Definition of hair loss
It is normal to lose 50 to 100 hairs in 24 hours.
Hair loss is called hair loss when new hair does not grow at the place of falling hair regardless of the amount of hair that has fallen out. If this balance changes, if the hair begins to visibly thin out, it is called hair loss, i.e. hair loss. As indicated above this limit is usually 50-100 hairs per day.
However, sometimes the hair loss can accelerate but new healthy hair will appear quickly enough to compensate for this hair loss so that there are no apparent problems. This condition will not be classified as alopecia.
There are various stages in the life cycle of hair. The first cycle is a period of active growth called the anagen phase, this period for hair lasts from 2 to 6 years. Then comes the telogen period which is called the resting phase and lasts 2-3 weeks. Then the catagen period which lasts up to 3 months, is the period when the hair falls out.
About 10-15 percent of the hair is in the resting and shedding phase. If the percentage of hair increases during this period, we see that too much hair is falling out. New hair should appear so that there is no reduction in the total hair supply.
Effects of hair loss on human life
Nearly 50% of people can experience hair loss at some point in their lives, both men and women. Although hair loss is not life-threatening it can cause severe frustration and a decrease in self-confidence depending on how important the appearance of hair is to a person. If you want to know about this more you can read our related article here:
Causes of Hair Loss
There are many reasons for hair loss. It is impossible to fit them all in this small informational article. However, it will be helpful to talk about the most common reasons.
First of all, hair loss is divided into two main types: “local hair loss” and “extensive hair loss”.
Local hair loss and its causes
With this type hair loss does not occur on the entire hairy surface but in the form of bald areas that have definitive boundaries.
Alopecia areata: This is a common cause of local hair loss. The boundaries are sharp, the bald patches are obvious. The hairless patches are about the size of a small coin at first and grow wider after a few weeks. If left untreated hair loss often occurs elsewhere. Sometimes these bald patches enlarge, coalesce, and can cause all hair to fall out - a condition called alopecia totalis. Alopecia areata can also appear on the beard and eyebrows.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease, that is, it occurs as a result of the body's reaction to the follicles of its own hair. The antibodies produced by the body attack the hair follicles. Stress is often the cause. There is some truth to this but the hair loss situation itself can be a significant source of stress creating a vicious circle.
Treatment options include low-dose cortisone injections into the problem area, sometimes oral cortisone, UV therapy, or immunotherapy.
Trichotillomania: This is a condition that occurs in areas of hair loss and usually occurs in children as a result of hair plucking. This condition often affects the eyebrows. Children pluck hairs and eat them. This is a situation that requires psychiatric support.
Fungal hair loss: A fungal infection of the scalp is called herpes zoster. There are areas where hair falls out leaving round bald patches. Hair does not fall out from the root. Hair breaks and falls off at the skin level. This is usually seen in school-aged children. The problem is solved by medicinal treatment depending on the type of fungus that causes it.
Traction alopecia: This is hair loss mainly caused by the person himself. It is possible to injure your hair by tying a very tight ponytail, constantly pulling your hair, pulling it out regularly and constantly, using blow-drying too often, using a curling iron etc. The situation can be corrected by giving up these habits. However, in cases where improvement does not occur, treatment options should be considered.
Extensive hair loss and its causes
First of all, it should be emphasized that especially after 30-40 years of age hair becomes thinner and its density decreases. This process increases with age but often does not lead to noticeable hair loss or baldness.
Extensive hair loss does not look like hairless patches with well-defined boundaries, but like areas with a noticeable decrease in hair density or hair loss. They usually cover a significant part of the head.
Telogen elimination: This is hair loss observed after a long period of high fever, serious illness, major surgeries, strict diets, severe infections that put a heavy strain on the body. With telogen elimination, hair loss looks like severe thinning and loss of hair, not in certain areas, but all over the head.
One of the most common examples of telogen elimination is hair loss in women during the postpartum period. Although there is general hair loss in all areas in postpartum telogen elimination, it primarily manifests itself in the area above the forehead and the front of the head. Telogen elimination, which begins in the first 3-4 months after birth, usually resolves within 6-12 months.
Iron deficiency is one of the most common causes of general hair loss in women. Iron deficiency is one of the most common causes of anemia. Interestingly, iron deficiency begins to take its toll on the hair and can even cause hair loss before it reaches the level at which anemia occurs. Iron deficiency is one of the causes of hair loss in women between the ages of 30 and 60, especially in the premenopausal period.
Telogen hair loss can occur due to medication. Hair loss can occur when taking lithium, warfarin, beta-blockers, heparin, levodopa, drugs based on amphetamine derivatives. After stopping these drugs, the problem of hair loss is usually resolved.
Also, everyone knows that some cancer drugs cause hair loss.
Certain conditions can cause telogen hair loss disrupting the hair life cycle. The most common causes are thyroid hormone disorders, certain rheumatic diseases (systemic lupus), sex hormone imbalances, protein, calorie, vitamin, and mineral deficiencies caused by malnutrition. As a rule, the problem of hair loss can be solved by treating the cause of hair loss. If after having treated the disease that caused hair loss the condition of the hair does not go back to normal, the problem can be solved with the help of supportive procedures. However, in cases where the hair is unable to return to its normal life cycle, satisfactory results can be obtained through targeted medical treatment.
