Researchers continue to strive for the holy grail of hair loss cures by trying to gain a better understanding of how the hair growth cycle is controlled. Rather than treating the symptoms of hair loss, scientists aim to target the cause, which, in turn, may yield fewer side effects. Recently, there have been numerous discoveries in the hair loss arena that may lead to new promising treatments.
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.
You lose up to 100 hairs from your scalp every day. That's 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.
Each follicle produces hair for 2 to 6 years and then takes a break for several months. While the hair follicle is in its rest phase, the hair falls out. There are around 100,000 follicles on the scalp, but because each follicle rests at a different time and others produce hairs, hair loss is usually unnoticeable. More noticeable hair loss occurs when there is a disruption to the growth and shedding cycle, or if the hair follicle is obliterated and replaced with scar tissue.
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)
I don’t know in which proportion including diet, all of these things occurred but I believe A-Ret abuse was a large part of it as evidenced by blood tests taken by my PCP which I was never able to get re-evaluated due to doctor apathy. My sister is experiencing an unrelated bout of hair loss concentrated at her crown and feels hopeless. I’m sending her to this board and to all of your suggestions right away. My problem seems to have subsided but I’m remaining only optimistically cautious and still very vigilant about monitoring hair loss. Thank you everyone again for contributing to this board.
Many other agents have been used to treat alopecia areata, including minoxidil, psoralen plus ultraviolet A (PUVA), and anthralin (Anthra-Derm), but success rates vary. Anthralin, an anti-psoriatic, in combination with topical corticosteroids and/or minoxidil, is a good choice for use in children and those with extensive disease because it is relatively easy to use and clinical irritation may not be required for efficacy.6 Hairpieces and transplants may be the only options available for persons with severe disease that remains unresponsive to available medical treatments. Patients with recalcitrant, recurrent, or severe disease should be referred to a subspecialist.
A hair restoration is a surgical procedure, but per government regulations, any physician of any background with a valid medical license, regardless of training, presence or lack of any board certificate in anything at all, is permitted to call themselves a "hair restoration surgeon." For instance, a psychiatrist, who has not even seen a surgical instrument in 20 years, can tomorrow decide that he would like to be a hair restoration surgeon, and offer the surgery to the public. Therefore it is important to make sure your surgeon has actual surgery training, which is usually a 5 to 7 year course of intense training in the years immediately following medical school, and upon successful completion, surgeons receive a board certificate in their chosen specialty.
Finally people who understands what I am going through …I am in a desperate search for doctors in the Miami/Boca Raton, Florida area. Can anyone help? I dont know yet what has been causing my hair loss…I had been loosing some hair throighout the years, and sometimes it gets lees severe but lately has just gotten worse and there is no stopping it seems. I had mt Tyroid checked by PCP a coulpe months ago and my iron level also looked normal …getting desperate. Would appreciate some help.
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.
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
I got really sick at the age 40, 2 years after my second child was born,I started losing weight,I went from 54kg down to 47kg,my skin was splitting on the backs of my legs,both my hands,I had blisters up my arms ,on the tops of my feet,migraines that would have me vomiting none stop for ten hours,then only to sleep for 2 days to recover,no doctors were interested,I saw 8 and they all wanted me on anxiety medication because I was going through a break up that was there answer to the way I was feeling.No one wanted to listen to me.Almost feeling like
Hello all, it feels so good to know that I am not alone in this hair battle. I started noticing hair thinning at around 16 (I had ‘horse hair’ before (thick and strong) as my mom would call it). I chalked it up to the crash diet I did at 15 where I lost about 30lbs in about 2 months…since then my hair has gotten thinner and weaker over the years. I just turned 26 and this had been the worst year for my hair. I got married in Aug and some would say it could be the stress from that event but I say NO to that. I’ve had extensive blood work done…iron, testosterone, etc etc blah blah blah…EVERYTHING came back NORMAL! It seems as if nothing can help me! This last derm I saw today just told me to stick to rogaine, and when I asked about Provillus (these pills I heard about) he said he never heard of it and to try it and let him know! I have cried so much this year! I can’t even part my hair in the middle anymore because it’s so thin..and washing it? omg that’s an emotional rollercoaster on it’s own…my scalp is always so oily and the rogain is making it worst! and so ITCHY! AND FLAKY! What can I do now? who should I see? What makes this even more bizzare is that my acne now is worst than it ever was! I was skinny with lots of hair and clear skin in HS and now? It seems I can’t lose the 15lbs I’ve packed on and this acne stuff isn’t making it better! My husband isn’t much help because he doesn’t get it..I don’t know what else to do, someone please help me.
If you do decide to start treatment to save your hair, a good place to start is with minoxidil, more commonly known as Rogaine. Don’t expect this hair-loss treatment to create luscious locks; minoxidil is better at slowing down or preventing more loss rather than promoting hair growth. But, according to Dr. Amy McMichael, professor and chair of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Department of Dermatology, it is effective “if used as recommended, with evidence of improvement seen around six to nine months.” Simply massage the foam or solution into your scalp once or twice daily, and for best results, use a formula with 5 percent concentration.
