Laser devices: Brushes, combs, and other hand-held devices that emit laser light might stimulate hair growth. These devices might make hair look more youthful in some people. Because the FDA classifies these products as medical devices, the products do not undergo the rigorous testing that medicines undergo. The long-term effectiveness and safety for these devices are not known.
Hair: It’s a natural part of being a human. But when the temperature climbs, and skin is exposed, it’s one of those things that a good many of us want to control. This week, we’re tackling hairlessness, not just the process of hair removal (electric shavers and ingrown-hair treatments and aesthetician-approved tweezers) but also what to buy when you’re losing your hair, and even how to take care of a Sphynx cat. Here, we’re talking to dermatologists and hair-loss doctors about hair-loss treatments that actually work.
I am 43 and I have been thinning/losing my hair for the past four years. It is so upsetting. I know very few people who can relate…until I came across this site. Has anyone tried apple cider vinegar? I read that it can help with hair loss, but I am skeptical, as all of the remedies I’ve tried thus far have been disappointing. I try to put my hair loss situation in perspective, but I’m not always successful. Best wishes to all of the women on this site. I hope hair restoration is around the corner for all of us.
In May I was diagnosed with rhuematoid arthritis and was put on arava, which is known to cause hair loss. After four months I noticed I was losing a bit more hair than normal so the rhuematologist added Enbrel, which I inject once a week. After a month on both my hair really started to fall out and thin. The nurse practitioner (who thinks she’s an MD) told me to stop the Arava and not to stress about it. Yeah, right! I went back to my gyne who ran lab work and found my testosterone level to be 235, way high! I had an MRI of my adrenal glands and my ovaries since these two produce testosterone. I also had an ultrasound of my ovaries. All exams were normal.
Current evidence suggests that alopecia areata is caused by an abnormality in the immune system that damages hair follicles. This particular abnormality leads to autoimmunity, a misguided immune system that tends to attack its own body. As a result, the immune system attacks particular tissues of the body. In alopecia areata, for unknown reasons, the body's own immune system attacks the hair follicles and disrupts normal hair formation. Biopsies of affected skin show immune lymphocytes penetrating into the hair bulb of the hair follicles. Alopecia areata is occasionally associated with other autoimmune conditions such as thyroid disease, vitiligo, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and ulcerative colitis. The diagnosis or treatment of these diseases is unlikely to affect the course of alopecia areata. Sometimes, alopecia areata occurs within family members, suggesting a role of genes.
One of the first research studies linking alopecia with celiac disease was published in 1995. Italian doctors had noticed that several of their patients with alopecia also had celiac disease and that in one of these patients—a 14-year-old boy—the missing hair on his scalp and body completely regrew after he adopted a gluten-free diet. This boy's case and a few others prompted the doctors to screen a large group of alopecia patients for celiac disease.
It is perfectly normal for people to shed 50 to 100 hairs per day. This generally doesn't cause noticeable thinning of scalp hair because new hair is growing in at the same time that hair is shedding. However, hair loss occurs when this hair growth cycle and shedding is disrupted or when the hair follicle becomes destroyed and replaced with scar tissue. Female pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) is the most common form of hair loss in women. This occurs gradually and is caused by genetics (from either side of the family), age, and the action of a specific male hormone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This hormone is found in lesser amounts in women and it preys on the hair follicles, preventing them from receiving vital nutrients for proper hair follicle growth, leading to the hairs shrinking, and resulting in a shorter lifespan. Interestingly, DHT does not need to be elevated to generate hair loss. Estrogen, when lowered as commonly seen in menopause, creates a change in the ratio of male to female hormones, giving an edge to these male hormones. Compounded with the sensitivity of DHT to the hair follicles, heredity can affect the age at which a woman begins to lose her hair, as well as the rate of hair loss and the extent of baldness.
Trying to figure out exactly what is causing your hair loss is going to require a little detective work on the part of your physician. Several lab tests are going to need to be done. I’ll make sure to make another post this week about the standard lab tests that should be ordered to start the process. Hopefully you don’t have to bring the list to the doctors office, he/she should know already. I get concerned when women have to bring a list of tests that should be ordered to their doctor. My feeling is that if they don’t know what to order then how are they going to be able to accurately read the results. But… a good doctor is a good doctor, and if you have one that really cares and takes a strong interest in your hair loss with a willingness to work with you in finding the cause then great.
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.
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.
The loss of hair can be sudden, developing in just a few days or over a period of a few weeks. There may be itching or burning in the area before hair loss. The hair follicles are not destroyed and so hair can re-grow if the inflammation of the follicles subsides. People who experience just a few patches of hair loss often have a spontaneous, full recovery without any form of treatment.
Also my energy levels are high. I remember that at the beginning i did heavy cardio and interval training which helped me lose weight fast but i did not realize how biotin played a part in my weight loss until AFTER i stopped working out. I continue to take biotin every day and now that I am no longer on my diet i eat whatever i want and i don't gain weight. It appears the biotin may be keeping my metabolism to the level it was at during my training. So i highly recommend it to you. For me the best is www.certifiedbiotin.com my friends also use this one.
