Are you finding more and more hair strands covering your pillowcase in the morning, clogging the drain after a shower, and filling up your hairbrush? In most cases, hair loss is nothing to be worried about. Most people lose anywhere between 50 to 100 hairs per day!
However, when it seems like the body is failing to replace those hairs and you find yourself with an ever-thinning scalp, it’s worth looking into the potential causes with a trained medical professional.
To help you get a better understanding of hair loss and its causes, as well as treatment and prevention options, take a look at our expert hair loss guide!
All About Hair Loss: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention
Before we dive into common hair loss causes, top treatments, and prevention tips, it’s important to quickly go over what hair loss actually is and how it usually presents itself.
Hair loss, also called alopecia, can be limited to the head or may involve the entire body; it can be temporary or permanent. Depending upon the cause, it may happen gradually or all at once.
The most well-known form of hair loss is gradual thinning, what many refer to as balding. Usually caused by aging, baldness is common in both men and women. However, it often occurs a bit differently. Men typically experience a receding hairline, while women experience a gradual widening where they part their hair or thinning around the crown of the scalp.
Another common type of hair thinning is circular, patchy bald spots, which may be asymptomatic or associated with itchiness. It’s also important to note that hair loss isn’t just limited to the scalp; thinning of the eyelashes, less hair on arms, and fewer hairs on the legs can also occur.
Common Causes of Hair Loss
Several things can cause hair loss. The most common causes of hair loss include:
Genetics — The most common cause of hair loss, androgenic alopecia (also referred to as male-pattern and female-pattern baldness), is hereditary. Inherited genes cause the hair follicles to shrink and eventually stop growing, resulting in less hair growth and increasing baldness.
Hormones — Hormonal fluctuations are another common cause of hair loss, especially in women, due to the major hormonal changes during pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause. In most cases, hair loss caused by this is temporary and will go away once hormones return to normal levels.
Stress — Severe emotional, mental, or physical trauma, such as a family member’s death, loss of a job, a major surgery, or even an illness, can trigger enough stress in the body to induce hair loss.
Medical Condition — Some medical conditions and illnesses, such as alopecia areata (an autoimmune disorder) and infections like ringworm, can cause patchy hair loss all over the body. Additionally, skin conditions, like psoriasis, can occur on the scalp and cause temporary thinning until the flare-up clears.
Top Hair Loss Treatments
No doubt, excessive hair thinning and hair loss can be extremely distressing. Fortunately, there are several treatments available today that slow down hair loss and even restore healthy hair growth!
At the Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center of Wilmington, our board-certified dermatologists recommend these hair loss treatments:
1. Minoxidil (Rogaine)
One of the most well-known OTC (over-the-counter) hair loss treatments, Rogaine is available as a liquid, foam, or additive to shampoos and works by increasing blood flow scalp to promote healthy hair growth. It’s important to know this hair loss treatment takes several months to work, and once you stop using it, any new hair growth will fall out.
2. Finasteride (Propecia)
Propecia is a prescription pill for men. Its main ingredient — finasteride — combats hair loss by preventing testosterone conversion to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is the active hormone that promotes thinning.
3. Laser Therapy
A rather new hair loss treatment, low light laser therapy has been FDA-approved to treat pattern hair loss. Delivered through a brush, comb, or cap, the low laser light is directed at the scalp and works to combat hair loss by stimulating hair follicles, which restores natural growth.
4. Hair Transplant Surgery
An incredibly well-known hair loss treatment procedure, hair transplant surgery is a promising option for those with male and female pattern baldness on the scalp. During this procedure, a physician takes small patches of hair from areas of the head with good growth and transplants them to bald spots.
Easy Hair Loss Prevention Tips
Though hair loss cannot be completely avoided, especially if one is genetically predisposed to hair thinning, there are a few simple steps you can take to promote hair growth and keep the hair you already have healthy.
- Eat a healthy, nutrient-dense diet that boosts healthy hair.
- Be gentle with the hair you have — avoid excessive heat, tight hairstyles, vigorous brushing, and harsh chemical treatments (like perms).
- Protect your skin and hair from UV damage; wear a hat when outdoors in strong sunlight.
- Include supplements like biotin, collagen, zinc, and iron into your daily diet. Make sure to consult a board-certified dermatologist before implementing a supplement regimen for hair loss.
- If you feel stress may be playing a role, look at healthy ways to reduce or manage daily stress levels or stressful situations.
- Use quality hair care products, avoid those with harsh chemicals that dry out hair, cause breakage, and prevent the follicle from growing new strands.
Take the Next Step Towards Healthy Hair
Are you experiencing hair loss or struggling to keep the hair on your head? It could be completely normal, or your hair loss could be an indicator of an underlying condition, such as a vitamin deficiency or autoimmune condition. That’s why it’s important to visit a board-certified dermatologist for a thorough consultation and professional diagnosis!
Get in touch with Wilmington Dermatology and Skin Surgery Center today! Our hair loss experts are here to help. We can work together to uncover the root cause of your hair loss and find the best treatment possible!