Around the age of 30, both men and women will start losing hair, although men tend to lose it at a much faster rate. Losing 50 to 100 hairs every day is considered normal, but losing 150 hairs or more could be the sign of a problem.
According to Washington DC dermatologist Rebecca Kazin, MD, FAAD (RKMD.com), "The causes of hair thinning are numerous, including genetics, stress, certain medications, and hormones. Scalp conditions like seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, and fungal infections, can cause inflammation that makes it difficult for hair to grow."
Telogen effluvium can be a devastating condition for men and women. "Hair shifts faster than normal from its growing phase into the resting phase before moving into the shedding phase. The older you are when you experience this, the less likely you are to get your hair back to the state it was before the occurrence," she says.
Hereditary hair loss, known as androgenetic alopecia, is the most common cause of hair loss, says Kazin. "The gene can be inherited from either side of your family, although you are more likely to have if both of your parents experienced hairloss." Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks hair follicles.
Fortunately, there are some treatments that can help. Kazin recommends seeing a dermatologist to begin treatment as soon as possible after hair loss begins to avoid prolonged androgenetic alopecia from destroying the hair follicles.
"You can slow down hair loss by applying minoxidil to the scalp twice daily. This drug works for both women and men. Minoxidil, the ingredient in Rogaine®, stimulates hair follicles to increase their size and helps to regrow hair over time. I often use it in combination with Retin-A® (tretinoin), to unclog the hair follicle which can increase penetration. In some cases, I will recommend these potent ingredients along with a topical steroid because it can be somewhat irritating to the scalp," says Kazin.
"Propecia® (Finasteride) was the first oral medication FDA cleared for treating hairloss in men. Although it is known as a male drug, it can also be used by women, but only if they are post-menopausal. Aldactone® (Spironolactone), which is used to treat adult acne, blocks androgens and can also help with female pattern hair loss," she says.
On the Horizon
The next hair growth treatment may be Bimatoprost, which is the active ingredient in the drug known as Latisse®, which is on the market for lengthening, thickening and darkening eyelashes and is also being used (off label) for growing eyebrows. Research is ongoing to determine if it can help encourage scalp hair growth too. It works by keeping hair in the anogen (growth phase). When you lose your hair, it is due to a shortening of the anogen cycle, which gradually stops altogether.
Hair transplants are another viable option for women and men, says Kazin. And the newest methods available have certainly come a long way.
The FDA-cleared ARTAS® Robotic System (artashair.com) is the first and only hair restoration system to use advanced imaging and precision robotics to harvest follicular units accurately and consistently, thousands of times in a session. The results are very natural-looking outcomes with reduced treatment times, discomfort, recovery and most importantly, without a linear scar in the donor area.
Wendy Lewis is President of Wendy Lewis & Co Ltd, Global Aesthetics Consultancy, author of 11 books and Founder/Editor in Chief of http://www.beautyinthebag.com
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