Hair today, gone tomorrow

August 30, 2011

There are sneaky culprits that cause hair loss.
There are sneaky culprits that cause hair loss.

You expect men to lose their hair, but not women. For a man, hair loss is a harsh blow, but for a woman it’s unspeakable. Female hair loss usually manifests as general thinning on the top of the scalp, rather than total baldness.

Every day most people lose 50 to 100 hairs, and when we shampoo, we tend to lose more. Many conditions, both hereditary and self imposed, can cause hair to thin or fall out.

The most common cause of hair loss is male and female pattern baldness, which is a gradual thinning. Fifty percent of men and women have some manifestation of this hereditary pattern. Insulin resistance (pre-diabetes) correlates with hair loss in both sexes.

But there are other sneaky hair loss culprits that you may not be aware of. The Huffington Post, August 11th, lists common causes of hair loss, many of which you can avoid.

Excessive bleaching, perms, relaxers and products such as blow dryers, straighteners and curling irons can make hair brittle, so that it breaks. This is not a permanent condition; change the habit and your hair will restore itself. If you consistently wear hairstyles that pull at the scalp, such as tight braids, weaves and ponytails, you may exhibit hair sparseness around the hairline.

Iron and protein deficiencies are two of the most common nutritional triggers for hair loss. A prominent dermatologist says he consistently checks the iron levels of any patient complaining of hair loss. Adjust your diet and you will see improvement. Further, anyone who loses 15 or more pounds often experiences some form of hair loss. No treatment necessary; this will self correct. Anorexia nervosa and bulimia prevent the body from receiving necessary vitamins, minerals and protein, which results in extreme hair loss.

Thyroid imbalance, including hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) or hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid) can lead to excessive hair shedding. Treat the imbalance and the hair generally regrows.

There is a connection between menopause and hair thinning. Death or divorce are traumas that can force hair into a resting, rather than a growing state. Illness too.
Medication that contains hormones, such as birth control pills, is a common hair loss culprit. According to Mayo Clinic, antidepressants, blood pressure medications and arthritis treatments are also frequent offenders.

If you’re concerned about excessive hair loss, seek the advice of your doctor. Usually, the hair loss is temporary. If it is permanent, a plastic surgeon can advise you about hair transplantation procedures. Luckily, most women retain hair density in areas other than the top of the scalp, so hair transplantation is a good fix. 


The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.

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