Are you finding more hair in your brush each day? Do you see thin or even bald patches on your scalp? The American Academy of Dermatology says that more than 80 million American adults have some degree of hair loss.
Dr. Isha Lopez, one of 9 board-certified dermatologists at Southeast Dermatology in Houston and Pasadena, TX, unpacks the causes for hair loss, or alopecia. She and her colleagues offer hope for their patients struggling with this all too common condition.
Who Loses Their Hair?
More than 85 percent of men lose a portion or all of their hair by age 50. Typically, male pattern hair loss assumes a M-shaped pattern on the forehead and/or thins at the crown, creating a characteristic bald spot. Researchers link male pattern baldness to testosterone and dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. These hormones seem to shrink hair follicles.
However, while most people think of men as being bald, women experience substantial alopecia, too, particularly during times of hormonal fluctuations such as pregnancy, postpartum and menopause. Additionally, thyroid function changes hair thickness in women.
Moreover, heredity contributes to baldness. Hair loss seems to run in families.
What Can Be Done?
Dermatologists in Houston and Pasadena, TX and across the country treat disorders of the skin, hair and nails. Dr. Isha Lopez suggests several ways individuals can encourage hair growth, prevent hair loss and even re-grow lost or thinning hair. Many times, a combination of therapies is best.
Lifestyle changes which help with alopecia are:
- Eating a nutritious diet. Adequate hydration and low-fat proteins stimulate hair follicle cells, keeping them "on the job."
- Stop smoking. Scientific studies in Europe and in Taiwan link the carbon monoxide and nicotine in cigarette smoke to thinning hair. Questions remain about the mechanism, with possibilities being oxygen deprivation of the scalp and premature aging of the skin.
- Don't fuss with your hair. Too much styling, spraying and drying breaks hair shafts, giving the appearance of thin hair.
- De-stress your life. Just as prolonged stress hurts your heart and overall well-being, anxiety and worry damage hair follicles, reducing their ability to function well.
- Medical interventions for alopecia are:
- Medications. These include Minoxidil, an FDA-approved topical medication. It must be used consistently for 4 to 6 months to regrow hair. If the user stops, so will hair growth. Additionally, Finasteride in pill form slows the affect of DHT on the male scalp.
- Surgery. The hair follicle transplant is a tried and true method of restoring hair to areas of baldness. The procedure uses a patient's own follicles from a thickly-growing part of the scalp. Also, some doctors use laser therapy to stimulate inactive hair follicles to begin functioning again.
Experiencing Hair Loss?
Don't wait. Contact Southeast Dermatology for a consultation with Houston and Pasadena, TX dermatologist, Dr. Isha Lopez. She will examine your scalp, take a medical history and discuss hair loss solutions appropriate for you. Call today: (281) 991-5944 in Pasadena, or for the Houston office, phone (281) 481-0033.