Hair loss is very common among millions of Americans. Unfortunately, about 40 million bald men in the United States spend over $1 billion fighting baldness every year, and an average of 1 in 4 women suffers from hair loss.
When we hear people talking about hair loss, we mostly think of men. But female hair loss is as real. Women also endure noticeable hair thinning at some point in their lives. These women tend to feel isolated even more than men facing similar issues.
The typical person, who wants to do something about hair loss, will try different products before choosing a more invasive procedure that yields permanent results. At Jolie Plastic Surgery we can help you restore hair density or fullness through hair restoration surgery and PRP therapy.
But let’s take a closer look at some of the most important causes of hair loss in women and men, types of hair loss, signs and symptoms, diagnosis and evaluation, and surgical and non-surgical approaches to this problem. In this article, we will also cover some of the most commonly asked questions.
What causes hair loss?
There are many types of hair loss; therefore, finding the reasons for hair loss remains a challenge. Hair loss doesn’t happen suddenly, but it is instead the result of ongoing miniaturization of specific hair follicles. With time, hairs will become smaller and thinner, until they will ultimately stop growing.
Most hair loss is linked to some internal disease, and poor nutrition. In some cases, genetic factors and the natural aging process may cause hair loss in women and men. Many people start noticing mild hair thinning in their early 30s and 40s. Life issues, illnesses, unbalanced diet, emotional trauma, hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, may also cause excessive hair shedding.
Causes of hair loss in women
The causes of hair loss in women can vary. Female hair loss is mostly hereditary, and the female hair pattern is more diffuse with fewer chances of frontal hair loss. Some women may start noticing hair thinning in their 20s, but this is a slow process, which may take years before it becomes noticeable. Age is among the hair loss causes to consider as many women in their mid-30s are more prone to lose their hair.
Some conditions such as anemia and thyroid disease may also accelerate hair loss in women. Nonetheless, these conditions can be diagnosed and treated. Some studies suggest that female pattern baldness is mostly inherited from the mother, but these studies aren’t very reliable hence requiring further testing. Repeat hair trauma that causes constant friction may also lead to localized hair shedding in some women, particularly those who pull their hair tightly in a rubber band.
Causes of hair loss in men
There are many reasons why men start losing their hair at an early age. If this is you, don’t panic! You may feel there is nothing you can do to avoid genetic hair loss. But stress can only complicate things further. In fact, stress is one of the causes of hair loss in men.
- Genetic causes – This is one of the most common reasons for male pattern baldness, which may cause the well-known “U-shape” balding patch. This condition is passed by both sides of the family, and it’s not linked to stress as some might believe.
- The age factor - Men may lose more hair as they age. It is natural for hair to stop growing and volume to decrease.
- Nutrition – Remember your hair needs nutrients otherwise it will not grow healthy. Low iron levels, for example, or an unbalanced diet may cause temporary hair shedding.
- Too much stress – Although only one type of male hair loss may be caused by stress, there are times when men can suffer from an unexpected widespread thinning, particularly when under too much physical and emotional stress.
- Wearing your hair up and too tight – Ponytails, updos and parting can all put a lot of stress on the hair. You should avoid pulling your hair up with holders or tight elastics.
- Conditions of the skin and scalp – There is a condition called psoriasis, which some people may mistake for dandruff. The Mayo Clinic defines it: “Psoriasis…causes cells to build rapidly…forms scales and red patches that are itchy and sometimes painful.” Seborrheic dermatitis is another skin condition that affects the scalp and causes hair loss in large patches.
Types of hair loss (alopecia)
A condition known as androgenetic alopecia may cause excessive breakage or shedding. Alopecia can affect both men and women. This autoimmune disease attacks the immune system - follicles become weak and die causing hair to come out. Some people may lose hair in a few spots while others will shed copious amounts of hair.
Alopecia affects everyone differently, which can be a frustrating experience, but luckily, there are treatments as well as hair restoration procedures available to help hair regrow and prevent further shedding.
- Male pattern hair loss (MPHL) – This is one of the common male hair loss types. Also known as androgenetic alopecia, it is often caused by a genetic event where a male hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) will make the hair follicles become thinner and eventually wither away. Hair begins typically to recede at the front, and it becomes thinner on the top of the head until a bald patch forms in the scalp.
- Female pattern hair loss (FPHL) – This condition affects about 40% of women age 50 and up. There is mostly diffuse thinning of hair and reduction in hair volume in the scalp. It is important to clarify that another condition called chronic telogen effluvium is often mistaken with FPHL.
Signs and symptoms of hair loss
The signs and symptoms of hair loss can vary greatly:
- Thinning of scalp hair – This symptom becomes worst with time and it can affect both men and women. Men will start shedding hair in the forehead in the shape of the letter M while women don’t lose hair in the front but rather have a dispersed thinning of scalp hair.
- Patchy bald spots – It is common for some individuals to experience hair loss in some areas or bald spots, generally on the scalp, but it can also affect the eyebrows and beard. It can be itchy and painful before the hair falls out.
- Unexpected loosening of hair – Sometimes physical and emotional stress may cause hair to come out, mainly when combing or washing the hair. Nevertheless, patients will only experience hair thinning rather than bald patches.
- Body hair loss – There are some conditions as well as medical treatments, which may result in temporary shedding, but it normally grows back.
