While female hair loss may not cause physical pain, it does cause mental anguish. Fortunately, in many cases, female hair loss can be successfully treated with today’s advanced nonsurgical and surgical treatment options. After a diagnosis has been confirmed, Dr. Yaker will create a customized treatment plan depending on one’s hair characteristics, the level of hair loss and the aesthetic goals of the patient.
Women using oestrogen supplementation or taking birth control pills will also experience hair loss when they cease supplying their body with extra oestrogen. These forms of hair loss may be temporary but this, however, does not mean that there is no link between oestrogen and permanent hair loss. Scientists have noted up to 30 hormones that could play a role in female pattern hair loss – the genetic kind of hair loss – and oestrogen, whilst poorly explored, may be one of them. It’s alright if the excess hairs are the ones that are lost but when normal hair falls out, there’s a problem.
The hormone imbalance known as hypothyroidism is a common cause of abnormal eyebrow thinning, especially in women; roughly 27 million Americans suffer from thyroid disease, and about 80 percent of them are women. Thinning eyebrows appear as a symptom of both hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid production) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid production), alongside issues such as excessive fatigue, difficulty losing weight and constantly feeling cold. If your brows appear particularly thin around the edges, visit your doctor for a thyroid screening, which should include thorough blood work. With prescription medication, your eyebrows should fill back in over the ensuing months.
When your body goes through something traumatic like child birth, malnutrition, a severe infection, major surgery, or extreme stress, many of the 90 percent or so of the hair in the anagen (growing) phase or catagen (resting) phase can shift all at once into the shedding (telogen) phase. About 6 weeks to three month after the stressful event is usually when the phenomenon called telogen effluvium can begin. It is possible to lose handful of hair at time when in full-blown telogen effluvium. For most who suffer with TE complete remission is probable as long as severely stressful events can be avoided. For some women however, telogen effluvium is a mysterious chronic disorder and can persist for months or even years without any true understanding of any triggering factors or stressors.
Research suggests that hair loss during menopause is the result of a hormonal imbalance. Specifically, it’s related to a lowered production of estrogen and progesterone. These hormones help hair grow faster and stay on the head for longer periods of time. When the levels of estrogen and progesterone drop, hair grows more slowly and becomes much thinner. A decrease in these hormones also triggers an increase in the production of androgens, or a group of male hormones. Androgens shrink hair follicles, resulting in hair loss on the head. In some cases, however, these hormones can cause more hair to grow on the face. This is why some menopausal women develop facial “peach fuzz” and small sprouts of hair on the chin.
If you’ve undergone chemotherapy recently, you know the effects that it has on your hair, including your brows and lashes. First of all, I want to point you to this awesome resource by FairyHairs (click here), that shows in intervals, with pictures, what you can expect with regrowing your hair after chemo (Thank you, Jenny Mealy!). The article also includes ways to regrow your hair after chemo.
Another reason why hair falls out is lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that may make your immunity system begin attacking your various healthy body tissues. According to Medical News Today, “this results in symptoms such as inflammation, swelling, and damage to joints, skin, kidneys, blood, the heart, and lungs”. It can also attack eyebrow follicle resulting sudden hair loss and including brows.
While these factors contribute to hair loss for any woman, it’s particularly dicey for those of us with PCOS because when the follicle is exposed to our elevated androgens such as DHT (di-hydro testosterone, an active metabolite of testosterone) it gets damaged. Whenever a cell is damaged it generates oxidative stress which further alters the androgen receptor in the follicle perpetuating the issue.
Finasteride is a 5-alpha-reductase type II inhibitor, and although it is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of male androgenetic alopecia, it is not approved for FPHL. Finasteride is significantly teratogenic and has been shown to cause feminization of male fetuses (Bowman et al., 2003) as well as sexual side effects, depression, headache, nausea, and hot flashes (Varothai and Bergfeld, 2014). The decreased conversion of testosterone to DHT causes a build-up of testosterone, which subsequently converts to estradiol and creates a relative estrogen excess, and this could theoretically increase the risk of breast cancer (Kelly et al., 2016). Studies that use low doses (1 mg daily) showed no significant benefit (Kim et al., 2012, Price et al., 2000). However, one study of 37 premenopausal women who were taking a 2.5-mg dose of finasteride daily with an oral contraceptive pill showed improvement of hair loss in 62% of patients (Iorizzo et al., 2006). Another study of 87 pre- and postmenopausal normoandrogenic patients who were taking a 5-mg dose of finasteride per day for 12 months showed a significant increase in both hair density and thickness (Yeon et al., 2011). The effectiveness of finasteride does not seem to differ between pre- and postmenopausal patients (Yeon et al., 2011). Finasteride is classified as pregnancy category X.
