TREATMENTS FOR HAIR LOSS
Alternative Treatments - Hair Extensions - Hair Loss Concealers - Hair Loss Prevention - Hair Regrowth Therapy - Hair Replacement - Hair Replication - Hair Systems - Hair Transplant Surgery - Laser Hair Therapy - Medications - Minoxidil - Propecia - Wigs
Hair Loss Treatments
Not all hair loss treatments are hair loss cures. It's vital to understand the difference.
There are countless hair loss treatments out there. There are as many hair loss treatments as there are hair loss conditions. If you are here seeking information about how to treat your own unique hair loss condition, you’ve come to the right place.
The most important thing to understand is that there is no “one size fits all” hair loss solution. Each hair loss condition – each situation – is unique to you. There are as many hair loss conditions as there are people with hair loss. It is important, then, to approach your search for a solution by asking yourself not “Which is the best hair loss solution?” but rather “Which is the best hair loss solution for me?”
The good news? There is a solution for you. Over the past five years, the hair loss treatment industry has utilized the new technologies and greater creativity and style to develop new products and new approaches in the areas of hair loss prevention, hair loss treatment, hair restoration and hair replacement. Nowadays, just about anybody who suffers from hair loss can find a hair loss treatment expert who can help them – in one way or another – to restore their natural appearance.
Take the time to perform your due diligence while researching hair loss treatments that will work for you. Read each article thoroughly and take notes and ask questions. At our salon, you can expect to find the most up-to-date information about hair loss conditions as well as free help from our expert, knowledgeable and compassionate Hair Loss Specialist who will assist you in finding the best possible treatment options for your specific needs.
Access our extensive knowledge base on the following hair loss treatments:
Hair Systems Work for Both Men and Women
A HAIR SYSTEM IS THE BEST HAIR LOSS SOLUTION TO RESTORE YOUR NATURAL APPEARANCE.
Whether the cause is genetics, medication or stress, the loss of hair can be addressed in many ways. Medications such as Rogaine and Propecia work for some. Hair transplant surgery might, or might not, be right for you. And among your non-surgical hair loss treatments are hair systems, also known as a “hair replacement.”
These are not your father’s toupees or your mother’s wigs. The techniques and technologies of 21st-century hair systems have redefined what it means to fight alopecia. Baldness is now truly just an option, in part because the hair replacement application is semipermanent. There is a broad range of what you can do to address thinning, patches or even advanced hair loss, and the solutions can be finely adapted to your head, your individual hair loss condition and your style preferences.
A modern hair system is also about common sense. The hair system that works for a 28-year-old will be quite different from what is right for a 58-year-old. There is a more natural, more realistic way of giving people back the hair they once had through a quality hair integration system. Just as important, this approach to managing hair loss is noninvasive.
Maintenance and cost questions can be answered upfront. Are you athletic?, Like to change styles?, On a budget? Investigate which hair replacement plan fits your available resources.
When you understand more about your options, you’ll be better able to work with an appropriate stylist as well. Professional stylists understand both technical and aesthetic features of good hair systems. When hair systems stylists are really good, they understand you and your needs.
Preventing Hair Loss Is Simpler Than Solving Hair Loss
HAIR LOSS PREVENTION REQUIRES AWARENESS AND EFFORT TO PAY OFF IN THE END.
Thinning hair does not necessarily mean you will become bald. To any person experiencing early signs of hair loss -- alopecia -- this is more than wishful thinking. It acknowledges that there are different reasons why hair becomes thin (“follicular miniaturization”) and less dense -- or disappears altogether. Once the cause is identified, there may be a means to halt or even reverse the loss.
Those causes include genetics, chemical exposure, scarring, hormonal changes (such as those associated with pregnancy and menopause), emotional stress or trauma, parasites, infections, poor or imbalanced nutrition and even methods of hair styling. You may know the reason you are losing your hair, but a professional diagnosis is probably the smartest place to begin looking for ways to prevent hair loss from progressing.
The good news is you don’t have to take it lying down. Hair loss prevention a generation ago was a tough fight. Some of the methods used back then didn’t work at all or didn’t work very well. Today, there are better ways to keep hair on your head. We know more about the various causes of hair loss and how to treat them. Better products, including pharmaceuticals, are available. Smarter ways of styling hair can help a lot. Sometimes, the solution might be to reduce stress in your life, adopt better nutrition habits and get some exercise -- not necessarily easy, but effective and beneficial to overall health.
And what if you like your new bald pate? Terrific -- some men and some women can look downright stunning with a shaved head. This is a matter of choices: you should be the one to decide about your appearance. Now you can.
Hair Replacement Restores Your Natural Appearance
THOUGH HAIR LOSS HAS MANY TREATMENTS BUT FEW CURES, MANY CONSIDER THE NONSURGICAL HAIR REPLACEMENT PROCEDURE SUPERIOR TO OTHERS.
Also known as "hair systems" the hair replacement procedure is a nonsurgical means to restore the look of the hair and scalp, as if there had been no significant hair loss. But interestingly, the best, highest-quality hair replacement systems account for age and other inherent characteristics of the client – enabling the system to take on a much more natural and convincing look as a result.
