JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – At least 80 million Americans deal with hair loss related to aging or genetics, according to the Academy of Dermatology.
But there are dozens of other reasons why your hair could be thinning, and treatments vary based on the cause.
Dermatologist Dr. Jonathan Kantor told News4Jax you should see an expert if you notice a significant amount of hair loss or other interesting changes in your hair.
“If there is a dramatic amount of hair that you are losing, if you’re losing hair in different places, if you are losing hair in circles — those are all reasons and warning signs that should say, ‘You know what, I should make an appointment with your doctor,’” Kantor said.
Treatments depend on the reason for your hair loss.
One of the most effective treatments is the injection of corticosteroids, according to Kantor.
“If you are having something called alopecia areata, where you are losing hair in little circles, steroid injections can make a big difference,” Kantor explained. “The reason that works is this is immune-mediated. The steroids reduce the actions of those inflammatory cells.”
Hair transplants and laser therapy can also help, but Kantor said those treatments are not for everyone.
He told us it would not be beneficial for alopecia areata but said, “If you’ve got someone who has male pattern hair-thinning or female pattern hair-thinning, hair transplants can play a big role.
As for laser therapy, Kantor said the data is still preliminary.
“There is some data to suggest that low-level light therapy can make a difference, but again, we don’t know for sure that it’s going to work for everybody,” he said.
Prescription medications are also available, but there may be other side effects.
Kantor also warned, if something seems to be true, it likely is.
Signs Your Hair Loss Could Be More Serious
Other Hair Loss
If you lose eyelashes, eyebrows or other body hair, you may have an autoimmune condition, alopecia, thyroid disease or Lupus.
Doctors can use blood work to determine the exact cause.
A lack of energy may mean you are not eating right and getting proper nutrients.
Being malnourished can lead to hair loss.
A balanced diet with fresh produce, protein, water and healthy fats like nuts should help.
Body aches and hair loss may be signs of a hormone imbalance or hypothyroidism.
A doctor can prescribe medication that will replace the hormones your body is not producing.
An iron deficiency can be responsible for brittle nails and hair loss.
Iron supplements can help, but check with your doctor, first.
Some antibotics can interfere with iron absorption.
Medications used to treat high blood pressure or high cholesterol can cause hair loss.
Blood pressure medications that are also beta blockers may also contribute to the problem.
Talk with your healthcare provider about options.
Hair Loss Myths
Some of the common claims about hair loss and its causes are false.
Wearing hats too often
Wearing hats too often will not cause your hair to fall out.
The misconception is that your scalp needs to “breathe” and wearing hats can stifle that.
In reality, the oxygen your hair follicles need for growth comes from the bloodstream, not the surrounding air.
Hair loss is permanent
The typical cause of male hair loss, male pattern baldness, is a genetic condition that is irreversible, but hair loss can be caused by other factors, such as trauma, hormonal changes, eating disorders, or illness.
Women can suffer from postpartum hair loss which rectifies itself around 6 months after giving birth.
Hair loss that is caused by something other than pattern baldness is most often only temporary.
Stress can cause hair loss
Typical daily stress likely will not cause your hair loss.
Traumatic events have been linked to hair loss, inculding long-term suffering and illness.
According to the Mayo Clinic, such severe stress can cause your hair to go into a longer “resting phase” in which hair follicles pause to regenerate hair.
Genetic hair loss comes from your mother’s side of the family
Male pattern baldness can be passed on by either one of your parents.
Washing or shampooing too often can cause hair loss
How often you wash and shampoo your hair has no effect on overall loss or growth of hair.
You may notice more hair loss while washing your hair, but it is hair that would have fallen out anyway.
At any given time, a portion of our hair regenerates itself by falling out, going dormant, and growing again.
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