“Right now, the only FDA approved medication, for hair loss is topical Minoxidil, which comes as a 2% solution for twice-daily use in women. The FDA did approve 5% Rogaine Foam for once-daily use in women, but it is not being sold in stores yet.Women may also use various low-level light therapy devices such as the HairMax Lasercomb, which has FDA clearance to treat hair loss,” according to Dr. Rogers.
Traumas such as childbirth, major surgery, poisoning, and severe stress may cause a hair loss condition known as telogen effluvium, in which a large number of hairs enter the resting phase at the same time, causing shedding and subsequent thinning. The condition also presents as a side effect of chemotherapy – while targeting dividing cancer cells, this treatment also affects hair’s growth phase with the result that almost 90% of hairs fall out soon after chemotherapy starts.
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“There has been a lot of buzz about cloning hair follicles and then injecting them into the areas where someone is losing hair,” Fusco says. “I believe this is the next step and am very excited about it." She is also optimistic about a new technology that injects growth factors into the scalp and follicles in order to stimulate hair growth, as well as a low-level light therapy that uses laser therapy.
Less common causes of hair loss without inflammation or scarring include the pulling out of hair, certain medications including chemotherapy, HIV/AIDS, hypothyroidism, and malnutrition including iron deficiency. Causes of hair loss that occurs with scarring or inflammation include fungal infection, lupus erythematosus, radiation therapy, and sarcoidosis. Diagnosis of hair loss is partly based on the areas affected.
People have between 100,000 and 150,000 hairs on their head. The number of strands normally lost in a day varies but on average is 100. In order to maintain a normal volume, hair must be replaced at the same rate at which it is lost. The first signs of hair thinning that people will often notice are more hairs than usual left in the hairbrush after brushing or in the basin after shampooing. Styling can also reveal areas of thinning, such as a wider parting or a thinning crown.
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Common Mistakes to Avoid -- When it comes to hair loss, missing the early signs is one of the first mistakes many women make. A staggering 50 percent loss can occur before it's noticeable to the human eye. The other common mistake women (and men, for that matter) make when trying to treat their hair loss is not giving enough time for therapy to work and not tracking their results properly. Just like hair loss, initial changes in hair regrowth take time and can be subtle before they are noticeable to the naked eye.
The important distinction between male pattern baldness and female pattern hair loss is that, whilst men may develop absolute baldness – when the damaged follicles can no longer function so hair growth stops, and the skin takes on a smooth, shiny appearance – this is rare in women. Women’s hair loss may become advanced, but true baldness – as men experience it – is highly unlikely.
Other approaches to hair thinning include using cosmetic "camouflage" sprays and powders that cover the scalp with a color close to one’s own hair color, which reduces the contrast between hair and scalp and makes the hair loss less noticeable. Surgical hair transplants are an option, but you must have enough "donor" hair to spare at the back of your scalp. A new treatment approved by the F.D.A. uses low-level laser lights on the scalp but the benefit is “modest,” Dr. Mirmirani said.
It’s good to know that hair loss is a hereditary thing. My husband’s father has hair that is thinning out quickly, so I imagine that my husband will have a similar problem in the future. If that’s the case, then I should probably look into some preventative treatments to help him out. After all, the last thing I want is for my husband to start balding at age 40!