We all know that thinning hair is a common problem in men. Although we don't hear about it as often, women can lose hair just as easily as men can. Recent studies have shown that over thirty percent of men under 35 and one quarter of women will experience thinning hair in the United States. We have more commonly heard of hair loss treatment for men but from these studies it is obvious that it is just as important for women.
So what causes hair loss? Heredity, illness, poor diet and medications are the most common reasons.
Androgenic alopecia, a form of hereditary hair loss, is the number one cause for both men and women. Signs of androgenic alopecia can appear as early as puberty in both men and women, though women are far more likely to show signs after menopause.
- A poor diet can result in thinning hair as well. A lack of iron, zinc and nutritional foods can all very well be a cause.
- Illnesses such as Crohn's disease, hepatic disease, inflammatory bowel disease and late stage syphilis have all been associated with the condition.
- An increasing number of medications, such as those used for chemotherapy, have also been known to cause thinning hair.
There are currently several different treatment options available that can encourage re-growth or conceal hair loss in men and women with early stages of thinning hair, depending on the person and form of hair loss. Products include:
- Once used as a treatment for high blood pressure, scientist discovered that Minoxidil also stopped hair loss and promoted growth. Now Minoxidil is also used as a hair loss treatment and it is the only drug approved for promoting hair growth in women. It is typically found in the form of a medicated cream, spray or shampoo meant for hair loss. Typically you can expect to see regrowth in about thirty-two weeks with continued use of this type of treatment for hair loss. These are commonly found at your local drugstore in both prescription and non-prescription formulas.
- Prescription oral medications containing Finasteride have also been shown to promote re-growth. Finasteride is a drug originally used in the treatment of prostate cancer, but researchers found that its hormonal effects caused hair regrowth as well. However, because of its hormonal side effects, as a hair growth treatment, Finasteride is only available for men; it is not suitable to treat the causes of thinning hair in women and this drug should not even be handled by women who may be pregnant.
- Your diet can be another treatment. A healthy diet means a healthy mane and providing your body with the nutrients you need to promote re-growth is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to make your hair thicker and healthier. For example, foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like fish and nuts, are very beneficial to your hair and could be considered indirectly as hair loss treatment products. Biotin - generally found in liver, eggs and soy products - is another nutrient that can promote regrowth.
- If you are currently taking medications that can cause hair loss, ask your doctor about the likelihood that your thinning hair is due to the drug, and discuss the possibility of using a different medication.
- Your hairstylist can be another excellent key for treatment. A layered cut can easily make a tremendous difference in creating the illusion of thicker hair. Your stylist will have a range of suggestions on hair styles and haircuts. You can even get special shampoo for thinning hair in men or women.
- Toupees and hair extensions are an excellent option for those who are interested in a more natural approach to hair loss. It used to be that hairpieces were easy to spot as fake and an embarrassment for many who wore them. Today, however, it is not as easy to spot a hairpiece since many are made from actual hair and blend in easily for a more natural look. They can be found in catalogs, local stores and salons that specialize in extensions and hairpieces.
Many of the treatments and hair regrowth products made available today can help prevent further hair loss and promote growth, but only as long as the treatments are continued. If you are not sure which treatment option is right for you, consult your local primary care doctor or dermatologist who can further assist you in finding the right treatment. There are many ways to stop hair loss and one of them is bound to be suited to your individual needs.