THE MORE YOU KNOW AND UNDERSTAND ABOUT THE MANY REASONS FOR HAIR LOSS AND HAIR THINNING, THE MORE YOU CAN DO TO PREVENT OR TREAT IT.
Hair loss can occur in men, women and children at any age for many reasons and sometimes for no known reason at all. The more you know about it, the more control you will have over your own hair loss. Test yourself with these 10 true-or-false questions.
1. Male pattern baldness is completely predictable.
True. Male pattern baldness is usually related to age and heredity, so hair loss experts can predict, based on your genetic history and your current state of hair loss, how your hair loss may progress. When hair follicles being to shrink and die, there is a definitive pattern associated with the onset and progression of the hair loss and hair thinning.
2. Female pattern hair loss is completely predictable.
False. Female pattern hair loss is much trickier to diagnose, and instead of occurring in a pattern of progression, hair loss or thinning usually occurs all over the head, although a widening part line is often the first symptom. The genetic mechanisms behind female pattern hair loss also are not as well understood as those in male pattern hair loss, so the progression of female pattern hair loss is much harder to predict.
3. Once hair loss becomes noticeable, then you should begin treatment.
False. You should seek a consultation with a hair loss specialist and a dermatologist as soon as hair begins to abnormally fall out. Don’t wait. Research has shown that once hair follicles have died, they do not regenerate but if they are still alive, they will respond to FDA-approved treatments such as topical minxodil and internal finasteride as well as laser hair therapy, to help follicles regrow hair and to keep the hair growing, as long as you continue treatment.
4. Hair loss or hair thinning is not a side effect of medication.
False. Your medications may very well be the culprit in your unexplained hair loss, especially if you are taking beta-blockers (blood pressure medications), certain oral birth control pills, isotretinoin (for treatment of acne), antidepressants (serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SRIs) and certain cholesterol-lowering drugs. Doctors find that not every medication with a listed hair loss side effect will cause hair loss or noticeable hair thinning in every individual. If you take medications regularly, it’s worth it to ask your doctor if they could be causing your hair loss. Usually hair grows back if you discontinue the medication or switch to another that does not list hair loss as a side effect.
5. It can be normal to lose a lot of hair all at once.
True. This condition is called telogen effluvium, which occurs as a result of either a physical trauma to hair follicles, such as from a burn or even from taking chemotherapy drugs, or a physical or emotional trauma to the body, such as a car accident, child birth or even the loss of a loved one. In most cases, hair loss will normalize and regrow as the body and mind return to health within about six months.
6. A dermatologist is a hair loss specialist.
True. A dermatologist is a medical doctor who is trained in disorders of the skin and scalp, which includes hair follicles. If you are experiencing any hair thinning or falling out, you should consult your dermatologist first because this doctor can provide appropriate treatment and referrals, if necessary.
7. Hair loss can be caused by repeatedly wearing a hat or ponytail.
True. This condition is called traction alopecia, which is caused by trauma to the hair follicles through constant contact, as in a tight hatband, or constant pulling, as in a tight ponytail. Hair loss eventually becomes evident, along with pain and sometimes a secondary infection at the site of the pulling (usually around the hairline or crown for tight braids and ponytails and even between cornrows). Be gentle with your hairstyle!
8. With thinning hair, you don’t need to be careful about sunscreen.
False. If hair is thinning, your scalp is more exposed to the dangers of the sun. Even a bad sunburn can cause scarring and hair loss, so always protect your scalp with sunscreen whenever you are outside.
9. Hair plugs and hairpieces are always so noticeable.
False. Not anymore. The technology and artistry of today’s techniques, materials and hair loss professionals are unsurpassed. Probably the reason you don’t see many hairpieces these days is because they look so natural they’re indistinguishable from the real thing.
10. There’s nothing I can do about my hair loss.
False. Visit your dermatologist right away to begin a treatment plan that can really make a difference. You are never too young to do this, because today’s FDA-approved treatments really do regrow hair and keep it growing, as long as you start before follicles die and continue the treatment as directed
Did you know more than you thought, or did you have a lot to learn? Either way you can take more control in preventing and treating your hair loss with this knowledge.