COMMON CAUSES OF HAIR FALL
Everyone loses hair. It happens during your morning shower, while you’re blowing it dry, or when you give it a quick brush—and that’s normal. “On average, we lose fifty to a hundred hairs a day,” says Dr Abbasi. “That’s just hair going through its cycles, and there will be a new one to replace it.” But hair loss may be a sign of a more serious medical condition that needs an evaluation by a dermatologist and possible treatment. Here are nine causes of hair loss and how to deal with them.
Skin Conditions of the Scalp
An unhealthy scalp can cause inflammation that makes it difficult for hair to grow. Skin conditions that lead to hair loss include seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff), psoriasis, and fungal infections such as ringworm.
Seborrheic dermatitis causes the scalp to shed its skin, so you’ll notice greasy, yellowish scales on your shoulders or in your hair. It may be the result of yeast called Malassezia, hormonal changes, or excess oil in the skin. Psoriasis, an autoimmune condition that causes excessive skin cell turnover, produces a very thick white scale on the scalp that can bleed if pulled off. With ringworm, a fungus you contract by touching an infected person or animal, you’ll notice red patches on your scalp, which may be diffuse.
A physical exam of the scalp will help determine which condition you have. A fungal culture may pinpoint ringworm.
What you can do
Each condition usually requires a prescription: a medicated shampoo for seborrheic dermatitis, medications or light therapy for psoriasis, and oral or topical antifungals for ringworm.
Too much shampooing, styling, and dyeing can harm your tresses. Heat and chemicals weaken the hair, causing it to break and fall out. Often, it’s a combination of treatments—keratin, coloring, and blow-drying, for instance—that does the damage.
If the fallout is occurring from external damage caused by styling, it will simply break, and you won’t see those club-shaped telogen bulbs at the ends.
Dr. Abbasi does a pull test: She takes a small handful of about 20 strands, pulls gently, and checks to see whether the hair that comes out has bulbs on the ends.
What you can do
Avoid using appliances that overheat your hair. Set your hair dryer on cool and low settings, and minimize your use of flat irons. Don’t dye your hair more than one or two shades its normal color: The more severe the color change, the more chemicals you require, which can make hair break. If you use hair gel or hair spray, don’t wait for it to dry before you comb through it, because the hair will harden and be more likely to break.
The condition of your hair doesn’t just affect your looks—it’s an important indicator of your health. If you’re experiencing hair loss, talk to your dermatologist.
Hair Dye Allergy
About 5% of permanent hair dyes users develop allergy, mostly in the form of an allergic contact dermatitis with redness and itching in the head area, hair fall and often a systemic reaction with involvement of the whole body skin and other organs is possible in severe cases. The main cause is substance PPD.
PPD (4-ParaPhenyleneDiamine, C6H8N2)
The use of PPD as a hair dye is popular because it is a permanent dye that gives a natural look.
PPD is widely present on the market since 1909, and it is still used in over 2/3 of permanent hair dyes. Commercial hair dye product typically comes in two bottles: the one with PPD based dye (non-oxidized and thus colorless) and the other with oxidizer or developer, usually hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). In the hair dying process initially the peroxide is used to break down the natural hair pigment melanin, and then the PPD is used to replace melanin. When PPD reacts with peroxide it becomes partly oxidized and colored — it is this form which may cause allergy. Fully oxidized PPD does not cause allergy, so PPD sensitive persons can wear fur coats dyed with PPD safely. PPD can be also found in some dark colored cosmetics and temporary tattoos. In France, Germany and Sweden, PPD was banned as a hair dye because it was thought to be dangerous for health.
Alternative names for PPD: PPDA, Orsin, Rodol, Ursol.
PPD and PPD Related Substances
Other hair dye substances that can cause allergy: 6-hydroxyindole, Isatin, p-Methylaminophenol.
Before using any hair dye, always do a patch testing instead of trying it out on your head.
Essentially the test involves applying a 20 cent sized spot of solution (i.e. dye and developer mixed together) to either the neck (behind the ear) or the inner bend of the elbow. Allow to dry and leave uncovered for 48-72 hours. If no irritation or rash occurs during this time then the test is negative and one can assume that the risk of developing a rash will be much less when the dye is applied to the whole head.
Treatment of PPD dermatitis or Hair Dye allergy
In acute severe cases of PPD hair dye dermatitis, wash the hair and scalp thoroughly with a mild soap or shampoo to remove the excess dye. Apply a 2% hydrogen peroxide solution or compresses of potassium permanganate in a 1:5000 dilution to completely oxidise the PPD. To soothe, soften the crust and alleviate the tight feeling of the scalp, a wet dressing of cold olive oil may be used. Further treatment with a topical application of an emulsion of water and water-miscible corticosteroid cream, or oral corticosteroids may be indicated.
