Each hair develops from a follicle — a narrow pocket in the skin — and goes through three phases of growth. Anagen (A), the active growth phase, lasts two to seven years. Catagen (), the transition phase, lasts about two weeks. During this phase, the hair shaft moves upward toward the skin's surface, and the dermal papilla (the structure that nourishes cells that give rise to hair) begins to separate from the follicle. Telogen (C), the resting phase, lasts around three months and culminates in the shedding of the hair shaft.
While diet alone won’t save your hair, there may be some truth to the old adage that you are what you eat. “You’re not going to have the healthiest hair if you’re living off doughnuts, because being nutrient-deficient weakens strands and makes them more prone to breakage,” says Denise Kernan, owner of DK Hair Techs, Inc., a member of the International Society for Hair Restoration Surgery, and a hair transplant technician who has worked on everyone from senators to sports stars to actors to mafia guys (she won’t name names to protect the privacy of her clients).
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.
I want to first write that I am not a fan of hair transplants for women, I personally think that most women with androgenetic alopecia are NOT candidates for this procedure. Having said that, I get emailed all the time from women looking for a good hair transplant surgeon. If you are deadset on having a consultation, please visit the International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons. The IAHRS (http://www.iahrs.org) is an organization that selectively screens skilled and ethical hair transplant surgeons. Read my thoughts about hair transplants here.
Even though modern folklore, and even some limited scientific studies, have suggested that the mother's side of the family is largely responsible for a genetic predisposition toward baldness, the truth is balding is not all our mothers' fault. In fact, doctors now say baldness patterns are inherited from a combination of many genes on both sides of the family. There are some environmental factors that come into play, too.

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. 
“While nutritious eating isn’t going to bring your hair back by any means, eating plenty of protein-rich foods and healthy fats can make the hair that you still have look thicker and shinier.” Skimping on the B vitamins in particular can interfere with the formation of hair cells and, therefore, hair growth. The best sources of Bs are protein-packed foods like chicken, fish, eggs, and pork, as well as leafy greens such as spinach. (These foods are also good for melting belly fat, so it’s a win win).
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.

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.
Hi everyone. I too am suffering with hair loss. I first noticed it 2 years ago, but really took notice this past summer. I am in my early 30s and single which has made things worse. it is hard to date and meet someone when you yourself are not very confident. I do have hope. Aside from strong prayer, I have gotten hope from Dr. Geoffrey Redmond. I am also a physician, so after reading his book which I thought was logical and truthful, I decided to go see him. I have spent countless hours online researching into what would be right for me. Here is some of my insights.
In-office laser light treatments or at-home handheld devices, such as the HairMax LaserComb, supposedly grow new hair by stimulating blood flow to the area (think: an amped-up version of a scalp-stimulating shampoo). Just don’t expect the device to make your noggin go from looking like George Costanza’s to Jerry Seinfeld’s. “These lasers won’t grow any new hair. If anything, they may just help you hang on to some of the hair that you already have a bit longer,” says Dr. Joyce.
Most people naturally shed about 50 to 100 hairs a day, but sometimes men and women can shed much more, leading to thinning hair, hair loss, and over time, baldness. The causes of this hair loss can be a result of hormones, underlying medical conditions, and even certain medications like antidepressants, high-blood pressure medications, and NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications). Sometimes, hair loss is purely genetic and can run in families.
There can be several factors behind hair loss such as environmental effects, aging, too much stress, excessive smoking, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalance, genetic factors, scalp infections, use of wrong or chemically enriched hair products, certain medicines and medical conditions like thyroid disorder, autoimmune diseases, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), iron-deficiency anemia, and chronic illnesses.
Interesting reading all the stories, I had great hair until 15 years ago,and then the texture of my hair drastically changed. It be became “dead hair” wirery. I call it it my chicken feathers just taking its time to fall out which it has done over a long period of time, but I now have bald spots on the sides and thinning in my bangs. I started buying wigs years ago knowing that this was something that was inevitable. I’ve had all the tests and tried all the products, nothing..just curious if anyone else has had the “dead hair” issue
In the field of aesthetic medicine and cosmetic surgery, Dr. Williams advances the philosophy and disciplines of prevention, longevity and anti-aging medicine. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery, Fellow of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, and a board certified primary care physician. He is and member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Physicians, and a Fellow and active member with numerous leadership committees with the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery. Dr. Williams is the founder and principle physician and surgeon at the Irvine Institute of Medicine and Cosmetic Surgery-Orange County Hair Restoration. Finally, he is a contributor to U.S. News & World Report medical blog.
*Photograph used with permission of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. This photograph was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Vol. # 60, Gathers RC, Jankowski M, Eide M, et al. “Hair grooming practices and central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia,” 660-8. Copyright Elsevier (2009). Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.   
Topical immunotherapy (i.e., contact sensitizers) is the most effective treatment option for chronic severe alopecia areata (Table 5).6 Response ranges from 40 to 60 percent for severe alopecia areata, and reaches approximately 25 percent for alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis.6 Because of potentially severe side effects, only clinicians who have experience with these agents should prescribe them.
Hi, I’m 25 years old, and started having hair loss at 15. It started and has continued to thin around my hairline only on one side, to the point that one side is receded and extremely thin. About a year and a half ago, my overall scalp started thinning as well. It’s been about a year since I’ve dyed my hair and I rarely ever put hairspray or any other chemical in my hair. I try to just wash it and let it air dry in fear that anything I do will make more hair fall out. I haven’t been to a doctor at all so far because I’ve never had health insurance. I’m about to have insurance next month and will be looking for a doctor to go to ASAP. I’ve been trying to look online and see what information I can find about what’s happening with me, but I dont’ see anything about a similar case to mine. I used to have long, thick hair and could do anything with it, and now it’s short and thin, and I can never style it at all, and my receding hairline on my right side has me so self conscious. I live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, does anyone have any suggestions to my situation or a reputable doctor in this area? 

Greetings ladies, I am so happy I found this website. I have a 19 year old daughter who has been experiencing hair loss for the past 5 years. Throughout high school, she wore hair weave to camouflage what was going on. She is now a sophomore in college and wants to wear her natural hair. It is frustrating her because we don’t know why its happening. Does anybody know of a good endocrinologist in Chicago? Do you think treatments varies depending on ethnicity? She is African American. 

Hi I need help I am not sure what doctor I need to see, one day I started to have lots of back pain and my lower left side real bad I went to bed and when i shower lots of my hari started to fall off, I mean I loose my hair but not as much and I just wanted to cry when I saw lots and lots coming out. My hair is so thin now and you can see the bald spots im ony 35 and Im not sure if its my hormones or not. Can someone help me and let me know which doctor is best to see for hair loss
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