Am I Shedding a Normal Amount of Hair or Am I Experiencing Hair Loss? What Should I Do About It?
Many individuals experience hair loss. Below is an overview of what can cause it.
One of the most common causes is telogen effluvium (TE). A sudden loss of shedding hair all over the head is the most common way TE presents. Telogen effluvium can occur due to many factors, the most common being postpartum, stress, medications, or having a low iron store in the body. Before you say, “ME, I am Stressed out!”, understand that this stress is usually MAJOR- a death in the family, a personal hospitalization or fever (severe COVID would count), severe illness, or a new diagnosis of a disease. The hair loss often occurs 1-2 months after the stress starts. The good news is that it goes away by itself, but that can take 6-9 months. Another common cause is low iron stores. Iron stores are measured not by iron in the blood, but by something called ferritin. If the ferritin level is less than 70, the body will sometimes stop making hair due to a biofeedback loop that tries to preserve iron for creating new red blood cells or stomach lining, both of which occur daily and require lots of iron. If this is the case, taking iron supplements over time can help. But remember, it is NORMAL to lose about 100 hairs per day. Unless you see thinning, this may be a normal phenomenon.
The most common cause of hair loss is androgenetic alopecia (AGA). This hair loss is due to hormonal effects in the body- but this doesn’t mean your hormones are abnormal. Testosterone can cause the hair to get smaller and smaller and then fall out. All men and women have testosterone, but you don’t need to have an abnormal level for it to cause this, just a heightened reaction to what you have in the hair follicle. For men, you usually see a bald patch at the crown and a receding hairline. For women, there is often hair loss on the middle top of the head, with the front hairline preserved, although recession and bald patches can also occur. Usually, this is due to aging and/or genetics.
We have so many new treatments that are fantastic for this! But it is still hard to grow hair if you are suffering from AGA. We often recommend a combination of topical or oral testosterone blockers as well as SkinQRI KeraFactor™ Scalp Stimulating Solution and SkinQRI KeraFactor™ Scalp Stimulation Shampoo & Conditioner which deliver all-natural ingredients to help build back the hair after removing the blockage. We also sometimes combine this with treatment options for
those who want to see a quicker improvement.
The treatments are called Keralase™, Keravive™, and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP). Keralase™ uses a 1927 laser called the LaseMD® that gently makes a grid of small openings on the scalp so that the sterile KeraFactor™ solution, which is applied afterward, can have increased penetration. It does not require any anesthetic, and there is no downtime because the energy is low. Keravive™ is another way of delivering these growth factors by using a microdermabrasion unit to infuse them into the scalp. This treatment is also painless and almost relaxing, like getting a facial for your scalp! The last treatment is PRP, which takes the growth factors from your own body. First, we draw blood from your arm, use a centrifuge to “spin it down”, and extract the platelets where all the growth factors are. Then we inject those into your scalp! This treatment has grown in popularity all across the US! Each of these treatments is performed once a month for three months, with maintenance treatments once every 3-6 months after. Additional take-home products will allow you to continue maintaining the hair you grow. We can give you all the details during a visit to the office!
There are other forms of medical hair loss like alopecia areata when there are bald spots in specific areas and frontal fibrosing alopecia found mainly in women. Any of these can cause significant social distress.
If you aren’t sure what type of hair loss you have but want to discuss the options, please make an appointment with one of our medical providers by calling or texting 847.459.6400!