Hair loss on your head or parts of your body can be concerning. Thinning hair can be temporary or permanent due to aging, medical conditions, heredity, and hormonal changes. Your hair loss treatment should match the reason for the thinning.
Once you know why you are losing hair, you can start treatment to slow loss and boost hair regrowth. Depending on how far into the shedding process, you may be able to use over-the-counter medication or opt for a surgical procedure.
What Causes Hair Loss?
Hair falling out is not unusual. You typically lose between 50 to 100 hairs each day. Hair regrowth replaces the hairs normally lost. But when hair regrowth cannot keep up with loss, a receding hairline becomes more noticeable.
The following can cause hair loss:
- Aging and heredity
- Hormonal changes
- Medications and supplements
- Stress and deficient nutrient
- Hairstyling and products
Heredity and aging are the most common causes of hair loss. Hair loss due to heredity is gradual and occurs in patterns similar to the previous generation. For instance, sons may have the same receding hairline as their father or their mother’s father.
Internal factors that alter your body’s chemistry can cause thinning and loss. Hormonal changes, for instance, can cause temporary or permanent hair loss. Women can experience hormonal changes during pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause. Both men and women with thyroid problems can experience loss of hair.
A side effect of some medications and supplements is hair loss. Medicines for arthritis, cancers, depression, heart problems, and high blood pressure can cause hair loss.
Stress can have an incredible effect on your body. From upsetting your sleep cycle to losing hair, the chemicals released during stress can have negative consequences. A sudden loss, such as a job or a loved one, could trigger a physical reaction resulting in hair loss.
If your diet suddenly changes or has consistently been unhealthy, you could experience hair loss. Improper nutrients or an imbalance can affect different parts of your body and its system.
Your hair routine and products can affect regrowth. Keeping your hair pulled back tightly every day, for example, could change how your hair regrows. Products with harsh chemicals, like hair bleach and hot oil, can irate your scalp and cause scarring and, consequently, a bald spot.
How to Find the Reason for Your Receding Hairline
If your parents or grandparents had thinning hair or baldness, heredity is an almost certain reason for your hair loss. However, the root cause of all hair loss is not as easily determined.
To diagnose hair loss, your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your:
- Diet to see if nutrition is a factor.
- Family history to rule out heredity.
- Medical history to rule out medication or illness causes.
- Haircare routine to see if products, techniques, or practices could affect hair regrowth.
Your doctor may run a blood test to check for an underlying medical condition. A pull test is when your doctor gently pulls a lock of hair to see how many come out. This test shows where your hair is in the thinning process.
A scalp biopsy requires a sample of skin, which can show if there is an infection. Your doctor may use light microscopy to look at trimmed hairs and determine a problem with the hair shaft.
Hair Loss Treatment for Women and Men
Hair restoration, or at the slowing of loss, is possible. Most effective treatments include medications and surgery. Over-the-counter treatments include topical creams, shampoos, and conditioners.
If your loss is from a medical condition, you will need to treat the condition first. Hair loss from medication may return once you can safely stop taking the drug.
For male- and female-pattern baldness from heredity, you can use prescription and non-prescription medications. The most popular medications are:
Available as foam, liquid, or shampoo, this non-prescription, over-the-counter option can help you regrow your hair and slow your hair loss rate. It would be best if you used it at least daily and, in some cases, twice a day.
Minoxidil women is specially balanced for females. Alopecia treatment for men has twice or more of minoxidil.
It also takes at least six months to see the results. Hair regrowth is contingent on continual use, meaning hair loss will return if you stop using the products.
Some people experience side effects like scalp irritations. Other side effects can include unwanted hair growth on hands and face.
Available by prescription, this DHT blocker effectively treats thinning hair and causes hair regrowth. DHT is short for the hormone dihydrotestosterone that binds to hair follicles to shrink them. As follicles shrink, regrowing hair thins to fine baby hairs and then completely nothing.
A DHT blocker prevents the hormone from binding to the follicle. This hair restorer combines several ingredients, including rosemary oil, pumpkin seed oil, biotin vitamins, ketoconazole, or more.
The best hair growth serum may be no competition for other treatments. In addition to oral and topical medications, other medical therapies could restore your hair.
Other Hair Restorer Options
Hair transplant surgery is a fast and permanent treatment. It uses what hair you have left to restore your appearance. Using micrografts and mini grafts, a cosmetic surgeon redistributes growing hair samples to the bald area.
Although surgical, the procedure does not require hospitalization and is not typically covered by health insurance. Side effects of the treatment can include bleeding, bruising, swelling, and possible infection.
Light or laser therapy irradiates photons into your scalp to encourage hair growth. Weak cells absorb the photons to stimulate circulations and stimulation.
Laser therapy is less invasive than transplant surgery and painless. It also has no side effects.
However, laser therapy has less consistent results. Older patients – those older than 60 – are less likely to see results. Likewise, it should not be an option if you take certain medications that are photosensitizing, which makes your skin sensitive to light.
A trichologist is a hair and scalp specialist who can help you determine why you are experiencing hair loss and the best possible treatment. You can do an online search for, “trichologists near me” or ask your primary care physician for a recommendation.