Androgenic Genetic Alopecia: Androgenic alopecia, also called male-pattern hair loss, is the most common cause of hair loss. The pattern of hair loss is very typical - usually, hair loss appears in the front of the head “pulling” the frontal hairline back, and/or hair loss on the crown of the head. In men, it can start even at a very early age.
Hair loss, which is very common in men and is called androgenic alopecia, is one of the main causes of hair loss in women. It is considered to be expected in men but it is also observed in women which will be explained in more detail below. While there is a general consensus that genetic hair loss is only related to maternal genes, this is not true. Genes from both the mother and father determine the likelihood of hair loss.
Although this type of hair loss is very common and does not cause health problems it can negatively affect a person's psychological state forcing them to seek a solution. Therefore, there are many products on the market that promise to solve the problem of hair loss. The effectiveness of many of them is questionable. Details on the treatment options for hair loss are given in the below sections of our article.
Hair loss in women
Although hair loss is very common in men, it is also quite common in women. Approximately 30% of women experience hair loss at some point in their lives. Thinning hair is much more common after menopause. Although hair loss to the point of hair loss does not always cause emotional stress in men, the emotional consequences of hair loss in women are usually very serious.
Both telogenic alopecia and androgenetic alopecia, which are common types of hair loss throughout the scalp, are some of the most common causes of hair loss in women. The form of androgenic alopecia that is male-pattern hair loss differs in women.
You can see the difference in the course of the androgenic alopecia in men and women in the picture below.
Androgenetic alopecia is a condition that increases with age in women. In this type of hair loss the male hormone testosterone plays an important role, it is genetic in men, however, it is not known for sure if it is genetic in women. So, your mother may not have it, you may have it but your daughter may not. In women, it appears as thinning at the crown but not the front hairline.
How is hair loss diagnosed?
In the treatment of hair loss, attempts made without determining the cause of the problem are doomed to failure. The first step to identifying the cause of hair loss is to see a doctor. A skilled and experienced eye can discover very important signs. However, additional research results are required to draw conclusions.
Some of the tests conducted to find out the cause of hair loss are as follows.
Dermoscopic examination: This is essentially a detailed examination of the hair follicles and roots under a microscope with high magnification. It provides very detailed information.
Hair Pulling Test: This is a test to determine the degree of hair loss. For example, if hair from alopecia areata remains in the hands when pulled this means that the disease is active and is expected to have a tendency to spread. In androgenic alopecia as a result of retracting hair, especially in the front of the head, a significant amount remains in the hand.
Blood test: Men and women need to be treated differently. Factors such as a complete blood count, the level of various elements (such as iron, zinc), the level of vitamins that affect hair, the determination of the hormone level that affects hair metabolism should be biochemically investigated and interpreted in detail.
In addition, there are many pathological tests that are held after taking a biopsy of the scalp, but we think that there is no need to go into details here.
Hair loss treatment
For the hair loss treatment not to turn into a disappointment, it must be based on evidence-based methods. We need to be skeptical about the products that guarantee 100% results. The marketing goal of the manufacturers of such inexpensive products is that every person suffering from hair loss should try this product at least once. When a person does not get a result from using the purchased product they abandon their attempts and, most importantly, do not seek to defend their right to compensation. For this reason, many products on the market use aggressive sales. These are usually cosmetics and skincare products. Cosmetic products do not require permission from the Ministry of Health or other official authorities, it is enough only to register the names of the products. On the other hand, many of the approved products are simply not harmful to humans, but at the same time not effective either when it comes to treating hair loss. Finally, for many products with scientifically proven evidence of their effectiveness in treating hair loss, the reliability of the evidence is very low.
If you are a candidate for hair loss treatment you should know and accept the following conditions.
It would be great if the problem of hair loss could be solved with the help of products from a pharmacy or beauty store.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. A step-by-step scientific approach is required to treat hair loss. Below you can find a brief description of some of the approaches used in the treatment of hair loss in our clinic.
Main products and methods used in the treatment of hair loss
Local hair loss is relatively easy to treat. After identifying the cause, the result is achieved by eliminating it. There are many different methods that are widely used for common hair loss. Some of them are presented below.
Finasteride: This is one of the most effective drugs for hair loss. It is an oral pill that is especially effective for genetically androgenic male-pattern hair loss.
In addition to the hundreds or even thousands of drugs and products that have been released to the global market, only two anti-hair loss drugs have been approved by the FDA. One of them is finasteride. It is scientifically recognized as the most effective hair loss treatment.
Initially, finasteride was discovered as a cure for prostate diseases, but when its effect on hair was discovered this drug became very famous and its use increased significantly.