Just found this site today and want to thank everyone who is sharing. I don’t have the words for how devastated I feel about losing my beautiful, beautiful hair. Thank you for the information and fellowship here. I have a wonderful internist, but she hasn’t been able to help, (been dealing with PCOS for 12 years now and severe hair loss since Feb 2008). Will be looking for an endocrinologist and a dermatologist now too. Hope I can give back some day with good news.
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?
decrease in your blood Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) levels. Finasteride can affect a blood test called PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) for the screening of prostate cancer. If you have a PSA test done you should tell your healthcare provider that you are taking Finasteride because Finasteride decreases PSA levels. Changes in PSA levels will need to be evaluated by your healthcare provider. Any increase in follow-up PSA levels from their lowest point may signal the presence of prostate cancer and should be evaluated, even if the test results are still within the normal range for men not taking Finasteride. You should also tell your healthcare provider if you have not been taking Finasteride as prescribed because this may affect the PSA test results. For more information, talk to your healthcare provider.
Low-level laser light brushes, combs and other devices which are FDA-cleared for both men and women are available without a prescription. Although it’s not clear how the devices work, it’s thought to “stimulate the hair follicles’ energy cells to be more active,” Francis said. They’re also foolproof, telling you when and how far to move the device and they even automatically shut off.
There are many different potential causes of alopecia. Hair loss - temporary or permanent - can be triggered by any number of factors. These can include allergies, irritants, toxins, burns, injuries, and infections. We also know that certain medications (especially anabolic steroids), chronic kidney failure, radiation, and chemotherapy can cause hair to fall out. Sometimes, hair loss may be due to a vitamin A overdose, iron deficiency anemia, a malfunctioning thyroid gland, fever, hormonal imbalances, or pregnancy.
I am 30 and am trying Rogaine and spironolactone but only stopped the loss and I want to try Propecia. I know about the side effects for a male fetus, but I have chosen myself that I do not ever want to create a child out of my body. I will adopt or foster, but have intense lockeophobia. I even agreed to sign a legal document saying such, but my doctor would still not prescribe me propecia unless I had had a hysterectomy. He said it was for safety reasons, but as far as I understand it the only safety issue would be to such a fetus that will not exist. So I am confused about his reservations.
The condition affects 0.1%–0.2% of the population, and occurs equally in both males and females. Alopecia areata occurs in people who are otherwise healthy and have no other skin disorders. Initial presentation most commonly occurs in the late teenage years, early childhood, or young adulthood, but can happen at any ages. Patients also tend to have a slightly higher incidence of conditions related to the immune system, such as asthma, allergies, atopic dermatitis, and hypothyroidism.
According to practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, hair health is tied to two things: kidney energy and the blood, which nourish the hair. The solution: acupuncture and Chinese herbs. While there isn't a lot of hard science to back this up, Maureen Conant, a TCM practitioner at Full Bloom Acupuncture in Seattle, says that she's seen women's hair stop falling out and then gradually regenerate after a few months of weekly treatments.
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.
I”m sitting here reading all your letters hoping that you’ve helped someone and hoping that you can help me, too. I’m 48 and all my life I’ve been told how beautiful my hair was. I now live in S Florida and within the last couple of years I stopped styling my hair because of the heat and the humidity. I usually wear it in a ponytail (never tight – I’m sure that’s not the problem). About a year ago I noticed athat a lot of hair was on the back of my car seat.I mean A LOT.When I went home to NY I tried to style my hair like I used to and it didn’t work. It just layed there.The more I looked I noticed how thin it was. I came back to Fl and went to a dermatologist who barely looked at me and told me to try rogaine.
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.
How many of us are out there… feeling alone and pretending to not be ashamed. As a child, I had so much hair that my mother used a thinning shears on my locks. In high school I had a glorious mane, cut into a ‘Gypsy’… what great pictures. By my mid-20’s I had to cut my hair short because it was so thin that it wouldn’t hold a style. Was diagnosed with PCOS and told that this syndrome, combined with heredity, caused my hair loss.
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.
I understand how you feel, I really do. I’ve spent so much time crying that I’m certain all my tears could have filled up an olympic size swimming pool by now. You must not give up hope, even when it seems there is none. It is so important. Without that I don’t know how I would get by. Once you say what city/state you are in, I really hope someone can recommend a good doctor. I think that is part of your despair, that you haven’t really been heard out by a physician and received the bloodwork you want and are entitled to.
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-
However, I had to post a reply to you when I read what you wrote yesterday. Girl, you have GOT to get a hold of your priorities. Trust me, I know what you are going through. I may not have your same exact situation, but it is close. I think you are so focused on this that you are likely deeply depressed. I am sorry to be so blunt, but I know when I am down, sometimes some straight talk is the just the thing I need to hear to get moving on and making positive changes.
I just came across this website and would welcome any recommendations on hair loss specialists in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA. I have an appointment with my family doctor in a couple weeks, and I’m sure she’s going to run blood work. I’m a 55 yo female and have been experiencing large amounts of hair loss in the past few months. I am generally in good health with the exception of some “structural” issues (scoliosis, etc.). Thank you!
