Hair Loss (cont.)
Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD
Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.
Nili N. Alai, MD, FAAD
Dr. Alai is an actively practicing medical and surgical dermatologist in south Orange County, California. She has been a professor of dermatology and family medicine at the University of California, Irvine since 2000. She is U.S. board-certified in dermatology, a 10-year-certified fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, and Fellow of the American Society of Mohs Surgery.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Hair loss facts
- What are causes of hair loss?
- How do physicians classify hair loss?
- What is alopecia areata?
- What is traction alopecia?
- What is trichotillomania?
- What is tinea capitis?
- What is generalized (diffuse) hair loss?
- What is telogen effluvium?
- What is androgenetic alopecia ("male-pattern baldness," "female-pattern baldness")?
- What treatment is there for hair loss in men?
- What other options do people have for hair loss?
- Is hair loss in women different than men?
- What about pregnancy hair loss?
- What specific treatments are there for hair loss in women?
- What vitamins are good for hair loss?
- Can itchy scalp cause hair loss?
- How do people prevent hair loss?
- View Hair Loss Pictures - Slideshow
- Hair and Scalp Pictures - Slideshow
- Take the Hair Loss Quiz!
- Hair Loss FAQs
- Find a local Dermatologist in your town
What about pregnancy hair loss?
Pregnancy may cause many changes in the scalp hair. As the hormones fluctuate during pregnancy, a large number of women feel their hair thickens and becomes fuller. This may be related to change in the number of hairs cycling in the resting phase of hair growth, but the exact reason is unknown. Quite often, there may be a loss of hair after delivery or six months later. Prevention of this often, natural post pregnancy hair loss is unknown. It is also not known if this loss is just a return to the pre-pregnancy volume of hair.
What specific treatments are there for hair loss in women?
Female hair loss treatments include minoxidil (Rogaine), hair transplants, hair-powder fibers like Toppik, wigs, hair extensions, and weaves. Non-FDA-approved and off-label use of Propecia may be discussed with your doctor.
- Minoxidil (Rogaine) is available over the counter and available in 2%, 4%, and 5% concentrations. It may be something of a nuisance to apply twice daily, but it has been shown to help conserve hair and may even grow some. Minoxidil tends to grow very fine small hairs wherever it is applied. It is important to avoid running the liquid onto the face or neck where it can also grow hair. It is marketed for women at the 2% concentration but may be used in higher strengths as directed by a doctor.
- Propecia is a drug that is currently FDA approved only in men for help in hair loss. It has undergone extensive safety testing on women and it was found to be safe in postmenopausal women. It is unsafe for women of childbearing to take this drug or even handle tablets. (It is, however, safe for their husbands to take it while they are trying to become pregnant.) Propecia may be used as an off-label use in women who are not pregnant or planning to become pregnant while taking the medication. Studies have been inconclusive with effectiveness of Propecia in some women and not in others. Although it is not consistently effective, it may be a good option for postmenopausal women or women who are not pregnant or considering pregnancy. Newer studies suggest that Propecia may be somewhat helpful and worth considering in treatment of women's hair loss.
- Surgical procedures like hair transplants can be useful for some women as well as men to "fill in" thinned-out areas.
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