Hair loss is an issue that affects many Australians, both male and female. While some people are happy to let their hair go naturally, others choose to resist their hair loss. If losing your hair is the last thing you want to happen, then there are a huge number of products and treatments options available, so it can be difficult to decide on one. This is an introduction to causes of hair loss in men and women, and the different treatment options that are available.
What causes hair loss?
There is a wide variety of things that can cause hair loss, some of which are temporary factors while others are permanent. Temporary causes of hair loss can include some medical conditions, medications, and lifestyles changes such as increased stress, crash-dieting, or becoming vegetarian. Permanent causes of hair loss include androgenic hair loss and alopecia areata.
Androgenic hair loss is caused by an increase in hormones called androgens which suppress hair growth. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder which causes your own immune system to attack your hair follicles.
While hair loss is most commonly thought of as something that affects men, it is also quite common for it to affect women. 55% of women and 70% of men will experience some form of hair loss in their lifetime, according to a study by Quan Q Dinh and Rodney Sinclair.
What hair loss treatments are available?
There are many different treatment options available for people suffering from hair loss. The best treatment option will likely depend on the type and cause of your hair loss, and different people sometimes react differently to the same treatment.
Here are some of the hair loss treatment options available:
- Temporary hair loss– In these cases, the best treatment is to identify the factor that is causing the hair loss and treat that. This will often require the advice of a doctor since temporary hair loss is often a result of certain medical conditions and medications. Other causes, such as stress and changes to your diet, will often fix themselves after some time. Your hair growth will usually go back to normal when your stress decreases, or your body gets used your new diet, assuming that it is balanced and healthy.
- Alopeciaareata – In some minor cases, the problem can reverse itself, and no treatment is required. In more severe cases, however, most treatments only have limited success. One of the treatment options is corticosteroid injections into the affected area.
- Minoxidil– Hair loss treatments containing minoxidil have been proven effective in reducing and stopping hair loss, as well as promoting hair regrowth in some cases. It became popular as a treatment for hair loss in the 1980s and is still one of the most effective over-the-counter treatments available. Minoxidil treatments are usually in a topical application such as a foam or spray. It works by promoting blood flow to the scalp, supplying oxygen and nutrients to hair follicles. Typically, it takes two to four months for visible results, and the treatment requires ongoing use in order to be effective in the long term.
- Vitamin supplements– There are many vitamin supplements that are specifically formulated to promote hair growth. These are often taken in conjunction with other hair loss treatments to help improve your results. Different brands will typically have different formulations, and results may vary between different people. Hair loss vitamin supplements often include some of the following: Biotin, Niacin, Vitamin C, Zinc, Iron, Keratin (the natural protein that hair is made of)
- Keratinized shampoo and conditioner– These typically thicken your existing hair by adding keratin and other nutrients directly to the hair shaft. This promotes healthy hair as well as thickening the individual hairs which reduces the appearance of hair loss. However, these products do not promote the growth of new hair.
The most effective hair loss treatments for you will depend on your circumstances and the cause of your hair loss. It can often be helpful to seek medical advice to determine the cause of your hair loss and any underlying medical issues.
About the author
Toppik is a manufacturer of premium hair styling products and hair loss treatments. Their products are used by over three million customers worldwide.