Alternative approaches are hair transplant surgery, the application of a topical hair restorative (e.g., Rogaine) or taking an internal medication (e.g., Propecia). Each is invasive in varying degrees, as is each approach's effectiveness in creating an inconspicuous, no-hair loss appearance.
With a high quality hair replacement procedure, each individual client's system is developed with artistry and skill, specifically for the head shape, hair color and age of the client. The replacement hair is expertly knotted to the mesh to convincingly create the illusion of natural growth.
The hairline is set according to where it typically would fall for a person of that age. Cowlicks and the natural part are important elements.
A growing number of celebrities and other public figures have undergone nonsurgical hair replacement procedures to counter their own hair loss. Without the illusion of their natural growing hair, their careers might face limitations. For millions of non-celebrities, the benefits can include career and relationship success, as well as a general sense of increased vigor and vitality
Medications Can Prevent or Stop Hair Loss
BUT IT IS IMPORTANT TO DO YOUR HOMEWORK BEFORE TRYING ANY HAIR LOSS MEDICATION!
Hair loss medications can work. After approximately 15 years of widespread use for each, Propecia (finasteride) and Rogaine (minoxidil) have proven to be somewhat effective at halting and sometimes reversing hair loss. Medications are not for everyone, but for the hundreds of thousands of users of both medications, hair loss was defied -- it was not a fate that had to be accepted.
Propecia in particular, taken orally, is effective for 86 percent of users. About half actually regrow some lost hair, while for the other half the loss is simply stopped from advancing. Rogaine, which is applied topically to the scalp, is effective for only about 50 percent of those who use it. Both medications are more effective when used by individuals under age 40. The earlier in their hair loss experience that either medication is used, the more effective the results.
As with almost all forms of medication, finasteride and minoxidil come with side effects. Some are minor (skin irritation and itchiness, occasional growth of hair in unwanted places), others more significant (male fetuses can suffer significant adverse damage if the mother is exposed to Propecia). The individual user and family members present in the household need to be informed when choosing to use hair loss medications such as Propecia.
With both medications, hair loss resumes with discontinued use. The positive effects of Rogaine, hair counts and thickness, diminish after about five years of use.
And a note to women: Propecia is prescribed to men only, owing to the potential for birth defects (it also does not work in postmenopausal women), but Rogaine can be more effective for you than for men. Rogaine is now available over the counter -- no prescription required.
All of which shows it is essential to do your homework before trying hair loss medications.
Hair Extensions for Fashion and as a Hair Loss Treatment
HAIR EXTENSIONS ARE ABOUT REDUCING THE STIGMA OF MISSING HAIR.
Hair loss happens in many ways. Typically associated with male or female pattern baldness (a general thinning of hair in both sexes that is also known as androgenetic alopecia or androgenic alopecia), hair loss can happen in irregular patterns as well. Alopecia areata, characterized by hair loss patches, is one such condition. Other patchy hair loss conditions result from medications, including chemotherapy, and scalp trauma.
There is no fully effective treatment for hair loss patches, although some success may come through topical corticosteroids, steroid injections and ultraviolet light therapy. About 20 percent of those who suffer from alopecia areata have family members with the same condition.
An increasingly popular hair loss solution is the use of hair extensions. Because these use noninvasive methods, many women and men who use hair extensions feel more comfortable with this approach. (“Extension” is sometimes an inaccurate term, since they can be used with shorter hairstyles as well, simply to fill in the bald spot.) Salon specialists have become adept at this form of hair replacement, which attaches to existing hair, not to the scalp. Newer technologies also provide options for their application -- a “cool” approach allows use by trauma and chemotherapy patients, while a time-proven “hot” method offers a broader range of styling options.
Which is exactly the point. Hair extensions are about reducing the stigma of missing hair. But they also allow the individual to explore new fashions, styles that can make for a whole new you. In this instance a hair loss patch can in fact open up an opportunity.
Early-Stage Laser Hair Therapy Can Be Effective
FOR THINNING HAIR, LASER HAIR THERAPY COULD BE THE PERFECT HAIR LOSS TREATMENT.
Laser hair therapy works -- specialists who administer it explain that it can improve hair count by 10 percent. While often confused with the removal of unwanted hair, hair loss laser therapy has found its adherents for several reasons. One is that it does not require taking hair loss medications, such as Rogaine or Propecia (however, some patients claim a synergistic effect from combining either with hair loss laser therapy). For people who are showing signs of becoming bald but are not ready to consider a hair replacement system, laser hair therapy is an option worth exploring.
How does laser hair therapy work? Hair loss laser therapists explain that it widens faltering hair follicles, stimulating them to repair and regain the ability to grow hair shafts that may have been getting smaller in the hair loss process. The person who seeks hair loss laser treatments while still in the early phases of thinning hair will experience the best results. The significantly bald person will not be able to stimulate growth in hair follicles that are largely defunct.
