Hair Loss? 'Tis Not (Usually) this Season!

Christmas and New Year's parties are for looking about our best, and we don't usually see seasonal loss during this cheerful time, it's for spring and summer to shed the old hairs! But here you were getting reading to go out to a big bowl game and you are brushing your hair and suddenly you look at the brush, and it's filled with hair, the skin has more hair than usual, the drain in the show is showing signs as well. It's probably not going to be severe, it's probably not going to be long lasting, but it's disturbing when your hair loss is worse than usual. It's a form of stress for most women. The hair grows from follicles in healthy scalp and it cycles though growth of the hair from a follicle, then a period when the follicle withers or involutes and when that happens to that follicle with shedding of hair, and finally a rest period or the follicles hibernate. This is a three step process of anagen, catagen, and telogen. An imbalance of what hair follicles are resting and what follicles are growing will produce what you see as sudden shedding. If this imbalance goes on for years, you'll have very scant hair. 


Most of our gyno patients with new onset of hair loss present with this sort of simple alopecia: hair loss without permanent destruction of the hair follicle. With care and attention, the hair follicle can awake Stress, either physical exertion, mental exertion, or stress on the hair from treatments is the most common problem of this hair cycle problem. It is naturally seen briefly seasonal loss (warm months), or most commonly just normal loss with exaggeration due to poor treatment of the hair. Pulling, tugging, brushing, braiding, toweling, Brazilian blowouts, perms, coloration, tight ponytails...pretty much all touching will cause us to shed hairs. System infections, some medications (chemotherapy is mot notable), and even vaccinations can cause hair loss. Unfortunately it can be your genetics, and about a fifth of the patients seeking care for hair loss have at least one relative with extremely thin hair. If your identical twin has hair loss, you have a 50-50 chance of having hair loss.  Autoimmune dysfunction will exaggerate the problem and cause immune cells to attack the growing hair follicles and thus make them either wither prematurely (this is the catagen stage), or in some cases completely die.

Voluminizing shampoos and wearing hair curly can help the fuller look, but getting to the bottom of this is important. First just be nice to your hair, then get in there and see if the scalp is healthy, finally, get some quick nutritional and hormone checks like a basic thyroid and menopause check. Both zinc and biotin will help your hair grow.  If none of those are yielding any answers it's time to go in for the full differential diagnosis. In the differential diagnoses are some fairly intimidating conditions: anagen effluvium, androgenetic alopecia, chemical alopecia, folliculitis (mild), inherited disorders of the hair shaft, telogen effluvium, alopecia areata, and traumatic alopecia. Some might just be aging and an actual decrease in each hair's thickness can be seen. Hairs go from nice round, all alike strands, to irregular and inconsistent shapes and contours. Some follicles just quit producing hair, like your eye lash hairs (yeah Latisse)can wake that up!. Your gyno might be able to help, or your dermatologist. Don't just "brush" it off to no big deal, hair loss can actually be a symptom of other underlying issues and if it goes on long enough, everyone deserves at least a brief check up.

Comments

  1. Very Nice post thanks for sharing valuable information.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Avoid shampoo and body wash with sodium lauryl sulfate. If you have
    dandruff, use a herbal
    medicated shampoo
    . Apply green tea to your scalp daily.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Important points. Hair care tips are very welcome by patients. And when your scalp thins too much don't forget the sun screen to the scalp. My favorite is the Sunforgetable powder by Colorescience, which can even protect your hair color from fading! Let those gals at Hada Cosmetic Medicine show you how to use!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for discussing so many important factors of hair loss and hair care. But hair loss among women is a social stigma. So how can we pinpoint hair loss diseases in women?Great work.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Excellent point. When dealing with hair issues in my practice I try to evaluate the psychological aspects both 'public and private'. Depression can be triggered by these disorders and often it's tough to separate the effects of disordered hormones, from the effects of depression regarding our personal image to the effects of the pressures we feel from the society we keep. Good resources on your site!

    ReplyDelete

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