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!
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.
I’ve been to five doctors. Two of them made fun of me. Only one doctor was remotely interested in my hair loss. He prescribed propecia, mens Rogain, and told me to take 2600 ml of biotin a day. My hair is still falling out. I am almost bald. None would give me any tests to determine the cause (other than thyroid, which has been done twice). The doctors tell me it is hereditary. If they could see my family, they would know that is not true. No one that I know of in my blood line has lost their hair. I am beside myself. I barely leave the house anymore. I wish I could find some help somewhere.
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.
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.
Graccey, you are spot on with the PPD allergy. It is amazing how difficult it is to connect the dots. It took me a year to figure it out. It caused 2 very aggressive cases of TE, my hair is not coming back on it’s own. I have been using Johnson and Johnson baby shampoo (I put one baby aspirin in it to balance the PH level because it is very alkalinity and the baby aspirin is an acid that brings it down, a lot of research to figure that one out too, but I just put the baby aspirin in an ounce of filtered water to dissolve and pour it in the baby shampoo) but anyway it was the only thing I wasn’t sensitive to and yes you are right it is something that continues to progress and makes you sensitive to all chemicals. I went a year without coloring my hair to allow it to rest. And now I will only foil it leaving 1/2″ of roots showing. This has devastated me beyond. I have just started using rogaine and the hairmax comb (for scalp health) I don’t think the comb helps with hair regrowth but it does seems to help with scalp health. It is a miracle I can use rogaine but it does seem to be helping. I use the women’s 2% every other night. Good luck with your regrowth. You are right on with the PPD and I think it is much more common than people think!
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.
Susan – I am horrified to read that two of your doctors actually made fun of you… oh my gosh that is awful! I’m so sorry you had to go through that. I am also surprised that your doctors wouldn’t do any bloodwork other than thyroid. What City/ State do you live in? Maybe someone can recommend a doctor in your area that would be more helpful. While many times bloodwork results end up coming back normal there is that possibility that your results would point to something that may be the cause of your hair loss, especially since you say you have no genetic hereditary hair loss in your family. I know you stated your hair is still falling out, but do you see any results from the propecia and mens rogaine? When did your hair loss start?
@Amanda P. I regrew my hair and you can too. -I've been bleaching my hair on and off since forever. My hair wouldn't grow any longer it would just snap off. I've dreamed about having thick, long hair. And when I say dreamed, I mean it quite literally. So i decided to do something about it. My friend suggested Biotin when we were talking about my hair loss.
I know that Planned Parenthood offers thyroid screening, should I try there to get mine checked to see if this is why my hair is thinning? I have no health insurance, I’m unemployed, and between feeling depressed and just incredibly tired, I don’t know how I can get a job and wait until benefits kick in to actually see a doctor. It’s so depressing. I always had fine hair, but a lot of it. It was shiny, mostly straight with a little wave, but now it’s just, what I consider to be, disgusting. I hate how my hair looks and it’s gotten to the point that I’m so stressed out I don’t even want to eat anymore. Which sounds awful, but I eat and I feel entirely not hungry and almost nauseated. I think it’s the tremendous stress. I’m afraid to call Planned Parenthood because part of me doesn’t want to know if there’s nothing that can be done, but do you think they can test for PCOS as well? My periods were always normal. I got it when I was 12, about 3 months before I turned 13, and they were like clockwork. Then when I was about 15/16, my grandparents died and that was a major shock and I got a few grey/white hairs, still not thinning/balding. Then when I was 17, I dyed my hair almost black because I was depressed, but hated it, tried to remove the color with over the counter stuff, and my hair turned into straw and was brassy orange. I ended up perming it at 18 because it was so frizzy and a friend convinced me that it’d be easier to just wear it curly than to keep blow drying it straight only to have it fuzz up/frizz up. This is probably tmi, and I’m sorry, but I need to vent. I was raped at 18 (a virgin) by 3 boys. I started eating a bunch of junk and withdrawing. I was always what I consider a chunky girl, but my weight has ballooned up since then. I have so much stress and the stress of this is exascerbating my hair loss I think, but I also fear I might have either hypothyroidism or PCOS, or potentially both. I’m even fearful I could have Cushings. The problem is that I don’t have health insurance anymore and any job I get will take about 3 months to kick in as far as benefits go. I just feel like it’s so unfair. Of course life isn’t fair, but still, it’s like this never ending circle for me. I can’t get to the doctor and get help without a job, but I don’t feel I can actually function without going to the doctor because I feel lousy. Oh, and my periods are all out of whack. I bleed monthly, but it’s like ceaseless. It’s so depressing knowing something is wrong, and having no hope to fix it. Thanks for listening.
A little farther up the follicle is the mysterious feature called the bulge. That's where follicle stem cells live. When they get the right set of chemical signals, these self-renewing cells divide. They don't divide like normal cells, in which both halves become new cells that keep splitting and developing. Only one half of the follicle stem cell does that. The other half becomes a new stem cell, and stays put for future regeneration.
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.
Women also may experience AGA, often with thinning in the central and frontal scalp area but usually without frontal–temporal recession (Figure 3). A history and physical examination aimed at detecting conditions of hyperandrogenism, such as hirsutism, ovarian abnormalities, menstrual irregularities, acne, and infertility are indicated. Laboratory tests are of little value in women with AGA who do not have characteristics of hyperandrogenism.5
Hair transplants will likely lead to better results in the long run (you are introducing new hairs to the balding areas), but you’ll still need to use minoxidil or finasteride after surgery to maintain the results. Like all hair loss treatments, hair transplants are best when combined with other methods, and you’ll want to speak with your doctor to see what combination is best for you.
