What you should know about Hair Loss

By admin
September 17, 2014

The stereotype of poor Elmer Fudd and his familiar hairless crown may be funny in the cartoons, but hair loss and baldness are nothing to laugh about when it happens to you. The average person loses 50 to 100 hairs a day. If you are noticing that your hair is shedding in large amounts after combing or brushing, or if your hair is becoming noticeably thinner, there are some things you should know. Luckily, most causes of hair loss can be stopped or treated.

What causes hair loss? Genetics is responsible for 95 percent of all hair loss reported in both men and women in this country. In fact, some 50 million American men and 30 million American women are affected by hereditary hair loss. The additional 5 percent of hair loss cases can be attributed to a number of factors.

• Medications to treat high blood pressure, heart problems, depression or gout, as well as chemo-therapy or radiation treatments for cancer.

• Unusually high levels of vitamin A or low levels of iron or protein.

• Birth control pills.

• Thyroid disease, severe infection, flu, fungus infections such as ringworm of the scalp.

• Childbirth.

• Stress.

A man has a 50% chance of experiencing hair loss by his 50th birthday.

How is the cause of hair loss diagnosed? To properly diagnose the cause of hair loss, a dermatologist will ask the patient for a detailed history. This includes medications, allergies, family history and diet, as well as for women, a record of menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. Then, there will be a thorough examination of the hair, which typically involves a detailed inspection of the hair and scalp. The dermatologist may also check hair distribution over the rest of the body to see if there is too little or too much hair in other areas. Scalp biopsies also may be used to make or confirm a diagnosis of hair loss and to determine the best course of treatment.

How is hair loss treated? Rogaine (topical minoxidil) and Propecia (finasteride) are the only drugs approved by the FDA to treat pattern baldness (hair loss resulting from hereditary causes).

Rogaine is a topical solution that is applied by directly rubbing it onto the scalp where hair growth is desired. Only about 10% to 14% of the people who try this lotion experience hair growth. However, Rogaine lotion can help to slow hair loss.

Propecia is the first pill that can treat male pattern hair loss. Like all prescription products, it should be given under a doctor’s care. While it is effective, if treatment is discontinued, results may not be maintained.

Permanent hair loss can also be treated by hair replacement procedures, including: micro-grafting, slit grafting, punch grafting, and by scalp reduction. The type of hair loss as well as the patient’s circumstances and desires determine which hair replacement procedures are most suitable.

What new hair loss treatments are in the making? There are new advances in hair loss treatment that are not yet approved for use, but are showing great promise in effectively treating hair loss.

Cell-Based Hair Follicle Regeneration: This treatment takes cells found around hair follicles and grows them in a lab. The cells are then re-injected into the scalp to help grow hair.

Latisse: Rebooting hair follicles with cells is not the only avenue of research. Latisse, the drug that is FDA-approved for eyelash growth, may also help regrow hair on the scalp.

Combination Therapy: Another approach might involve combining a drug like Latisse with a certain type of medication commonly used to treat allergies and asthma. The medication blocks a hormone-like substance that prevents hair from growing, potentially improving hair growth.

Even how you style and care for your hair can cause hair loss.

What you can do to prevent or slow hair loss.

Practice good hair care. Many people are surprised to learn that a hairstyle or even the way they wash and dry their hair can contribute to their hair loss. By following tips that dermatologists give their patients, you can learn to stop damaging your hair.

Do not stop taking a medicine that your doctor prescribed. Some medicines can cause hair loss. Doctors warn that you should not stop taking a medicine that your doctor prescribed if you see hair loss. Immediately stopping some medicines can cause serious side effects. If you think a medicine may be causing hair loss, talk with the doctor who prescribed the medicine. Ask if the medicine could be causing your hair loss. If the medicine seems to be the cause, ask your doctor whether you can take another medicine.

Realize that your hair loss may be temporary. Some things in life cause temporary hair loss. These include illness, childbirth, and stress. During a very stressful time, your body may react by causing more hairs than normal to go into resting phase. The medical term for this condition is telogen (tee-lə-jen) effluvium (ih-flu-vee-uhm). During telogen effluvium, the body sheds a dramatic amount of hair. For most people, the hair will start to grow again without any help.

Make an appointment to see a dermatologist. Many things can cause hair loss. If hair loss concerns you, be sure to see a dermatologist. A dermatologist can find the cause and tell you what to expect. Treatment for hair loss helps many people feel better. Hair loss, especially in women, can cause low self-esteem. Many women feel unattractive and embarrassed. A dermatologist can offer solutions to help you feel and look your best.

Source: The American Academy of Dermatology

8 Hair-Care Habits That Can Damage Your Hair

1. Washing your hair by rubbing shampoo into the length of your hair

Changes that can help prevent hair damage:

• Gently massage shampoo into your scalp.

• When you rinse the shampoo from your scalp, let it flow through the length of your hair and resist the temptation to rub it into your hair.

2. Skipping the conditioner

Change that can help prevent hair damage:

• Use conditioner after every shampoo.

3. Drying your hair by rubbing it with a towel

Changes that can help prevent hair damage:

• Wrap your hair in a towel to absorb the water.

• Let your hair air dry.

4. Brushing your hair while it is wet

Changes that can help prevent hair damage:

• If you have straight hair, let your hair dry a bit before you gently comb it with a wide-tooth comb.

• If you have textured hair or tight curls, always comb your hair while it is damp, using a wide-tooth comb.

5. Using a blow dryer, hot comb, or curling iron

Changes that can help prevent hair damage:

• Let your hair air dry when possible.

• Use the lowest heat setting.

• Limit the time a hot comb or curling iron touches your hair.

• Use these tools less frequently, aiming for once a week – or even less often.

6. Pulling your hair back tightly, such as in a ponytail, bun, or cornrows

Changes that can help prevent hair damage:

• Wear hair loosely pulled back.

• Use covered rubber bands made especially for styling hair.

• Try a different hairstyle that does not pull on your hair.

7. Coloring, perming, or relaxing your hair

Changes that can help prevent hair damage:

• Try to add more time between touch-ups, especially when the air is dry. In the winter, try to stretch the time between touch-ups to every 8 to 10 weeks or longer.

• Have only one service – a coloring, relaxer, or perm. If you want more than one service, perm or relax your hair first, and do it 2 weeks before you color your hair.

• Use conditioner after each shampoo.

• When in the sun, protect your hair by using a leave-in conditioner that contains zinc oxide or wearing a wide-brimmed hat.

8. Pulling or tugging your hair to style it

Changes that can help prevent hair damage:

• Use a wide-tooth comb, and use it gently to comb your hair.

• Avoid pulling and tugging on your hair as you brush, comb, or style it.

• Remove tangles gently, using a moisturizing conditioner if necessary.

Source: The American Academy of Dermatology

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