Will It Grow Back?
April 22, 2021
Hey everyone. I’m Dr. Jazz and I have a new blog post to share. Hair loss can be devastating. Our hair is our crown… literally. Without it we may feel inadequate. There are so many reasons for hair loss, but before we dive deeper into that let me give my disclaimer. This blog is NOT medical advice. This blog is for educational and informational purposes. If you have medical concerns or need medical advice, please consult your physician for appropriate evaluation and treatment. Now back to hair loss.
I have personally had a long journey with hair loss. To my recollection my hair loss story began with my first pregnancy. After I gave birth to my daughter, I noticed a lot of shedding and thinning of my hair. But people reassured me that this was common post pregnancy and that my hair would grow back. So, my hair did improve some after delivery but I definitely had thinner areas of my hair. So, I tried different hairstyles that would let my hair “rest” and hopefully grow. I did this for years with mild improvement. But then I was pregnant again, with twins. After delivery my hair didn’t seem too much worse but then in the postpartum months, I had some thinning again. I did the same things as before. Never went to the doctor. So now I’m 7 years into dealing with my thinning hair and finally it was becoming very obvious. So, I went to a dermatologist and started some treatment. So moral of the story is, if your hair matters to you, seek medical care sooner than later.
Types of Hair Loss
Now let’s talk about types of hair loss. I’m just going to talk about two types of hair loss. First there is androgenic alopecia which is the most common cause of hair loss in the world. Basically, this is male or female pattern baldness. This means you have inherited genes that cause your hair follicles to shrink and stop growing. This can occur as early as in your teenage years. But there is treatment, and regrowth can occur. Then there is scarring alopecia (cicatricial alopecia) which means there is inflammation that destroys the hair follicles. Unfortunately, once this happens those follicles cannot grow back. This type of hair loss needs to be treated ASAP so that the inflammation will not spread and cause further permanent hair loss. Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia is most common in Black women or those of African descent.
Signs of hair loss
*Thinning of hair
*Bald or smooth spots on scalp
*Receding Hair Line
Dermatologists will examine your scalp to help determine the type of hair loss. Sometimes a physical exam is all that is needed to make a diagnosis. Sometimes blood tests are done to see if the hair loss is related to a medical illness like thyroid disease. A biopsy may be done if concern for inflammation and scaring.Once the diagnosis is made then a treatment plan can be developed.
Hair loss Treatment
For androgenic alopecia, common treatments are minoxidil (prescribed or over the counter) and, at home laser treatments, which are laser caps or combs that help promote hair regrowth. Also, PRP or platelet-rich plasma (your own plasma) can be injected into the scalp to stimulate hair growth. Lastly, sometimes oral medications are used to treat this type of hair loss. The key to all of these treatments is that if you stop doing them the hair loss returns. So, treatment can be lifelong or at least until you don’t care anymore!
For scarring alopecia, the treatment is different. The idea is not to have regrowth because those follicles are permanently damaged, but to prevent anymore scarring of the scalp. These treatments may include anti-inflammatory medications such as topical or injected steroids, antibiotics, antifungals, and other systemic medications that are trying to reduce the inflammation in the scalp. If the patient has at least a year of no inflammation or hair loss then hair transplantation is an option. A pricey option but it is available.
There are other types of hair loss so this is not all encompassing. If you are experiencing hair loss, please seek treatment. Of course, if you are postpartum, just had a major illness, if you have had significant weight loss, are receiving chemotherapy treatment, taking medications that may cause hair loss, put a lot of stress on your hair by doing certain or repetitive styles, or YOU are under stress, your hair loss may not be permanent or require acute treatment. But let a professional decide. I wish I had sought out treatment sooner, but better late than never. Be proactive and save your crown!
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