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.
If you’re a gentleman who’s been noticing a receding hairline or is worried about balding, the first step is to schedule a visit with a doctor or dermatologist and make sure your hair loss isn’t a sign of a more serious health issue. “Not all hair loss is male-pattern hair loss,” explains Dr. Marc Glashofer, a board-certified dermatologist specializing in hair loss and practicing in northern New Jersey. A thyroid disorder, an autoimmune disease, or even a scalp issue could be making you look like Bruce Willis in Die Hard 2. But most hair loss is androgenetic alopecia, also known as male-pattern baldness, and fortunately (or not, depending on your perspective), it’s just a symptom of getting older.
Why? Unwanted hair growth (sideburns, for example) is a reported side effect of minoxidil. The belief is that a higher concentration of minoxidil would result in more unwanted hair, which is why women are instructed to use it less often. However, the study in Skin Therapy Letter reports that unwanted hair was more common in 2 percent minoxidil solutions than 5 percent, and women are instructed to use Rogaine’s 2 percent solution twice daily — so what gives?
Alopecia areata is believed to be an autoimmune disease resulting from a breach in the immune privilege of the hair follicles.[4] Risk factors include a family history of the condition.[2] Among identical twins if one is affected the other has about a 50% chance of also being affected.[2] The underlying mechanism involves failure by the body to recognize its own cells with subsequent immune mediated destruction of the hair follicle.[2]
Once male-pattern baldness starts, it’s not going to stop until every last hair on your head has shrunk or shed, though the rate at which this happens differs from person to person and depends on genetics. And since the grind of hair loss is unending, it’s important to start treatment as soon as your hairline starts bothering you. If you’re looking for a more quantitative metric, Dr. Paul McAndrews, clinical professor of dermatology at the USC School of Medicine and member of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, assures me that “you have to lose half your hair before the human eye can tell.” (Of course, if you don’t care about losing your hair and are fine with going full Prince William and shaving your head, go for it. We’ve got some recommendations for razors and hair trimmers to help you out on that front.)

To us, that meant any product with zero proven ingredients, case studies, or FDA clearance — which shrunk our list by a whopping 180 contenders. That’s right, there are only three treatments that have actually been cleared by the FDA and supported with clinical studies: finasteride (commonly marketed as Propecia), minoxidil, and laser treatments. And, since finasteride is prescription-only, it left us with two.
Hair is made up of the hair follicle (a pocket in the skin that anchors each hair) and the shaft (the visible fiber above the scalp). In the hair bulb, located at the base of the follicle, cells divide and grow to produce the hair shaft, which is made from a protein called keratin. Papilla that surround the bulb contain tiny blood vessels that nourish the hair follicles and deliver hormones to regulate the growth and structure of the hair. 

Hair transplantation involves harvesting follicles from the back of the head that are DHT resistant and transplanting them to bald areas. A surgeon will remove minuscule plugs of skin that contain a few hairs and implant the plugs where the follicles are inactive. Around 15 percent of hairs emerge from the follicle as a single hair, and 15 percent grow in groups of four or five hairs.
Onion - A study published in the Journal of Dermatology examined the results when onion juice was used in people with alopecia areata. Twenty-three people applied onion juice directly to the scalp twice daily for two months. Participants began to experience hair growth after just two weeks of treatment. At four weeks, hair regrowth was seen in 17 people and at six weeks, hair growth was apparent in 20 people.
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.
Telogen effluvium is the second most common type of hair loss. It is predominantly seen in women between the ages of 40-70, but may occur at any age. Its symptoms include excessive thinning, shedding, and balding and it may happen abruptly. Common causes of sudden hair loss include changes in hormone levels such as with child birth, menopause, poor nutrition, medical conditions such as iron deficiency anemia and hypothyroidism, medications, severe illness or infection, major surgery, and even extreme levels of stress.

