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.
Your body needs to be hydrated in order to function properly. Load up on H2O all day long and pass on juices, sodas, and other flavored drinks that contain more sugar than your body needs. The amount of water needed varies from person to person and depends on various factors, including overall health and exercise intensity. As a general rule, however, you should aim to have eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.
Sara Gottfried, MD is the New York Times bestselling author of the new book, Younger: A Breakthrough Program to Reset Your Genes, Reverse Aging, and Turn Back the Clock 10 Years. Her previous New York Times bestsellers are The Hormone Cure and The Hormone Reset Diet. After graduating from Harvard Medical School and MIT, Dr. Gottfried completed her residency at the University of California at San Francisco. She is a board-certified gynecologist who teaches natural hormone balancing in her novel online programs so that women can lose weight, detoxify, and slow down aging. Dr. Gottfried lives in Berkeley, CA with her husband and two daughters.
DLE is an autoimmune condition and is the most common form of chronic cutaneous lupus erythematosus. Clinically, the lesions start as discoid erythematous patches which then develop into plaques with follicular plugging and scaling. Eyelid findings include blepharitis, lid scarring, entropion, and ectropion. Scaly plaques on the eyelids with loss of hair follicles results in madarosis [Figure 3]. Numerous studies have reported the mimicking of a chronic blepharitis by DLE.[35,61–63] A high index of suspicion is necessary in such cases, where the diagnosis is very often delayed by months to years. Biopsy with histopathological examination should be done to confirm the diagnosis. Treatment with hydroxychloroquine results in a regrowth of the eyelashes.
The hormonal process of testosterone converting to DHT, which then harms hair follicles, happens in both men and women. Under normal conditions, women have a minute fraction of the level of testosterone that men have, but even a lower level can cause DHT- triggered hair loss in women. And certainly when those levels rise, DHT is even more of a problem. Those levels can rise and still be within what doctors consider "normal" on a blood test, even though they are high enough to cause a problem. The levels may not rise at all and still be a problem if you have the kind of body chemistry that is overly sensitive to even its regular levels of chemicals, including hormones.
Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid gland, adversely affects scalp and body hair growth. Thinning of the eyebrows can be a late sign of hypothyroidism. Other symptoms of hypothyroidism include chronic fatigue, weakness, constipation, weight gain and skin dryness. Treatment of hypothyroidism with thyroid hormone replacement medication typically leads to regrowth of lost eyebrow hair.
Hair loss or baldness is a genetic trait, but unlike what you may have been told, it’s not necessarily passed down from your maternal grandfather. Medical science has come to learn that hair loss genes are actually passed down from both sides of the family, and they affect hair loss in both men and women. Hair loss genes may also skip generations and are utterly random in terms of which siblings (male or female) they will affect. The cause of hair loss for one family member may differ from that of another.
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.
The normal cycle of hair growth lasts for 2 to 6 years. Each hair grows approximately 1 centimeter (less than half an inch) per month during this phase. About 90 percent of the hair on your scalp is growing at any one time. About 10 percent of the hair on your scalp, at any one time, is in a resting phase. After 2 to 3 months, the resting hair falls out and new hair starts to grow in its place.
Hair loss may also occur due to dieting. Franchised diet programs which are designed or administered under the direction of a physician with prescribed meals, dietary supplements and vitamin ingestion have become popular. Sometimes the client is told that vitamins are a necessary part of the program to prevent hair loss associated with dieting. From a dermatologists’s standpoint, however, the vitamins cannot prevent hair loss associated with rapid, significant weight loss. Furthermore, many of these supplements are high in vitamin A which can magnify the hair loss.
Male pattern baldness (MPB) has a distinctive shape. The front hairline recedes, especially at the sides, forming an M shape. This is frontal baldness. The crown of the head, also known as the vertex, becomes bald as well. Eventually the two areas join into a “U” shape. MPB can even extend to chest hair, which can thin as you age. Oddly enough, hair in different locations on the body can react differently to hormonal changes. For instance, facial hair growth can improve while other areas become bald.
Taking estrogen supplements as part of a hormone replacement therapy regime has its effects on your hair as well. Women can treat a type of hair loss called androgenic alopecia, associated with low estrogen and progesterone, by replacing these hormones artificially. Dosages of synthetic estrogen should be monitored regularly -- abnormal hair growth is a possible side effect of one kind of hormone replacement therapy, called esterified estrogens.
Some cancer chemotherapy drugs cause temporary hair loss, which affects all body hair. Along with the loss of scalp hair, people undergoing chemotherapy also commonly lose their eyebrows and eyelashes. Chemotherapy drugs that frequently cause hair loss include paclitaxel, 5-fluorouracil, carboplatin, cisplatin, actinomycin-D, bleomycin, vincristine, cyclophosphamide, altretamine, etoposide, docetaxel and doxorubicin. Hair loss typically begins 2 to 3 weeks after the start of chemotherapy. Lost eyebrow hair regrows in the weeks to months following completion of treatment.
Toxic alopecia occurs when there is a disruption of hair growth in the anagen phase. This usually occurs following chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Radiotherapy for various types of ocular tumors, eyelid and choroidal tumors have been reported to produce madarosis.[95–97] Hair loss due to radiation is usually reversible, but may be permanent when the dose of radiation is in the range of 50 to 60 Gy.
If, however, you aren’t so sure that any of the causes listed above are a problem for you, then a good place to start may be to talk with your healthcare provider about testing. It is important to learn the root cause – especially if dealing with infertility – because that which is causing hair thinning and shedding may also be contributing to your inability to conceive.
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.