Notably, the FDA has cleared therapeutic baldness laser therapy for being safe. The agency does not vouch for effectiveness.
You can administer laser therapy yourself or have it professionally done. The methods involve different levels of diode exposure, with varying levels of results as well. In a laser hair therapy studio, a trained professional will guide and monitor the treatment, which typically involves three appointments per week. The at-home approach involves the use of hand-held laser combs and laser brushes and takes just as much time. Treatment at regular intervals is considered essential to success in stimulating hair growth.
Whether you try it at home, go to a salon or consider alternative hair loss remedies, you need to study your options.
Hair Transplant Surgery: A Hair Loss Treatment for Men
HAIR TRANSPLANT SURGERY IS A COMPLEX HAIR LOSS TREATMENT THAT REQUIRES ONE TO THINK AND THEN THINK AGAIN BEFORE PROCEEDING.
Hair transplant surgery has become one of several viable options for treating hair loss. Using either of two techniques -- trichophytic closure or follicular unit extraction -- hair transplant surgery is embraced by men and women who refuse to accept alopecia as a permanent condition.
But hair transplants can come with difficulty, challenge and cost. This is surgery, after all, and as such it is an invasive procedure that sometimes involves local infections and scarring.
Whether hair transplant surgery is successful or not depends on gender, ethnicity and age. This type of surgery works much better on men than women, largely because men’s hair loss falls into a distinct pattern, while women tend to get thinning hair that is evenly distributed across the head. The donor hair follicles come from the lower back portion of the recipient’s head; therefore, hair transplant surgery will leave that area, postsurgery, without hair. African-American hair is less transplantable, but hair transplant surgery for Asians and Caucasians is a more viable hair loss solution -- in all cases owing to the nature of their hair follicles.
The patient’s age can be a huge factor. Younger men who get hair transplant surgery may experience continued balding and require additional treatments later (they are advised to also take Propecia or use Rogaine). Future loss may leave odd bald areas, and transplantable donor hair might be depleted. Because of this, younger men are advised to wait until their full hair loss has occurred.
Because of the cost and the nature of this being an invasive procedure, persons considering hair transplants should work with only board-certified physicians who have experience in hair transplants.
Hair Regrowth Therapy Is a Multi-therapeutic Hair Loss Treatment
HAIR REGROWTH THERAPY RESTORES HAIR USING A HOLISTIC, MULTI-TIERED APPROACH.
Oftentimes the solution to a problem is not one thing but many things. When we talk about hair loss treatments, a "silver bullet" to treat hair loss doesn't really exist. That's why hair regrowth therapy programs were developed.
Hair loss conditions are different for each individual. For some, the cause may be genetic. Or it may be caused by something environmental. Perhaps nutrition is lacking. Maybe hair loss is due to all of these issues – and hair regrowth therapy might not be effective until each issue is addressed.
Hair and hair loss are - by nature - multi-factorial. The hair follicle suffers when hormonal and immunity functions attack it, as is the case in with androgenic alopecia (also called male pattern baldness or expressed as a generalized thinning of hair in women). But stress, inadequate or imbalanced diet, poor circulation, scalp infestations of various pathogens and other factors can affect hair health as well. A holistic approach to the causes can add up to an effective outcome – stem the loss and even rebuild and regrow hair that was lost.
For some who experience hair loss, a multi-tiered approach to hair regrowth therapy can involve medications, laser hair therapy and surgical solutions. These can include minoxidil or coenzymes, applied topically, or DHT blockers such as finasteride that are available in a range of dosages and taken internally. A scalp cleanser such as dexpanthenol, and shampoos and conditioners that are free of DEA (diethanolamine, which has worrisome effects on overall health as well) can supplement other hair regrowth therapies.
Many studios now offer hair regrowth therapy and have experts on staff. Most important is that you work with a qualified hair loss specialist who studies your individual hair loss condition. Develop a working relationship with this specialist – supplemented by your own knowledge on different hair regrowth therapies – such that you find the most effective, productive course of action.
Wigs Are a Timeless Hair Loss Solution
WIGS CAN BE FUN AND SIMPLE, BUT AS A HAIR LOSS SOLUTION, THEY CAN BE SERIOUS BUSINESS.
Wigs have been around since the ancient Egyptians, and they are still as important, useful and stylish today. Why still? This is a time when hair growth medications, hair transplant surgery, hair replacement systems -- and shaved heads -- are in popular use by millions of men and women alike. And yet wigs, which technically are a full head of hair, covering from forehead to nape and ear to ear, offer an option to anyone who has experienced a sudden loss of hair due to medication, surgery or trauma. As a hair loss treatment, wigs remain hugely popular as well.
A wig can also be a fashion choice, a way to change one’s appearance altogether or simply to restore a style that was lost because of thinning hair. Celebrities may wear them for performances or on the street -- for character, beauty or high drama. For many a wig can be a powerful way to make an aesthetic statement, regardless of whether it is a hair loss treatment or not.