During this procedure, surgeons remove a narrow strip of scalp and divide it into hundreds of tiny grafts, each containing just a few hairs. Each graft is planted in a slit in the scalp created by a blade or needle in the area of missing hair. Hair grows naturally this way, in small clusters of one to four follicles, called follicular units. As a result, the graft looks better than the larger "plugs" associated with hair transplants of yesteryear.
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.
I am so so grateful and want to thank everyone who has contributed to this forum. I am 52 years old, and in June of this year my Obgyn said it was time for me to get off Birth control pills , as I was getting too old and the estrogen levels would be dangerous at this time. I had been on BCP since the age of 18 with a break from the age of 35-38, and always been under the impression that BC pills might cause hair loss, but was totally unaware that when you came off them that the real deal happened. He just casually said, don’t take them and we will see if you are in menopause. Well I did and 2 months later (mid Aug..) I went straight into menopause, hot flashes all day, night sweats, etc., Then came the shedding, TE, as I am to understand. By mid-September the texture of my hair felt strange and the hair on the right side/back of my hair thinned out considerably, and I was developing a bald patch. Having always had very thin hair that I was always self conscious about (I had to wear a wig as a child, as I had monilethrix an inherited hair disease, which went into remission, but the hair loss caused terrible self esteem issues throughout my teenage years.), I cried my eyes out, then went on a quest to find out who to see. Derm, another ObGyn or endocrinologist? From everything that I had read, everyone went to countless doctors to find a cure. Having dealt with my HMO over the years to get a quality specialist in different areas, I knew I would be bald by the time I found the right doctor. Then I came across this forum, like Hope in Aug, I have spent countless hours on the internet in search of a solution. Thanks to her post and Toni on 7/14/08 and Shelleo, I found my answer. I called Dr. Redmond, in New York, and prayed that I could get an appointment right away. My prayers were answered, and I have an appointment this coming Monday 10/28!! I will be getting his book I the next day or so, as recommended, and truly feel, from what I have read, if anyone can help me, he is the one. Thank you for sharing your stories. I will make sure to check back, so I can, too, possibly help someone else.
One hard truth: Hair loss is mostly out of your control. “Baldness comes down to your genes,” says Frederick Joyce, M.D., founder of Rejuvenate! Med Spa and a member of the International Society for Hair Restoration Surgery. “If you have the baldness gene, there are some natural remedies that may make your hair stronger and healthier to slow your hair loss slightly—but they won’t prevent you from going bald. Still, maintaining hair health by eating well and using the right products—combined with medical-grade treatments—can really work all together to help you have a fuller, thicker head of hair.”
Minoxidil (Rogaine, generic versions). This drug was initially introduced as a treatment for high blood pressure, but people who took it noticed that they were growing hair in places where they had lost it. Research studies confirmed that minoxidil applied directly to the scalp could stimulate hair growth. As a result of the studies, the FDA originally approved over-the-counter 2% minoxidil to treat hair loss in women. Since then a 5% solution has also become available when a stronger solution is need for a woman's hair loss.
I am so glad this site exsists. Thank you ladies for sharing your experiences and making this whole hair loss crisis feel less lonely. I’ve been having soo much hair loss over the past 8 months that now there’s a visibly bald spot at the top of my head and I have to wear a headband to hide it! Most days I contemplate shaving my head and walking around with a bandana so I don’t have to deal with the daily shedding (which literally causes me neck tension!). I’ve gone to my primary doctor twice and both times she’s drawn blood to test my thyroid levels. The first time the results showed my levels were normal but she still put me on levothyroxin to see if it would make a difference with the breakage. It didn’t. I just went back a second time and she took blood again to do a second test on my thyroid levels and also to see if I have lupus. I’m waiting for those results. I just want to know why this is happening now. I’m only in my early 30’s. I am so grateful that there are others of you out there dealing with this too, atleast we’re not by ourselves in this process.
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.
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.
Oops forgot to mention also went to Dermatologist who said it is probably just stress related but I really don’t stress ever. I am going back for a scalp biopsy just to be sure nothing going on there. I did lose 12 kg over a 15 week period last year (ending about May – hair loss started in July) but it was done properly eating well and just increasing my exercise level so not sure if this is related other than that I am totally lost as to why I am BALD.
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.
I was searching the internet and came across this wonderful site. I really appreciate you posting this article. I have always had a small bald patch on one side of my head. My mom told me it had always been there so I didn’t worry about it. Recently it has been getting larger and the hair around it is getting lighter. On the other side my hair is thinning and the color and texture is changing. It also seems to be falling out. I have excessive hair loss on a regular basis. I am only 24 years old and I can’t stand that my hair is falling out. I went to the dermatologist and he gave my injections but they didn’t work. He said I have alopecia areata and that the other side was a normal receding hairline. (He barely even looked at it) He then told me after the injections weren’t working to try Rogaine. I think it might be helpful to see an endrocrinologist as I have also been having problems with anemia. Again, thank you so much for the information you have provided.
“The most common cause of hair loss in both men and women is androgenetic alopecia, which is genetic pattern hair loss,” explains Dr. Michael B. Wolfeld, a board-certified plastic surgeon and an assistant clinical professor of plastic surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. The root cause of this type of hair loss is dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a byproduct of testosterone that shrinks certain hair follicles until they eventually stop producing hair.