It’s natural for estrogen levels to fluctuate throughout a woman’s life, but drastic drops can disrupt the hair growth cycle and cause telogen effluvium. For example, during pregnancy, a woman’s estrogen levels are at their peak. Fewer hair follicles enter the telogen stage of the hair cycle, so hair looks thicker than usual. A few months after pregnancy, however, estrogen levels drop and the excess hair falls out. While totally normal, this type of telogen effluvium can be very upsetting for new mothers.
If you are suffering from hair loss on your head AND your brows, you might be suffering from a protein deficiency of some sort. A supplement like Viviscal (available here), which is packed with marine protein, could help your condition. Viviscal has been shown to treat alopecia areata, as well as androgen-related hair loss (Journal of International Medical Research, 1992; FutureDerm). It will take some time, though: changes in protein in the diet have been shown to correspond with protein in the hair within 6-12 months (American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 1999; Futurederm).
Hormones are cyclical. Testosterone levels in some men drop by 10% each decade after age 30. Women's hormone levels decline as menopause approaches and drop sharply during menopause and beyond. The cyclic nature of both our hair and hormones is one reason hair loss can increase in the short term even when you are having a long-term slowdown of hair loss (and a long-term increase in hair growth) while on a treatment that controls hair loss.
Insulin, that helper hormone in charge of regulating blood sugar levels, also affects a number of different body processes, including fat storage, heart health and, you guessed it, hair growth. One study published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Risk found that women with some markers of insulin resistance have a greater risk for androgenic alopecia (AGA), or female pattern baldness.
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.
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.
Madarosis is a terminology that refers to loss of eyebrows or eyelashes. This clinical sign occurs in various diseases ranging from local dermatological disorders to complex systemic diseases. Madarosis can be scarring or non-scarring depending upon the etiology. Appropriate diagnosis is essential for management. Follicular unit transplantation has been found to be a useful method of treating scarring madarosis and the procedure relevant to eyebrow and eyelash reconstruction has been discussed. A useful clinical approach to madarosis has also been included for bedside diagnosis. The literature search was conducted with Pubmed, Medline, and Google scholar using the keywords madarosis, eyebrow loss, and eyelash loss for articles from 1960 to September 2011. Relevant material was also searched in textbooks and used wherever appropriate.
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