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Anyone Suffering From Hair Loss? Then Read This

Here are the causes and exactly what to do about it.

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Shana Novak (Prop Stylist: Wendy Schelah)
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I was in the shower, mentally reviewing the morning’s to-do list, when I noticed the water rising around my ankles. Clogging the drain was a large tangle of reddish-brown hair. My hair. When I later blow-dried it, I pulled another wad of hair from my brush. Incredulously, I wondered, Is my hair falling out? I shook my head upside-down over the bathroom sink, watching as dozens of strands rained down.

At 48, I’ve tolerated many aspects of aging with what I think of as grace. Unsightly bunions, the surprise appearance of cellulite on places I hadn’t realized cellulite could exist (hello, upper arms!), and even the early beginnings of the “turkey gobbler neck” Nora Ephron made famous in I Feel Bad About My Neck; And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman.

I’d anticipated these changes and regarded them as unavoidable parts of living a long and good life. What I hadn’t expected was sudden hair loss.

If you can relate to this, you’re not alone. According to a 2022 study published in the medical journal Menopause, by middle age, more than 50 percent of women will experience female-pattern hair loss with excessive hair shedding or thinning. (Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss.)

When to consult a doctor

We lose, on average, between 50 and 100 hairs daily due to the normal stages of the hair growth cycle, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association. Those with thicker or longer hair tend to lose more. Some amount of hair loss is inevitable as we age and the rate of hair growth slows. But when you start to notice an unusual amount of thinning or hair shedding, it may be time to see a professional.

Causes

Joel Schlessinger, M.D., a dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon in Omaha, Nebraska, says hair loss in women can occur for many reasons, including hormonal changes, stress, starting or stopping certain medications, disease and illness, viral infections accompanied by a high fever such as COVID-19, hereditary factors, and even excessive cosmetic hair services and styling.

Schlessinger, the president emeritus of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery, says, “Since the causes of hair loss can be so diverse, it’s very important to see a board-certified dermatologist to pinpoint the exact reason behind the hair loss and which type of hair loss you may have.”

Treatments

There are many different treatment options, including shampoos formulated to prevent hair loss, over-the-counter and prescription oral and topical medications, supplements, laser therapy, and deep scalp exfoliation. Schlessinger suggests seeing a dermatologist before trying a treatment since a doctor can “determine if what you are experiencing is temporary excessive shedding or actual hair loss.”

One of the treatment options Schlessinger suggests is ReTress, a “four-part hair care system” that includes shampoo and conditioner. He also recommends the hair growth supplement Viviscal Professional.

Melissa Diamantis Darling, M.D, a dermatologist at Midwest Dermatology in Omaha, agrees, saying Viviscal is “a product with proven results backed by science that dermatologists love.”

Another option recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology Association is minoxidil, more commonly known as Rogaine.

For more information on products that may help you enjoy thicker and healthier hair, go here.

When it comes to alternative therapies, like massaging rosemary oil into your scalp, Darling is skeptical. “There are no real, scientifically accepted studies involving rosemary oil that support using it rather than scientifically proven minoxidil,” she says. “So don’t fall for it!” She also warns against trying TikTok and other social media trends on your own body. The best option is to find a dermatologist who can help determine which specific hair loss treatment is right for you.

Although women are unlikely to experience hair loss to the degree that is common in men, any hair loss can affect your self-esteem. Darling says, “Hair loss is rarely a serious medical problem on its own. But when hair loss causes feelings of low self-worth, it’s important to know that there are options for treatments with promising results.”

Are any of you suffering from hair loss? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow Article Topics: Health