In this guide to male and female hair loss treatments, we cover the signs and causes of hair loss, before moving on to the recommended hair loss treatments available.
What is hair loss?
Hair loss affects more than half of men aged over 50 in the UK and is commonly experienced by older adults from the age of 30. It may only affect your scalp hair but can also affect the entire body.
Hair shedding is entirely normal – it is estimated that the human scalp sheds between 50 to 100 hairs per day during the hair growth cycle. However, when new hair does not replace the hair that was lost during this process, hair loss can occur. Hair loss can happen gradually as you age, or suddenly in a matter of days or weeks. Some types of hair loss are permanent, while others are only temporary.
While counting how many hairs you are losing is impossible, you might notice your hair loss through gradual thinning or balding, or by the large volume of hair shed when you wash or brush it. Hair loss can have a variety of causes such as:
- Conditions and illnesses
- Hairstyling methods
- Hair treatments
- Hormonal changes
- Stress and shock associated with life events
Signs of hair loss
The symptoms of hair loss can vary significantly, according to their cause. So which are the signs of hair loss that you should be looking out for? And what does each sign indicate? Here we cover the different symptoms of hair loss:
- Receding at the top of the head – this gradual type of hair loss is a classic sign of androgenic alopecia (male or female pattern baldness), which is the most common type of hair loss. Men typically begin to experience thinning at the hairline of the forehead. In women experiencing hair loss, a widening of the parting in the hair or a receding hairline are often seen
- Temple and crown hair loss – gradual thinning at the temples, between the forehead and ear, and at the crown of the head, is another common sign of male pattern baldness. It can contribute to a receding, V-shaped hairline sometimes known as a widow’s peak. Gradual thinning at the crown is also typical of male or female pattern baldness, although if it happens more suddenly, it could have other causes
- Bald spots or patches – in some cases of hair loss, hair falls out in circular spots or patches on the scalp, as well as the eyebrows and beard. There are a number of potential causes for this development of hair loss, including hereditary, hormonal changes, certain types of medication, and medical conditions such as alopecia areata
- Total body hair loss – this is the complete loss of hair from all over the body; it is typically caused by treatment such as chemotherapy and is a temporary type of hair loss. In rare cases, it could be due to an autoimmune disease (alopecia universalis)
- Sudden Hair Loss – after emotional or physical shock is experienced, the hair can fall out suddenly. This type of hair loss can cause large amounts of hair to come out when tugged gently, or other activities such as washing and brushing. While this kind of hair loss can contribute to overall thinning, it tends to be temporary. It is called telogen effluvium
- Patches of scaling on the scalp – this type of hair loss can be a symptom of ringworm; a fungal infection that causes rashes, and other symptoms such as broken hair and inflammation
Hair shedding causes
We’ve touched on some of the signs of hair loss above, but now let’s cover the common causes of hair loss in more detail:
- Genetics – hair loss may run in your family. Male and female pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia) is the most common type of hair loss, and this is a hereditary condition. The AR gene, also known as the ‘baldness gene’, is found on the X chromosome and is strongly associated with baldness
- Medical conditions – many medical conditions can cause hair loss. These include; hair pulling disorders (trichotillomania); autoimmune disorders such as alopecia areata, diabetes and lupus, ringworm, a fungal infection of the scalp, and sexually transmitted infections such as syphilis and HIV
- Hormonal changes – hormonal changes that cause hair loss have several potential triggers, such as menopause, pregnancy, childbirth and thyroid issues. These conditions can cause both temporary and permanent hair loss
- Medications – there is a range of medications that have potential side effects including hair loss, such as drugs for high blood pressure, heart problems, cancer and arthritis
- Shock – emotional and physical shock can lead to the thinning of the hair, although this is typically temporary
- Hairstyles – ‘tight’ hairstyles could contribute to hair loss. This is due to traction alopecia. Be wary of cornrows, braids, buns and ponytails and any other styles that drag back the hair and pull it tightly
- Hair treatments – following on from the point above, the treatments you use for your hair can also cause hair loss. These include; hair dye; hot styling tools, from rollers to straighteners and blow dryers; and chemical texturizers for hair management
- Radiotherapy – radiotherapy is a cancer treatment that can result in hair loss in the area of the body being treated. This hair loss is typically temporary, although hair may grow back differently
Different types of hair loss
So far we’ve covered the symptoms and causes of hair loss, but are yet to outline the various kinds of hair loss. Here are some of the main hair loss types:
- Alopecia areata – this type of hair loss is caused by alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition. The disorder causes the immune system to attack healthy tissues, causing hair loss and preventing new growth. Hair loss from alopecia areata is characterised by hair falling out in patches. It can start suddenly, and the hair shedding is not painful. It may include the eyebrows and beard, and extend to the whole body
- Anagen effluvium – this is a rapid kind of hair loss that is the result of medical treatment. Medications such as chemotherapy, which kills cancer cells, may also stunt hair follicle production. After chemotherapy has finished, the hair will usually grow back
