First things first: If you're struggling with hair loss or thinning, you're far from alone. It's extremely common, with American women accounting for 40 percent of Americans struggling with hair thinning or loss. It also tends to be most prevalent in your 40s and 50s. This can occur for a laundry list of reasons, including hormonal changes, Alopecia, and stress, so it's always best to visit your doctor to determine what's going on. Regardless of the reason, losing your hair can be extremely devastating for some — make that most — people, seeing as hair is an external factor that can greatly impact a person's self-image and confidence. (Thanks for that, societal pressure.)
4. Tinted dry shampoo. Camouflage spots where you’re seeing more scalp than you want to (your hairline, a widening part, a thinning crown) and add volume with a colored dry shampoo (try Orlando Pita Color Boost Dry Shampoo in Light or Dark Tones, $22). But be sure to give your scalp a vigorous shampoo during your next shower — dermatologists recommend keeping your scalp free of styling products so you’re not clogging already taxed pores.
Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine that has been practiced for thousands of years. Its applications are many, and some researchers believe that it may help with hair loss from alopecia areata. How? The needles inserted into the scalp may help stimulate hair follicles and promote regrowth. More research needs to be done in this area, but consider asking your doctor for a referral to a licensed acupuncturist if this treatment sounds appealing to you. (Learn more about acupuncture for hair loss.)
Consuming omega fatty acids can help to improve your hair from the inside, since they are filled with nutrients and proteins. Taking an omega supplement along with antioxidants helps to improve hair density and diameter. It also reduces hair loss. Omega fatty acids help your cells to work correctly and can boost immunity, leading to better overall health. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended dosage.
This procedure can take several hours. First, surgeons remove an elliptical strip 3 to 4 inches long from the back of the scalp and trim the hairs short (A). The strip is then divided into 500 to 2,000 separate follicular units, each containing only a few hairs (). The units are then planted in an equivalent number of slits made in the scalp in the area of missing hair (C).
What’s got less evidence supporting its efficacy are the hair-growth shampoos that claim to block DHT (like those sold by Hims in their Rx Hair Kit). Rieder is skeptical that you’re going to see any tangible benefits by rubbing DHT blockers into your scalp. “I find it very difficult to believe that something that’s applied to the scalp and rinsed off is going to have any appreciable effect.” All four doctors also shut down any suggestions that hair-growth supplements or vitamins, like biotin, could help promote hair growth or stop hair loss — though a couple hypothesized that vitamins or supplements could lead to hair regrowth if your hair loss was a result of a nutritional deficiency. But otherwise, if you’re dealing with regular old male-pattern baldness, “There is no such thing as a ‘hair vitamin,’” says McMichael.
3. Surgical hair replacement. If you opt for hair transplantation (which runs $5,000 and up), your dermatologist or hair-replacement surgeon will remove single hair follicles from the back of the head, near the nape of the neck, where your hair is fullest. Once those follicles are harvested, they are then dissected and reimplanted into an area of the scalp where hair is thinning. The procedure takes anywhere from three to six hours, and newly implanted hair will usually begin to grow on its own 3 to 12 months after the treatment session. Traditionally, hair transplantation required removal of an entire strip of scalp, Sadick says, but this new follicle-by-follicle technique looks more natural when it heals and allows patients to get heads of hair as dense-looking as before they started losing it.
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Side effects and concerns: Around the time new hair growth starts, some women experience folliculitis (inflammation of the follicle). This minor complication can be treated with compresses and antibiotics. A more serious hazard is shock loss, the sudden loss of hair that normally grows in the area of the transplant. Shock loss affects 30% to 50% of female hair-transplant recipients; fortunately, the loss is usually temporary, and the hair will regrow. One drawback is that there's a finite amount of donor hair, and it may not be enough to fill in the transplant site as densely as before, especially if the area of thinning hair is large. A transplant procedure can cost from $4,000 to $15,000 and is rarely covered by insurance.
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In either sex, hair loss from androgenetic alopecia occurs because of a genetically determined shortening of anagen, a hair's growing phase, and a lengthening of the time between the shedding of a hair and the start of a new anagen phase. (See "Life cycle of a hair.") That means it takes longer for hair to start growing back after it is shed in the course of the normal growth cycle. The hair follicle itself also changes, shrinking and producing a shorter, thinner hair shaft — a process called "follicular miniaturization." As a result, thicker, pigmented, longer-lived "terminal" hairs are replaced by shorter, thinner, non-pigmented hairs called "vellus."