Finasteride has a positive effect in most patients, stops hair loss, and helps restore thickness in case of hair loss. However, it cannot provide new hair growth where hair falls out completely. On the other hand, this drug is effective as long as it is used. The effect usually appears in the first few weeks, sometimes it may take 6 months or even 1 year.
Finasteride has very common side effects. The most famous of these is a decrease in sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, and decreased sperm count. However, these conditions were observed in about 2% of the people who used it. Although in scientific studies these effects are observed at the 2% level, the fact that they are observed at the 1% level even in those who have never taken finasteride shows that the likelihood of facing a negative situation is small. On the other hand, these subtle effects disappear within 2-3 weeks after cutting the drug. Many scientific studies show that finasteride is a very safe drug. Although finasteride is almost the most effective drug on the market, its above-mentioned side effects give other competitors a reason to badly defame its name, and therefore it has developed an unjustifiably negative reputation.
Minoxidil: One of the two drugs scientifically proven and approved by the FDA for hair loss is minoxidil.
Minoxidil is an oral antihypertensive drug from the group of calcium channel blockers. The increase in hair growth during its use has made its use for hair loss the order of the day. Research has shown that its use is also effective making it an important milestone in the fight against hair loss.
It is used for extensive hair loss in women and for androgenic hair loss in men. It is used in areas with significant hair loss and hair thinning. There are different forms of the drug-like spray or foam with a low (2%) or high (5%) concentration of the active substance in the composition. After it has been applied, it should be thoroughly rubbed with massage movements. Minoxidil is more effective for hair in the crown area than for hair in the front of the head. It provides thickening of thinned hair strands but cannot revive a completely dead hair follicle. The effect usually appears after 4 months. It should be used carefully otherwise it can cause increased hair growth on the head and neck and even on the fingertips. Skin irritation, itching, contact dermatitis, dryness, or flaking of the skin may occur during the use of minoxidil.
A more effective result can be obtained when minoxidil is also used in conjunction with microneedling. Microneedling is used to make minoxidil better reach the hair follicles by making small punctures using devices called dermapen (1), dermastamp (2), or dermaroller (3) with dozens of very thin and short needles on the surface.
Most of the hundreds or even thousands of hair loss treatments around the world do not work. Finasteride and minoxidil which are two of the most effective scientifically proven and approved by the FDA that can be used individually at home, especially for the problem of extensive hair loss, must be used consistently to remain effective. When you stop using the hair loss does not increase. The degree of hair loss returns to the level that the person had before taking the drug.
Most of the hundreds or even thousands of hair loss treatments around the world do not work. Finasteride and minoxidil which are two of the most effective scientifically proven and approved by the FDA that can be used individually at home, especially for the problem of extensive hair loss, must be used consistently to remain effective. When you stop using them hair loss does not increase. The degree of hair loss returns to the level that the person had before taking the drug.
Shampoos: An important part of the hair loss remedies on the market are shampoos. The effects of many have not been verified by scientific researches. Some substances used as shampoos have a positive effect on reducing hair loss. Among them are ketoconazole, zinc pyrithione, piroctone olamine, and Saw Palmetto.
Radiation therapy: Laser beams are an important technique used for many medical applications. Positive results have also been obtained with its use in the treatment of hair loss. Low-power laser beams produced by laser devices can be especially effective in strengthening thinning hair and returning it to its previous condition. An important feature of this method is that it is approved by the FDA as clinically effective.
The main advantage of laser therapy, which is applied in 10 or 20-minute sessions once or twice a week, is that it is painless. The positive effect begins to appear within a few months. This procedure, like other methods of combating hair loss, is effective during use. If you stop using it the effect disappears after a while.
Various special devices have been developed for this treatment.
PRP and hair mesotherapy: these are two effective and close to each other methods used for hair loss. Both methods are injections with thin needles into problem areas and, in general, into the scalp. In PRP, platelet-rich plasma obtained from a person's own blood is injected, and in mesotherapy the injected cocktails consist of various growth factors, vitamins, and minerals that stimulate hair follicles.
If you would like to learn more about these procedures follow the links below.
PRP for hair; https://en.dk-klinik.com.tr/prp-hair-treatment
Hair mesotherapy; https://en.dk-klinik.com.tr/hair-mesotherapy
You may find some of our before and after results, below;
Supportive care and medical drugs: There are supportive drugs and agents that are not used in isolation from the main treatment, but are used as concomitant therapy. These include vitamin biotin, antioxidant vitamins, zinc use, and scalp massage.
Hair transplant: Hair transplant is not a solution for all cases of hair loss. Identifying and eliminating the cause of hair loss should always be a priority.
Hair transplant offers an effective and sustainable solution in cases of genetic pattern hair loss, especially in men. If you would like more information on this topic you can visit our page:
Hair transplantation is also possible for women, but our clinic resorts to this as a last resort. We have helped many of our patients to solve their hair loss problems and get back to normal with medical treatment without the need for surgery such as hair transplantation.
Factors to Consider When Treating Hair Loss
As we tried to explain above, hair loss treatment should be focused on its cause, but there are factors that you should personally consider during treatment.
The most important of these factors are as follows: