Hair is an important part of our identity. As such, it can greatly affect our self esteem and confidence. With an average of 100,000 hairs on the top of the head, most of us spend a lot of time and money grooming and styling our hair. Considering the effort we put into our hair care, it’s understandable to feel concerned when you notice thinning hair or discover bald spots.
Both men and women can experience hair loss at any age. The causes vary but the most common cause of hair loss is Androgenetic Alopecia, which is more commonly known as male or female patterned hair loss.
WHY HAIR LOSS OCCURS
It is normal to lose an average of 100 hairs a day. However, if you are finding that your hairs are not regrowing as quickly, then you are experiencing hair loss.
An astonishing 95% of hair loss in men is caused by Androgenetic Alopecia. It is also is responsible for approximately 40% of hair loss in women.
With Androgenetic Alopecia, it is widely believed that hair loss occurs due to miniaturization of hair follicles. Some hairs on the scalp can become sensitive to a byproduct of testosterone, Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and causes the hair follicles to shrink. Overtime, the hair follicles become smaller and weaker, and eventually they stop growing.
Other causes of hair loss are:
- Telogen Effluvium
- Hormonal changes
- Age where the rate of regrowth naturally declines
- Poor diet or nutrition
- Side effects of medications or medical treatments
- Medical conditions
- Traction Alopecia
- Alopecia Areata (bald patches caused by an autoimmune disorder)
- Alopecia Totalis (a skin disorder that causes complete baldness of the scalp)
Some hair loss can be of a temporary nature. Telogen Effluvium occurs after a stressful, shocking, or traumatic event which causes the body to shed hairs, usually at the top of the head. Fortunately, after a period of recovery, the body will begin to regrow hair in the area.
HAIR LOSS SOLUTIONS
While there are numerous treatments for hair loss, it is important to recognize why you’re losing hair in the first place. If your hair loss is not caused by Androgenetic Alopecia, it may resolve itself in due time. Those affected by Androgenetic Alopecia will find that results can only be seen with consistent use of hair loss treatments for an indefinite amount of time.
There is currently no hair loss cure so ongoing treatments are highly advised to slow down the rate of hair loss and actively stimulate hair growth. Some of these hair loss solutions may include one or more of the following:
Low-Level Laser Light Therapy
Low-level light therapy is a FDA-approved treatment to promote hair growth. Prolonged, continuous usage has shown to improve hair density and increase the diameter of the hair shaft, resulting in thicker, stronger hair. Best of all, there are no reported side effects with this treatment.
Topical and Oral Medications
Medications such as minoxidil, finasteride and dutasteride have shown to stimulate hair growth. Topical applications using minoxidil As with any medication, there may be some side effects and contraindications so it is important to seek advice from your doctor who will assess your suitability.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a concentration of platelets and growth factors extracted from one’s own blood. PRP technology has been widely used in many medical and surgical fields for its tissue healing and regenerative properties. Recent studies have shown that with regular PRP treatments for hair loss results in an increase in hair density and count. It is important to note that there is no standardized method of preparing PRP so there will be variations in the composition of PRP produced, leading to different results.
Surgical Options (Hair Transplant and Scalp Reduction)
Hair Transplantation is a surgical procedure which involves harvesting hair follicles from the back and sides of the scalp and transplanted onto bald areas. These hair follicles are not sensitive to DHT and are less likely to undergo miniaturization. There are currently a few different types of hair harvesting techniques such as strip harvesting, follicular unit extraction (FUE), follicular unit transplant (FUT) and robotic hair transplant.
In scalp reduction, the aim is to decrease the size of the bald area. This procedure removes a section of the bald area and then stretches the scalp which contains hair over the removed portion. Sometimes tissue expanders may be used to help stretch the skin.
It is important to note that with surgeries, there may be scars that may be obvious and that these procedures cannot stop hairs that have not been transplanted from being lost.
What can I do about my hair loss now?
It’s important to ask how hair loss affects you and your confidence. As mentioned, there can be multiple causes of hair loss and it may even be temporary.
The first step is to make a note of when you’ve noticed thinning hair or bald spots and monitor it. You can look at your diet and ensure you do not lack the vital nutrients hair needs. Hair growth supplements may help improve the condition of the hair, however, it alone cannot prevent hair loss.
If your hair loss is progressive and you are seeking hair loss treatments, click here for a list of available practices that can help you.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.