Hair loss is a common condition that can affect men, women and even children of all ages. It can be a cause of embarrassment and affect one’s personal life and self-confidence.
There are many causes of hair loss. It can be hereditary, a side effect of medication, or a manifestation of a health disorder. It can result in complete loss of hair, thinning of the hair, or patchy bald spots and may be confined to the scalp or affect other areas of the body. Hair loss may be temporary or permanent, depending on its cause. Some of the causes of hair loss include:
- Male and female pattern baldness or familial hair loss
- Fungal infections of the scalp
- Poor nutrition
- Thyroid or pituitary disorders
- Certain skin disorders, such as eczema or psoriasis
- Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus or polycystic ovary syndrome
- Chemotherapy or radiation therapy
- Alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder
- Telogen effluvium or stress related hair loss
- Scarring hair loss including Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (hot comb alopecia) and others
- Postpartum hair loss
What Causes Hair Loss in Men?
For men, there are a variety of reasons behind their thinning hair.
- Male pattern baldness — Also known as androgenetic alopecia, this hair loss is genetically triggered. This is the most common reason for hair loss in men. It begins with the shrinking of the hair follicles, making the hair thinner, shorter, softer, and finer. From there, individual follicles become fully dormant, leading to areas of full baldness.
- Medical problems — Anemia, thyroid problems, even diets low in protein and iron can cause male hair to thin. It can also be a side effect of drugs taken for cancer, arthritis, depression, cardiac issues, and high blood pressure.
- Stress or shock — Severe stress or emotional shocks can cause hair loss, but this is usually temporary.
- Infections — Infections such as ringworm can create bald patches or spots, but these usually grow back when the infection is treated.
- Alopecia areata — More common in women, sometimes men also have this genetic condition where the immune system attacks the hair follicles. This causes small patches of hair to fall out.
What Causes Hair Loss in Women?
Although full balding is more likely in men, women are nearly as likely as men to have thinning hair. Most women experience this in their 50s and 60s, but it can happen at any age for different reasons.
- Genetics — For women, the primary cause of hair loss is androgenic alopecia, female pattern hair loss. This is hereditary and affects about 30 million American women. Unlike men, whose hair tends to recede or become fully bald on the crown, women’s hair generally thins along the part line. Androgenic alopecia causes the hair follicles to shrink, leading to this thinning.
- Alopecia areata — This form of hair loss is more common in women than men. The immune system attacks the hair follicles, disabling them and causing small patches of hair to fall out.
- Medical conditions — Hair loss is common during pregnancy, with thyroid disorders, or due to anemia. Psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis can also lead to hair loss in women.
- Stress — Periods of extreme stress or physical trauma (say from surgery or illness) can cause hair loss. Even dramatic weight loss over a short period can affect the hair.
- Hairstyles — Tight braids and cornrow hairstyles can lead to hair loss through what is known as traction alopecia. Even too much brushing and blow drying can cause hair loss. In these cases, the hair will usually grow back when the stress is removed from the hair.
Can Hair Loss be Painful?
Hair loss isn’t usually a physically painful thing, just a psychologically/emotionally painful one. There is one exception, alopecia areata (described above). With this condition, the skin may become itchy or painful before the hair in the area falls out.
Are There Treatments for Hair :oss?
Yes! There are many treatments to promote hair growth and to stop further hair loss. Being evaluated by a board-certified dermatologist with an expertise in hair loss like Dr. Lisa Zhang is a great first step. We can then offer treatment options such as PRP and Hair Transplantations.
What Can I Expect from my Visit?
Dr. Zhang will take a detailed history of your hair loss, your family history of hair loss as well as a specialized exam to help determine the cause of hair loss. In some instances, blood work may be necessary and/or a biopsy, a small sample of skin may be taken to determine the underlying cause of the hair loss.
Once the evaluation is complete, Dr. Zhang will come up with a personalized hair treatment plan based on your hair and your lifestyle.
Dr. Zhang is well versed in the most up to date hair loss treatments. Some of the treatments may include but are not limited to prescription strength scalp shampoos, specially compounded topical treatments, supplements or vitamins, oral medications, scalp injections or platelet rich plasma treatments.
