Losing hair is a completely normal thing that happens every day for everyone. On average, an individual sheds approximately 100 hairs each day. However, for some individuals, losing hair can become a serious problem as shedding becomes accelerated and the body’s production of new hair follicles dwindles. The issue eventually leads to an exposed scalp and, potentially, a reduced sense of confidence. Perhaps, you are one of these individuals and struggle with your hair loss and do not know how it began or what you can do to prevent it. Hair loss is difficult to accept, but it does not mean you have to settle with it just because it’s happening. A step in the right direction to mitigate your hair loss or even reverse signs of hair loss includes understanding why your hair loss has occurred and what action you can take to improve your unique circumstances. 

If you are interested in understanding more about hair loss and are a resident of San Ramon, Hercules, Livermore, Pleasanton or other surrounding communities, please contact California Dermatology Care at 925-328-0255 or visit our contact page. We can schedule a consultation and help you gauge ways to improve your hair loss. 

The Phases of Hair Growth

Your hair undergoes three phases of growth. These phases prompt the shedding of your hair and its eventual growth. Understanding how hair grows is the first step to understanding what can go wrong and what eventually leads to its loss. These three phases are:

Anagen This phase lasts for approximately two to six years. The anagen phase is when your hair is actively growing and determines your hair’s length. During this phase, your hair follicle’s root receives nourishment from your blood. It is the first phase of the three and is a period of significant growth. 

Catagen This is a transitional phase that lasts for two to three weeks. During the catagen phase, your hair follicle disconnects from its blood supply but remains on your skin until it sheds. Your body naturally sends a signal to your follicle, prompting it to detach from the blood vessel. 

Telogen The third and final phase lasts for two to three months. The telogen phase, also known as the resting phase, is when your hair finally sheds from your skin. After it has shed, the follicle remains dormant until the anagen phase begins again. 

Your hair undergoes one of these phases all across your body at different times. If one of these phases is interrupted, it can lead to hair loss. The reason for an interruption occurring can be for various reasons. 

Why Does Hair Loss Occur?

Hair loss can occur for a variety of reasons. Commonly, it happens because medical, behavioral or genetic conditions disrupted your hair growth cycle. Reasons why your hair growth cycle can be disrupted include:

  • Hormonal changes
  • Stress
  • A malfunctioning immune system
  • Deficiency in iron or vitamin D
  • Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism

Hair loss is commonly associated with men but can happen to women as well. When it occurs for men, it typically begins when an individual is in their mid to late 20s and commonly occurs before they reach 50. Women are more likely to lose their hair in their 40s or 50s if it is an inherited gene. When hair loss occurs, it can be damaging to an individual’s self-confidence and can potentially make them feel or look older than they are. Understand, though, that your hair loss is more than likely not a direct result of your actions but is the product of your inherited genetics. 

Types of Hair Loss

There are several types of hair loss. Some of the most common forms of hair loss include:

Androgenic Alopecia (AGA) This form of hair loss can affect men and women. For men, the issue is characterized by a receding hairline that forms an ‘M’ shape. For women, AGA causes thinning in their part line. AGA can occur depending on your sensitivity to the androgenic hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This androgenic hormone shortens the anagen phase of hair growth and lengthens the pause between the telogen and anagen phase. When you have a higher sensitivity to DHT, a genetically inherited condition, your old hair falls out long before new hair comes in. 

Telogen Effluvium Telogen Effluvium is a form of hair loss that commonly occurs because of stress. The condition can be recognized if when you gently tug on four or more hair strands and they come, and you see a white bulb at the tip of them. The condition is usually temporary, lasting less than six months, and can happen during stressful periods such as childbirth, surgery, serious illness and physical or mental trauma. Telogen effluvium is not as serious as AGA because your hair can grow back in approximately one year. Discovering the cause for your stress and resolving it is the best way to improve hair affected by telogen effluvium. 

Alopecia Areata (AA) This type of hair loss is the result of an autoimmune disorder. AA is characterized by sudden patchy hair loss, which is usually the size of a quarter. When the immune system is overactive, it can start to attack the hair follicles, resulting in patches of hair falling out. AA is a disheartening hair loss condition, but there are options available to improve the hair follicles’ integrity for an AA sufferer. 

While these are three common hair loss conditions, there are other forms, including age-related hair loss, scarring alopecia and traction alopecia. During a consultation at California Dermatology Care, your hair loss concerns will be reviewed, and what form of hair loss you are experiencing will be determined. 

Treatment Options for Hair Loss

Your hair loss treatment will be dependent on what type of hair loss you are experiencing. As mentioned earlier, it can be as simple as understanding your triggers for stress contributing to hair loss that can help reverse your hair loss (telogen effluvium). However, hair loss types such as AGA and AA will require medication or a procedure for improvement. 

Treatment options for AGA include:

  • Finasteride (topical/oral)
  • Spironolactone (topical/oral)
  • Minoxidil (topical)
  • Bimatoprost (topical)
  • Microneedling with platelet-rich plasma (procedure)
  • Change in diet

Treatment options for AA include:

  • Corticosteroid (injection)
  • Minoxidil (topical)
  • Bimatoprost (topical)
  • Microneedling with platelet-rich plasma (procedure)
  • Excimer laser
  • DPCP treatment

Depending on the condition of your hair loss and the type you have, each of these treatment options will be thoroughly reviewed during an initial consultation at California Dermatology Care.

Schedule a Hair Loss Consultation at California Dermatology Care

At California Dermatology Care, we want you to be well informed about why you have lost your hair and what steps you can take to mitigate the loss. Hair loss can be a difficult thing to deal with for men and women alike. But if it has occurred to you, there is no reason to believe that you have to settle with it continuing to fall out. Multiple treatments are available for most forms of hair loss. 

If you are interested in learning more about hair loss and what you can do to prevent it from doing so, please contact California Dermatology Care at 925-328-0255 or visit our contact page.