Understanding Hair Loss - for Men and Women
April 8 2020
Thinning hair can be very upsetting, especially when you don’t understand why it is happening or what you can do to treat it. Knowing the facts can be empowering, letting you take control of your thinning hair and finding the right solution. At Hair Restoration Institute, we have an arsenal of hair loss solutions that can help most men and women with hair loss, and today we’ll talk about some of the questions we get from patients on their first consultation visit.
What is hair loss?
Hair follicles produce keratin, which is pushed out in strands to form hair. Follicles have life cycles of active growth, transitional growth, and a resting phase, after which the hair strand falls away for a new one to begin growing. The growth rate slows as we age, and hair loss, or alopecia, can also occur in the following ways:
- Involutional alopecia. This is the natural process of slowing with age, where the resting phase of the follicle life cycle is more prevalent and hair is replaced at a slower rate, causing thinning
- Telogen effluvium. This is a temporary thinning of hair caused by the follicle life cycle. Many follicles go into the resting phase at once, causing the normal shedding cycle to create the appearance of thinning.
- Androgenic alopecia. This is the type of hair loss that we know as male or female pattern baldness. In men, it can begin early, in the teenage years or early 20s. Hair loss begins as a receding hairline and gradually moves over the top of the head. For women, it is usually not noticeable until they reach their 40s, and instead of the receding hairline pattern, it is usually characterized by thinning across the entire head, with the most loss on the top. This is a genetic condition.
- Scarring alopecia. Some skin conditions and other factors can cause scarring, which damages follicles so they are unable to regrow hair in some areas.
- Other conditions can also cause permanent or temporary hair loss on the head or even over the entire body.
What causes hair loss?
There isn’t a clear reason why some people have hair loss and others don’t, but there are some factors that come into play:
- Hormones (androgens)
- Genes, as some conditions are genetic and can be inherited from either parent
- Stress, illness, infections, or even childbirth
- Drugs, especially some cancer treatments and some blood thinners, blood pressure medications, and birth control pills
- Autoimmune diseases
- Medical conditions, burns, and injuries
Some of these factors cause temporary hair loss, while others can lead to more permanent hair loss patterns.
Is hair loss different in men and women?
Hair loss is generally associated with men, but women can also experience hair loss. Both men and women produce androgens, which are commonly referred to as male hormones, although both men and women produce them – men just generally have more of them. Androgens have important functions, like getting puberty started and regulating some organ function, but excessive levels can cause conditions like hair loss for both men and women.
It’s the pattern of loss that’s usually different between the sexes. Men generally begin losing hair earlier in life and have a more distinct pattern that begins with a receding hairline, while women tend to have thinning hair all over.
What about the psychological effects of hair loss?
Thinning hair can have a strong psychological impact on both men and women. It can cause low self-esteem or thoughts and feelings about being unattractive. For people who don’t understand the condition and feel a loss of control, it can be especially difficult, so it’s important to know the facts about hair loss and take control by seeing our professional hair loss medical experts.
What treatments are available?
Treatments for hair loss vary by the cause and extent of the loss as well as which options are right for the individual. Treatments include surgical and non-surgical replacement options as well as scalp treatments that stimulate growth. The first step in finding your solution is making an appointment for a confidential consultation with our medical specialists.
If thinning hair is becoming a concern for you, our experienced professionals at the Hair Restoration Institute can help. Schedule your consultation appointment today and our professional medical staff to determine which solutions will work for you. You can find us at 8030 Old Cedar Ave S #202 in Bloomington or the Edgewater Town Office Park at 2598 Rice Street in Saint Paul in Minnesota, or at 1201 West Lancaster Avenue in Fort Worth, Texas, or call 612-588-HAIR (4247) in Minnesota or 817-854-HAIR (4247) in Dallas/Fort Worth for a complimentary consultation.