Hair Loss Treatment
Regardless of your gender hair loss can be extremely embarrassing. Hair loss is far more common for men than women but it is something that men are more accepting of, perhaps because it is often hereditary (male pattern baldness) and it is therefore not unexpected. The common response for men to hair loss these days is to shave their head. Both genders sometimes choose to wear some form of headwear to hide the hair loss. But what causes hair loss and how can it be treated?
Causes of Hair Loss
Androgenic Alopecia (Pattern Baldness)
The medical name for hair loss is Alopecia. One of the most common causes of hair loss is androgenic alopecia (often referred to as 'male pattern baldness'). However this genetic condition affects both men and women. In women it causes thinning hair and rarely the 'Hippocratic wreath' appearance seen in men. In fact androgenic alopecia rarely leads to complete hair loss in either men or women.
Men with premature androgenic alopecia tend to have lower than normal values of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), testosterone, and epitestosterone when compared to men without this condition.
In men, androgenic alopecia is easily diagnosed. For women, diagnosis is more difficult and may require a biopsy to rule out other causes of hair loss.
Fortunately androgenic alopecia can be slowed or even reversed if treated early enough. The FDA has approved a number of male-pattern hair loss treatments including minoxidil (Rogaine) and finasteride (Propecia). Alternative treatments include hair transplants and natural remedies.
Hormonal Changes and Medical Conditions
Hormonal changes are another common form of hair loss. These hormonal changes can be caused by pregnancy, childbirth, or the onset of menopause. Hormone changes are regulated by the thyroid gland so thyroid problems can also cause hair loss. Fortunately hair loss caused by hormonal changes is usually temporary.
Patchy hair loss goes by the medical name Alopecia Areata. This type of hair loss occurs when the body's immune system attacks hair follicles. In the majority of cases each area of hair loss is no larger than a quarter. Alopecia Areata is most common in people under the age of 30. There is currently no cure for this condition, however powerful anti inflammatory drugs can help by suppressing the immune system. Other drugs can promote hair regrowth for men and women but none can prevent new bald patches forming.
Scalp infections such as ringworm are another cause of hair loss. These infections can invade the hair and skin of your scalp resulting in scaly patches and hair loss. The patient's hair usually grows back once the infection is treated.
Some diseases that cause scarring alopecia can cause permanent hair loss at the scarred areas. These conditions include some types of lupus, lichen planus, and sarcoidosis.
Hair pulling disorder (trichotillomania) is a medical condition that causes people to have an irresistible urge to pull out their own hair. This may involve pulling hair from their scalp and from their eyebrows and other areas of the body as well.
Medications That Cause Hair Loss
Hair loss can be caused by a variety of medications. These medications include treatments for cancer, arthritis, depression, heart problems, high blood pressure and birth control. Hair loss can also be caused by too much Vitamin A.
Other Causes of Hair Loss
1. Radiation Therapy (Especially to the head): One of the most obvious, and sometimes most embarrassing, causes of hair loss is radiation therapy. Often hair will never grow back to the way it was before.
2. A Trigger Event: Severe physical or emotional shock can sometimes cause temporary thinning of the hair. This generally will only last for a couple of months.
3. Certain Hairstyles and Treatments: so-called traction alopecia can be caused by excessive hairstyling such as hairstyles that pull your hair tight (pigtails and cornrows are two examples). Hot oil hair treatments and permanent colouring can result in inflammation of the hair follicles that leads to hair loss. If the treatment causes scarring the hair loss can be permanent.
Hair Loss Treatments
Now that we have discussed some of the causes of hair loss it makes sense to look at some forms of hair loss treatment, and some common questions. We'll discuss these topics more thoroughly elsewhere on the website so a short summary should be good enough for now. Readers will also notice that this website focuses more on male hair loss than female hair loss. This is because I am male and I'm writing from that perspective. However there will be a part of the website dedicated to female hair loss.
Hair Loss Treatment For Men
Hair loss is a common problem for men. It is not surprising that a Google search for "hair loss treatment for men" turns up over five and a half million results. Men's Journal has a thorough article about this topic I can highly recommend called 6 Best Fixes For Hair Loss. Obviously there's little point repeating the whole article, but I want to focus on the first item on their list: good nutrition.
Good nutrition and an overall healthy lifestyle is one of the best (and cheapest) ways to slow hair loss. It is no permanent fix and I can't guarantee it will stop hair loss completely or cause your hair to regrow, but good nutrition will support other methods and treatments. If a healthier lifestyle makes other hair loss treatments more effective then it has to be on your to-do list.
