For many people, hair is part of their identity. Whether yours is long, short, curly, wavy, or straight, you probably feel that your hair is part of what makes you who you are. That’s why hair loss can be so devastating, even though it is fairly common.
Developing bald spots on your scalp or losing a considerable amount of hair all at once can make you feel self-conscious and sad. Whether hair loss is permanent or not depends in large part on what is causing it. In many cases, there are things you can do to reverse or slow down the loss of your hair.
The first step to treating hair loss is understanding what’s behind it and what your options are.
Causes of Hair Loss
Before jumping into the causes of hair loss, it’s worth pointing out that some shedding is normal. The average person loses around 100 strands of hair per day. That’s normal shedding and shouldn’t be a cause for concern.
Some factors can disrupt or interfere with the normal and natural pattern of hair growth and shedding. In certain instances, more hair than usual can be shed all at once. Following abnormal hair loss, the hair might not grow back as it should.
Genetic factors are often behind hair loss. In fact, one of the most common causes of baldness or lost hair is female- or male-pattern baldness, which occurs when hormones disrupt the hair growth cycle. The hair follicles shrink in size and eventually are unable to produce thick new hairs. In men, this type of hair loss is often identified by a gradually receding hairline until only a horseshoe of hair remains on the sides and back of the scalp. In women, hair loss tends to be more diffuse, occurring as hair thinning all over the scalp.
External forces can also cause a person to lose their hair. Certain stresses and shock on the body on your health such as drastic change in diet, prolonged illnesses, pregnancy, anemia and vitamin deficiencies can result in sudden hair shedding called telogen effluvium. When this happens, more hair than usual moves into the resting, or telogen phase. Eventually, the resting hair strands fall out. Since more of them are shed than usual, the resulting rapid loss can be alarming. The good news is that most people see their hair grow back, as long as the illness or stress goes away.An autoimmune condition called alopecia area can occur when your own body attacks the hair follicles, leading to bald patches. Traction alopecia can occur when a person regularly wears tight hairstyles, such as braids, cornrows or ponytails. Fortunately, these causes of hair loss are not scarring, which means the hair follicles are not permanently destroyed.
Can You Prevent Hair Loss?
Some hair loss can be prevented, depending on the cause. For example, you can wear your hair in looser styles if braids or ponytails are causing it to fall out. Avoiding stressful situations and eating a healthy diet can help to prevent telogen effluvium. If medications are causing you to lose your hair, switching to something different or stopping the medicine entirely (with the OK of your doctor) might help.
In the case of male or female pattern baldness, you might not be able to prevent the inevitable, but there may be things you can do to slow down the progression of the hair loss.
Treatment Options for Hair Loss
When people notice that they are beginning to lose their hair, one of the first things they do is start using minoxidil, also known as Rogaine. You apply Rogaine topically to the scalp where you’ve noticed some loss of hair. The medicine can help to slow down the rate of loss and can help new hair regrow. The only caveats are that it can take a long time to see results (usually around six months) and you need to continue using it to see ongoing results.
Another potential treatment for hair loss is PRP therapy. Platelet-rich plasma, aka PRP, comes from your blood. It’s been used to help heal injuries more quickly and to help rejuvenate the face. It’s also used to help restore lost hair.
Treatment involves taking a sample of your blood, spinning it in a centrifuge to separate the platelets, then injecting the platelets into the areas of the scalp that are balding. The PRP encourages news hair growth from the follicles.
If you are concerned about thinning hair, schedule a consultation with Dr. Diane Walder, a leading dermatologist in the US. Dr. Walder and her colleagues offer PRP therapy at her practice. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Walder or one of her associates, call 305-866-2177 today.