According to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, 88,304 men and women in the United States underwent surgical hair transplants in 2012. The majority of these hair transplants were performed on men and women between the ages of 35 and 49. Aging is not the only factor when it comes to hair loss. There are a number of reasons why men and women lose hair.
Hair Loss Reason #1: Diet
Diet affects your hair’s growth. There are a number of dietary issues that can cause hair loss. One of the first is a diet containing too much vitamin A. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, adults and children should get 5,000 IUs of vitamin A per day. As many vitamin A supplements contain up to 10,000 IUs, your hair loss could be as simple as too much of the vitamin. Stopping supplements or reducing your intake of vitamin A-rich foods will allow the hair to grow normally.
A lack of protein may also be a concern with people who lose hair, especially for people following a vegan or vegetarian diet who avoid meats. When protein intake is too low, the body limits the protein it expends, and one of the first things affected is the production of new hair. Hair loss occurs between two and three months later.
A lack of iron, known as anemia, is another reason people lose hair. Dietary changes or iron supplements will help boost iron levels. Finally, vitamin B deficiency is known to lead to hair loss. To make sure you’re getting the right nutrients, visit your doctor to see if your diet is causing hair loss and discuss measures you can take to make sure your body is getting everything it needs to function properly.
Hair Loss Reason #2: Emotional and Physical Stress
Stressful situations can shock the hair into shedding prematurely. These stressful events range from car accidents to serious illnesses. While the hair loss may not be immediately noticeable, about three to six months down the road, the signs are clear. In most cases, you do not need treatment. Once your body recovers, the hair grows back. In cases of scalp burns, hair transplant procedures help restore hair growth.
Emotional stress is just as taxing on the body. Death of a family member or spouse and divorce are some of the leading causes of emotional stress. If you are losing hair due to this form of stress, seeking therapy or using techniques that reduce stress, such as yoga or meditation, can help.
Hair Loss Reason #3: Excessive Hair Styling and Treatments
Constant chemical treatments – bleaching, coloring, perms, and straightening – can damage the hair root. Over time, you may find that your hair does not return. The best way to prevent this form of balding is by limiting chemical treatments.
In addition, certain hairstyles tug at the hair on the temple and can lead to premature baldness. These hairstyles include buns, dreadlocks, tight braids, and tight ponytails. Limit the use of these hairstyles to give your scalp a break.
Hair Loss Reason #4: Heredity
Male pattern baldness is linked to genetics and hormones. Female pattern baldness is most common in women who have maternal relatives who also lost hair. When heredity is linked to baldness, the hair will not randomly begin growing again. In these cases, a doctor specializing in male or female hair transplants is the best way to get the hair to grow again. Male pattern baldness is the most common cause of hair loss in men.
Hair Loss Reason #5: Hypothyroidism
When the thyroid does not produce enough hormones, hair loss can occur. Symptoms of hypothyroidism also include lack of energy and weight gain. To diagnose thyroid function, your doctor will perform a blood test. If hypothyroidism is diagnosed, medications can help restore hormone production. Once the hormone levels are managed, hair growth resumes.
Hair Loss Reason #6: Medical Treatments
Cancer patients frequently lose their hair after undergoing chemotherapy. This hair loss is temporary and stops once the patient has completed the chemotherapy treatments. When the hair grows back, it is often a different color and even texture than the original hair.
Hair Loss Reason #7:
When the body’s immune system is too active, the body can start to view hair as an enemy. As the body’s immunities attack the hair, it can lead to premature balding. You need to discuss the issue with your doctor to make sure there isn’t an underlying disease. Sometimes the overactive immune system is caused by an autoimmune disease called lupus.
With lupus, the immune system will continue to attack, leading to permanent balding. Steroids are used to help reduce the immune system’s attack. Topical medications that treat balding may also help the hair regrow.
Hair Loss Reason #8: Pregnancy
Pregnancy-related hair loss occurs approximately three months after delivery. Not only is labor stressful on the body, but hormone levels also increase. During pregnancy, those hormone levels rise, but as they return to normal after the pregnancy, hair loss is a common problem. According to the American Pregnancy Association, between 40 and 50 percent of all pregnant women suffer from pregnancy-related hair loss. It takes a few months for hair growth to return to normal.
Hair Loss Reason #9: Sudden Weight Loss
Most people lose weight and never deal with hair loss. There are, however, people who lose weight suddenly and end up losing their hair. This can be caused by poor nutrition or the shock to the body. If the weight loss is tied to an eating disorder, therapy is necessary to treat the disorder. Otherwise, once you regain weight and are eating properly again, the hair will start to return.
Hair Loss Reason #10: Trichotillomania
Trichotillomania is a compulsive disorder where people pull hair from their body. Typically, the areas that are targeted by people with trichotillomania are the eyebrows and scalp. Therapeutic treatments that help target the compulsive disorder are necessary to help overcome trichotillomania. If the hair loss is severe and hair isn’t growing back, hair transplants to the eyebrows or scalp help reduce self-esteem and confidence.
One thing that is important to know about hair loss is that you’re not alone. Read some of Dr. Kabaker’s patient testimonials and see how others have overcome their hair loss.