Nevertheless, the selection, purchase and maintenance of a wig should not be a cavalier event. Wig wearers should consider how much time they can put into wig maintenance, whether they have the time to wait for a custom wig to be made, and if they desire a wig that conforms to styling changes. Variations in material (virgin or processed human hair or synthetic) and the anchoring cap selections (lace, machine-made, multidirectional, thin skin and capless) offer wig wearers many options.
Prices vary among these selections, with a wide range of costs. For individuals undergoing chemotherapy, some health insurers cover the cost of a “cranial prosthesis” (the medical industry term).
Are Alternative Hair Loss Treatments for You?
THERE IS NO GOOD REASON NOT TO CONSIDER ALTERNATIVE HAIR LOSS THERAPIES OR HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENTS.
You might be the kind of person who looks for natural alternatives to pharmaceutical products. Perhaps you are skeptical about medicines that could cause more harm than good. So it may make sense for you to consider alternative hair loss treatments in your approach to preventing and treating hair loss.
Indeed, homeopathic medicines have been used for more than 200 years in Western culture to address health problems. Traditional approaches to medicine and health in Chinese, Indian and many other cultures go back even further. And a large number of them directly address the loss of hair.
In modern approaches to hair loss treatment and prevention, herbal and natural remedies (think saw palmetto and antioxidants) have some clinical research that backs the claims of their proponents. In an exciting development, stem cell therapy is being researched and may one day provide a very effective approach to hair loss prevention. Each offers alternative therapies to the three hair loss treatments that are currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Propecia (finasteride), Rogaine (minoxidil) and laser hair therapy.
There is no reason not to consider alternative hair loss therapies or homeopathic treatments. Our bodies and our hair are able to respond to different stimuli, different interventions and different preventive measures. We see this in weight loss, addiction treatment, mental health challenges and general health. But what works for one may not work for the other -- and vice versa.
Of course, the informed consumer knows that alternative therapies can also have a downside, so better to be educated on how things work and how to find qualified practitioners who can safely and effectively deliver treatments. This section offers several articles to help you find the alternative therapies that may halt or reverse hair loss.
Hair Loss Concealers Work On Small Thinning Areas of Hair
SPRAY OR BRUSH-ON HAIR IS NOT AS SILLY AS IT SOUNDS. FOR PEOPLE WITH THINNING HAIR, IT CAN BE A QUICK, CONVINCING SOLUTION.
People experience degrees of hair thinning, often on the crown or top of the head. It may not be noticeable except when they expose that particular area. Their degree of hair thinning may not be so noticeable as to warrant hair transplant surgery or nonsurgical hair replacement, but may be addressed by use of a hair loss concealer.
Since hair loss occurs by degrees, the decision to use a concealer is a personal judgment call. As with concealers used on the skin to hide a blemish, hair loss concealers work to smooth out density differences over a small area, but is less convincing at hiding large and obvious thinning spots.
Such concealers are typically fibrous pigments that attach to existing hair or to the scalp itself, made up of polymers, keratin fibers, lanolin or other materials. In some cases, the fibers are electrostatically charged, drawn to existing hair as metal fibers are to a magnet. Otherwise, the concealer is in lotion or semi-solid form.
Hair loss concealers come in several forms to meet different needs: granular sprinkles applied with a shaker; aerosol, applied similarly to hair spray; brushed or wiped solids that coat and thicken longer shafts of hair to cover a thinning spot; and lotions that expand the volume of the hair itself.
Hair loss concealers work only when the haircut and hairstyle are appropriate. Most appealing, hair loss concealers and volumizers are a five-minute solution. With practice, the individual can incorporate the application of a concealer into daily grooming routines.
Hair Replication Replaces Hair With a Tattoo
COSMETIC SCALP PIGMENTATION IS A NOVEL AND PERMANENT HAIR LOSS SOLUTION. BUT CAN HAIR REPLICATION STAND THE TEST OF TIME?
Skin tattooing – permanent pigmentation of the scalp – is being used in studios and hair clinics as a technique to conceal hair loss. Like a pointillist painting, the sum of thousands of tiny dots creates a generalized impression of a full-haired but shaved head.
Men who prefer a very short "buzzed" or shaved hairstyle use this look. On them, the micro skin pigmentations replicate what the follicles would look like – if they were still there, actively producing hair. Women and men with longer hairstyles might use the technique to darken the scalp where they part thinner hair, or in a bald patch caused by something other than male or female pattern baldness. This effect is similar to topically applied concealers – except that tattoo hair replication will not wash out.
To be clear, hair replication varies between companies providing the treatment and, arguably, from artist to artist. A poor execution would include an unnatural hairline, or the use of pigments and applications that would lead the hair replication to "bleed" and fade (turn green) with time. Some companies claim to have overcome these issues with newer dyes and application techniques.
As with a decision to get a tattoo anywhere else on the body, hair replication scalp pigmentation is a decision of relative permanence and should not be taken lightly. Removal is possible but at a cost. The individual needs to ask, "is this what I want the rest of my life?"
If the answer is a firm "yes," he or she needs to study the technique and its purveyors carefully before making that commitment and choosing this option.