I am scared to find out whether I have PCOS…I was hoping to find out about my insulin as I sensed a major blood sugar problem for years, but I took the news surprisingly poorly. I’m more stressed than before and am terribly depressed. The doctor, by the way, had zero to say about it all. Nothing. His words “Ask your gynocologist, I am just a lowly MD.” [gasp]
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.
Leprosy (Hansen's disease) is a disfiguring disease caused by infection with Mycobacterium leprae bacteria. The disease is spread from person to person through nasal secretions or droplets. Symptoms and signs of leprosy include numbness, loss of temperature sensation, painless ulcers, eye damage, loss of digits, and facial disfigurement. Leprosy is treated with antibiotics and the dosage and length of time of administration depends upon which form of leprosy the patient has.
Hair loss often occurs in patients suffering or recovering from a medical condition or illness. Amongst a growing list of issues and concerns, hair loss can then lead to additional stress and anxiety as the amount of hair loss becomes more prevalent and noticeable to others. Although there are a vast number of health issues that result in hair loss, some of the most common diseases include:
I have used Rogaine (5% – the real risk is if your pregnant, or trying to get pregnant. I didn’t think there was a point to taking “women” rogaine which is a 2% solution). You can buy this in sam’s club with no prescription. I think it may have caused some stabilization but it was hard for me to use it because it would make my hair oily and the thinning would appear worse. So I use it randomly and not twice a day as it should be used.
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.
PCOS or Polycystic ovary syndrome is an imbalance in male and female sex hormones. An excess of androgens can cause ovarian cysts, higher risk of diabetes, weight gain, changes in menstrual period infertility and also hair thinning. Because male hormones are over-represented in polycystic ovary syndrome, women may also experience more hair on their body and face.

Hi, I cannot afford to go to see Dr. Redmond even though I live in NY (he’s just too pricy, I have no insurance, etc…) but I’m going to see the ob/gyn towards then end of the month to get help because I’m convinced I have PCOS (literally all the symptoms) and I was wondering, what birth control is best for hair? I’ve read Dr. Redmond’s site before and I could have sworn that Yaz or Yasmin kept popping up in the faqs section or somewhere on that site as good bcp for hair loss. I realize some people experienced hair loss after going off those pills, but if you have hair loss prior to bcp, I could have sworn Dr. Redmond listed those as good at helping hair loss and I thought some women claimed (elsewhere, not on his site) that they’ve regrown some hair after going on Yasmin. Sorry if I’m rambling, but does anyone know? Thanks. If I have PCOS, which I’m sure I do, I’m pushing for Spironolactone because I’ve read of a bunch of women who’ve had great success at regrowing hair with it, and one story on this site about a woman named “Jen” had great results. I think it took her 2 years, and she allegedly grew back 90-95% of her hair (also taking Metformin, dieting and exercising, and using Nizoral shampoo) so I’m trying to remain optimistic. It’s not just being 27 & single that makes me horrified at losing hair, though it doesn’t help, I’d still be freaking out if I was 57. If I could regrow even 30% to 50% I’d be elated. Because ultimately, I’m holding out hope for stem cells to be all of our “saviors.” Lol. There are 3 companies working on adult stem cell therapies for hair loss (from what I’ve seen here and elsewhere, they are Histogen, Follica, and Aderans) not to mention a Cairo Dermatologist who has successfully helped children with alopecia areata/totalis regrow significant amounts of hair, though only in one study and the results are only preliminary. Who knows. But still, fingers crossed that I can get these stupid hormones under control and stop my daily horror at washing my hair and seeing my once beautiful hair fall away. I always took my hair for granted and often complained about it, but I’d give anything for my thick long hair back. I had fine hair always, but tons of it and I always wore it long. Now I wear it pulled back in a bun to hide as best I can all that scalp showing through. Thanks for this site, it’s keeping me from going off the deep end.


Family history will often tell the doctor what type of alopecia a person has. Occasionally, a punch biopsy may be necessary to determine the type of hair loss. Looking at plucked hairs under a microscope can help to tell the difference between alopecia areata and androgenic alopecia. Other tests might be done to check for autoimmune diseases like lupus that can accompany alopecia.


