If you’re like most women, you have occasional “bad hair days.” Wavy hair goes limp, curly hair looks frizzy and straight hair refuses to take a curl. However, usually by the next day or with your next shampoo, everything is back to normal. Yet, for some women with thinning hair, a “bad hair day” is every day. Hair loss is no joke and more common than you might think, However, there are ways to prevent and treat it.
Thinning Hair Woes:
This kind of bad hair day may mean you’ve noticed that your part is getting wider, so you part your hair in a different place. But, it doesn’t really work.
First, you might just change your style. That may work, for a while. But then, it doesn’.
You hope no one notices, as you go online to see what products might help camouflage the thinning. Fortunately, you find a vast array of powders, sprays and crayons in assorted colors that can disguise your scalp and make the thinning appear less noticeable.
Will it Stop?
Consider yourself lucky if the progression of loss and thinning stops, but for many women facing this problem, it doesn’t end there.
The hair on the top and crown of your hair is often where this problem shows up first. You may have what is called “diffuse” thinning, which means hair is becoming thinner everywhere. Or, perhaps, you may suddenly notice spots where no hair is growing at all.
A lot of this kind of hair loss is referred to as male pattern baldness because it mimics the areas in which men often first notice hair loss.
What Can You Do?
What should you do when everything stops working?
Seeing a dermatologist is your best bet. And, don’t be surprised if he or she checks a panel of blood work or refers you to an endocrinologist to make sure there isn’t a medical problem causing the hair to thin or fall out.
A thyroid disorder, hormone imbalance, autoimmune condition or vitamin deficiency may be possible culprits.
“It’s important to diagnose the problem correctly,” explains New York City dermatologist, Joshua Zeichner, MD. “As we age, the hair becomes thinner, but hair loss may also be caused by underlying medical issues. If there is a medical condition leading to hair loss then addressing that issue can restore the thinning hair. In some cases, hair loss may be permanent, so early intervention is important.”
“Other factors that can impact the health of your hair include stress, recent illnesses, or even new medications,” says Dr. Zeichner. “The important thing is not to suffer alone. If you have thinning hair, visit a dermatologist for a personalized treatment regimen.”
What Dr. Zeichner cautions against pulling the hair tight, as traction can be a cause of hair thinning. This includes tight ponytails tight braids, or hair extensions. Heat from blow-drying or chemicals from perms and color can also cause damage to the hair shaft leading to breakage.
Is there hope?
Yes, says this expert. “The treatment depends on the type of hair loss. Generally speaking, for women with genetic hair thinning known as androgenic alopecia, there are options over the counter and by prescription.
Editor’s note: The Advice Sisters reviewed products such as Reviv3 Pro Care Viviscal and Nutrafol plus lots of volumizing haircare and root touch-up products and tools (check out our search box) to protect the hair you have and make it look thicker.
Dr. Zeichner explains that a product such as Rogaine foam contains topical minoxidil, an ingredient shown to enhance hair growth.
Dietary supplements like Viviscal help provide the body with the building blocks necessary for optimal functioning of hair follicles.
In the office, prescription medications my mouth like spironolactone or finasteride may be appropriate. He suggests that you speak to your dermatologist to see if those are options for you.
Finally, a treatment called platelet-rich plasma (PRP) can help. In the procedure, your blood is drawn and the red blood cells are separated from the white part of the blood. This plasma contains growth factors that are like fertilizer for your hair follicles signaling them to function to the best of their ability. The plasma is concentrated and delivered to areas of thinning hair.
However, finally, if all else fails, hair transplants are an option.
Have hope!! If thinning or loss continues there are many steps you can take, some of them new, that can significantly change the way your hair looks. Small wiglets or full wigs are one alternative, but if that’s not for you, consult with a hair loss specialist to inquire about hair transplantation.
In this procedure, a strip of hair from the back of the scalp is removed and cut into tiny sections that are then transplanted to the thinning area. As the relocated hair gets acclimated to its new site, a process which may take anywhere from four to six months, new hair begins to populate the thinning area.
So, don’t suffer quietly, despairing whenever you look in the mirror. Hair loss is a lonely battle to try to fight alone. Take advantage of all the new advances that can help you focus your attention on living a good, full life, not worrying that everyone is staring at your hair! *Every woman should read the story “My Hat” on advicesisters.com.
Editor’s Note: A big thanks to author Suzanne Lane for this advicesisters.com feature. Suzanne is the founder and president of The Lane Communications Group and the author of a touching book about her dog Sammy. Read the advicesisters.com’s review of her book A Little Sammy Music. Get a copy of “A Little Sammy Music” on amazon.com