor, department of dermatology, University of California, Los Angeles; medical director, Center for Dermatology Care, Thousand Oaks, Calif. Tom Barrows, PhD, director of product development, Aderans Research Institute Inc., Atlanta. Cotsarelis, G. and Millar, S.E. Trends in Molecular Medicine, July 2001; vol 7: pp 293-301. American Society for Dermatologic Surgery web site. American Academy of Facial and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery web site. American Hair Loss Council web site. Springer, K. American Family Physician, July 1, 2003; vol 68: pp 93-102. Hair Loss Help web site, "Interview with Dr. Ken Washenik from Bosley." Fuchs, E. Developmental Cell, July 2001: vol 1: pp 13-25.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease, where a person's immune system attacks the body, in this case, the hair follicles. When this happens, the person's hair begins to fall out, often in clumps the size and shape of a quarter. The extent of the hair loss varies; in some cases, it is only in a few spots. In others, the hair loss can be greater. On rare occasions, the person loses all of the hair on his or her head (alopecia areata totalis) or entire body (alopecia areata universalis).
Depressed Girl–I feel so sad for you because I feel the same anxiety as you do—just not knowing what’s up with your own body is scary, especially when your hair is at stake. I’ve mentioned it in other threads on this site, but I think you should look at stopthethyroidmadness.com for some info about hypothyroid and adrenal issues. There is sooooo much info on there, and you will learn a lot. Once you can advocate for yourself, a lot can be done in terms of doctors (once you do have insurance). In terms of no health insurance, the site I mentioned above will direct you to companies that sell saliva test kits to test your adrenal and thyroid hormones–you don’t need health coverage to order them, but they are a bit pricey, but worth every single penny if you start to get answers…
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.