What should be done to avoid PPD allergy?
If you have an allergy to PPD and have your hair dyed, you should avoid the use of all oxidation type hair dyes. These are usually recognised by coming in a 2-bottle preparation. Inform your hairdresser that you are allergic to PPD. Semi-permanent hair dyes may be a suitable alternative but approximately 10% of individuals who are allergic to PPD also react to these; patch testing to confirm sensitivity should be performed prior to their use. Metallic hair dyes and vegetable hair dyes may be used but these do not provide permanent colouring. Currently there are no permanent oxidation type hair dyes that can be safely used by PPD allergic individuals.
PPD free hair dyes can be found on these websites
Telogen effluvium is a phenomenon that occurs after pregnancy, major surgery, drastic weight loss, or extreme stress, in which you shed large amounts of hair every day, usually when shampooing, styling, or brushing. It can also be a side effect of certain medications, such as antidepressants, beta-blockers, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. During telogen effluvium, hair shifts faster than normal from its growing phase into the “resting” phase before moving quickly into the shedding, or telogen, phase.
Women with telogen effluvium typically notice hair loss 6 weeks to 3 months after a stressful event. At its peak, you may lose handfuls of hair.
There are no tests for telogen effluvium, but your doctor may ask you about recent life events and look for small “club- shaped” bulbs on the fallen hair’s roots. The bulbs mean the hair has gone through a complete cycle of growth, suggesting that the cycle may have sped up due to stress.
What you can do
What you can do: If medication is the culprit, talk to your doctor about lowering your dosage or switching drugs. If it’s stress-related, do your best to reduce anxiety.
Millions of people, most of them women, suffer from thyroid disease. When your body produces too little thyroid hormone, the hormone responsible for metabolism, heart rate, and mood, you are said to have hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid. If your body makes too much of the hormone, you’re said to have hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid. Thyroid hormone is responsible for everything from your basal metabolic rate—the rate at which your body uses oxygen and energy to function—to the growth of your hair, skin, and nails. But when you don’t have the right amount, you may notice changes in functions of the body.
Hypothyroidism (too little hormone) may cause a host of symptoms, including unexplained weight gain, fatigue, constipation, depression, and difficulty concentrating. Hair, nails, and skin may become more brittle and break more easily. It’s more common in women, especially over the age of 50.
Hyperthyroidism (too much hormone) may cause inexplicable weight loss, heart palpitations, nervousness, irritability, diarrhea, moist skin, muscle weakness, and a startled appearance of the eyes. You may also experience hair loss as metabolism speeds up. Hyperthyroidism is much less common than hypothyroidism.
A blood test measures thyroid-stimulating hormone, which is produced by the pituitary gland in an attempt to coax the thyroid to make thyroid hormone. Excess TSH usually indicates hypothyroidism, while abnormally low levels suggest hyperthyroidism.
What you can do
Your doctor may prescribe a thyroid hormone medication to restore levels to normal. Regular TSH tests might be done to ensure an adequate dosage.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body’s own immune system attacks healthy tissues. The condition affects about 1.5 million people and tends to strike women during their childbearing years.
Lupus often causes extreme fatigue, headaches, oral ulcers, and painful, swollen joints. Many people develop a butterfly-shaped rash across the bridge of the nose and become more sensitive to the sun. Other symptoms include fever; swelling in the feet and hands and around the eyes; chest pain; and anemia. Many people also experience hair loss, which may be mild and occur while shampooing or brushing your hair—or it may be more severe, coming out in patches and accompanied by a rash on the scalp. Because these symptoms occur in many other conditions, lupus is often called the great imitator.
A rheumatologist will examine joints and other tissues for signs of inflammation, such as heat, pain, swelling, and redness. A blood test to measure levels of anti-nuclear antibodies (ANA) may also indicate lupus. Rheumatologists will also determine if patients have four of 11 diagnostic criteria set by the American College of Rheumatology, though fewer criteria along with a skin biopsy may sometimes indicate lupus, Dr. Abbasi says.
What you can do
See a rheumatologist if your hair loss is accompanied by joint pain, fatigue, and other symptoms of lupus, which is treated with oral medications such as prednisone or NSAIDS. If you also have a rash on the scalp, you need to see a dermatologist, who is likely to prescribe a topical cream.
Iron Deficiency Anemia
Women who have heavy periods or don’t eat enough iron-rich foods may be prone to iron deficiency, in which the blood doesn’t have enough red blood cells. Red blood cells transport oxygen to cells throughout your body, giving you the energy you need.