Hair Loss Conditions
Though there are many known hair loss conditions, most men and women suffer hair loss conditions unique to them.
Though we often use the generic terms “hair loss” or “baldness,” there are actually many different and varying hair loss conditions that affect both men and women. Many of these hair loss conditions are temporary, many are treatable and a few hair loss conditions are permanent, with no known treatment.
Some hair loss conditions are specific only to men and some are specific only to women. Each hair loss condition comes with its own individual cause as well as its own individual solution, and, as mentioned above, not all hair loss conditions have a solution or cure at this time.
Whether you are seeking greater understanding about your own hair loss, wanting to learn how to prevent a hair loss condition or how to treat a particular hair loss condition, you've arrived at the right place. As with any condition that threatens the quality of our lives, the best thing one can do is to educate one's self; to learn all one can learn about the condition in order to gain the tools and understanding in order to solve it.
This is particularly true when preparing for any type of meeting or consultation with a hair loss professional. The more you know and understand about your hair loss condition, the more you will be able to participate in planning your own treatment.
Hair is important in our lives. We often don't realize how important it is until we begin to lose our hair.
At our salon, you can expect to find the most up-to-date information about hair loss conditions as well as help from our expert, knowledgeable and compassionate Hair Loss Specialist who will assist you in finding the best possible treatment options for your specific needs.
Access our extensive knowledge base on the following hair loss conditions:
Male Pattern Baldness
Female Pattern Baldness
Cancer-related Hair Loss
- Telogen Effluvium
Male Pattern Baldness Can Be a Treatable Condition
Male pattern baldness is a genetically driven hair loss condition.
The importance of hair in our lives cannot be overstated. Whether we are men or women, when we lose our hair for any reason, we lose much more than our natural, youthful appearance. We lose the self-esteem and self-confidence needed to simply face a new day or even to enjoy life's simple pleasures.
The fact that most male pattern baldness -- interchangeably referred to as either androgenic alopecia or androgenetic alopecia -- is genetically driven delivers a sense that hair loss is inevitable. And because male pattern baldness often seems to be a marker of aging, its onset can be a wholly unwelcome event.
There are factors that can speed up the hair loss process, while men who are experiencing androgenic alopecia can also fight the condition. Adopting healthier lifestyle habits will always improve appearance and might slow down the loss. But medications (minoxidil and finasteride), surgery, laser treatments, hair replacement systems and other methods can reverse hair loss and improve overall appearance.
But be advised: There are many snake oil products that claim they can reverse hair loss. The fact that a majority of men experience some degree of hair loss provides a solid marketing opportunity for unscrupulous vendors, largely hawking their wares on the Internet. The smartest way to sort those products/techniques that are scientifically valid from those that are useless is to understand how alopecia functions and what has proven to work over time.
Female Pattern Baldness: All Too Prevalent in Women
In most cases, female pattern baldness has much less to do with genetics.
The widespread incidence of female pattern baldness is one of the great under-discussed medical conditions in modern society. More than half of all women experience some degree of hair loss by the age of 80, with many of them initially losing their hair after giving birth; others from stress, aging and/or menopause; some because of genetics (in the maternal line); and still others owing to medical or pharmaceutical causes.
No matter the cause of hair loss, the importance of hair in our lives cannot be overstated. Whether we are women or men, when we lose our hair for any reason, we lose much more than our natural, youthful appearance. We lose the self-esteem and self-confidence needed to simply face a new day or even to enjoy life's simple pleasures.
Regardless of whether the hair loss is due to genetics, thyroid conditions, hormone imbalance, pregnancy, medications or menopause, it should be addressed first with medical attention. Underlying and potentially serious issues need to be ruled out. Once that is assessed, a visit to a hair loss specialist-stylist is highly advised.
There are solutions for anyone experiencing female pattern baldness or hair loss. Some medications may be advised. Laser hair therapy, hair transplantation, hair replacement systems, concealers, extensions and wigs are viable options. Some types of hair loss, such as with stress-induced or postpartum pattern baldness, are naturally reversed over time with no intervention beyond stress management techniques such as meditation.
Still, it pays to study which condition may be affecting you. Many questions are answered here -- with advice on where to go for an individual diagnosis.
Hair Loss Has Both Physical and Emotional Effects
Hair loss is a condition that affects those regardless of age, gender or race.
The importance of hair in our lives cannot be overstated. Whether we are men, women or children, we rely on our hair to protect our heads from the sun and the cold. We rely on our hair to frame our faces and to provide balance in our facial features.
How we wear and style our hair can be a powerful statement expressing what our values are, who we are, what we believe in and how we see the world. It takes merely one glance for us to make assumptions about people based on how they style and wear their hair. Do they wear a short, conservative hair style? Do they wear their hair long? Do they wear traditional ethnic hairstyles such as cornrows, dreadlocks or Mohawks? Our hair is a powerful tool in our arsenal for self-expression.
We learn just how important our hair is to us when we lose it. When we lose our hair from any hair loss condition, we lose much more than our natural, youthful appearance. We lose the ability to express ourselves with our hair in the same way others do; and we quickly learn how we’d taken such matters for granted.
