Your hair is much more complex than what you might believe. Not only is it important when it comes to your appearance, but it’s also vital for other things like protecting your scalp from the hot sun, holding in body heat, and transmitting sensory information.
It can be devastating when you first realize you’re losing your hair. Hair loss is a medical condition that can have a negative impact on every aspect of your life. If you want to regrow hair you must learn what type of hair loss you’re suffering from.
The Hair Cycle
Around 90% of the hair you’ve got on your scalp is in the growth phase (anagen phase). Meanwhile the other 10% is in a resting/removal phase (telogen phase).
There are 4 phases that your hair transitions through during its life cycle. These 4 phases are anagen, catagen, telogen, and exogen.
Catagene is the transition phase where hair strands stop growing and begin the process of falling out. The catagene phase normally lasts no more than a few weeks and then will transition into the telogen phase (resting phase) where the hair will ultimately fall out.
The exogen phase is the new hair growth phase where new hair replaces the 10% of hair that was removed during the telogen phase. During a normal hair cycle a person will shed around 100 hair strands daily.
Some of the most common hair loss causes in both men and women include:
Your genes could be the main reason why you’re going bald or experiencing hair thinning. If you have a gene that makes you susceptible to one of the forms of alopecia then there’s a chance you might experience excessive or abnormal hair shedding.
Hair loss can begin to happen prematurely if you aren’t giving your body the nutrition it needs. In order for hair to grow and be healthy you must eat a daily diet that includes vitamins, minerals, and protein.
As you get older the less hair follicles you will have. By your 50th birthday 40% of your hair density can be lost. By the time they are 60 most men are bald. As your body ages your hair will get thinner, which will decrease the volume of your hair.
When you smoke tobacco it can cause hair loss in a couple of ways. For one, it will reduce the amount of blood circulation towards the scalp. When circulation is reduced your scalp doesn’t receive the nutrients it needs to keep your hair healthy. Another way smoking can cause hair loss is by having a negative effect on the liver.
The more stressed you are the more dihydrotestosterone you will produce. Too much DHT will make your hair become unhealthy and begin falling out.
Some of the factors that can cause hair loss in women include:
The hair growth cycle of a woman can become unhealthy when certain hormonal changes such as menopause occur. Excess estrogen is another hormonal imbalance that can cause female hair loss.
Another common cause of hair thinning in some women is low thyroid. Low thyroid is a hormonal imbalance that will cause your hair cycle to go crazy. Taking birth control pills can knock your hormones out of balance.
It is normal for a woman to experience some hair loss while she is pregnant. During the course of the pregnancy a woman will experience an increased amount of hairs go into the resting phase. However, it is normal for the hair cycle of a woman to behave like this during pregnancy. Once the pregnancy is over the hair cycle will return to it’s normal cycle.
Most of the time pregnancy is only associated with hair loss after the pregnancy is over. Women that do experience hair loss before delivery are suffering from some kind of mineral or vitamin deficiency. It isn’t uncommon for the pregnant woman to have as much as 70% of her hair in the growth phase enter the telogen phase. This will normally last for about 4 months after the pregnancy is over. The hair cycle will return to normal once the hormones start going back to normal levels.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Millions of women suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome. One of the symptoms of this condition is hair loss on the scalp. However, women with PCOS will experience hair growth on other areas of the body such as the facial.
Types of Hair Loss
The medical name for any form of hair loss is Alopecia. However, the term alopecia doesn’t refer to a specific type of hair loss disease. There are several hair loss conditions that can affect a person, and some of the most common include:
The most commonly seen form of hair loss in males is androgenetic alopecia, which is also referred to as male pattern baldness. This type of hair loss isn’t common among women, but female pattern baldness is still possible.
What Causes It
Both genetics and the male sex hormones known as androgens play a role in the development of this hair loss condition. Men with hair follicles that are sensitive to dihydrotestosterone. Also referred to as DHT for short, dihydrotestosterone will make the hair follicles get weaker, thinner, and stop growing. Hair that’s sensitive to DHT will typically be located on the top and front area of the head.
