You know the feeling: looking down at the shower drain or your hair brush and seeing what used to be on your head, but instead it’s in clumps staring back at you. You think, “Do I even have any hair left on my head?”
Hair loss can be alarming, but it’s not abnormal. In fact, we lose about 50 to 100 hairs a day. On days hair is washed, we can lose up to 250 strands. While women may experience hair loss differently than men, they actually make up 40 percent of hair loss sufferers. So, ladies, your hair loss isn’t as uncommon — or need to be as scary — as you may think.
We know it’s common, but what causes hair loss?
How do you know if you are just excessively shedding hairs, or if you are actually experiencing hair loss?
Let’s talk about how hair loss works and how it can be stopped or treated.
Excessive Hair Shedding
Your hair continues to grow, but it seems like it’s becoming thinner and more sparse. You leave stray hairs everywhere you go: on your clothes, in the shower and on your hands after using the hair dryer. You’re probably experiencing excessive hair shedding.
You may notice….
New bunches of stray hairs on your pillow in the morning, or some extra strands building up in your brush. It may shed a few strands at a time, or could come out in larger chunks.
What is causing excessive hair shedding?
There’s a few things that could be causing you to shed more hair than normal. It is usually a big physical change or stressful event in your life, such as:
- Excessive weight loss.
- Change in birth control medication.
- Recovery from a surgery or an illness, especially one that came with a high fever.
- A period of extreme stress.
- Giving birth to a child.
Shedding can also be caused by poor diet and nutrition, and even by overusing hot tools and harsh hair care products.
How can hair shedding be treated?
Excessive hair shedding usually stops on its own. Your hair will begin to regain its health after about six to nine months, or as your body readjusts from a big change. Keep in mind that it may persist until your body is no longer under stress. Eat a healthy and balanced diet and be gentle with the hair tools. You can take over-the-counter vitamins and supplements to help stimulate regrowth. Dr. Dy is known nationally as a leading expert on issues pertaining to hair loss and she can help determine the best course of action for you.
If your hair is no longer growing and you appear to have less of it, you may be experiencing actual hair loss.
You may notice….
Thinning of your hair over a gradual period of time with no new growth. You may see more of your scalp showing through when you pull your hair back, or even a widening part.
What is causing hair loss?
Progressive hair loss occurs when there is something that stops the hair from actually growing, which can be:
- Genetics (Female pattern hair loss, or androgenetic alopecia).
- Menopause or an extreme change in hormones.
- A reaction to drugs or a treatment.
- A problem with your immune system.
- Tight hairstyles that pull at the hair.
- Harsh hair products.
- Compulsion to pull out hair.
The most common cause of progressive hair loss in women is FPHL (Female Pattern Hair Loss, also known as androgenetic alopecia). According to the American Academy of Dermatology, FPHL affects about 30 million American women. It is characterized by hair that thins at the top and crown of the scalp, most often starting with a widening through the center or part of the hair.
How can hair loss be treated?
“The best thing you can do to save your hair is to get diagnosed early,” says Dr. Lady Dy of Dy Dermatology Center. “The chances of regrowing hair are much greater the earlier and younger you get diagnosed and start working on it.”
Work with Dr. Dy to determine the cause of the hair loss – it won’t stop until the cause is put to a stop, too. If it is something like chemotherapy treatments, know that your hair will start to grow back once the treatments have stopped. If it is a medication, talk to your doctor about alternatives. Many people with FPHL have success with treatments from Dy Dermatology Center. The sooner treatment starts, the better the prognosis.
Where to start?
Whether you are experiencing excessive shedding hair or suffering from severe hair loss, your best place to start is with your dermatologist. Dr. Dy can help identify the cause and create a treatment plan fit to your needs. There are medications, cosmetic treatments and even simple lifestyle changes that can help treat or even stop hair loss and shedding.
To learn more about hair loss and to find the treatment plan that’s right for you, contact Dr. Lady Dy at Dy Dermatology Center. Request an appointment today or call the office in Glenview, Illinois at (847) 832-1185.