Hair Skin Care Hair Loss

Millions of Americans suffer from hair loss. While many people think of hair loss as a male problem, females can also experience it. Although some people embrace their hair loss, the condition causes embarrassment and a decrease in self-confidence for many. Luckily, however, there are a number of steps you can take to stop hair loss or slow the progression of hair loss.

Hair Loss Facts

Conservative estimates indicate that more than 60 million Americans suffer from hair loss. Approximately 40 million of these people are men. In fact, almost 50 percent of all men over the age of 50 suffer from some form of hair loss.

Causes of Hair Loss

There are a number of factors that can contribute to hair loss. For instance, people who have suffered an illness or who have undergone a major surgery may experience significant hair loss three or four months after the event. This type of hair loss is temporary, as it is caused by stress.

Here are some other causes of hair loss:

  • Diseases: Hair loss can be an early sign of such diseases as lupus and diabetes.
  • Genetics: Many people who experience hair loss have inherited the condition. This is especially true of male-pattern baldness, hair loss that results in a receding hairline and baldness on the top of the head. Women can inherit female-pattern baldness, in which hair thins over the entire head.
  • Hormonal Changes: Changes in hormones can cause hair loss. Thus, people with thyroid problems or people who have an imbalance of the so-called male and female hormones (androgens and estrogens, respectively) can suffer from hair loss. Correcting the hormone imbalance will often stop the hair loss in these cases.

    Women who have recently given birth often notice hair loss. This is also related to hormones.

  • Infections: Children can experience hair loss from fungal infections of the scalp. The infection can be cleared with antifungal medications.
  • Medications: Certain medications can cause hair loss. Medicines that carry hair loss as a side effect include blood thinners, gout medications, chemotherapy medications, birth control pills and anti-depressants. If a person if experiencing hair loss due to medications, hair loss will improve when the medication is stopped.
  • Poor Diet: In order for hair to grow properly, it must receive the proper nutrients. Thus, people who don’t eat well, including people with anorexia, can suffer hair loss.

Hair Loss Treatments and Products

The treatment for your hair loss will depend greatly on its cause. For instance, if your hair loss is caused by a medication, you can halt hair loss by stopping the medication or switching to another prescription. Likewise, if you hair loss is caused by an illness, treating the illness will help prevent hair loss.

Male-pattern baldness and female-pattern baldness can be slowed or prevented with a variety of hair loss products. Minoxidil, which is known by the brand name Rogaine®, is available without prescription and can be applied to the scalp to help prevent hair loss in both men and women.

Finasteride (brand name Propecia®) can also help prevent hair loss, though is available only by prescription and cannot be used by women.

It is important to note that you might not see any results from hair loss products for up to six months.

Hair transplants, in which hair-producing follicles are moved from one area of the scalp to thinning or bald areas, are also available to treat hair loss.

If you want to help prevent hair loss but do not want to resort to medicines or surgery, you should use extra caution when caring for your hair. Avoid such accessories as elastic bands and headbands, which can cause the hair to break. Also, avoid styling your hair with heated appliances, including hair dryers and curling irons.

Resources

American Academy of Family Physicians (updated December 2006). Hair Loss and Its Causes. Retrieved November 7, 2007, from the familydoctor.org Web site: http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/men/general/081.html.

Bauman, Alan J.; von Dahlem, Damien Richard (n.d.). Why Is My Hair Thinning? Retrieved November 7, 2007, from the Hair-Styles.org Web site: http://www.hair-styles.org/hair-thinning.html.