It’s the action of male hormones known as androgens that causes women to suffer from this type of hair loss. Problems with ovarian cysts, menopause, and birth control pills that contain a high level of androgen can cause androgenic alopecia in women.
Most men suffering from male pattern baldness will still have hair follicles on the sides of their head. This is because the hair on the sides of the males head is normally resistant to the DHT hormone.
Men with androgenic alopecia will have bald patterns that are much more distinct compared to women experiencing female pattern baldness. A receding hairline and hair thinning are two of the main characteristics of androgenetic alopecia in men.
Both minoxidil and finasteride are used to help treat this form of hair loss. Minoxidil is a topical drug that is applied on the scalp to slow down hair loss and stimulate new hair growth. This medication can take up to a year to start working and is known to cause some serious side effects.
Finasteride is a medication taken by mouth to slow down the hair loss process. This drug works by preventing the male hormone causing hair loss from reproducing. This drug too will take up to 1 year to start working and cause cause side effects.
Another treatment for androgenetic alopecia is a hair transplant. Relocating hair on your scalp that are actively growing to areas where you’re balding or thinning is how this treatment works. However, this treatment can cost a lot of money.
Hair loss prevention should be top priority if you’re worried about losing your hair. The best thing to do to prevent this condition is reduce your amount of stress. The more stressed you are the more production of hormones that cause hair loss. Do activities that help decrease stress like walking or meditation.
This type of hair loss is almost as commonly seen as androgenetic alopecia. As mentioned earlier the 90% of hair that’s actively growing on the head of a person are in the anagen phase. The other 10% of the hair that’s resting are in the telogen phase.
What Causes It
The anagen phase normally lasts for at least 2 years before entering the telogen phase, which lasts for at least 2 months before falling out and being replaced by new hair growth. If you suffer from telogen effluvium then around a 1/4 of your hair will stop growing and enter the telogen phase.
The average person will lose around 100 hairs daily due to resting hair falling out and getting replaced. However, a person with telogen effluvium will lose more than 300 hairs daily.
TE normally happens a few months after a major shock to the body. For example, some people experience telogen effluvium a month or two after a major surgical operation. Other events that can trigger TE include:
- Severe physical trauma
- High stress levels
- Severe fever
- Severe infection
- Excessive weight loss
- Diet change
- Abnormal hormone changes
- Hyperthyroidism, and other health conditions
The most common sign of telogen effluvium is hair thinning. Your hair will begin to thin and lose volume instead of bald patches that other hair loss conditions can cause. If you’re suffering from TE you’ll notice hair being accumulated on your hairbrush after you brush your hair, or hair being left behind on your pillow case.
This hair loss condition will normally last about 6 months and then new hair will begin to grow again. Once the body has a chance to recover from the shock the symptoms will stop.
As of today there is no way to prevent the kinds of physical shock that can cause this hair loss disorder. If telogen effluvium is brought on by an unhealthy diet you can prevent it by eating more nutritious foods. Minoxidil might be prescribed to help hair regrow.
This hair loss condition normally affects people who are 30 years old and older. This condition rarely affects people at a young age.
What Causes It
This condition occurs when your immune system starts attacking the hair follicles. This autoimmune disease will not cause total loss of hair in most cases. Alopecia areata normally starts during childhood.
If you’ve got a member in your family with alopecia areata it’ll increase your risk of being affected by it. If one of your family members suffers from an autoimmune disease such as diabetes or lupus you’re also more at risk of devleoping alopecia areata.
This hair loss condition mostly affects the scalp and when the hair falls out it creates round patches. Sufferers of this condition will usually notice 1 or more hair loss patches.
Steriod lotions, shampoos, creams, and injections are often used to treat this form of hair loss. As of today there is no prevention method that has proven to work.
Anybody can develop traction alopecia over time. It doesn’t matter if you’re young, old, male, or a female. However, people who utilize any of the hairstyling methods listed above can fall victim.
