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Hair Loss

Some degree of hair loss on a daily basis is part of the hair growth process.  At any given time, 90 percent of the hair on our scalp is growing.  In the growth phase, lasting two to six years, the hair will grow an average of one centimeter per month. After the growth phase, the hair spends two to three months in a resting phase, after which it falls out.  While some amount of hair loss is considered normal, some men, women, and children experience excessive and permanent hair loss. 

Hair loss can occur a few months after a significant illness, injury, or surgery as a result of stress on the body and mind.  This hair loss is temporary.  Hormones can also contribute to hair loss.  Patients with an over or under active thyroid may develop significant hair loss as a result.  This is often relieved by treating the thyroid condition itself. Hormonal imbalances can also lead to hair loss.  For example, hormonal fluxuations after pregnancy can cause some mothers to temporarily experience hair loss. 

Certain medications can also cause hair loss.  Anticoagulants, like warfarin, gout medications, chemotherapy, excessive vitamin A consumption, oral contraceptives, and antidepressants can all cause hair loss. Usually when use of the medication is terminated the hair will begin to grow back. Fungal infections can also lead to temporary hair loss.  Certain medical conditions, such as lupus and diabetes, may cause hair loss. 

The number one cause of hair loss in males is called male-pattern baldness.  This permanent hair loss is usually an inherited trait that results in a receding hairline and eventually a lack of hair at the top of the head. Generally speaking, the earlier men develop this type of hair loss, the more serious and extensive the baldness will be.  Women develop a similar type of permanent hair loss that thins the hair all over the scalp.  Two-thirds of all men and one-fifth of all women will experience permanent hair loss. 

A doctor will ask a patient with hair loss a number of questions about their lifestyle, diet, and medical history to determine the exact cause of hair loss. Often times, hair loss is treatable. Even when hair loss is caused by permanent male or female pattern baldness, some medications may work to slow the condition’s progression.  Non-prescription Rogaine (minoxidil) and prescription strength Propecia (finasteride) may be helpful to some individuals who suffer hair loss. 

The only effective way to restore one’s hairline is to consult a qualified and experienced physician. In addition to these medications, board-certified plastic surgeons offer some excellent solutions to hair loss.  Hair transplants (including micrografts and mini-grafts), scalp reduction, and skin lifts and grafts are all plastic surgery solutions to permanent hair loss. The goal of these hair replacement surgeries is to improve one’s appearance as much as possible. 

If you would like to learn more about hair loss and hair replacement, please contact us to speak with a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon in your area.