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.
This blog is great in all the support and understanding it provides, but I had a pretty hard time finding any suggestions for treatments that have actually helped anyone. I’m 22 and my hair has been rapidly shedding over the past 5 months. It’s also gotten thin and brittle. After 2 blood screenings, a dermatologist visit, and a visit to my general practitioner, nothing has improved. The doctor’s told me to wait it out, and that sometimes this “just happens”. They tested my hairs and saw that most of them were in the “resting” telogen phase, and decided I had Telogen Effluvium (TE) for undetermined causes.
The main symptom of alopecia areata is hair loss. Hair usually falls out in small patches on the scalp. These patches are often several centimeters or less. Hair loss might also occur on other parts of the face, like the eyebrows, eyelashes, and beard, as well as other parts of the body. Some people lose hair in a few places. Others lose it in a lot of spots.

If a pregnant woman comes in contact with crushed or broken Finasteride tablets, wash the contact area right away with soap and water. If a woman who is pregnant comes into contact with the active ingredient in Finasteride, a healthcare provider should be consulted. If a woman who is pregnant with a male baby swallows or comes in contact with the medicine in Finasteride, the male baby may be born with sex organs that are not normal.
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.

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.
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

*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.
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.

Hair changes about as fast as grass grows, which is to say it’s extraordinarily slow and not visible to anyone checking impatiently in the mirror every day. But during regular follow-up appointments, Harklinikken uses high-tech equipment to photograph and magnify the scalp and count new hairs and active follicles, which motivates users to adhere to the regimen. Too many people give up on treatments like Rogaine and low-level-light devices before they’ve had a chance to work, Dr. Senna said.


Hello I gave up years ago and have been wearing hair pieces. If u live in Nj I know someone who will come to your house or you can go to his and he will make you a custom piece depending on your needs. I started the journey again because I noticed that my daughter is starting to resemble me. I want to get treAted so that I have an answer for her. I really can’t afford dr. Redmond but I am giving it a try. I will share my experience.
Thank you for all your post. My daughter had extremely thick hair about eight years ago. It was so thick you could barely put it in a scrunchie. Her hair has been continuously thinning to the point that you can see through it. All the women in my family on both sides have extremely thick hair. We live in the north east and have seen several GP and a Dermatologist who act like there is nothing wrong. I work in the medical field and when I hear this I get so mad because I feel like they want to just brush of like no big deal. It is a big deal to all women no matter what ages. I have written done some of the post advise and will continue to look for an endocrinologist for her. Please keep me postes on any new developements.
My dermatologist recently prescribed 100 mg spironolactone for a month and told me to increase the dose to 200 mg after that. He also told me to use Rogaine for men. The Rogaine instructs that it not be used in the front of the scalp (where a lot of my hair loss is) but to only use it on the crown of the head. Can I safetly use it in front? Also, how do you deal w/ putting foam on your head 2 xs a day? My hair is thin with no body. If I add foam I’ll need to restyle it. Am I missing something? I don’t mind taking a pill but the Rogaine has me freaked so I haven’t started it. Any suggestions? I’m having a hard time thinking of using Rogaine the rest of my life.
Alopecia areata is believed to be an autoimmune disease resulting from a breach in the immune privilege of the hair follicles.[4] Risk factors include a family history of the condition.[2] Among identical twins if one is affected the other has about a 50% chance of also being affected.[2] The underlying mechanism involves failure by the body to recognize its own cells with subsequent immune mediated destruction of the hair follicle.[2]
I took spironolactone several years ago, and after 3 days got tinnitus (ringing in ears) permanently. Quit using it. Now, I take Fo-ti, Beta sitosterol, saw palmetto, and black cohosh. Also don’t use commercial hair dyes, as they made more hair fall out and if you have a yeast infection, take yeast defense as an itchy scalp from yeast (think too much sugar in diet) will make your hair fall out. Fructis has come out with a shampoo called Fall Fight that seems to help. My hair loss has stopped, although the volume has not come back. Look for solutions on your own, plenty of articles on the internet. Good luck!
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