What Causes It
Whenever your hair is put under a lot of tension by pulling or traction on the roots of your hair it can gradually cause hair loss over a period of time. Hairstyles that put a lot of pressure on the hair are the most common cause of this type of hair loss. Some of the hairstyles responsible for the development of traction alopecia include:
- Hair Weave
- Helmets Worn for Safety
- Hair rollers
If your hairstyle was done too tightly and it gives you a headache your hair is under too much pressure. If your scalp becomes sensitive after you take out your braids or pigtail your hair is under too much pressure.
If you don’t pay attention to these warning signs then eventually you’ll witness some of your hair going missing. Another common sign of this hair loss condition are blisters or pimples in the area of the scalp where the excessive traction is being applied.
If the sufferer doesn’t reduce the amount of pulling force being put on their hair it can cause permanent scarring. Reducing the amount of traction applied to the scalp on a daily basis is the best way to prevent this hair loss disorder. There is no treatment for traction alopecia once permanent damage has been done.
Just like telogen effluvium occurs during the telogen stage (resting stage), anagen effluvium causes shedding during the anagen stage (growth stage) of the hair cycle. Since around 90% of the hair on your scalp is in the anagen stage this hair condition causes a lot of shedding and can leave you completely bald.
What Causes It
The most common cause of anagen effluvium are chemotherapy agents used as a treatment for cancer. Medications and toxins known to cause hair loss include nitrosoureas, doxorubicin, daunorubicin, methotrexate, bleomycin, thallium, boron and arsenic. Other anagen effluvium causes are endocrine diseases, radiation therapy, and cicatrizing disease.
The most common sign of anagen effluvium is severe shedding of most or all of your hair on your scalp. Some people suffering from this type of hair loss will experience shedding on other areas on their body such as their eyelashes or eyebrows.
After radiation or chemotherapy treatment the body will regrow hair. However, sometimes the hair won’t grow back. Minoxidil is often used to help reduce the duration of this hair loss condition. This drug is an antihypertensive vasodilator and it will help stop hair loss and encourage new growth.
How to Regrow Hair
For most kinds of hair loss there are some treatments that have been proven to be helpful. Some hair loss conditions won’t require treatment as the hair will regrow on its own.
Medications, surgical procedures, laser therapy, and home remedies are some of the options available to stop hair loss and regrow hair. In order for a hair fall treatment to work the underlying cause of the hair loss must be treated.
If you notice your hair falling out you should get a blood test done and if you’re diagnosed with an underlying medical condition such as thyroid disease treat it and your hair should grow back.
There are various medications that can help with hair regrowth. However, some people look at these medications as a cure for baldness when they are not. These medications will help some people with their hair loss, but won’t do anything for others.
This is probably the most commonly used medication to fight hair loss. You don’t need a prescription to use this drug. You will either spray or rub minoxidil into the affected areas of the scalp. You will need to apply this drug two times each day to stop hair loss and regrow some hair. Minoxidil is often marketed at 2% concentration, but you can get it in as much as 5% concentration too.
A $50 bottle of this medication will last you around 3 months if you’re applying it twice daily. It can take as long as 4 months to begin seeing regrowth after applying minoxidil. Minoxidil doesn’t work for everybody, as some people who use it don’t experience no new growth at all.
This medication requires a prescription and unlike minoxidil this drug is only given to males. It helps stop hair loss by stopping the testosterone hormone from being turned into the dihydrotestosterone hormone. Normally it will take about 4 months of consistently using finasteride to see results. Finasteride is taken orally each day.
You will have to keep on taking this medication in order to maintain any regrowth. Men who take finasteride will notice their hair loss slowed down and some new growth. Side effects such as reduced sex drive may occur while taking this medication.
This medication contains steriod hormones that will reduce the activity of the immune system. If you suffer from alopecia areata (hair loss due to the immune system attacking the hair follicles) then taking corticosteroids can be helpful.
This medication is applied directly to the bald spots on the scalp through injection. Once the corticosteriod solution is injected it will stop the immune system from destroying the hair follicles. There are also ointments and creams made with corticosteriods that can be applied to the affected area topically.
Spironolactone is an androgen blocker, and will prevent DHT from damaging your hair follicles. By applying spironolactone lotions or creams topically you’ll stop the loss of hair and give your hair a chance to restore itself.