Playing around with your haircut can sometimes mask the issue, so talk to your stylist about a style that will add volume and bounce, making hair appear thicker. Simply shifting your part can work wonders, and changing up your color can help, too. Light reflects more off lighter hair, so the color provides less contrast between the hair and the scalp, concealing any empty patches. Additionally, a light perm or wave will give hair more body and make it look thicker, and frequent trims will help prevent breakage.
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.
Ann, I’m so sorry to hear about your home. That breaks my heart for you. I wish you the best in recovery of your home and blessings on your finances. But I do have to say I think that only losing 20 sounds like a dream! I absolutely know that my TE was triggered by PPD in hair dye. I only wish that I would have figured it out sooner. I was forewarned with itching for a year, no dandruff flaking or anything just itching and that was my body trying to heal itself against the allergy and the all hell broke lose on my head! Please keep me posted propecia; I wouldn’t even look for any improvement for 6 months though. But please be here when you do see it! Have a blessed day!
I’m going to see an endocrinologist, a trichologist, a hematologist and a gastroenterologist and maybe this Dr. Redmond. I’m done with ‘hair loss experts’ pushing cosmetic surgery and trying the all around approach. My insurance is crap, but….Anyway, thanks all for your stories and knowing I’m not alone in hair loss and the fight against disinterested medical establishment. xxx
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.
Hi,this is really tough for me and I don’t know what to say. I have always lost a lot of hair but I had a ton of hair. However,my mom commented that she noticed that it has thinned out more than usual and it has. And today, I just took picture of the top of my head and see a spot. Like you Lisa, I am completely freaked out, I am two weeks away from my 34th birthday. Sorry, Lisa I don’t know of any doctors except for my dermatologist that I am calling tomorrow and I found an endocrinologist through United Healthcare that I will call. I’m so upset that the crying just won’t stop. What worries me is that I’ve been on aladactone for about a year for acne (but was only at 50 mg) BUT she did up the dosage about 5 months ago (but only consistently take at the 200 mg for 3 months). But my fear is that the aladactone didn’t help prevent it for me. But the thinning out has been noticeable since about May/June of this year so maybe there is hope. Now, I have to put in there I went through a very stressful period from March until now. And had a rapid weight loss of 35 pounds (went from 168 to 133) and I’ve been doing a lot of running. But my concern is my sister has female pattern balding and so does my mom so I am very worried. My sister said the doctor said to up her protein and get super b-12 complex which I started two weeks ago, my sister said she has seen some regrowth. Today, I went and got biotin, magnesium and iron. And bought Nioxin shampoo as i heard it help give the appearance of more hair. I am calling the doctors tomorrow in hopes that it really was just my rapid weight loss, I have to admit I was under a lot of stress and barely eating, I’m eating better now though but again it runs in my family and I am completely freaked out. Lisa if I have any success I will let you know who my doctors were. Know that I too, live in Phoenix and am going through the same thing. It is hard, now I am afraid my boyfriend will leave me. Keep faith.
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.
What is a Dermatologist? A certification by the Board of Dermatology; practitioners treat pediatric and adult patients with disorders of the skin, mouth, hair and nails as well as a number of sexually transmitted diseases. They also have expertise in the care of normal skin, the prevention of skin diseases and cancers, and in the management of cosmetic disorders of the skin such as hair loss and scars.
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.
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.
The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of hims, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.
Results from several small studies suggest that biotin supplements may improve thinning hair and brittle nails. Less commonly known as vitamin H, biotin is part of the B complex vitamins, which help your body metabolize fats and protein. Some experts even recommend a daily supplement for everyone since it’s generally safe and pretty hard to get too much of it.
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.
I want to say that all of you are very courageous and sharing. I appreciate everything I have read here. Thankfully, I am starting out in a slightly better position – I still have a fair amount of hair left. I started with a HUGE amount of hair. For the last 6 – 12 months, I have been losing handfulls of hair in the shower every morning, then some more when I comb it out, then a bit more when I put styling product in it, then just a bit more during the day. The shower is the huge hit, though. I’m 37 and on a ton of medication – synthroid, neurontin (an amitryptiline derivative), anti-depressants, and a host of pain medications for a degenerative back problem. I brought my hair loss up to a doc around the time it started, since I was already on synthroid, he re-tested my levels, and said everything was fine. My hair structure has always been on the thin side, but there was just so damn much it didn’t matter – now there is a lot less. What used to take upwards of 20 minutes to dry with a dryer, now takes 5. I’ve been worried about it for quite a while, and didn’t know what to do. I started my on-line research today with hair extensions and stumbled on this site. I am encouraged that I’m starting my search for an answer relatively early in my hair loss journey. I have some great advice and questions to go in to see my doc about. If anyone has any recommendations for the Boise, ID area for a dermatologist and endocrinologist, I would really appreciate it.
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.
My hair started thining out this past year. I notice my hair falling out when i got pregnant with my son. I got diabetes with my pregnancy. my scalp itches and it hurts. It feels like i had my hair tied up so tight and let it go. it hurts to move my hair. i saw a dermatologist and said it was due to the stress of child birth. it has been over a year and is still falling out. has anyone heard of this and what i can do. My Pcp check my hormone levels and said everything is fine. I need help.
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.
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.