Some of the most common reasons for hair loss are:
- Stress or illness including Covid-19
- Post Pregnancy-Usually grows back after a couple of months.
- Not enough protein- People on Keto diets may experience hair loss
- Hormonal changes- Going on and off birth control or menopause
- Male/Female pattern baldness-The male hormone becomes activated and shrinks the hair follicle which prevents new hair from growing. This is usually hereditary.
- Thyroid conditions-can cause thinning of the hair, less body hair and thin or missing outer portion of the eyebrows.
- Alopecia Areata- Affects 6.8 million people and is considered an auto-immune disease. It makes no distinction in age, gender or ethnicity. The amount of hair loss can’t be predicted or how much will grow back if any at all.
- Lupus- Is also an auto-immune disease and most hair loss is a side effect of the medication taken and may be temporary.
- Rapid weight loss- Can be a shock to the system and put stress on the body sometimes resulting in vitamin deficiency, which can cause hair loss. This is usually temporary and will correct itself after six months.
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
- Medications- Blood thinners or high blood pressure medications also known as beta-blockers, methotrexate for rheumatic diseases, lithium for bipolar disorder, NSAIDS and anti-depressants and anabolic steroids can also cause hair loss.
- Trichotillomania- Constant tugging or pulling on the hair usually presents itself before the age of 17 and is four times more common in women than men.
Male pattern baldness is hereditary and is the most common type of hair loss for men. There is no cure but scientific research has come a long way in developing treatments to slow down the process.
Women who experience hair loss also experience symptoms of depression. Hair loss affects appearance and for women, this is particularly difficult as it is a blow to a woman’s confidence and psychological well-being.
That being said, women are less likely to seek help for hair loss than men. This is because men and women lose hair differently. Men lose hair at the hair line and women tend to lose hair behind the hair line where it is less noticeable.
So now you know what can cause hair loss, you’re probably asking what you can do to stop it.
Things to try to slow down hair loss
- Styling your hair differently
- Use volumizers
- Limit the use of hair dryers, straighteners and curling irons
- Use lower temperature settings when using them
- Avoid styles like ponytails, tight braids, and teasing the hair
- Give your hair a break from coloring and perming
- Use mild shampoos and lessen shampooing to every other day or a few times a week
- Get plenty of rest
- Avoid alcohol and smoking
- Reduce your stress level
- Eat a nutrient and protein-rich diet
Some of these things may be enough to stop the hair loss and if it does that’s great! But what if you are still losing hair?
In 2020, the hair restoration industry was valued at 9.2 billion dollars. That’s a lot of hair products, vitamins and procedures. There are a lot of ads on the internet and social media platforms that claim to regrow hair, but do they work? You may have seen ads for Minoxidil or Rogaine, an over-the-counter drug. Rogaine does work with continuous use but discontinue use and the hair loss starts again.
So, consult your doctor. There are a number of different tests that can be done to help determine the cause. Tests include a blood test, a pull test where the doctor pulls several dozen strands to see how many come out and to help determine the shedding process, a scalp biopsy is a process that involves hair being examined under a microscope to see if an infection is responsible for the hair loss and light microscopy, where the physician uses a special instrument to see if there are any abnormalities in the hair shaft. Once the reason for the hair loss is determined then your doctor will suggest treatment options that can include over-the-counter medications such as Minoxidil otherwise known as Rogaine, or prescription medications, hair transplant surgery or laser surgery.
What if you want to try something that doesn’t involve medications, vitamins, or potentially expensive procedures?
Acupuncture and hair loss
The Shanghai University of Chinese Traditional Medicine states that acupuncture with Qi Xing a seven-star needle increases patient success at a rate of 90.9%. At the end of the treatment program, it was determined by researchers that herbs with acupuncture can control hair loss and encourage hair growth.
According to researchers’ patients that have alopecia areata who were treated with acupuncture had a 90% rate of success while patients treated with minoxidil and vitamins had a 60% rate of success. This group of 60 patients were equally divided into two groups. The group with acupuncture and herbs had a relapse rate of only 10% and the group treated with minoxidil and vitamins had a relapse rate of 36.67%.
Acupuncture helps increase blood flow and improve circulation in the scalp which stimulates the hair follicles and encourages hair growth.
At least 10 sessions were recommended in this study to see results.
For more information click the link below.
Massage and hair loss
In a small study performed in 2016, a group of people were given specific instructions on how to massage their heads. They massaged their scalp for 4 minutes every day for 24 weeks. At the end of the study, men reported that they had thicker hair than when they started.
In a larger study, 340 people massaged their scalp twice a day and 69% of them said their alopecia had improved.
Massage helps to dilate the blood vessels beneath the scalp which encourages hair growth and helps to produce thicker hair.
How to massage your scalp
1. With your fingertips use light to medium pressure in small circles and work across your entire scalp for 5 minutes several times a day.
2. Or you can massage your scalp while washing and conditioning your hair. Just massage it in for 5 minutes and rinse as usual
3. If you use brushes or massage tools, massage as if you were using your fingertips.
4. Massage with essential oils using 1-2 drops lavender or peppermint with 1 tablespoon of carrier oil such as jojoba oil or coconut oil. Apply to scalp and massage with fingers working the oil into the scalp. Patch test before trying this to make sure you have no allergies to these ingredients.
This is not a cure. There are many reasons why you could be experiencing hair loss, so please reach out to your medical provider to find out what might be causing yours. Get your hair and confidence back!