- Androgenetic alopecia – also known as male pattern baldness or female pattern baldness; this is the most common type of hair loss. Androgenetic alopecia is a hereditary condition that can be passed down via the ‘baldness gene’, but it can be treated with medication, or reversed to a degree, with surgery. Male pattern baldness occurs gradually with age. It can start with a receding hairline at the forehead, as well as hair loss at the crown and temple. Female hair loss is characterised by the slow thinning around the scalp, rather than a receding hairline
- Cicatricial alopecia – also known as scarring alopecia, this rare kind of hair loss is caused by inflammation that results in the destruction of hair follicles and the formation of scar tissue. Hair cannot regrow where scar tissue has formed
- Telogen effluvium – this type of hair loss can be triggered by medical conditions and events, including thyroid imbalances, surgery or childbirth. It can also be caused by mineral deficiency and certain medications. Telogen effluvium is characterised by the loss of around 300 to 500 hairs per day, and thinning around the crown and temples
- Tinea capitis – also referred to as ringworm, tinea capitis is a fungal scalp infection that causes a type of hair loss characterised by the appearance of scaly bald spots or patches
We’ve outlined some of the main kinds of hair loss above, but there are also other hair loss types, including:
- Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, which is a type of scarring alopecia
- Discoid lupus erythematosus, caused by the autoimmune disorder cutaneous lupus
- Dissecting cellulitis of the scalp, a rare condition that causes lumps of infection on the scalp
- Folliculitis decalvans, an inflammatory disorder that can result in redness and infected lesions on the scalp
- Frontal fibrosing alopecia, which is another type of scarring alopecia
- Lichen planopilaris, caused by an autoimmune skin condition in the scalp
- Trichotillomania, a psychological disorder that causes people to pull their own hair out
- Traction alopecia, caused by tight hairstyles
Hair loss prevention
Among the most effective hair loss prevention steps are:
- Avoiding potentially-damaging tight hairstyles such as cornrows, pigtails and braids, that could cause traction alopecia
- Investigate and treat health conditions that could cause hair loss
- Maintain a healthy diet with minimal processed foods and refined sugars
- Take hair growth supplements to augment your diet
- Ease your stress by getting enough sleep, exercising, and engaging in calming activities
If you are already experiencing hair loss, then you may need to seek treatment. In this section, we will run through some effective hair loss treatments available.
Hair loss treatment
A range of treatments are available to combat hair loss, but their success may depend on the cause, severity, or type of hair loss a person is experiencing. There is a broad variety of effective surgical and non-surgical treatments to explore, and we’ll outline these in the sections below.
Hair loss supplements
There are some hair growth vitamins available that can increase hair health and promote hair growth. Although research suggests that supplements such as biotin, iron, vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc may be effective in hair loss prevention, their reliability is not completely proven, and not everyone will experience the same levels of success. However, they will prove beneficial to people who are experiencing hair loss from a lack of vitamins.
Non-surgical hair loss treatment
Before a hair transplant is considered to reverse hair loss, non-surgical hair loss treatments should certainly be explored. Here we will look at some of the most effective:
Minoxidil usually comes in a topical solution such as foam, usually sold under the brand Regaine. Consistently using hair regrowth products containing minoxidil can make a difference. Minoxidil can increase hair vitality by lengthening the time a hair grows. Consult your doctor or hair clinic before using a minoxidil product.
Finasteride is an effective treatment for male pattern baldness that blocks the action of the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme. It is this enzyme that produces dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which can cause hair loss in men. This medication is very effective at preventing further hair loss, rather than regrowing any hair that was lost.
PRP hair treatment
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is a regenerative medicine that encourages healing and can restore hair. It is usually recommended that you undergo five PRP sessions across 1 year. Once the a year has passed, we suggest going for a top-up every 12-18 months.
To ensure full hair restoration and replenishment, hair transplants can be the most effective treatment option for hair loss. They are a great permanent solution to hair loss as they can restore the hair, offering people a more youthful appearance, but should only be considered when the underlying cause for hair loss has been stabilised. So, what is a hair transplant?
The two main types of hair transplants are FUE hair transplants and FUT hair transplants. Both techniques use similar methods:
The FUE technique takes hair grafts from the back of the scalp as individual follicles. Hundreds of tiny punches are made, and the hair follicles are then gently placed in small holes that have been prepared at the recipient area. It then takes 1 year for the hair to grow through.
At The Treatment Rooms London, we possess a wealth of experience in performing the FUE technique, giving every single transplanted hair the best conditions for growth.
The FUT technique removes a strip from the back of the scalp, which is usually several inches in length. After the donor site is stitched up, the graft is split into smaller sections using a surgical tool. These sections can then be implanted at the recipient area.
Your trusted hair transplant clinic in London
If you are experiencing hair loss, you should visit a registered CQC hair transplant clinic, like The Treatment Rooms London, so you can consult with a surgeon to explore your options. You can benefit from personalised treatment including an aftercare and recovery plan, an unparalleled service, and experienced hair transplant surgeons.
Book a consultation today with one of our experienced hair transplant surgeons to explore your possible options and decide on the best hair loss treatment for you.