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Losing hair is never a pleasant experience, and in addition to worrying about the physical conditions impacting your hair health, many struggle with accepting the changes to their looks. For some, thinning or a receding hair starts later on in life, while others notice a serious condition developing while in their early 20s. Common assumptions place baldness in a category of male conditions, but research and self-reported data confirm that females can have just as many challenges trying to overcome problems with thinning hair or patchy balding. When faced with follicle fallout, there are many treatments that have been shown to be effective as addressing both male and female pattern baldness. Some of them may not be appropriate for your condition, so when considering effective treatments against hair loss, take the following information into consideration.
Not All Loss is Equal
When you first start to notice problems with your hair, take a moment and reflect on potential impacting factors present in your life. It is normal for individuals to lose up to 100 hairs a day, so you don’t need to panic if a few hairs pull out while brushing or shampooing. If you consistently have clumps of hair clogging your shower drain or noticeable loss laying on your pillow or in your towel, something could be impacting your hair’s strength. Having hair fall out is normal, but usually, it isn’t too noticeable because of the new hair growth that takes its place. Hair that is lost but not replaced is troublesome. There are several things that could impact substantial loss and the resulting inability of a hair follicle to replace the strands.
Each hair follicle creating hair is its own tiny organ, relying on the body to supply important nutrients to remain working properly. When your hair isn’t getting the vitamins and minerals it needs, the result is weak, dull hair that can break more easily. Poor nutrition leaves the hair follicle helpless to move through the growth phases, and the result is a condition of noticeable thinning or balding. Even if your hair is nutritionally strong, too much stress can create damage. Continuous use of high heat styling aids, chemical hair treatments, or a harsh hairstyle can strip the hair of the oils and nutrition that have built up. This makes hair strands more prone to breakage or falling out. High levels of stress or certain medications can also cause your hair to fall out, and certain hormonal changes (such as post-pregnancy in women) are also known causes of types of hair loss. Being able to identify the reason for the loss will help you and your physician determine the best way to address your condition.
Common Medication Treatments
The first medical treatment on the market for hair loss was strictly limited to conditions of male pattern baldness. The medication, minoxidil, was the first FDA approved drug and was first marketed as approved for men. As the development of the medication has continued, it now an over-the-counter medication that has been approved for both men and women to help regrow hair. It can be used as a foam or liquid that is rubbed into the scalp. Finasteride is another prescription drug used to slow down the rate of loss, but this drug has only been approved for use by men. This is a continuous use pill if benefits are going to be lasting. Another treatment option combines minoxidil, finasteride, and dutasteride to have the most success in combatting loss of hair and encouraging new growth. When conditions require more assistance than a medication seems to be providing, there are a few other options.
Replacing hair that is lost can be difficult, and many assume that a hair transplant can be the solution. Unfortunately, hair transplants don’t give you more hair. It's a process that takes hair follicles from areas on your head that can afford to be thinned out and surgically implant the follicles into the balding areas to regrow. This process also costs a small fortune, and it is a painful experience. Even worse, the surgery doesn’t always produce results.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)
In this process, the doctor takes some of your blood and separates the platelets out from the other cells, but then puts the platelets back into the plasma of your blood. Platelets have special proteins that help with healing, and injecting them into the scalp begins to create and stimulate new hair follicles. This a newer form of treatment, but early research is showing a lot of promise for PRP.
When you see that your hair is falling out, don’t wait to seek treatment. There are many options to help slow conditions of loss and regrow hair.