When we lose our hair, we often lose the self-esteem and the self-confidence needed to simply face a new day or even to enjoy life's simple pleasures. We feel self-conscious at social functions or intimate situations. We have to do quite a bit of extra preparation if we intend to spend a day at the beach or anywhere exposed to the sun.
It is important for us to understand the significance of our hair in our lives and to understand what we lose when we lose our hair. When we do, we can then begin to ask whether our hair loss condition is something we can accept. If we do accept our loss, we're better for it, for no hair loss solution exists that is simpler and less expensive than acceptance. As many of us learn, however, it isn't always that simple. Oftentimes when we lose our hair, we don't even realize how much we've lost until we get it "all" back.
If we cannot accept our loss, for any or all of the good reasons that exist not to, we then need a plan of action. We need to be educated and informed about our particular hair loss condition so we can plan the next step toward restoring or replacing our hair.
Cancer-Related Hair Loss Requires Experienced Pros
Cancer-related hair loss can be as devastating as the cancer treatment itself.
Some people say the prospect of hair loss from chemotherapy devastates them as much as the cancer itself. And because it is a process -- chemo hair loss generally begins with large patches of hair on the pillow, followed by an uneven fuzziness -- it may feel like a downward spiral. The psychology of cancer hair loss can impact the body’s ability to fight the disease and tolerate medications.
There are many hair loss salons and specialists who understand and are skilled with the challenge of hair loss from chemotherapy. Several have themselves experienced chemo hair loss and speak about approaching it in stages: This could include cutting hair shorter in preparation for when chemotherapy will cause the hair to fall out (usually, about three weeks after treatment begins).
As a patient you have options -- determine if a wig, hair replacement system, scarves or a professional shave will best suit your style. Many individuals choose a combination, conveying a saucy attitude that treats this as an opportunity to try different looks.
Working with the right salon is key. When making an appointment to visit a salon in order to address your chemo-related hair loss, try to determine in advance if personnel are familiar with your type of condition. Ask outright, “Do you have experience with chemo hair loss?” Are they aware that the scalp may be more sensitive during this time period? Do they have an area that affords you private discussions with your stylist? And can you approach your hair loss from chemotherapy in phases, beginning even before you start treatment for your cancer?
Hair loss remedies might positively affect your medical condition. Study those here as much as you might pharmaceutical, dietary and exercise paths to recovery.
Trichotillomania: A Hair Loss Condition Not Well Understood
Trich is a condition whereby those who have it compulsively pull out their hair.
One in 50 people feel a strong compulsion to pull out their hair, and researchers aren’t entirely sure why. It is a condition known as trichotillomania, which affects individuals over the age of 12 up through adulthood. Hair pulling is not necessarily associated with mental illness, as there are many happy, well-adjusted people who have it, while in others it may be a symptom of larger issues such as anxiety, stress, trauma and other emotional disturbances.
The first challenge for most patients with trichotillomania is to acknowledge it. This hair pulling leads to bald patches on the scalp (some patients pull eyelashes, eyebrow hair, or facial or body hair), and a medical doctor such as a dermatologist may be the first to make a diagnosis. Treatments suggested by the Trichotillomania Learning Center include cognitive-behavioral therapy, medications, support groups and alternative therapies, such as biofeedback, hypnosis, dietary changes, meditation, yoga, prayer and herbal treatments.
Hair loss salons that specialize in “trich” should be sensitive to the psychological underpinnings and affects of this condition. Parents of children with trichotillomania have a difficult time with the unexplained hair pulling and the bald patches that result, and they need to be part of the treatment as well. Ultimately, treatment must be compassionate and objective. “We don’t make value judgments as to the reason for your hair loss."
Often, the hair can grow back. Our hair specialist can examine bald patches to determine if hair pulling has caused permanent or temporary damage -- existence of hair stubble is an indication the roots are intact.
Learn what alopecia areata is and why experts think it happens.
Spotty or complete hair loss on the scalp -- alopecia areata -- is generally due to an autoimmune response. This can result in baldness patches, complete hair loss from the scalp and partial or total body hair loss.
What is going on? The natural immune system is malfunctioning, treating hair follicles as it would harmful bacteria, viruses and parasites. It attacks those follicles in specific areas (spotty hair loss on the scalp), over the entire scalp or head (known as "alopecia totalis") and sometimes over the entire body ("alopecia universalis").
As with any form of hair loss, alopecia areata can be psychologically distressing. But it does not generally mean other medical problems are present. Sun exposure and other irritants affecting exposed skin are the primary health concerns. The condition is believed to have genetic causes, but stress may precipitate its onset. Spotty hair loss can begin in childhood, so both physiological and psychosocial factors are critical.
There is no known treatment or cure for alopecia areata; however, its symptoms can completely reverse themselves and hair regrowth does occur. But because there are no known means for making this happen, individuals who experience any degree of this condition -- spotty hair loss, complete scalp hair loss or complete body hair loss -- should consider either embracing the look or, for alopecia areata and alopecia totalis, acquiring some form of hair replacement system.