You can take spiro in combination with other hair loss medications like minoxidil. Taking topical or oral spironolactone on its own will still do the job. It can take at least 3 to 6 months of applying topical spironolactone before you start seeing results.
Some of the side effects associated with taking spiro orally include: vomiting, dry eyes, fatigue, and diarrhea. In the first month start off taking 75mg per day of spironolactone (3 25mg capsules/daily). After the first month bump your dosage to 3 50mg capsules daily.
This is the only shampoo available that has the power to help stop loss of hair. Even though this hair regrowth product is mainly advertised as an anti-fungal/anti-dandruff shampoo, it contains androgen blocking abilities. Not only does nizoral shampoo block androgen receptors, but it also reduces inflammation as well.
This shampoo contains 2% ketoconazole, and it’s the ketoconazole that helps stop the activity of testosterone and other androgens on your follicles. Nizoral is often used in combination with other medications or as part of a daily hair loss routine.
To get the anti-androgen effect from this shampoo you’ll need to use it one time every few days. Since this is a medicated shampoo you must give it a chance to sit on your scalp for a while in order to soak in.
Immunotherapy can be used to treat severe cases of alopecia areata. Diphencyprone or DPCP is the active chemical in immunotherapy that can help with hair regrowth within a few months.
The DPCP solution is applied on the scalp 1 time each week, and each week the solution is strengthened. Severe skin reaction is the main side effect of using immunotherapy as a treatment for hair loss. Wearing something to cover your head after the DPCP solution has been applied is mandatory because light can have adverse effects with the chemical.
Dithranol is commonly used to treat people suffering from psoriasis. You can get dithranol in various forms such as ointments, pastes, and creams.
Just like immunotherapy this ointment will cause a mild skin reaction that should lead to new hair growth. The side effects associated with the use of dithranol include burning and redness.
This form of vitamin A can be used topically to help stop hair loss and stimulate new growth. This medication was first used as an acne treatment, but doctors realized that it can be used to help improve the absorption of other medications such as minoxidil. Some of the side effects of Retin A (tretinoin) include stinging sensation, redness, and peeling of the skin.
PUVA therapy was first used as treatment for skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. It combines ultraviolet light and a medicine known as psoralen. The psoralen medicine is applied directly on the bald patches and then the affected area is exposed to ultraviolet light.
Some of the side effects of PUVA treatment include nausea, burning sensation, redness of the skin, and headaches. The more recent the hair loss the better chance of PUVA therapy regrowing hair. This treatment procedure will take up to 6 weeks with 2 to 3 sessions each week.
By far the most popular surgical procedure for treating hair loss is hair transplantation. This procedure involves relocating hair follicles from one area of the body to the balding spots. The hair transplant procedure usually only takes 1 day to finish.
It can also be used to regrow hair on the eyebrows, chest, pubic area, eyelashes, and other facial areas. The most common side effect associated with this surgery is hair thinning and swelling of the scalp.
This surgical procedure involves removing balding areas of the scalp and then stretch and reposition the alopecia free areas of the scalp. The goal of this procedure is to make the bald spots look smaller.
Many surgeons that perform hair restoration procedures try to avoid scalp reduction because it can cause the patient to look disfigured. Side effects of this procedure include accelerated hair loss, and thinning of the scalp.
Other Surgical Procedures
Surgical procedures such as scalp flaps, hair lift, and scalp expansion are dangerous. It’s best to avoid these procedures and only consider them as a last option when all else has failed. Surgery is often advertised as the only hair loss cure by some in the medical world but this is far from the truth.
How to Regrow Hair Naturally
There are plenty home remedies you can use to regrow your crowning glory. If you’re taking any medications it’s a good idea to check drug interactions, especially if you plan on using herbs like saw palmetto as a hair loss treatment.
One way to regrow hair naturally is to use a plant called Henna. This plant produces leaves that can be milled into a fine powder. The pigments in the henna powder become activated once it is mixed with water and forms a paste. The henna paste is often used as a hair dye to color the hair.
