We all lose hair, about 100 strands per day. Hair growth is a cycle, fall out and re-grow. However, for more than 80 million people, some degree of hair loss is permanent. Forty percent of those people are women.
Many people suffer in silence until it’s too late to hide thinning hair or baldness patterns. According to the National Health Services, a publicly funded national health care system in the United Kingdom, around 50 percent of women over the age of 65 experience female-pattern baldness caused by a change in hormone production, genetics, stress and poor diet.
The American Hair Loss Association states the hormonal process of testosterone converting to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT,) which then harms hair follicles, happens in both men and women. Under normal conditions, women have a minute fraction of the level of testosterone that men have, but even a lower level can cause DHT-triggered hair loss in women.
August is National Hair Loss Awareness Month, which was established to promote the dialogue about cause, prevention and treatments.
Most people attribute hair loss to medications and chemotherapy side effects. While there is a large percentage of people who suffer from hair loss while undergoing treatments for cancer, about 50 percent of women lose a significant amount of hair after giving birth.
Hair loss is known medically as alopecia. It is quite common. Medical reports state one in every 10 people will suffer the effects of alopecia in their lifetime. WebMD reports that scientists now believe that it’s not the amount of circulating testosterone that’s the problem but the level of DHT binding to receptors in scalp follicles.
Vince Jordan noticed his hair starting to thin at his crown shortly after he turned 30.
“It was gradual at first but become more pronounced by the time I was in my mid-30s,” he said.
Jordan suffers from genetic male pattern baldness.
WebMD notes that male pattern baldness typically does not signify a serious medical problem, but can be linked to coronary heart disease, an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.
“For the first few years I didn’t do too much about it, although I did go through a phase in which I grew my hair out and had it in medium length twists,” said Jordan, who is now 51. “That hid the balding area but became too much work to continue. I didn’t want it to lock into dreadlocks so I twisted it myself about once per week and it took about four hours to do.”
Jordan’s hairstyle proved to be time-consuming, so he tried Rogaine and Propecia for some improvement.
“My hair growth as a result of using Rogaine was too fine, wispy and fragile,” he said. “I also had one round of hair transplants [about 1,600 grafts] in 2011. It was helpful for a while but not enough to really make a significant and lasting difference.”
“Minoxidil is the drug that is in Rogaine, Avacor and Scalpmed,” said William “Bill” Edwards, the founder and CEO of Regenix. “Finasteride is the drug that is present in Propecia and Promox.” Edwards invented Regenix, a drug-free formula.
“I started using Regenix in May 2016 and noticed a difference in the thickness of my hair around my temples within three or four months,” Jordan said.
“The FDA-approved Regenix treatments and products are safe and effective, animal friendly, naturally derived, and there are no side effects,” said Edwards, a renowned scalp and hair care specialist who has been treating scalp disorders since 1976. He is best known for treating award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey.
Edwards’ clinic has treated more than 500,000 individuals with hair loss.
Dr. Robert Nettles, a renowned hair restoration expert who suffered from significant hair loss at 29 years old, describes the types of hair loss.
- Androgenetic Alopecia (hereditary hair loss), also known as male pattern baldness, which accounts for 95 percent of all hair loss cases. Twenty-five percent of women and 50 percent of men inherit this genetic hair loss condition from their parents.
- Alopecia Areata. About one percent of cases are characterized by circles of hair loss and are caused by auto immune response or acute stress.
- Telogen Effluvium. One percent of cases when large amounts of hair falling out over many days or weeks, which can be caused by stress, illness or medication.
- Traction Alopecia. One percent of cases, caused by long-term gradual pulling of the hair follicle out of the scalp.
- Hair breakage, brittleness. One percent of cases, generally caused from a lack of protein.
“I developed Stop and ReGrow, a topical serum, which is FDA-approved, for use on the scalp that includes an ingredient to help the scalp stop reacting to stress plus another that stimulates faster, thicker hair regrowth,” Nettles said. “We also provide counseling to help our patients deal with stress and recommend meditation and/or yoga to help them too.”
“Typically, the entire process from having hair to going totally bald can take 15 to 25 years. Some men go bald in five years or less,” Edwards said. “The top five reasons for hair loss are genetics, stress, medications, hormonal (thyroid) and aging.”
“If you’re predisposed genetically, you need to not only prevent it but take measures to make sure it doesn’t get worse,” Edwards said. “A huge part of prevention is making sure the environment is clean and healthy – both the surface of the scalp as well as the follicles. Proper scalp hygiene is critical to prevent hair loss and consumers need to be wary that some products make it worse.”
Typically, hair loss does not need to be treated. Mainly, because of the social stigma and personal perference to hide hair loss, people seek hair restoration treatments options. With research, you can find the one that fits your needs and budget from lotions to drugs and surgery.
Dr. Robert Leonard, founder and chief surgeon for Leonard Hair Transplant Associates, a board-certified hair transplant surgeon with more than 30 years of experience based in Boston, offers five tips about what to do when you experience hair loss.
Number one, let it go.
Two, try the do-it-yourself home remedies like eating better or changing shampoos to treat hair loss.
Three, hit the drug store. “Some over-the counter treatments may slow down the hair loss process, and help patients keep what they already have,” Dr. Leonard said. “However, it won’t stimulate new hair growth.”
Four, put a lid on it. Many men choose to hide their hair loss by wearing hats. But Dr. Leonard recommends a hat with a purpose. The Capillus272 PRO is an FDA-approved low-level laser device that is tucked into a baseball cap. The device stimulates cellular activity and blood flow and has been proven to help regrow hair.
Five, see the pros. The best and most effective treatment for hair loss begins with an appointment with a hair loss specialist who can diagnose the patient’s individual problem and provide personalized recommendations.
American Hair Loss Association – www.americanhairloss.org
Leonard Hair Transplant Associates – www.hairdr.com
National Health Service – www.nhs.uk
Regenix – www.regenix.com
Stop and reGrow: www.stopandregrow.com
Robotic Hair Restoration Center: www.roboticrestoration.com/
WebMD – www.webmd.com
Marie Y. Lemelle, MBA, a public relations consultant, is the owner of Platinum Star PR and can be reached on Twitter @PlatinumStar or Instagram @PlatinumStarPR. Send “Health Matters” related questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and look for her column in The Wave.