Some Helpful Links and Information...
If you or someone you know suffers from Alopecia Areata, the National Alopecia Areata Foundation may be able to help answer more of your questions. They can assist in helping to cope with Areata, learning the Psychological Reactions, finding a Mental Health Professional, and locating support groups in your area and across the country.
Their contact information is:
P.O. Box 150760
San Rafael, CA 94915-0760
American Hair Loss Council
The Good-Hair Vitamin
Yep, there just might be one: Researchers recently discovered that cells in hair follicles that thrive on D may be important for kick-starting new growth. If you think you're losing too many strands, it couldn't hurt to get the institute of Medicine's daily recommendation of at least 600 IUs via combo foods (like fatty fish, eggs, and milk) and supplements. Just don't go beyond 4,000-too much can cause kidney trouble.
Don't be too worried: It's normal to lose 50 to 100 strands daily- up to 250 on the days you wash your hair- so you might just be noticing normal shedding, Its also possible, though that your style is stressing out your hair follicles: Too-tight ponytails and cornrows are a typical cause of hair loss in women. Try wearing your hair down until it fills back in. Hormonal changes from pregnancy and perimenopause, extreme stress, thyroid issues and certain medications (including drugs for depression) can also make strands do a disappearing act. So if you see more than usual in your brush, talk with your doctor. If hair loss is an ongoing issue, however, genes may be to blame. An inherited tendency often becomes apparent when women in their 50s and 60s and they experience gradual thinning at the top of the scalp, but it can happen at any age. Minoxidil (the active ingredient in Rogaine) may help;if not you can consider hair transplants; in which a doctor grafts small pieces of scalp with healthy follicles from the back of your head onto bare spots. It's an expensive option, but it can be a lifesaver for women who are distressed about significant thinning.
Does Stress Age Your Hair?
If you're chronically stressed out, it may, in fact, speed up the graying and thinning process, says Paradi Mirmirani, MD. She notes that stress elevates the hormone cortisol, which can trigger hair thinning or loss. While reducing stress won't reverse graying or thinning, it may slow the process. Carve out 20 minutes or so for daily exercise-
a proven way to tame tension.
Beauty Q and A
Q.I feel like my hair is getting thinner and falling out more. What should I do?
A.Losing 100 strands a day- enough to gather in the shower drain- is part of the natural hair cycle, says Elizabeth Cunnane of the Philip Kingsley Hair Clinic. If your shedding more that that, look back at the past six months to find the culprit; traumatic events, and extreme change in diet, and dramatic weight loss can all affect your hormones, leading to hair loss. See your doctor for an amino-acid packed supplement, such as gelatin.
Bad Hair Day or...
Don't give problem hair and immediate brush off. Many seemingly superficial issues, such as thinning, can be a sign that something else is going on in your body. An autoimmune disease, thyroid condition, or other medical problems, can cause hair loss, Dr. Mirmirani says. "Hormonal changes and, of course, pregnancy, can also affect the way your hair looks and feels," she says. If you've noticed a change in your strands, make an appointment with your general practitioner. She may refer you to a dermatologist (yes, they handle hair as well as skin) or an endocrinologist to help you get to the root of the problem.
Ask the Pharmacist
Q. Is my blood pressure med thinning my hair?
A.Possibly. Although rare, some commonly prescribed blood pressure drugs (including ACE inhibitors, diuretics, beta-blockers, and angiotensin receptor blockers) may cause hair loss, although experts aren't sure why. The condition may reverse when you stop taking the suspect Rx, but in some cases the loss might be permanent. Other classes of drugs, including some cholesterol-lowering statins and birth control pills, may also cause hair loss. Your doctor or pharmacist may not always think to discuss less common side effects such as hair loss with you, so be sure to ask whether your medications might be the culprit. In many cases, your doctor can prescribe you a different drug to take.
Hair Loss Could Be Tied to Vitamin B-12 Deficiency
By Peter Gott - Posted September 1, 2009 10:26 AM
QUESTION:I read your column a while ago about a 77-year-old woman who was experiencing hair loss. At the age of 75, I, too, was losing my hair. My doctor checked my vitamin B-12 level, and it was very low. I was started on the tablets that dissolve under my tongue.It has been just a few months since I began the B-12 and I now have a thick, healthy head of hair again. Perhaps this suggestion will help your readers.
ANSWER:There is evidence that hair loss may be connected with a deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals, specifically B- 12, zinc and biotin. We sometimes fail to realize that the body is a system designed to function as a complete unit. As part of that unit, hair requires proper nutrition. A function of B-12 is the formation of healthy red blood cells, which are necessary to transport oxygen throughout the body.
You are correct in that some people complaining of hair loss tend to have low B-12 levels. Oddly, the body stores B-12 supplies for longer than a year. Therefore, a deficiency is not something that occurs rapidly but is long-standing.
Some sources of the vitamin include milk, eggs, poultry, fish, shellfish and fortified cereals. Some people may also require injections of the vitamin in order to achieve better absorption.
You were fortunate your physician ran lab work and discovered the deficiency. He or she assisted you and, in turn, you may be helping many others who read this column. Thank you for the tip.
Q + A from Details Magazine about Self Preservation...
Worried your crowning glory is fading away? The truth about going bald from Dr. Paul J. McAndrews, a Dermatologist specializing in hair loss and a clinical professor at the USC School of Medicine.
How long do I have before it's all gone?
The average balding guy will lose 4 percent of his hair density a year. Of course, there are guys who lose much less than that and those who lose much more.
Does Rogaine work?
It definitely thickens the hair up,but it's not a wonder drug. Its kind of like toothpaste: It doesn't reverse tooth decay-it just slows it. Propecia is the best treatment.
Should I consider a hair transplant?
You have to be realistic about what can be accomplished. I can take the hair from the back of the head and transplant it anywhere on the body and it will grow, but you'll keep losing hair.
Will anything else work?
No, there are a lot of hair treatments-like hair vitamins- that are scams. These companies are taking advantage of very vulnerable guys. Vitamins can make your hair healthier but once you stop taking them, your hair stops growing again.