How it Works
Even though henna is often used for hair and skin coloring, it can also be used to help your hair grow. Henna help regrow hair naturally by nourishing your scalp and putting a protective layer on your hair.
This herb works by binding itself to the protein (keratin) in your hair and coating the cuticles. After several applications of henna your hair strands will become stronger and thicker as a result of the build up of regular coats on the structure of your hair. Moreover, the potent anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties this herb contains will help prevent breakage, shedding, and give your hair an improved appearance.
How To Use It
The best way to use henna for hair growth treatment is to mix the powdered form with water and add it in a moisturizing conditioner. Once you apply the henna to your hair you should let it sit for at least one hour.
If you have time let it sit on your hair for about 4 hours before rinsing it out. Apply henna to your hair and scalp at least 2 times weekly.
Another way to use henna for regrowing your hair is to combine henna powder with some gingili or mustard oil. Simply boil around 250 grams of the oil and add around 4 cups of henna powder to it. Once the henna oil mixture cools down apply it to your scalp and hair.
For the most part henna is completely safe to use and free of side effects. However, this herb can make your hair brittle and cause breakage if you add another protein with it. The first time you use henna you should do a hair strand test.
Biotin is a B vitamin that can be used to make hair stronger. Biotin is sometimes called vitamin H (the H stands for hair). If your body isn’t getting enough biotin it can cause issues such as hair thinning and hair fall.
How it Works
Biotin helps hair growth by preventing breakage and hair dryness. When you increase your biotin intake via food sources or supplements it will help produce fatty acids and healthy cells that will lead to thicker and healthier hair.
How to Use It
You can get biotin from your daily diet by consuming certain foods. Some of the foods that contain a high amount of biotin include:
- Egg Yolks
- Peanut Butter
- Whole Grains
The amount of biotin you should intake daily for hair growth will depend on various factors. Generally people will intake anywhere between 1,000 mcg to 5,000 mcg of biotin daily to help their hair grow longer and thicker.
Since it might be hard to get this much biotin from the foods you eat daily in your diet taking biotin supplements is a great idea. You can find 1,000 and 5,000 mcg biotin pills at your local pharmacy or health food store.
Some of our readers and subscribers prefer the liquid gel biotin supplements because they seem to digest easier. Other than your diet and supplements you can also use biotin topically as well. Look for biotin oil or biotin hair shampoo to apply to your hair topically.
One of the main risks associated with getting an excessive amount of biotin is acne development. If you notice the development of acne after taking biotin supplements you should reduce your daily intake or stop taking the supplement. Starting off with a low dosage like 2500 mcg and experimenting with different dosages is probably the best thing to do.
Some people might have an allergic reaction to biotin. If you feel you might be allergic to this B vitamin consult your doctor first. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding you must make sure you don’t high dosages of biotin. Taking biotin in high dosages can cause miscarriages in pregnant women.
You are also at risk of experiencing complications while taking biotin if you take certain medications. Talk to your doctor to make sure biotin supplements won’t have any bad interactions with any medication you’re taking.
How To Take Care of Your Hair
We as people take pride in our hair. Over the years we as people have colored, primped, blow-dried, and styled in every way we can think of in order to make our hair look its best. When your hair is healthy you feel more confident, get more compliments, and it helps you prevent damage that can cause you permanent hair loss. Below you’ll find several tips to help take care of your hair and keep it as healthy as possible:
- Drinks as much water as possible. Water helps your hair grow better by decreasing brittle hair strands.
- Applying a good massage oil like castor oil or jojoba oil daily will help promote hair growth.
- Your diet is one of the most important things when it comes to regrowing hair. When you eat healthy your hair will be more protected and will last longer. The 3 main things you need to get out of your diet daily to promote healthy hair growth are good fats, minerals, proteins, and vitamins. You have to feed your hair and what you feed it will determine how well it grows and how long it lasts.
- Learning how to wash your hair is important too. You have to learn what you should wash it with, how to wash it, and how often you need to get it washed. Using the wrong shampoo or washing it too often can lead to frizzy and dry hair.
- Find out what’s the best way to style your hair to avoid hair loss.