There’s nothing fun about hair loss, but there are ways to make it easier to manage
How to manage your changing mane
THIN MAY BE THE IDEAL adjective to describe some body features, but when it comes to hair, many want it to be anything but. “The two most common types of hair loss are androgenetic alopecia (a.k.a. female pattern hair loss) and telogen effluvium (shedding type of hair loss),” says Dr. Renée Beach, dermatologist and head of Hair Loss Clinic, Women’s College Hospital in Toronto. “Different sources report the prevalence of female pattern hair loss to be 20-40% of the adult population.”
Since natural functions lead hairs to fall out regularly, it can take a closer look at what’s happening up top to identify a more serious issue. If you experience gradual thinning over the crown, gradual widening of the width of your part on top of the scalp or are able to wrap a hair tie more times than previously, you may be experiencing hair loss, says Dr. Beach. Also, if you’re losing more than 150 hairs per day consistently, and the hairs have small white bulbs when viewed from their root, it’s time to seek help, she says.
Once identified, a course of action will be rooted in the cause. “In cases of reversible hair loss that manifest as shedding episodes, three common causes include post-pregnancy, iron deficiency, and thyroid abnormalities,” she says. The list also encompasses major physiological change (such as surgery), crash diets or nutritional deficiencies, significant emotional stressors, like a breakup or bereavement, as well as major financial stress (think: bankruptcy). As for female pattern hair loss, there is a genetic component and also some hormonal contribution, she says.
To manage any type of hair loss, you’ll need an experimental spirit and a healthy dose of patience. “We do not have a definite cure for the various forms of hair loss. When there is an identifiable cause, such as low iron, it is important to treat the cause or correct the deficiency,” she says. “For female pattern hair loss, a combination of topical therapy, oral therapy and procedural therapy with in-office treatments can be performed to hopefully achieve modest regrowth. Minoxidil foam available over-the-counter can provide hair growth when used as directed.”
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