Here at HAIR TALK, we’re proud to provide you with regular tips for facing your most persistent and frustrating hair issues…
...everything from scalp irritation and frizziness...to dryness, dandruff, and split ends.
Of course, we’ve also offered you lots of in-depth information regarding hair loss...
...including environmental, dietary, and chemical factors that lead to hair fall...and ways you can battle back, to restore your naturally sturdy, full-and-fast-growing strands.
MAYBE YOU ARE BORN WITH IT
But the truth is, sometimes, the cause of your hair loss runs deeper than what’s on the surface.
That’s why, in this edition of our ongoing series “The Root of the Matter,” we’ll be discussing some of the genetic causes behind hair loss…
...and efficient methods for counteracting the symptoms of hereditary hairfall...to put your hair and your mind at ease.
“Don’t worry...even if your hair loss is genetic...there’s still something you can do about it!”
IT HAPPENS TO ALL OF US
First, a fact that’s worth noting:
Every day, we all lose at least a little hair.
Women’s Health reports that you’ll usually shed between 60 and 100 strands on a daily basis.
That means, if you wake up to a hair or two on your pillowcase, or see a dozen in your hairbrush… this doesn’t have to be cause for alarm.
But, if your daily hairfall far exceeds this average…
...and continues for three months or more…
...it’s time to consult your doctor, to determine the cause of this increased shedding.1
“You can expect to see a few hairs in your brush every day...but if it’s handfuls of hair every day, you will want to visit your doctor.”
GIVE ME THE NEWS, DOC
After an exam, your doctor may pinpoint several factors contributing to your accelerated hairfall.
A number of these issues may be non-genetically related, including:
- After-effects from surgery or anesthesia
- Anemia or diet-related iron deficiency
- Certain scalp infections, such as ringworm
- A diet lacking in the nutrients needed to sustain hair growth
- Side effects of medications you may take
- Elevated estrogen levels from recent childbirth
- Heightened levels of stress
- A thyroid imbalance
- ...and even trichotillomania (pronounced “trick-oh-till-oh-may-nee-uh”)...a nervous condition that causes you to tear your own hair out!2
In all of these cases, you can work with your doctor to plan out a treatment program. This can involve eating a specialized diet, anti-stress exercises, or changes in medication.
But what if your hair loss is in fact the result of none of these things…
...and instead, it’s something that’s simply been waiting in your DNA, to rob you of full-bodied locks...and strip away your confidence and self-esteem, too?
NOBODY’S TO BLAME
Let’s start by debunking an old myth about pattern baldness, also called androgenetic alopecia.
It’s a myth actually best summed up by psychiatrists, who, when diagnosing their patients, often rely on an old saying:
“If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother!”
For decades, popular theories have towed this line that all hereditary hair loss comes from Mom’s side of the family.
But in truth, there is virtually no evidence confirming that alopecia is inherited from your mother.
This hair loss actually stems from a balance of changes all women go through as time passes…
...and while it is indeed more common if you have a history of hair loss in your family…
...that history can come from either your mother or your father’s side.
“Whether it’s Mom, Dad, or any of your grandparents...any of them can be the genetic source of your hair loss”
According to Harvard Medical School, as you progress through life, your body can naturally increase the production of hormones called androgens.
And when your body produces too many androgens, they start to shorten what’s known as the anagen phase of your hair growth cycle.
That’s when your follicles produce fully developed, well-nourished, and moisturized strands.
But with a shorter anagen phase, the hair you grow will be thinner, drier, and less healthful.
In addition, these hormones also lengthen your hair’s telogen phase...the “resting” period between instances of hairfall and the growth of fresh new strands.
In short, the hair you produce will be flimsier, fall out faster...and take far longer to grow back!3
DOCTOR KNOWS BEST
Naturally, when it comes to treating a genetically related hairfall problem, your first step should always be to consult with your doctor…
...and to trust their recommendations as the best and safest course of action for you.
Common treatments for androgenic alopecia include:
- Minoxidil...currently the only FDA-approved medication to fight female pattern baldness
- Hair-growth-promoting natural nutrients, including iron, biotin, and folic acid
- Hair-thickening supplements, such as those made from antioxidant-rich omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
- Topical treatments, like laser comb light therapy and platelet injections, where blood products from your own body are injected back into your scalp, to boost nourishment and scalp strength
With all this advice, it is important to remember one key fact:
Female pattern baldness is not reversible.
That means, once you begin treatment, your goal is not to stop the causes of the condition…
...but to keep from losing additional hair, and hopefully grow back the sections you’ve shed.
So, working closely with your doctor, sticking to the treatment plan you devise together…
...and maintaining other hair-healthy habits, like eating a diet rich in follicle-revivifying foods…
...should go a long way to easing the symptoms of this embarrassing problem!4
“Your doctor will be your most trusted ally in your battle against hereditary hair loss”
A HARD DISCUSSION WORTH HAVING
As a final thought, we’d like to let you know something:
This piece was not easy for us to write.
That’s because we know what a sensitive, even distressing subject losing your hair can be.
After all, so much of who you are, how you feel about yourself, is connected to the wellness and beauty of your hair.
And when you’re struggling with hairfall, it can tear at the very fabric of your being.
But that’s also why, if you are experiencing excess hair loss…
...you owe it to yourself to learn what’s causing it, and how to fight back, as soon as you can.
So, if you’ve been afraid to bring up your recent hair loss to your doctor…
...we sincerely hope this information will prepare you for a difficult but essential conversation.
- Gold, Grace. “How Much Everyday Hair Loss Is Normal?” Women's Health, Women's Health, 25 May 2018, www.womenshealthmag.com/beauty/a19983713/how-much-hair-loss-is-normal/.
- “Top 10 Non-Hereditary Hair Loss Causes.” Metropolitan Dermatology, 25 Oct. 2014, www.metropolitanderm.com/news/top-10-non-hereditary-hair-loss-causes/.
- Harvard Health Publishing. “Treating Female Pattern Hair Loss - Harvard Health.” Harvard Health Blog, www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/treating-female-pattern-hair-loss.
- “Female Pattern Baldness: Causes, Treatment, and More.” Healthline, Healthline Media, www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/female-pattern-baldness.