Male pattern baldness, or androgenic alopecia, affects an estimated 50 million men and 30 million women in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Hair loss is due to the shrinkage of hair follicles and the resulting impact on the growth cycle. New hairs become finer and finer until there’s no hair left at all and the follicles become dormant. This hair loss is caused by hormones and certain genes.
Yes. If you wear pigtails or cornrows or use tight hair rollers, the pull on your hair can cause a type of hair loss called traction alopecia (say: al-oh-pee-sha). If the pulling is stopped before scarring of the scalp develops, your hair will grow back normally. However, scarring can cause permanent hair loss. Hot oil hair treatments or chemicals used in permanents (also called “perms”) may cause inflammation (swelling) of the hair follicle, which can result in scarring and hair loss.
Eyelash hairs are usually present in two to three rows, and are short, thick, and curved in appearance. They are set obliquely, anterior to the palpebral muscle. The upper eyelashes are more numerous and curve upward, while the lower eyelashes curve down in order to avoid interlacing during eyelid closure. Eyelash cilia are unique in that they have no erector muscles. Eyelash hairs are oval in all races.
Hansen's disease, also known as leprosy, is an infection of the skin and nerves caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae. The disease often affects the skin of the eyebrow region, leading to loss of sensation and permanent loss of the eyebrow hairs. There are numerous other rare and uncommon causes of eyebrow hair loss, including vitamin A toxicity, nutritional disorders and other dermatological disorders. If you experience loss of eyebrow hair, see your doctor to evaluate the cause and to discuss a treatment plan.
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Surgeries, severe illnesses and emotional stress can cause hair loss. The body simply shuts down production of hair during periods of stress since it is not necessary for survival and instead devotes its energies toward repairing vital body structures. In many cases there is a three month delay between the actual event and the onset of hair loss. Furthermore, there may be another three month delay prior to the return of noticeable hair regrowth. This then means that the total hair loss and regrowth cycle can last 6 months or possibly longer when induced by physical or emotional stress. There are some health conditions which may go undetected that can contribute to hair loss. These include anemia or low blood count and thyroid abnormalities. Both of these conditions can be detected by a simple, inexpensive blood test.
There are numerous nonsurgical treatments that when combined, can offer significant hair improvements. Dr. Yaker’s TCHR Volumizing Glycolic Acid Shampoo and Conditioner help restore vitality to the hair by deep cleaning the scalp and reestablishing lost moisture content and physiological pH to the scalp and hair. Dr. Yaker has also formulated his own oral supplement, which is a blend of Aminoplex hair repair vitamins. This is made up of amino acids (building blocks of protein) that produce keratin, which makes up close to 97% of our hair. In addition, Dr. Yaker’s specially compounded FDA approved topical medication, Minoxidil (brand name: Rogaine®), is clinically proven to help slow down, stop and even reverse hair loss in women. Other nonsurgical therapies offered are Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) using the advanced LaserCap®, and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) with placenta-derived extracellular matrix therapy to help restore thinning hair. Lastly, Dr. Yaker offers scalp and facial micropigmentation where permanent ink is applied to the skin, creating micro dots that replicate the natural appearance of hair. This is used for the scalp and eyebrows.
Thyroid Dysfunction: Since the thyroid gland regulates many body functions by releasing hormones, any disruption in its functioning can cause loss of hair, including eyebrow hair. If your thyroid is underactive, it could cause you to lose the outer third of your eyebrow. The only way to treat thyroid dysfunction is through medication. However, there’s still no guarantee that your eyebrow hair will grow back.
Estrogen is the dominant female sex hormone which is essential for the development of female characteristics. It can however be also found in men as well, but in lower quantities. Likewise there are also few quantities of the male sex hormones Testosterone, in female body. Estrogen is not a single hormone but actually a group of female sex hormones which include estradiol, estriol and estrone hormones. Estrogen is made in the ovaries and to a lesser extent in other bodily tissues.
Distress can also come from more than a change in body image. Dlova et al. (2016) found that in a group of black South African women, 52% reported serious worry that others would mistakenly assume that their hair loss was secondary to HIV infection or AIDS. It is critical that clinicians who care for such patients be compassionate and understanding but also have a solid understanding of hair loss so that reasonable expectations can be established and a therapeutic relationship can develop.
MICHAEL REED, MD: Over-the-counter minoxidil, which is the brand Rogaine, is FDA approved. It's been shown to be effective in scientific studies. Propecia is the new drug on the block, and that probably is more effective. It's a pill that you take once a day, and that has been shown to slow down hair loss and grow hair in a significant number of individuals. Most of the other preparations that are heavily advertised or marketed are not proven to be effective.