Particularly because spotty hair loss on the scalp often affects children, it is natural that parents will seek out information and ways to address this condition.
Alopecia Totalis Causes Total Hair Loss of the Scalp and Face
Alopecia totalis is a rare skin condition with no cure but a few good solutions.
The cause of alopecia totalis is not completely understood, but it is actually a dermatological condition, a skin disease rather than a hair loss disease. It is characterized by a total or near-total loss of hair on the head: scalp, facial hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. Children are most often affected, but it occurs in adults as well.
What causes it? No one knows for sure, but it seems to occur with frequency within families, suggesting a genetic factor. For some, it coincides with stressful events, but for others it arises from seemingly no good reason. There are no other symptoms associated with alopecia totalis. It sometimes reverses itself spontaneously, when hair growth resumes without treatment.
Functionally, it is an autoimmune response in that the hair shafts are rejected by the individual’s immune system. On a more limited level, this same loss occurs in patches (known as "alopecia areata"), or as a complete loss of all hair all over the entire body ("alopecia universalis").
There are no medications or cures for the condition. Hair replacement systems – or embracing the look in all its beauty – are two ways in which persons with alopecia totalis live with the condition. Emotionally, alopecia totalis can be devastating. Individuals with the condition might seek counseling or join support groups.
Just as the cause of the condition is not fully understood, it is sometimes a misdiagnosis of other disease conditions. Individuals with total hair loss.
Alopecia Universalis Causes Hair Loss Over the Entire Body
Though no cure exists, nonsurgical solutions offer hope to alopecia totals sufferers.
A loss of hair on the head clearly signals a change in appearance. But when hair disappears all over the body, it can be emotionally alarming. This condition is called alopecia universalis.
Functionally, alopecia universalis is an autoimmune response in that hair is rejected by the individual’s immune system. It is considered a skin disease, because it is the visible portions of the hair shaft that are lost, not the roots (follicles) themselves. To a much lesser extent, this same type of loss occurs in patches (known as “alopecia areata”) or a complete loss of hair on the head (scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes and facial hair, called “alopecia totalis”).
Just as with the totalis and areata versions of alopecia, the hair follicles remain alive and some individuals grow their hair back. But there is no treatment that is known to work – regrowth is stimulated from as of yet unknown signals in the body, allowing the hair to somehow overcome the autoimmune response. Cortisone pills or injections may cause regrowth, but only while receiving those treatments (which come with challenging side effects).
Ironically, men and women alike, with typical hair growth patterns have been known to pay thousands of dollars to remove hair from the face and body. Yet, those suffering from this particular condition can suffer a great deal emotionally. While there is no known "cure" for alopecia universals, there are a few good aesthetic solutions, including hair systems, a nonsurgical solution that has so improved over the years, that they provide much hope and comfort to those suffering from all alopecia conditions.
The Good News? Traction Alopecia Is Fully Preventable
Traction Alopecia is seen mostly in African-American women.
Millions of people damage their hair by wearing styles that pull too tightly on their hair. Known as traction alopecia, this type of hair loss is caused by styles such as cornrows (popular in the African-American community) or simply tight ponytails, which can pull hair out by the roots and traumatize the hair follicles. Aside from loss of hair, traction alopecia can be characterized by red bumps, infections, papules and pustules. Thinning is first noticed at the hairline and wherever the hair is gathered -- any place where hair is braided or otherwise pulled tightly.
Traction alopecia is a treatable condition, and in most cases it is reversible. Step one is to change your hairstyle to something looser. Step two is to address any skin infections that may linger. For African-Americans who use hair relaxers and straightening irons (flatirons), those practices also need to be discontinued. If the follicles are infected, antibiotics applied topically or taken orally may need to be used in combination with cortisone injections or creams. In some cases a temporary regimen of minoxidil (Rogaine) might help to simulate hair growth.
If braiding, a ponytail or cornrows define your style, you need to search for a different way to wear your hair. Trimming the hair very short may help to establish a new style by allowing the damaged follicles to recover, but expect the process to take at least six months. A wig or other hair replacement system might be used to ease the transition. Using soft accessories and experimenting with new styles will reduce the damage from pulled hair loss.
Scarring Alopecia Is Also Called Cicatricial Alopecia
A host of conditions – pathogenic and idiopathic inflammation, as well as self-inflicted follicle damage – can lead to hair loss.
Sometimes called "cicatricial alopecia," scarring alopecia is a broad term used for many different scalp disorders that can damage or destroy hair follicles and can lead to permanent hair loss.
Scarring alopecia is an irregular and asymmetrical form of hair loss, often characterized by patchy bald spots or a jagged hairline. Sometimes the skin where the hair was lost is smooth, but in other instances it can be blistery, scaled or have decreased pigmentation.
Scarring alopecia is divided into two categories. The first, primary cicatricial alopecias, occur when hair follicles are destroyed by inflammation of various origins. The category is perhaps more perplexing because the actual cause can be uncertain. What is known is that inflammation can destroy the stem cells and sebaceous glands at the upper part of hair follicles, leading to permanent hair loss.
