While we all lose hair or shed daily, an increase in hair shedding, bald patches, or noticeable thinning can be distressing for patients. While men are most often associated with hair loss, women can also lose hair due to hereditary, health, and other reasons. Hair loss can make us feel like we look sickly, older, or simply less attractive. However, before seeking treatment for hair loss, it’s essential that you know why you’re losing hair.
What Causes Hair Loss?
There are numerous causes of hair loss (alopecia). Some are temporary while others can be a sign of a serious underlying illness that needs treatment. The most common form of alopecia, which we treat using hair transplants, is hereditary. You likely know this by its more common name: male-pattern baldness, or even female-pattern baldness.
Hereditary Hair Loss
If baldness runs in your family, it is known as Androgenetic Alopecia. This causes male-pattern baldness and female-pattern baldness and is responsible for receding hairlines and bald spots in men and thinning hair, especially at the hair part in women.
Hereditary hair loss is what we treat here at the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of Indiana, using hair transplant surgery.
Hormonal and Stress Related Hair Loss
During periods of extreme stress, particularly long term and life altering stress, you can lose hair. This can happen after a death in the family or divorce. This type of hair loss is most often temporary and will regrow once you move past the devastating stress.
For patients who have a mental health condition that causes hair pulling, called Trichotillomania, stress can trigger behaviors, but it’s largely a compulsion. Patients with this condition say they have an uncontrollable urge to pull hair from the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes.
Hormonal changes can also cause hair loss. New mothers and women going through menopause experience changes with their hair, which can include hair loss. Birth control or stopping birth control can also trigger hair loss.
Poor Nutrition and Weight Loss
Weight loss can trigger temporary hair loss that will likely regrow without intervention. Poor nutrition can also cause hair loss, such as low protein diets, people who don’t get enough iron, and those who consume too much Vitamin A. Finally, eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia) can cause significant hair loss.
Disease and Illness
Underlying medical conditions, such as anemia, can cause hair loss. If you’ve been very ill recently, such as having a major infection or high fever, can cause hair loss as well. Other causes include ringworm of the scalp, thyroid disease, and even contracting influenza.
Medications and Supplements
Certain medications can trigger hair loss. These include prescriptions for:
- heart disease
Blood thinners and excessive Vitamin A can also trigger hair loss.
Radiation and chemotherapy can cause temporary hair loss, which is widely known. There are ways you may be able to help prevent or reduce hair loss during these treatments. If this interests you, speak with your oncologist.
Known as Traction Alopecia, hair loss can occur due to frequent and/or improper use of hair care and styling products. This includes:
- Combing wet hair
- Blow dryers, flat irons, and curling irons
- Dyes, gels, relaxers, and hair sprays
- Combing or brushing too frequently
Over styling, particularly when it requires a lot pulling and intense hold, can also cause hair loss. Wearing hair curlers too tight or styling hair in tight ponytails or buns can make your hair fall out.
While the cause is unknown, researchers suspect that this type of hair loss is caused by an autoimmune disorder. This means that your body is attacking your hair, which triggers rapid shedding.
Do You Suspect Hair Loss?
While we shed hair every day, an increase in shedding, a bald spot, or visible thinning can be a cause for concern. It’s important to see your physician to first determine if an undiagnosed medical condition is causing your hair loss, as it’s more important to treat the cause. This is especially true if you’re iron deficient or anemic or have a thyroid disorder. Once you’ve done that, you can explore hair restoration options.
Evaluation and Consultation
During your first appointment at the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of Indiana (LASSI), we will go over your medical history, examine your scalp, and discuss your options for hair restoration. If your hair loss is treatable, we will proceed with treatment.
Hair Transplants in Indianapolis
To restore lost hair at the LASSI, we offer hair transplantation performed by board-certified dermatologic surgeon Dr. C. William Hanke. Specifically designed for hereditary hair loss, our hair transplants can be performed using a variety of methods, including micrografts and minigrafts.
Not everyone is a good candidate for hair transplantation. If this is the case, we may be able to recommend a different specialist in Indianapolis to assist you with your hair loss. You can also speak with your primary care physician about your hair restoration options.
Protect Your Scalp!
Whether you have a full head of hair or are losing your hair, you must protect your scalp from harmful UV rays that cause painful sunburns and can lead to skin cancer. Use sunscreen on your scalp and wear UV blocking hats. We carry some of the most effective sunscreen products on the market. We also carry Wallaroo Hats, an Australia-based company that makes hats from UV-blocking fabrics that help protect your face, neck, and scalp. Ask us about these products during your appointment or visit our skin care products page to learn more.
Schedule Your Consultation and Treatment for Hair Loss in Indianapolis
Do you have hereditary hair loss? Schedule a consultation at the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of Indiana today. Dermatologic surgeon Dr. C. William Hanke and our team of dermatology experts in Indianapolis look forward to providing you with a full head of hair using professional hair transplants.