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.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Oral immunosuppressants, like methotrexate and cyclosporine, are another option you can try. They work by blocking the immune system’s response, but they can’t be used for a long period of time due to the risk of side effects, such as high blood pressure, liver and kidney damage, and an increased risk of serious infections and a type of cancer called lymphoma.
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.
One is how much emphasis the company places on compliance, the major stumbling block in the efficacy of any treatment, said Dr. Senna, an author of studies on the subject. Prospective users are questioned about their ability to stick to a regimen because the extract must be applied every day, and they are told that the more conscientious they are, the better. Users are also reminded and encouraged with regular check-ins.
Men, oh yeah, different ball game. Just think how much money is spent on prostate research and medication versus female cancers!!!!! This IS a male society, but just smile, that makes you feel better. Do not let this get under your skin. KNOW who you are with or without hair, you are one fabulous person, loving and shining your light on this world. Step into that, claim it, own it. Whoever is unkind to you, just love them, bless them and wish them well. They have a bigger problem than you, trust me. And the WILL bump into it one day and not know what hit them.
CURRENT REGIMEN: 6 weeks ago I purchased Hair Essentials… and am seeing some fine hair growth. Weight loss & exercise can also heighten follicular dormancy. (Have lost 90 lbs. in the last year.) Important to maintain 50-60mg/daily protein levels, as well as routine multi-vitamin, higher levels of B-Complex, D and Calcium levels while dieting… heavily impacts hair, nails & skin. Am researching possible relationship between gastrointestinal health and hair loss.
so here i am. i’m ready to try the spiro, alone, especially after reading your posts. i’ve thought of shaving my head, and i may be closer to doing that. i keep my hair in a short bob since it helps not having it knot up when it’s longer, due to its fineness. i try to let it air dry, but blow drying it, upside down, adds volume. plus my curls do not really form anymore because of the texture. i have never counted my lost hairs individually, but i don’t need to have an exact number since just eyeballing what comes out every time i wash, comb, or just touch my hair is stressful enough. it’s hard to be in the sun. we hung out at a garden for Easter yesterday and the sun was burning my scalp. i have tried expensive shampoos, but nothing. i may look in to the toppik. i used to use this bumble and bumble brown hair powder, but since it didn’t quite match my color (it’s only available in three shades) it didn’t look so convincing. the toppik makes more sense since it’s a fibrous material.
My visit to Dr. Redmond (endocrinologist) was very informative. First, he confirmed that I was not going crazy. I am sure many of you have heard that from loved ones. It is true that was is noticeable to you and your eyes is not noticeable to everyone else. I do try and live each day to the fullest right now and not let what the future might hold (worse hair loss) bother me, but it is tough. After alot of normal tests, Dr. Redmond confirmed my suspicion that I am suffering from androgenic alopecia (AA or women pattern baldness). He has put me on sprironolactone 200mg in the morning and Yasmin (birth control) in the evening). I just started on this regimen so I will keep you posted. Here are the tests that he wanted to me to get done:
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.
Well, I got the news yesterday – at 61, vital and as healthy as anyone could possible ever wish to be, yep, hair thinning on the vertex and allopecia of the eyebrows, the latter are almost gone. It started probably 10 months ago, still donot know exactly why, but laser skin therapy on my face and arms for those liver spots may have triggered it. I went to see Dr. Shelly Friedman here in Scottsdale, AZ. His assistant is very, very knowledgeable and extremely empathetic and friendly. Long and short: no cure, no idea where it really comes from. BUT, now there is laser therapy, the so-called Laser Cap, FDA approved etc. You put it on 3x/wk for 45 min. at home, you purchase the cap, and within 3 months your hair really becomes fuller and actually it already starts to grow back within 4 weeks. That would be a good solution for the head. You will have to continue doing this for the rest of your life, or until the scientists have found a different solution.
Alopecia areata is thought to be a systemic autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks its own anagen hair follicles and suppresses or stops hair growth. For example, T cell lymphocytes cluster around affected follicles, causing inflammation and subsequent hair loss. It has been suggested that hair follicle in a normal state are kept secure from the immune system, a phenomenon called immune privilege. A breech in this immune privilege state is considered as the cause of alopecia areata. A few cases of babies being born with congenital alopecia areata have been reported.
I’m 42 and I noticed my front top and sides thinning about a year ago – a lot coming out when brushing after washing. I went to the doctor who happened to be African-American (I’m caucasion) and she actually asked me if I wore “corn rows” a lot! Needless to say, she was worthless and just prescribed me something for dandruff, which I do not have! I went to an endocrinologist to see if my thyroid or menopause was the problem – tests turned out honky dorie! Now I can see through the top of my head when the sun shines on it (scar-y) and I’m having to cover over the temple areas with sweeps of hair from the other side (interesting, the right side is much thinner). I will say that I’ve gone through hell and back with a mentally ill young adult but if it was stress, wouldn’t it have come out quicker than just in the last year (I’ve been dealing with his illness for 7 years now)?? I’ve heard that sometimes it takes 2 or 3 blood tests and doctors to finally see that one has thyroid problems. Is this the experience of others, and would I be throwing my money away by seeing my general practitioner?