SerumScoop: Tips, tricks and news
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Do you have hair loss or hair shedding?
If you’ve been noticing more hairs on your pillow or hairbrush than normal, you may worry that you have hair loss. You could actually just be shedding more hairs than normal. Yes, there is a difference.
Hair shedding often stops on its own
It’s normal to shed between 50 and 100 hairs a day. When the body sheds significantly more hairs every day, a person has excessive hair shedding. The medical term for this condition is telogen effluvium.
Excessive hair shedding is common in people who have experienced one the following stressors:
- Lost 20 pounds or more
- Given birth
- Experiencing lots of stress (Caring for a loved one who is sick, going through a divorce, losing a job)
- Had high fever
- Undergone an operation
- Recovering from an illness, especially if had a high fever
- Stopped taking birth-control pills
Most people notice the excessive hair shedding a few months after the stressful event. For example, a new mom can see excessive hair shedding about two months after giving birth. The shedding usually peaks about four months after giving birth. This shedding is normal — and temporary.
As your body readjusts, the excessive shedding stops. Within 6 to 9 months, the hair tends to regains its normal fullness.
If the stressor stays with you, however, hair shedding can be long lived. People who are constantly under a lot of stress can have long-term excessive hair shedding.
Hair loss differs from hair shedding
Hair loss occurs when something stops the hair from growing. The medical term for this condition is anagen effluvium. The most common causes of hair loss include:
- Hereditary hair loss
- Immune system overreacts
- Some drugs and treatments
- Hairstyles that pull on the hair
- Harsh hair care products
- Compulsion to pull out one’s hair
If you have hair loss, your hair will not grow until the cause stops. For example, people who undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatments often lose a lot of hair. When the treatment stops, their hair tends to regrow.
If you suspect that a treatment or drug is causing your hair loss, talk with your doctor. …
Other causes of hair loss may require treatment. Many people who have hereditary hair loss continue to lose hair without treatment. A woman who inherits the genes for hereditary hair loss may notice gradual thinning. Men who have hereditary hair loss tend to develop a receding hairline or bald patch that begins in the center of the scalp.
Treatment helps many people who have hair loss, but not everyone. A dermatologist can tell you what to expect.
Dermatologist can distinguish between hair loss and hair shedding
If you are concerned by the amount of hair falling out, you don’t need to suffer in silence. You can turn to a dermatologist for help. These doctors specialize in diagnosing and treating the skin, hair, and nails. A dermatologist can tell you whether you have hair loss or excessive hair shedding. Some people have both.
A dermatologist also can find the cause or causes and tell you what you can expect. Effective treatments options are available for many types of hair loss. The sooner treatment begins, the better the prognosis.
Tips dermatologists give their patients
[We work with many, many dermatologists and trichologists who recommend our hair stimulating serums for their patients and clients. Check out the entire range here. ]…
Developing in otherwise healthy people, this disease that can cause round bald patches on the scalp, diffuse hair loss, or in rare cases, complete hair loss.
Five tips to help manage stress
Research-proven tips to help you manage short- and long-term stress.
Cheng AS, Bayliss SJ, “The genetics of hair shaft disorders.” J Am Acad Dermatol 2008;59(1):1-22.
The short answer: yes!
A double-blind study demonstrated the importance of iron supplements in nonanaemic, iron-deficient women with hair loss.
In addition, the amino acid l-lysine was shown to be important as well.
Interestingly, there was no evidence to support the popular view that low serum zinc concentrations cause hair loss.
From the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, the study:
How this B vitamin affects your hair, skin and nails
For years, dermatologists have quietly prescribed a B vitamin — biotin — for hair loss, despite a lack of studies showing its benefit.
Why? Because it works.
“We find biotin to be very helpful for hair disorders. It also makes nails thicker,” says Wilma Bergfeld, MD. “And oral biotin is exceedingly safe, even in large doses.”
Biotin is used primarily for alopecia (hair loss) in men or women. “It improves hair growth and helps with inflammation. The hair follicle, the skin and the nails all benefit,” says Dr. Bergfeld.
Why hair falls out
Hair loss has multiple causes, many of them systemic. “If your hair is falling out at the roots, often something is going wrong in your body or in your life situation,” she says. For example, great stress can cause hair loss.
But one of the most common causes of hair loss may surprise you — diet. “So many diets today are restricted — they’re mainly avoidance diets — and there is great variation in what’s considered healthy,” says Dr. Bergfeld.
“When we look at what our patients eat, we find they are often low in protein and essential vitamins. Also, you need a little carbohydrate to make hormones, and your brain needs fat.”
Looking for clues
Dr. Bergfeld says dermatologists play detective when seeking the cause of hair loss. They start with a thorough physical exam. Then they look at your personal medical history and your family history.
They consider not just your diet, but your exercise habits as well. Then they review your medications, because some can cause hair loss.
The most common medical conditions linked to hair loss are endocrine disorders. This includes problems with your pituitary, parathyroid or adrenal glands, or your ovaries or testes. “For example, menopausal women who bleed excessively may be losing iron. Anemia causes hair loss,” says Dr. Bergfeld.
Bariatric procedures also call for supplementation, as a smaller gut can’t absorb as many nutrients. “Anything that disrupts your GI tract can affect hair growth. Once you lose 20 pounds, you start shedding hair,” says Dr. Bergfeld.
Biotin combination best
For biotin supplementation, Cleveland Clinic dermatologists favor a mega-B vitamin combination that includes:
3 milligrams biotin
30 milligrams zinc
200 milligrams vitamin C
<1 milligram folic acid
“Occasionally, the mega B-vitamin combination gives some patients minor gastric trouble, but switching them to biotin alone relieves it,” Dr. Bergfeld notes.
And if you can’t find the mega B-vitamin combination, you can buy biotin, zinc and vitamin C separately, she says.
— Reprinted/excerpted from Cleveland Clinic healthessentials