During pregnancy, high concentration of estrogen levels in women result in the development of thicker, stronger, longer and healthier looking hair. Following pregnancy however, women tend to fret and think that they’re losing their hair when in fact they’re merely shedding the excess hair that the excess oestrogen created. The hair that was in a prolonged anagen stage are now all shifting into telogen (resting phase) to make way for new hair growth. This type of hair loss is comes under the condition known as telogen effluvium but the good news is that when oestrogen levels have returned to normal, your hair will too.
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Hormone Replacement Therapy: You may be advised to go for hormone replacement therapy or may take supplementary estrogen in case your doctor suspects that the hair loss is caused because of low or lack of estrogen hormone. These supplements may either be taken orally or may be applied topically to the skin as a gel. However it must be mentioned that not all women are benefited with this type of treatment for low estrogen levels causing hair loss.
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.
It is important to understand the phases of hair growth which play an important role when in further understanding some of the causes of hair loss. During the active phase known as anagen the cells multiply at the follicle and push out to form the shaft. It is followed by a transitional phase known as catagen where the outer layer of the hair shrinks and it becomes attached to the root. Thereafter there is a resting phase known as telogen where there is no growth or changes in the hair.
The eyebrows are two-arched eminences of skin situated above the orbital regions.[3,4] The hairs of the eyebrows are short, thick. and stiff and are set obliquely. The diameter of eyebrow hair is normally thinner than scalp hair in Asians, and the scalp hair in thinner in Caucasians. The eyebrows can be roughly divided into three parts. The medial third is usually below the orbital margin with the hairs in this region oriented vertically. The middle third lies along the orbital margin with hairs oriented obliquely or horizontally. The lateral third usually lies above the orbital margin. Eyebrow hair normally tends to be less dense laterally than medially; thus, hair loss from any cause is apt to be more obvious in the lateral portion.
These are only a few of the common myths heard by physicians and other hair loss specialists on a daily basis. The American Hair Loss Council suggests that you first have your hair loss diagnosed by a competent dermatologist who sees hair loss patients on a regular basis. Once you know the diagnosis you will have a better understanding of exactly which treatment option may be best for you.
Estrogen, the power player in women’s bodies, is your friend when it’s appropriately balanced. It makes you feel energized, helps stabilize your moods and contributes to a healthy sex drive. Yet too much estrogen, which can be caused by weight gain, perimenopause or toxicity from exposure to endocrine disruptors (which are rampant in our food, water and plastic products), can lead to thinning hair. During and after pregnancy, for example, estrogen levels peak and then dip, causing sudden hair loss for many women.
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.
Thyroid hormone receptors were detected in both dermal and epithelial compartments of the human pilosebaceous unit. T4 and T3 decrease the apoptosis of hair follicles and T4 prolongs the duration of anagen in vitro. Thyroidectomy delays initiation of anagen. Administration of thyroxine advances anagen, initiation of which is however delayed once toxic doses are given. Therefore, ratio of telogen to anagen hairs is increased in hypothyroidism as well as hyperthyroidism. Thus, the hair follicles are affected in thyroid disorders, and madarosis is caused due to disturbances in hair cell kinetics. Hypothyroidism is associated with generalized hair loss probably due to coarse, dull, and brittle hair with reduced diameter. The eyebrows and eyelashes may also be lost. Loss of lateral one-third of eyebrows known as Hertoghe sign is a characteristic sign of hypothyroidism. Some people also refer to it as Queen Anne's sign, after Anne of Denmark whose portrait with shortened eyebrows has been interpreted by some as indicative of the presence of goiter, even though such a fact has not been proved by any known sources of information. Madarosis may even be the presenting sign in hyperthyroidism. In hyperthyroidism, there is thinning with breaking off and shortening of hair. Madarosis can also occur in hypopituitarism, hypoparathyroidism, and hyperparathyroidism.
Eyebrow thinning that manifests in irregular patches, especially accompanied by red and itchy skin, may indicate atopic dermatitis. This condition—commonly called eczema—can occur just about anywhere on the body and is usually hereditary. People with atopic dermatitis may be more sensitive to topical irritants, but eczema just from topical irritants is called allergic contact dermatitis or irritant contact dermatitis. While you wait on the appointment with your dermatologist, you can help ease eczema around the eyebrows by switching to mild soaps or a soap-free facial cleanser, and applying an intensive facial moisturizer within three minutes after bathing.
Additionally, two other considerations are important for a patient who receives treatment for FPHL. First, there is a set of reasonable expectations in patients. Maintaining the current hair density can be considered a successful treatment because women tend to have further thinning as they age (Harfmann and Bechtel, 2015). Second, it is important to ensure that patients understand that progress is slow, and months or years can be required to see a significant improvement (Boersma et al., 2014, Yeon et al., 2011). In our practice, we wait at least 6 months to assess treatment efficacy.
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.
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.
See a dermatologist for itchy skin or rashes around your brows. These patches may indicate a skin infection or interaction with a new beauty product or environmental trigger. You could also have inflammation from dermatitis or psoriasis. These conditions don’t actually cause hair loss, but they can lead to it if you rub and scratch the affected areas.
Optimal levels of estrogen help to grow full thick hair, while low estrogen levels lead to thin and stalled hair growth, which eventually leads to hair loss. Through the years, a women will go through various cycles of highs and lows in estrogen levels. Puberty is typically associated with high estrogen levels as a woman starts to cycle through menstruation. Pregnancy typically increases hormone production, but once the baby has been delivered the mother can experience a drop in estrogen levels, which can result in thinning and loss of hair. Typically, this corrects itself as the woman's body heals and hormonal regulation returns to normal. The largest decline in estrogen levels is during menopause. Estrogen is secreted through the ovaries and adrenal glands. When a woman hits menopause, the ovaries’ estrogen production is significantly diminished, which puts an excess burden on the adrenals to produce it. However, as the adrenals are typically overburdened due to stress, symptoms of menopauses like hair loss and hot flashes occur prematurely and excessively for some. Nourishing the body and balancing stress levels will support gentle and graceful transitions.
In this section, our Houston Hair Transplant Team discusses current trends in hair loss and restoration research with published experts. We choose our interviewees based on those who have had NIH or Medline indexed published medical research that is peer-reviewed. The list will be organized by country and then alphabetically by physician last name. Click on the name to read about the latest research in thinning hair and hair restoration from around world. We thank our specialists below for giving us the valuable time and sharing of insight. We are deeply grateful and honored to have had the privilege to get the insight provided by these world renown specialists
Lichen planopilaris and frontal fibrosing alopecia inflammatory conditions, in which the inflammation destroys the hair follicle, can cause a scar or permanent hair loss (usually present as red patches with redness and scale around each hair follicle). In the very advanced stages, they may appear as smooth, bald patches where the hair follicles have been destroyed. Androgenetic hair loss is another non-scarring type. The most common type of hair loss, it is due to the complex interplay of genes, hormones, and age.