What really works for hair loss?
This is literally the multi million dollar question when you consider how much money people spend on hair loss treatments. However, before I discuss some of these methods I should point out that hair thinning is something that occurs naturally as we get older. Having said that it doesn't mean we have to accept it. Here are a few methods that can really work for hair loss:
1. Scalp massage: Every time you wash your hair make sure you really give your scalp a good massage. This improves blood flow to the scalp meaning a better environment for hair growth. It will obviously also greatly benefit any hair regrowth shampoos you may be using.
2. Good nutrition: This is one of the most respected methods of natural hair loss treatment.The Men's Journal article I referred to earlier quotes a doctor who discusses the importance of vitamin B. A vitamin B deficiency can interfere with the formation of hair cells and hair growth. Foods that are high in protein are the best sources of vitamin B. These include chicken, fish, eggs and pork, as well as leafy greens like spinach.
3. Good Mental Health: Good mental health can be difficult to maintain. We all go through periods of depression and anxiety, as well as those days when we just feel a bit out of sorts. However maintaining a positive outlook and a general sense of wellbeing can guard against the severity of those trigger events mentioned before.
4. Medication: Minoxidil (Rogaine) is the only over the counter hair loss treatment currently approved by the FDA. Rogaine is most effective in people under the age of 40 who have only recently started losing hair. Interestingly enough, scientists aren't quite sure how it works. Finasteride (Alopecia) stops your body from making the hormone that causes male pattern baldness. If you were paying attention earlier you might remember that the hormone is called DHT. Finasteride has proven effective in slowing or stopping hair loss in 90% of men. It's important to note that if you stop using either of these treatments you will start losing hair again.
5. Low Level Laser Treatment: There are a growing number of products on the market that use low amounts of laser light to stop hair loss. These products include combs, caps, hoods, and brushes.
stem cell therapy
One team who recently published the results of a promising study is based at the University of Southern California. This team of researchers led by Dr Cheng-Ming Chuong have managed to make adult mouse stem cells produce hair again. These stem cells can then be transplanted back onto the mouse where follicles begin to vigorously produce hair. While this sounds like a cure, researchers involved in the study have cautioned that human trials are still a long way off.
Melbourne University’s Professor Rodney Sinclair, head of Sinclair Dermatology in Melbourne in collaboration with Epworth hospital, is taking part in an international trial for a new drug based on gene discovery work. It has the potential to treat all categories of alopecia.
American researchers discovered 17 genes capable of causing hair loss. Of those, three were involved in a particular pathway of inflammation named the JAK-STAT pathway. This was a significant breakthrough that led to Dr Sinclair's trial.
Dr Sinclair explained how his clinic "..completed a phase one trial which tested two different types of JAK inhibitor creams which were highly successful in switching off the alopecia in a number of patients... We then conducted an open label [trials where both researchers and participants know which treatment is being administered]. That involved about 150 patients with a JAK inhibitor tablet that had about 70 per cent success rate.”
A number of additional industry-sponsored phase three clinical trials are now in design, and Sinclair predicts the drug could be on the market within five years.
Related Article: Plasma Hair Treatment
Successful Hair Loss Treatments Are Vital For Mental Health
Although hair loss is not physically harmful to the general health of sufferers, it can cause significant mental anguish. Sadly hair loss has led in some cases to suicide in newly diagnosed teens and young men. Therefore the need for improved treatment, and ultimately, a cure for hair loss is vital.
Australian researchers wondered why suicide because of hair loss was more common among young men than women: “It then dawned on us the dominant hairstyle among teen girls was long hair tied back in a ponytail. We realised that 50 per cent of hair loss can be easily concealed within the ponytail. In contrast, most of the boys had short hair and if you get just a single bald patch – even one or two centimetres – it’s immediately visible to everybody else".
How do you stop hair loss?
It's pretty clear that there is no magic bullet when it comes to hair loss treatments. So it's impossible to give an easy or straightforward answer to the question, how do you stop hair loss. There are, however, plenty of treatments available that have varying levels of effectiveness. Additionally, there are many scientific programs exploring new treatment methods which may provide a cure for hair loss.
So which hair loss treatment one is the right one for you? The answer really depends on your budget and how important it is for you to stop hair loss. On this website I'll do my best to navigate through all of the available options and have a closer look at some of the hair loss treatments mentioned here. So bookmark this page and check back for more news and updates.