Are you experiencing thinning hair (your part appears wider, hair line is thinner, too much hair left in your hairbrush or in the drain after a shower), and don’t know why? 40% of women experience hair loss by age 40! 85% of men have visible hair loss by age 50. Not all hair thinning is a caused aging, we are seeing more hair loss in women in their 20’s and 30’s than ever before.
We understand how important a healthy head of hair is, not only to your overall appearance, but to your self-esteem. Thinning hair can be devastating for women of any age. 89% of women report hair loss causes depression. The emotional impact of hair loss can make you feel confused, depressed, and hopeless, especially when you do not know why.
Some hair loss, like that experienced with pregnancy, stress, and certain medications, may only be a temporary side effect. Each hair follicle goes through a normal cycle over the course of several years where a follicle grows, rests, and sheds. Then a new hair replaces it and the cycle starts again. It is perfectly normal for a women to lose a 100 hairs a day, and this typically dose not result in thinning hair.
Other hair loss is not temporary and should prompt a thorough evaluation with your physician.
There are several causes of Alopecia (Hair Loss):
- Hormone Imbalance
* Testosterone deficiency/excess
* Thyroid deficiency/excess
- Iron deficiency, anemia
- Prescription medications
* Oral contraceptives
* Blood pressure medications (B-blockers)
* H2 Blockers (Pepcid, Zantac)
- Poor diet, specifically low protein or severe calorie restriction
- Over-processing hair
* Hair color more often than every 10-12 weeks
* Chlorine exposure
* Harsh shampoo, products
- Overuse of alcohol
- Dry scalp
- Inflammation, which can be related to multiple factors (physical and emotional stress, leaky gut, adrenal dysfunction, insulin resistance, obesity, toxin exposure). Recent research suggests hair follicles have receptors for cortisol. Cortisol is released as a response to stress, which results in inflammation at the level of the hair follicle. This inflammation results in decreased blood flow, oxygenation, and nutrient delivery and absorption at the level of the hair follicle, causing hair loss.
- Stress (physical and emotional, both acute and chronic) directly inhibits hair growth through Substance P, a neuropeptide which induces inflammation, activates mast cells/cytokine release, pushing hair follicles into the “transitional” phase, which will result in shedding of that hair within weeks.
The main type of hair loss in both women and men is Androgenic Alopecia, which is a genetic condition resulting in hair loss. In men, hair loss is characterized by a receding hairline, in the typical “M” distribution, as well as thinning and eventual baldness at the crown. Women experience a general thinning over the entire scalp (first noticing a widening of their part), with the most extensive hair loss at the crown.
Despite extensive research, the factors involved in female androgenic alopecia remain unknown, and to make it more confusing, the role of androgens (or male sex hormones) is hard to determine.
Unless caused by a very rare androgen-producing tumor, hair loss in post-menopausal women is NOT associated with androgen excess. We actually see significant hair loss in women who are testosterone deficient.
63% of women with thinning hair report “hair re-growth”
on testosterone pellet therapy.
Increased levels of androgens in hair follicles can lead to a shorter cycle of hair growth, thinner and shorter stands of hair. Rarely, a woman with extremely high levels of androgens may experience hair loss if they genetically convert testosterone to DHT (dihydrotestosterone) in the scalp/hair follicle. This side effect of testosterone replacement can be managed with the supplement Saw Palmetto or prescription medication Finasteride, which decreases the conversion of testosterone to DHT. Saw Palmetto acts as an anti-inflammatory and does not cause the sexual side effects (decrease in libido) which can be seen with Finasteride.
Hair loss may not be completely preventable, but there are several options in which to treat it. To start, you should make an appointment with one of our providers for a thorough exam and appropriate laboratory studies. Frequently, a discussion of your medical history and complete patient profile will reveal the cause behind your hair loss and the most effective treatment plan.
Adjuvant treatments we have found effective include:
- Specific supplements for hair and nail growth, including
* 82S Hair Loss Shampoo with Natural Conditioners (Hair Science), $36* Biotin 10,000 mcg (Superior Source), $24* Cosmedix (OrthoMolecular), $20* Minoxidil Formula 82M (Prescription Hair Loss Treatment): compounded, prescription solution specifically for androgenetic hair loss. The synergistic ingredients (including Retinoic acid for enhanced penetration) act as a natural 5 alpha-reductase blocker that absorbs more quickly and causes less scalp irritation than typical products.
o Women: 15 drops in the evening to each area.
o Men: 20 drops to each area, morning and night.
o 60 ml bottle = $70 (1.5 month supply)
o 120 ml = $128 (3 month supply)
o Noticeable results require 2-3 months
- Vampire Hair Restoration (click to read more about this exciting treatment option!)