Hair loss diagnosis and evaluation
The evaluation of a patient suffering from hair loss is a crucial step for a correct diagnosis of hair disease. The evaluation consists of a patient examination and clinical history followed by specific invasive and noninvasive tests. Doctors should invest the necessary time examining the patient. Patients, who understand their hair problem’s severity and progression, can adhere to hair loss treatment and get the desired results. Also, the psychological impact of hair diseases should be carefully considered as some patients may be going through severe emotional distress.
Diagnosis of alopecia comprises both scarring and non-scarring conditions. A methodical approach is needed to meet the patient’s needs and achieve an accurate diagnosis. Scaring alopecia can be evaluated by a dermatologist. This condition is diagnosed by the appearance of the patch and precise identification of fungal agents.
Surgical and non-surgical solutions for hair loss
There are many surgical and non-surgical options for hair loss.
- Medications – Some FDA-approved hair loss treatment such as minoxidil, finasteride, and other thinning hair solutions are highly recommended by doctors.
- Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) – This non-surgical hair loss method use the patient’s blood to regenerate growth. The plasma is injected into the scalp in the areas where shedding occurred. These injections are administered for about three months up to two years, depending on some factors such as the patient’s genetics, age, hormones, and pattern hair loss.
- Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) – This treatment option is effective for men and women experiencing breakage, shedding, and thinning.
- Combs and helmets - These methods have no side effects and produce positive results.
- Microneedling - This technique is basically the infliction of micro wounds. As the skin is damaged, it goes through a cycle, which triggers the regeneration of new cells that contain healthy hair follicles.
- Oils and extracts – Your hair needs a regular supply of key nutrients, which can be supplied by natural oils and extracts.
- A proper diet – The right diet can boost hair growth. Foods such as tofu, coconut, almonds, pumpkin, broccoli, and chia can be easily incorporated into your diet.
Surgical hair loss solutions
- Hair transplant – During hair transplant surgery, hair grafts are removed from the back of the head and placed on balding areas. The two methods used are called Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and Follicular Unit transplantation (FUT).
- Scalp reduction – The American Hair Loss Association advises to avoid this method: “…scalp reductions are barbaric and disfiguring.” Apparently, there are many problems associated with this procedure, including rapid shedding, suture reaction, a strange appearance, and blood pooling.
- Rotational flap surgery – This is also an old method, which the American Hair Loss Association advices to avoid as well. This is a major surgery performed at the hospital. During this procedure, the tissues of the back of the head are rotated to the front.
- Tissue expansion – This method is used in very rare cases when shedding has been caused by injury or burnt skin, and there are no other options available. During surgery, tissue expanders are placed under the skin. The area is then inflated with saline water, which helps the skin to stretch out and promotes hair growth. Tissue expansion is not recommended except for trauma cases.
- Hair cloning – This is a revolutionizing technique for cloning hair, which is not yet available. It involves cloning hair in a lab and injecting them into the balding area to boost hair growth.
It’s important you ask a hair loss doctor what’s the best hair restoration option for you as some of the above-described methods may not be safe or effective. At Jolie Plastic Surgery we use the latest NeoGraft hair transplant technology and PRP for hair loss. We combine these two surgical and non-surgical procedures to achieve optimal results.
Contact us for an effective hair loss solution in Miami
Deciding which hair loss treatment is more suitable for your specific situation can be difficult and confusing to sort through all the available information. If you are tired of methods that only yield temporary results and would like to grow hair back, contact Jolie Plastic Surgery today and schedule a confidential consultation. We care about your questions and concerns and will do our best to ensure your needs are met.
Hair loss FAQs
The most common reasons for thinning include genetics, a poor diet, age, and some specific medical disorders or treatments. When shedding was caused by one or more contributing factors, the effects can be very severe.
The average hair loss is 50 to 100 hairs every day. If you are shedding more hair than that, you should contact a trained professional to determine the hair loss causes and how you can deal with it.
The first cause of hair loss is a condition called androgenic alopecia and the second one is age. The good news is there is something you can do about it.
We can help you get your hair back with NeoGraft, a minimally invasive hair transplant technology with higher success rates. A good candidate for this procedure is any person in good health who wants a speedy recovery, and with sufficient donor hair thickness on their scalp. The NeoGraft FUE procedure is mostly performed on patients with moderate hair loss.
It all depends on what your individual needs are. Although most non-surgical methods are faster and less costly than surgical options, they may only yield temporary results. The best way to find out which choice is right for you is by scheduling a consultation with a hair loss doctor. At Jolie Plastic Surgery, we use an effective non-surgical method called the Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP), and combine it with hair restoration surgery as needed.
Low-level laser therapy or red light therapy uses infra-red laser beams to increase blood flow and stimulate hair growth. However, this system might not work for everyone, especially on patients experiencing significant hair loss. In other words, if you are bald, lasers will not work. This technology only thickens existing miniaturized hair.
There are some circumstances which may trigger hair loss. They can affect the system that modifies hair growth. Consequently, as much as 40% of the hair may cycle into temporary thinning of hair, particularly in the front of the scalp. Some life events include unexpected weight loss, surgery, high fever, severe ailments, a loss, and divorce.
Shampooing doesn’t cause hair to shed but rather it removes hairs ready to fall out. Likewise, coloring, perming, and conditioning should not promote shedding. Some specific styles, on the other hand, usually cause hair to fall out.