Iron deficiency anemia causes extreme fatigue, weakness, and pale skin. You may also notice headaches, difficulty concentrating, cold hands and feet, and hair loss. Any type of exertion may leave you short of breath.
A blood test to measure ferritin, the protein that stores iron in your body, is usually needed to diagnose iron-deficiency anemia. Your doctor may also check your blood level of hematocrit, which gauges how much of your blood is made up of red blood cells.
What you can do
Eat iron-rich foods such as beef, mutton, fish, leafy greens, fortified cereals, and beans—preferably, along with foods rich in vitamin C, which enhances iron absorption. Women need 18 mg of iron a day, 8 mg after menopause; ask your doctor if you should take an iron supplement. You can also find supplements specifically for hair loss, Dr. Abbasi says. Key ingredients may include biotin, silica, and L-cysteine, in addition to iron.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
The condition, which can begin as early as age 12, is caused by a hormonal imbalance in which the ovaries produce too many male hormones. PCOS often causes infertility.
PCOS can cause facial hair growth, irregular periods, acne, and weight gain. And while you may experience hair loss on your scalp, you may notice more hair elsewhere on the body, Dr. Abbasi says.
Your doctor is likely to do a blood test to look for elevated levels of testosterone and DHEAS (dehydroepiandrosterone), a by-product of testosterone, FSH, LH, Prolactin & Insulin sensitivity.
What you can do
Most cases of PCOS are treated with birth control pills which contain a potent anti-androgen that blocks testosterone. If you can’t use birth control pills, your doctor may prescribe spironolactone (Aldactone), which also blocks male hormones. Glucophage is also prescribed. Losing weight can also help by decreasing the effect of the male hormones.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks hair follicles. It occurs equally in men and women. The cause is unknown, but it may be triggered by stress or illness.
The condition can occur in three forms. Alopecia areata commonly causes round, smooth patches of baldness on the scalp, eyebrows, or legs, Dr. Abbasi says. Total hair loss on the head is known as alopecia totalis, while hair loss that occurs all over the body is called alopecia universalis.
Observing the pattern of hair loss can usually determine if you have alopecia areata, and blood tests for iron stores, ANAs. and hormones are usually done to rule out underlying conditions that may cause hair loss.
What you can do
Alopecia areata is usually treated with intralesional corticosteroids, Dr. Abbasi says. In some cases, topical steroids and immunemodulators may also help. It’s also important to reduce stress.
Hereditary Hair Loss
Hair loss that is genetic is known as androgenetic alopecia and, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, is the most common cause of hair loss. The gene can be inherited from either your mother’s or father’s side of the family, though you’re more likely to have it if both of your parents had hair loss.
Women with this trait tend to develop thinning at the hairline behind the bangs. The condition develops slowly and may start as early as your 20s. In some cases, the hair loss may be diffuse, meaning it’s spread across the entire scalp.
Your dermatologist will examine the pattern of hair loss to determine if it’s hereditary and may order blood work to rule out other causes, Dr. Abbasi says. A biopsy of your scalp is sometimes done to see if the hair follicles have been replaced with miniaturized follicles, a surefire sign of hereditary hair loss but mostly it is a clinical diagnosis.
What you can do
You can go for the following options at different times or simultaneously.
- Start with the topicals.
- Start the anti hair fall injection treatment/Mesotherapy
- Start the low level laser therapy with option 1 or 2 or both
- Start the Platelet Rich Plasma therapy/PRP Therapy
What Causes Hair Loss?
What is the topical lotion provided at your clinic and how does it work?
Does the topical lotion have any systemic side effects?
What kind of results should I expect?
Does the product work for women?
How is the product used?
Can I use other hair care products or color my hair while using it?
Do I need to use it forever, like with Rogaine and Propecia?
I recently had hair transplants. Can I use it?
What are the atrophied hair follicles?
Can your products rejuvenate the atrophied hair follicles?
Do I need to use a special shampoo while using your product?
At DFA Institute for hair fall problems we use different international branded serums to addresses hair fall on multiple fronts as it is enriched with the newest biotechnology.
This can be used to complement other hair fall treatments.
LOW LEVEL LASER THERAPY FOR HAIR LOSS
What is the light therapy for hair loss?
Is it painful?
What are the results with this device?
Laser light therapy is particularly suitable for women, as laser treatments work best when there are diffuse regions of thinning in the scalp, rather than completely bald areas – the pattern most commonly seen in female pattern hair loss. Since the laser light serves to thicken fine, miniaturized hair, it is particularly suitable in these thinning areas. The laser is able to penetrate down to the hair follicles and deliver a uniform field of energy in these areas.
Studies with the device have shown that the low level laser produces an 85% success rate in halting the progression of hair loss and up to a 39% increase in fullness.