Written by: Ayesha Khan, MBBS
In A Nutshell
- Men and women on average, lose 50-100 hair strands per day. But excessive hair loss may indicate an illness, a deficiency, stress, weight loss, or nutritional imbalance
- There are now several kinds of treatments that have shown promising results in hair regrowth or in halting severe hair fall, most of which are available as supplements and shampoos
- Andro-Genetic Alopecia generally responds well to 5% Minoxidil foam when applied once or twice daily
Alopecia is one of the most common conditions diagnosed and treated by dermatologists worldwide. There are numerous factors that can cause hair to fall out. The condition is not contagious.
Some of the most common causes of hair fall include;
- Hereditary alopecia
- Dietary changes & nutritional deficiencies
- Skin conditions like Ringworm
- Change in the quality of water or products being used
- Iron deficiency
- Drastic weight loss
- Side effect of radiotherapy and chemotherapy for cancer treatment
- Post-partum hair fall
Losing hair can be a serious cause of concern for people as it compromises the overall appearance. If you start noticing an increase in the number of hair that fall out of your head every day, the very first thing to do is to schedule an appointment with the dermatologist.
Andro-genetic Alopecia, or AGA (hair loss that affects men and women) can be diagnosed by a family physician and responds well to a drug called Minoxidil. Minoxidil is an FDA approved treatment for Andro-Genetic Alopecia. 5% Minoxidil foam can be used to halt hair fall and reverse its effects.
Other treatments that have shown promising results include:
- Light therapy
- Ketoconazole shampoos
- Corticosteroid injections
- Hormone therapies including those done with birth control, estrogen or progestron
- Finasteride shampoos, solutions and supplements
- Iron, Zinc, Biotin, Protein, and Vitamin A, C, D, E supplements
- Combination therapy of drugs, ointments, creams and foams
- Laser combs
- Micro-needling procedures
It is important to remember that conditions affected the skin and scalp are best dealt with by professionals. OTC medication and herbal therapies may not yield any positive results, and may even make the hair fall worse.
EVIDENCE-BASED TREATMENT REGIMEN
Here are some lifestyle changes you can start working on to prevent hair fall:
- Focus on consuming a balanced diet daily to make sure your hair and skin gets all the nutrients it they need to stay healthy
- Drink 8-10 glasses of water and get at least 8 hours of sleep every day
- Do not switch hair products too frequently
- Do not share combs and make sure you use one with wide spacing between the bristles
- Avoid subjecting hair to regular heat or dyeing treatments
- Avoid styles that involve excessive pulling and twisting. Also try not to wear your hair in the same style every day.
- Consult your physician about changing your medication if hair fall is a known side effect
- If you cover your hair, make sure you’re giving enough ‘breathing’ time you your scalp when you’re at home
- Consult your dermatologist for any nutritional supplements that you can take to boost hair growth and hair health.
STRENGTH OF EVIDENCE: B
While hair fall in general may be multi-factorial, AGA can usually be reversed with the application of 5% Minoxidil foam daily. However, this does not mean that all kinds of hair fall will respond well to the same treatment.
It must be emphasized that every condition should be treated according to its root cause. For instance, if hair loss is hereditary, resulting from deficiencies, or as a side effect of another medical condition, there is no treatment that may be able to reverse it.
Most cases of andro-Genetic Alopecia can be treated successfully Minoxidil.
American Family Physician - Hair loss: common causes and treatmentSign up here for reminder texts that can help you stay on top of your treatment plan.
Study - Minoxidil: treatment for female pattern hair loss
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Dermatologic clinics of North America - New generation hair loss treatments
Study: Medicinal plants for the treatment of hair loss
American Academy of Dermatology - Hair loss treatment
NHS - Hair loss