Science-backed shedding treatments and prevention
Rest assured that you’re not alone in hair loss. Over 50% of women will have visible loss, according to the Cleveland Clinic. If you’re reading this, you may develop the disease.
We understand that hair loss is emotionally draining regardless of its prevalence. It’s distressing whether your part is more obvious, your ponytail is thinning, or you’re noticing more strands in the shower.
You’re definitely seeking solutions. Know that they exist, but hair loss is complex and multi-factorial, requiring time and patience to identify and cure. The good news: Knowing what’s causing your hair loss might help you create a customized treatment strategy.
We consulted leading physicians to build this thorough guide covering the most frequent reasons, best treatments, expert-recommended products, and hair loss prevention.
Start stress relief here.
Normal hair loss
Melissa Piliang, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic, believes shedding is normal for healthy hair development. An average of 100 hairs fall daily. Instead than worrying about a precise figure, focus on your average baseline. Dr. Piliang said most people can imagine how much they see in their hairbrush, shower, or garments they pull off. “If this amount seems drastically different or you’re finding hair everywhere, all the time, something may be off.”
Unsure whether your hair loss is normal? Michele Green, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, advises bringing every hair you discover in a day to your dermatologist for an assessment. (All specialists we talked with stressed the significance of obtaining medical assistance for hair loss concerns.) Your doctor may do blood tests, rule out underlying medical conditions, and confirm your diagnosis before treating you.
Causes of Hair Loss
You have how long? Jokes aside, the reasons are many and complex. Our specialists identified four common causes.
Women lose hair.
Female pattern hair loss (FPHL), also known as androgenetic alopecia, will afflict 40% of women by 50, according to study. “This chronic and slow hair loss causes women to notice their part widen and their scalp become more visible. Dr. Piliang adds they may also experience M-shaped hair line recession.
Age and heredity contribute, but hormone changes are the biggest factor. “Your levels of androgens, male hormones like testosterone, tend to increase around menopause and are converted into DHT, a hormone that targets the hair follicle, a pore from which a hair grows,” says Paradi Mirmirani, MD, a board-certified dermatologist with Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco who specializes in hair disorders “This both alters the normal hair cycle, shortening the growth phase, and miniaturizes the hair, making the diameter continuously smaller.”
FPHL frequently appears in elderly people, however it may occur at any age if you, genetically, are predisposed. Dr. Green has encountered FPHL in twentysomething women, but most are postmenopausal.
Telogen effluvium (TE) is characterized by abrupt, severe hair loss, unlike FPHL, which is progressive. Dr. Green says TE usually follows a traumatic event such a breakup, death, or surgery. Shedding begins three months after the occurrence. The cause is unknown, but Green suggests that elevated cortisol levels abbreviate the growth period, forcing more hair into the shedding phase.
The good news is that this form of hair loss is transient and will go away. If there are no other causes (such a nutritional deficit; more on that later) and the stress isn’t persistent, your hair growth cycle will regulate. “You might experience shedding for a few months, but it should subside,” adds Dr. Green.
A frequent telogen effluvium case? Women have fast hair loss a few months after giving birth. Describe a big mental and physical stressor.
“Alopecia areata occurs when your immune system sends the wrong signal and attacks the hair follicle,” says Dr. Mirmirani. “We don’t know why, but genetics may be involved.” Positive news: Attacked hair follicles hibernate but don’t die, so your hair can grow back.
Only difficulty is that when and how this will happen is unknown. “The only thing predictable about alopecia areata is that it’s unpredictable,” explains Dr. Piliang. The disorder causes smooth, hairless patches on the scalp or body that are dime-, quarter-, or silver dollar-sized and may come and go without warning. People with alopecia areata observe large hair loss clumps.
Dr. Mirmirani says constant hair stress destroys the follicle, preventing blood flow and nutrients from reaching it and causing irreversible hair loss. Women with tight braids, ponytails, or extensions get traction alopecia.
Dr. Mirmirani believes the problem is repetitive, persistent, and cumulative damage, not a tight updo for one occasion. It commonly causes scalp thinning on the margins or in regions where clips or rollers are used often. Tender scalp is another indication. Dr. Mirmirani advises switching styles if your scalp suffers. It’s like painful high heels. Keep wearing shoes despite the discomfort and you’ll get a bunion.”
“If your scalp hurts, switch up your style”