The second category is due to an external injury, radiation, burns or tumors. This group also includes CCCA, central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, which results from damaging hair styling methods, such as from tight braiding, chemical relaxers and hot comb treatments (follicular degeneration syndrome).
Can cicatricial alopecia be stopped? Sometimes yes, sometimes no, but some forms of it can be easily prevented. An accurate and early diagnosis is an advantage, of course. People with one of these conditions should work with a qualified dermatologist to identify the cause and potential treatments. There are many surgical, topical, and alternative treatments to help in treating the different variations of this type of hair loss condition.
Serious Cases of Dandruff Can Cause Hair Loss
Itchy, flaky scalp conditions are usually a natural, universal process. But some conditions are more than simple dandruff.
Everyone knows what dandruff is and everybody has had dandruff to one extent or another. It typically involves an itchy scalp, white flakes – and social embarrassment to many. But while most dandruff can simply be treated by diet and with the use of anti-dandruff shampoo, other symptoms that look like dandruff may reveal something more serious; skin and scalp conditions that require a more intensive approach to treatment.
Other dandruff-like conditions include eczema, inflamed follicles, contact dermatitis, psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis. Dandruff is considered more of a skin condition and less of a hair loss condition, but serious cases can lead to hair loss.
Simple dandruff is a natural and necessary part of being human. All old skin sloughs off, everywhere on the body, in order to allow new skin to emerge from below. It's a vital renewal process. In most cases, simple and regular shampooing removes dandruff. The methods by which you shampoo your hair can also reduce the presence of simple dandruff on your scalp, in your hair and on your shoulders.
With more serious conditions, a medical approach may be necessary. A dermatologist should be consulted for more advanced conditions like Eczema, fungal infections and Folliculitis (inflamed follicles).
Whether it is simple dandruff or something more problematic, read this section to explore the full extent to which an itchy, scaly condition might affect your appearance – and how you can stop it.
Folliculitis: Inflamed Hair Follicles that Can Cause Hair Loss
A bacterial or viral infection of the hair follicles can be the cause of folliculitis.
It may be easy to ignore small bumps or pustules in the scalp for a variety of reasons. You may think it is a simple pimple, as acne occasionally occurs in the scalp. Also, inflammation and irritation is not typically visible past the hairline, depending on where it falls and how you style your hair. Sometimes, skin infections will just “go away.” Sometimes, they will not.
Unfortunately, some scalp infections cause hair itself to go away – permanently. Folliculitis typically occurs where there is a break in the skin, allowing entry of bacteria (including the serious staph infection known as MRSA), viruses or fungi, including yeast infections. These infections of the hair follicles can occur anywhere on the body – humans have hair almost everywhere – which in the scalp may be due to shaving, tight braiding, an injury or a chemical burn (such as from a styling or dyeing treatment).
Entry of the infectious pathogen into the skin break is more likely under certain conditions: poor hygiene, being immuno-compromised (such as with HIV, or if you are diabetic), submersion in dirty water (hot tubs, dirty natural streams and ponds, unchlorinated pools), the habitual wearing of hats or headgear, excessive use of hair pomades that block pores or long-term use of antibiotics or steroid creams.
Health officials suggest home treatments of folliculitis (e.g., a warm compress of white vinegar or medicated shampoos). However, it the condition persists for more than two weeks, medical attention should be sought. If a patient allows the infection to continue, it can result in the death of the follicles themselves, rendering that area hairless. Once the hair follicles are gone, hair will not return.
Telogen Effluvium: Sudden Hair Loss that Is Usually Temporary.
Medications, physical or psychological trauma can cause telogen effluvium.
A sudden loss of hair is disconcerting to almost everyone. But that is what occurs with telogen effluvium, when normal daily hair loss increases by a multiple of five or more.
Telogen effluvium is a specific type of hair loss that occurs in the third of three major phases of hair growth. The first is the anagen phase, which is followed by the catagen and then the telogen phase.
About ten percent of a healthy adult’s hair is in the telogen phase. But a physiological or psychological shock to the individual can prematurely shift anagen-phase hair into the telogen phase. Those shocks include pregnancy, post-partum and menopause (hormonal shifts in the mother’s body), physical trauma, severe caloric restrictions (e.g., anorexia and bulimia), metal poisoning, severe blood loss, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, lupus, liver disease, end-stage renal diseases and malignancies. The classic emotional stressors – the death of someone close to you, career disruptions, divorce – as well as medications (anticoagulants, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, retinoids) can have this effect as well. But note: the hair loss effect of these shocks is delayed, therefore one needs to think back several months to make the cause-effect connection. For example, women often get telogen effluvium three months after giving birth.
While there is a type of telogen effluvium that is chronic, most cases are resolved with no treatment. The chronic condition would persist if it is caused by a medication the individual takes or a psychological state that continues. However, in cases where hair grows back only in miniaturized form, it is a type of telogen effluvium that precedes male pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia) which is a permanent condition when left untreated.