Hair has always been regarded as a beauty staple, since ancient times, and in numerous descriptions of the past, one’s hair had always been mentioned. Baldness, although it is more often in men than women, therefore presents a recurring problem making people anxious and feeling less confident about themselves as a result. Now, hair loss is not completely clear to scientists, what triggers it, how it is treated, why some people never have the problem (even after being exposed to health issues), and others (seemingly healthy individuals) experience it.
Unfortunately, even with all the advancements we made, medically and technologically, hair loss stays a riddle to most. However, treatment methods have been applied wildly in the past several decades, and we have come a long way since wearing wigs to hide bald spots. Thankfully, with the right diagnoses and medical assistance, most hair losses are reversible and not permanent, which leaves the question of what treatment to pick and why.
Getting the right diagnosis
Contrary to common belief, there are more causes of hair loss than just simply genetics. Although baldness, often triggered at a certain age, is related to genetics, various health issues and problems can be linked to hair loss and sudden thinning of hair. Many people have complained about hair loss despite the fact that their dads, grandfathers, and male ancestors never had it, raising the question of what caused it.
One of the most common causes of hair loss is an increased level of stress. Stress triggers the release of cortisol, commonly known as the stress hormone, thereby leading to a chain of different hormonal reactions. Stress, induced over a longer period and in constant continuity, puts pressure on the immune system, causing a deficiency of valuable nutrients, and is related to a condition referred to as telogen effluvium, putting the hair follicles in a resting condition, thereby making them simply fall off while showering or combing the hair. The simplest method to reduce the damage is lowering stress levels and exposure to things or situations which usually cause you to become more nervous and stressed out.
Another issue can be a hormonal imbalance, which is quite often in women during pregnancy and post-pregnancy. Such damages done to the hair are mostly reversible and can be handled by simple doctor-prescribed treatments. Furthermore, hormone imbalance can be a sign of thyroid gland issues, and possible hidden diseases not necessarily related to pregnancy.
Nutrient deficiency is another common direct consequence of hair loss and is most common in people who underwent a major weight loss journey or people who suffered from autoimmune diseases or survived cancer (chemo is known to cause hair loss). It may also happen when individuals have an unhealthy lifestyle, such as eating junk food, not getting enough exercise (which lowers testosterone levels in males), having improper sleeping habits, or consuming alcohol or drugs, all of which lead to vitamin and mineral insufficiency. By simply changing your lifestyle, eating more healthily, working out, and having a more positive mindset, you can regrow your hair.
Fungal infections and inflammatory disorders of the scalp are the remaining causes of abrupt hair loss. We ruled out genetics because it remains a huge issue with no clear explanation. Hair loss can occur after a person has suffered a serious skin condition, skin inflammation, or has been struggling with a fungal infection for a longer period. The changes the skin undergoes can weaken the hair, and thereby make it more fragile than it was. Usually, after successful treatment, the hair should regrow, though it might take some time.
With this said, we must keep one thing in mind, you should consult your doctor before taking any further steps in treating the hair loss.
The number of therapies available varies according to the diagnosis; nevertheless, we will refer to the most popular, universal hair growth treatments available to everyone in the text. These treatments cannot do any general harm, even if you happen to be suffering from a hormonal imbalance, poor diet, or fungal infection. We do recommend once again consulting a professional before trying it out on your own.
Rogaine has been one of the two drugs approved by the FDA as an effective tool in combating hair loss and baldness. Rogaine, or in the medical community known under the term minoxidil, has been used as a remedy for the past several years. The product’s cult following has grown as a result of its efficacy, as well as the fact that notable influencers and YouTubers have been talking about it in their videos for quite some time.
Rogaine can be found in the form of foam (the most popular one used), shampoo, or drops, depending on the manufacturer. Originally intended to regulate high blood pressure, it is now used to treat hair loss in men and women as scientists found out about the side effect of the pill (increased hair growth across the body) while prescribing it to patients with cardiovascular problems.
Now, rogaine does come with some disadvantages and should be taken after consulting a professional. Some of those side effects are skin irritation, redness, hair shedding, and yellow or white scales appearing on the scalp. The best formula to use is in the form of foam, as it should be stable and not irritate the skin. Some studies have even shown it to be effective in regrowing eyebrows, or other hair across the body.
Finasteride is a drug used to treat hair loss in some patients after it has been concluded that hair loss is caused by the DHT hormone. By blocking the hormone, patients have shown to be having an improved condition, although it is not recommended for everyone. Only completely healthy individuals, without any other hidden conditions, are allowed the medication, as it is intended to treat prostate cancer. It can be highly effective, although the side effects have been heavy on males. Decreased libido, decreased ejaculation volume, and erectile dysfunctions are some of the side effects.
Shampoos, natural ointments, and oils are highly effective in treating hair loss after skin conditions and infections. The different skin conditions are causing the irritation of the scalp thereby weakening the hair and causing it to fall out. However, by nurturing your hair with oils (olive oil, lavender oil, rosemary, and peppermint), natural-based shampoos without parabens and sulfates, and using conditioners with vitamins and minerals, you can reverse the effects. Other ointments are using honey, egg white, and a vast variety of hair masks made from natural ingredients to soften the hair and make it grow again.
A change of lifestyle, eating habits, and exercise is another highly effective method to treat hair loss.
Although we did not create a medication that could be swallowed to regenerate hair, we did make advances in aesthetic medicine that allowed for therapies like hair transplantation. The procedure is simple enough, without any possible complications and even during the whole “operation”, you are given a local anesthetic. Hair transplants are the most successful and long-lasting option, and with recent improvements, they are becoming more accessible and inexpensive to the general public.
If you are not fond of any sort of surgical intervention, laser combs are also quite effective in getting the same effect. By stimulating the hair with light, the follicles are regrowing.
The efficacy of any other therapy is mostly dependent on your persistence and determination to regenerate your hair. If you happen to be suffering from genetic baldness, there is not much you can do, however, studies have shown that the right treatment in the early phases of genetically caused hair loss can reverse the effects and prevent further damage done to the hair. It may seem inconceivable, but with more and more individuals succeeding in overcoming it, there’s a good possibility you can prevent it, or at least some of the worst consequences.