Is There Preparation Necessary for Hair Loss Treatment?
There isn’t any preparation necessary before a PRP treatment with Dr. Zhang.
For FUE hair transplantation, you’ll need to stop taking any blood thinning medication, aspirin, anti-inflammatory medication, and most herbal supplements a few days prior to your procedure day. It’s also helpful to massage your scalp for about 10 minutes a day for one week prior to your procedure.
On the day of your transplantation, you’ll want to wash your hair with shampoo as normal. Don’t use any hair products. Wear a button-up shirt and not a pullover, as you won’t want to pull anything over your head. Arrange for someone to pick you up after your procedure at our Beechnut Street offices with Dr. Zhang.
What is Recovery Like After These Treatments for Hair Loss?
There isn’t any recovery after PRP treatments, although your scalp may be somewhat tender for a day or so. Still, you can get right back to your normal activities after a PRP treatment.
After your SmartGraft FUE session, your scalp will be tender, and you’ll need some pain medication for a few days. For the first couple of days, you’ll have bandages on the treated areas, and you’ll receive antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications to lower the risk of infection and to calm irritation.
You’ll want to avoid anything that causes you to excessively sweat for about 10 days. This includes strenuous exercise, steam rooms, saunas, and the like.
Showering will take a little adjustment. Dr. Zhang will show you how you will begin to wash your hair after the initial three days. You’ll need to use a surgical sponge that we provide and soapy water to keep the recipient area clean and to stop it from developing crusts on the implanted follicles. The donor area can be washed immediately and needs to be kept clean. We’ll show you the proper technique for washing your implanted area. What’s important is not to rub, and not to use a towel to dry the area. For the first week or so, you’ll let that area air dry. After one week, you’ll be able to shower pretty much as normal, although you’ll not want to be too aggressive with the treated areas for another week.
How Long Before I See my Hair Coming Back with PRP treatment?
Our patients see the first changes in the amount of hair loss. The PRP initially works to keep the follicles from moving into dormancy, so you’re losing less hair. This happens almost immediately. From there, it takes the PRP and its growth factors a little time to move resting follicles back to growth. Real hair growth is usually noticeable after the first two to three months. Studies have shown about a 30 percent improvement in hair growth in the thinning areas after four PRP treatments.
What Will my Results be After SmartGraft Transplantation?
The first two to three weeks after your SmartGraft session can be frustrating, although Dr. Zhang explains exactly what is going to happen during your consultation. Over these two to three weeks, all the transplanted hair will fall out. This doesn’t mean the follicles have failed to take; it is simply the follicles’ reaction to the trauma of transplantation. Not all the transplanted hairs will survive — usually around 60 percent are successful. The hair follicles then settle in and return to the anagen (growth) phase in 3-4 months, producing new hair and returning fullness to the transplanted area.
Will I Need Another Treatment for Hair Loss in the Future?
Many patients have a single SmartGraft treatment and are satisfied. Others return for a second or third procedure. There are two reasons a patient may opt for a second or even third transplantation session: they want to keep up with continued thinning or they decide they want the transplanted area to be even more full and thick. Dr. Zhang will discuss these possibilities with you during your initial consultation and after your transplantation session.
PRP treatments need to be repeated periodically to keep the hair follicles active and to keep them from returning to resting or dormant stages.
Can Hair Loss Treatment be Used on Areas Beyond the Scalp?
These treatments are not typically used on areas of the body. That’s because body hair loss isn’t usually due to the same factors that are impacting the hair on your scalp. Body hair loss can be from hormonal imbalances, autoimmune disorders, thyroid conditions, diabetes, adrenal gland disorders, sexually transmitted infections, iron and other nutritional deficiencies, and other causes.
In most cases, once the condition is addressed, the hair will return to the areas where it has been lost.
If hair return seems overly slow, we could use PRP injections to boost the follicle activity.
Schedule a Hair Loss Consultation in Houston!
In most cases, hair loss can continue to worsen if not addressed early on. If you would like a personalized evaluation of your hair loss, please contact us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kronberg and Dr. Zhang at our office in Houston. Call (713) 988-8442 or go to our contact page and fill out the consultation request form. Our practice looks forward to serving you!