Thinning Hair, Hair Loss and Baldness
Hair loss can affect the scalp or body. It can be the result of heredity, hormonal changes, medical conditions, or medications.
Gradual thinning on top of head is the most common type of hair loss, affecting both men and women as they age. In men, hair often begins to recede from the forehead. Women typically retain their hairlines but have a broadening in the part of their hair.
Causes of Hair Loss
WebMD states that hair loss is typically related to one or more of the following factors:
- The most common cause of hair loss is a hereditary condition called male-pattern baldness or female-pattern baldness. It usually occurs gradually with aging and in predictable patterns — a receding hairline and bald spots in men and thinning hair in women.
- A variety of conditions can cause permanent or temporary hair loss, including hormonal changes due to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and thyroid problems. Medical conditions include alopecia areata which causes patchy hair loss, scalp infections such as ringworm, and a hair-pulling disorder called trichotillomania
- Hair loss can be a side effect of certain drugs, such as those used for cancer, arthritis, depression, heart problems, gout and high blood pressure.
- Radiation therapy to the head. The hair may not grow back the same as it was before.
- Many people experience a general thinning of hair several months after a physical or emotional shock. This type of hair loss is temporary.
- Excessive hair styling or hairstyles that pull your hair tight, such as pigtails or cornrows, can cause a type of hair loss called traction alopecia. Hot oil hair treatments and permanents can cause inflammation of hair follicles that leads to hair loss. If scarring occurs, hair loss could be permanent.
What Can We Do to Prevent Hair Loss?
Protein is important to strengthen hair and promote growth. The recommended daily amount is about two to three 3-ounce servings of meat or a combination of four to five servings of dairy and beans.
Include nuts and seeds, eggs, and fish in your diet. All are important sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower inflammation and create a healthier scalp.
Supplement with zinc, biotin, saw palmetto, and iron, if you are deficient.
Minoxidil is available as Rogaine or Theroxidil, or in generic form. It’s sold as a liquid or foam and in two strengths: 2% and 5%. Minoxidil works for about 2 out of 3 men. It’s most effective for people under age 40 who have only recently started to lose their hair.
Rogaine has primarily been tested only on the crown of the head in men, and so it is not recommend for use on the front of the scalp. However, note that minoxidil cannot reverse or move a receding hairline, nor can it regrow hair on a completely bald scalp.
Rogaine side effects are:
- rapid weight gain
- headache, dizziness, confusion
- swelling of hands or feet
- chest pain
- rapid heart rate
- severe scalp irritation
- unwanted facial hair
Hair transplants are typically associated with men seeking a remedy for male-pattern hair loss, but the number of women looking to the procedure has been on the rise.
Hair transplants are not suitable for everyone. The person must have enough donor hair to supply the areas that are thin or balding. Those with male pattern baldness, caused by high level of the male hormone androgen are the best candidates for this procedure.
There are two different methods for achieving a successful hair transplant, both of which require local anesthesia. Healthy hair follicles are harvested from the back of the head either by extracting a thin ellipse of the hair-bearing scalp and closing the area with sutures or by extracting individual hair follicles one by one
However, the high cost of transplants may be prohibitive for many people.
Wigs and Hairpieces
Tina Turner, Raquel Welch and Sean Connery look fabulous in them. You may be able to pull a wig or a hairpiece off, but many people, especially men find them uncomfortable and fake looking.
PRP (platelet-rich plasma) therapy for hair loss is a three-step medical treatment in which a person’s blood is drawn, processed, and then injected into the scalp.
PRP injections trigger natural hair growth and maintain it by increasing blood supply to the hair follicle and increasing the thickness of the hair shaft.
Four to six treatments are necessary to see improvement. These quick and affordable injections take just a few minutes and don’t require any downtime.
PRP promotes hair growth when follicles are present. People with extreme hair loss or non-existent follicles are generally not candidates for this PRP hair treatment.
Bald is Beautiful
Studies have found that bald men are viewed as more honest, intelligent, dominant, confident, masculine, and stronger than their hirsute counterparts.
Before you decide on a treatment, please give us a call to learn more about PRP and read:
Read more about PRP and hair regrowth from the Cleveland Clinic