5 Questions You Have About Hair Loss
Hair loss is an issue most of us don’t think twice about—until it starts happening to us. Then, the questions start flooding in: is this normal? Why am I losing my hair? Should I start looking for hair loss treatments?
We understand how concerning it can be to experience hair loss. Not only is a full head of hair a sign of health and youthfulness, but our hair is so closely tied to our identity—and losing it can seem like losing a little of what makes you you. Finding out the source of the issue is the first step to identifying a solution, so Dr. Sobel and our Bellevue hair restoration specialists have answered some of our patients’ top FAQs about hair loss right here.
1. Why is my hair falling out?
There are many reasons your hair might be falling out, and most can be fixed. If you’re noticing a extra hair in your comb or around the shower drain, but the hair on your head doesn’t seem any thinner, it’s likely just normal hair shedding—the average person sheds up to 150 hairs per day. If it’s been a few days since you washed or styled your hair, you may be seeing the evidence of several days of hair shedding, which can look alarming but is nothing to worry about.
Other temporary (and usually reversible) causes of hair loss include hormonal imbalances, stress, poor nutrition, and certain illnesses or medications. How you style your hair matters too. For instance, wearing a tight ponytail every day can stress finer hairs and lead to thinning. Aggressive brushing or frequent use of heat or chemicals can also weaken or pull out strands.
If none of the above seem to be the culprit and male or female pattern baldness runs in your family, you might be experienced hereditary hair loss, which is the most common cause of permanent hair loss. While male and female pattern baldness typically affects people over 40, it’s not uncommon for men in their early 20s and women in their 30s to notice thinning hair.
2. Can stress make your hair fall out?
Yes, you can add hair loss to the negative effects stress can have on our mental and physical health. Stress related hair loss usually manifests in one of the following conditions:
- Telogen effluvium: your body reacts to stress by forcing hair follicles to stay in their resting phase longer, so hair quits growing for a time
- Trichotillomania: this is compulsive hair pulling as a reaction to stress
- Alopecia areata: this is an immune system response that causes hair to shed. While alopecia areata has a number of causes, stress is one of them.
The good news about stress related hair loss is that it’s usually treatable by finding a healthy way to deal with stress. If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately and are losing hair, see your doctor. You might consider seeing a therapist or starting a meditation program as well.
3. Can women go bald?
Did you know that about two-thirds of women experience hair loss after menopause, and millions do earlier in life? Progressive hair loss in women is most often due to androgenetic alopecia, more commonly known as female pattern baldness, and it’s hereditary. It’s unusual for a woman to go completely bald on the front and top of her head, as some men do. However, hair thinning can be significant, especially along the top (midline) part.
Another time in life where it’s common for women to lose hair is during and after pregnancy. Fluctuating estrogen levels can cause a dominance of androgenetic (male-like) hormones that prompt excess hair shedding and some noticeable thinning. In some women, estrogen-based contraceptives (i.e., pills, rings, patches) can have a similar effect. Once hormone levels normalize, hair typically returns to its regular fullness with additional treatment.
4. Can you prevent hair loss?
Hair loss as a result of hormonal, nutritional, or environmental circumstances can usually be reversed and therefore prevented. For example, you can take care to eat a healthy diet, avoid tight ponytails and high-heat styling instruments, and adopt healthy stress management habits.
Hereditary hair loss cannot be prevented. While a healthy lifestyle is always a good idea and may help to slow the onset of male or female pattern baldness, eventually your genes will get their way. Hair restoration treatments, such as hair transplants, PRP injections and medications can help restore fullness in such cases.
5. How can you treat hair loss?
How to best treat hair loss depends on its cause. Reducing stress and improving nutrition can resolve hair loss associated with stress and diet, respectively. Topical medications, such as minoxidil (e.g., Rogaine), can be effective to a degree, but must be taken indefinitely to maintain any hair growth they achieve. Also, no medication can restore hair to its previous fullness.
One newer, drug-free option is PRP (platelet rich plasma) therapy. This treatment uses a small sample of your own blood to create a highly concentrated source of platelets, which are very rich in growth factors and proteins that can trigger hair follicles to grow when injected into the scalp. It’s best for mild hair thinning, or to enhance results of hair transplants.
Hair transplants are the only effective, long-term solution to restore hair to balding areas—and thankfully procedure options have improved significantly over the last few years. Older, invasive “strip surgery” techniques that require a long linear incision in the back of the head are falling out of favor, and minimally invasive technologies that extract and relocate hair follicles without a scalpel incision are becoming standard.
We believe NeoGraft automated follicular unit extraction (FUE) to be the best of the newer hair transplant technologies. The first technology of its kind to receive FDA clearance, NeoGraft uses pneumatic pressure to gently push individual hair follicle units (each containing just 1 to 4 hairs) out of the back of the head, and allows a provider superb precision when transplanting the follicle to ensure a natural hair growth pattern in the transplant area. The procedure takes just a few hours using local anesthesia, and our Bellevue NeoGraft hair transplant patients need only a few days of downtime.
Have more questions about hair restoration? We can help.
We hope we’ve shed a little more light on the causes of hair loss and your different treatment options. Still, hair loss is a very personal issue, and finding the right approach to address it requires the help of an experienced hair restoration provider. At Anderson Sobel Cosmetic, Dr. Sobel and his team offer the solution-focused care you need with the kindness and compassion you deserve. If you’re ready to discuss your options for hair loss treatments in Bellevue, contact us today to request your free consultation.