Hair loss is an extremely common phenomenon, affecting an estimated 56 million men and women in the United States alone. As many as 65% of men and 80% of women can expect to experience some degree of hair loss by the age of 60, and so it is understandable that many spend a great deal of time studying their scalps in the mirror, searching for any sign that their hair may be thinning. However, the process of hair loss, or alopecia, can be very slow and subtle. In some cases it may be all but impossible to determine, from a simple examination, whether your hair has started to thin or not. Every patient is different, and the various forms of hair loss can progress in a surprisingly large number of ways, but here are a few simple steps that may be able to help you to determine if you should come to The Griffin Center for a full diagnosis.
- First and foremost, it is important to understand that most people lose anywhere from 50 to 100 hairs a day as a part of the hair’s natural growth cycle. Just because you see hair on your pillow or in the shower drain, doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a problem.
- Hair loss is often first noticeable at the very top of the head, or crown. Use a hand mirror to examine this region, looking for noticeable areas of scalp. Hair loss is often more apparent in those with very dark colored hair, as the contrast with the pale color of the underlying scalp makes thinning more obvious.
- If you are male, inspect your hair line, particularly at the edges by your temples. If they have started to recede up towards the top of your scalp, then you are most likely starting to thin. Androgenetic alopecia, or genetic pattern baldness, is the most common form of hair loss in both men and women and progresses along a very predictable pattern.
- If you are female, the pattern will most likely be noticeably different. Women tend to experience more diffuse hair loss over a more general area. Examine the area where your hair parts in the center of your scalp. If this area is starting to grow wider, leaving more scalp visible, then you may be in need of assistance.
- Examine your lifestyle for changes. Some forms of hair loss, like telogen effluvium, can be a temporary result of external factors or stress. If you have, within the last several months, experienced a significant lifestyle change or shock, including major injury, surgery, or the death of a loved one, your hair loss may be easily remedied.
- Stop abusing your hair. A number of different hair styles and treatments can seriously damage the hair and scalp and the overuse of dyes and permanents can leave your hair brittle and fragile. It may be possible that your hair loss is completely preventable.
- Other hormonal changes can also contribute to hair loss, particularly in women where estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels all play a contributing role. Giving birth, entering menopause, starting, stopping, or changing birth control, or undergoing hormone replacement therapy can all significantly impact the growth of your hair.
- Ultimately, if you still believe that you are suffering from hair loss and cannot readily identify the cause, then you need to come visit us at The Griffin Center for a complete hair loss evaluation. Here we can give you a full medical examination consisting of a detailed patient history and extensive diagnostic tests before determining the best way to proceed.
If you have questions about your hair loss, or would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Edmond Griffin or Dr. Ashley Curtis to help understand your options, please contact The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to get the latest news in hair restoration and research.