Reasons for Hair Loss
Learn what causes thinning and baldness in San Francisco Bay Area men and women
An adult may experience hair loss for a variety of reasons, ranging from situational to medical to hereditary. As a facial cosmetic surgeon offering follicular unit extraction to restore hair for men and women experiencing thinning or baldness, Dr. Stanley Jacobs works with each patient to discover a cause for their condition. This process will help to determine the best method for restoring a full head of hair—and the confidence that comes with it.
Note that while men make up the bulk of patients seeking hair transplants and other solutions, experts estimate that about 40 percent of U.S. adults dealing with hair loss are women. The problem is obviously more widespread than many sufferers let on, but embarrassment should never prevent someone from getting the help they need.
Natural hair loss
Each hair on a person's head and body goes through a life cycle that takes it through four phases. A healthy hair spends the majority of its time in active growth, known as anagen, during which it can grow about half an inch for up to eight years. When it reaches the end of this period of growth, it enters a roughly two-week catagen phase in preparation of falling out. Next is a three-month window known as telogen, which the follicle uses to get ready for new growth. Finally, the exogen phase marks the ejection of the old hair, after which anagen starts again with a new hair emerging.
Every person will regularly lose hairs to this natural process. Note that hairs can also be pulled out or suffer from "traction alopecia," which is attributable to tight ponytails and similar hairstyles. No treatment is needed for this loss, though patients may want to consider a different style to remedy the problem.
Conditions leading to hair loss
Other causes for hair loss include shifts to body chemistry or processes. A change in diet, a traumatic experience or injury, illness, and hormone fluctuations can all contribute to the problem. It is important to see a doctor who can help diagnose the problem, especially since hair loss can be an indicator of a more serious condition. Hormone shifts, for instance, may be due to a natural stage in life, such as menopause, or a thyroid condition.
Autoimmune diseases and infections can also trigger hair loss.
In some cases, medications may be the culprit, so be aware of any drugs or supplements you are taking and provide this list to your doctor when investigating possible causes of hair loss.
For these cases, stopping or changing the intake of certain medications or food may be enough to restore natural hair growth. Successfully fighting an infection or other illness may also solve the problem. In some cases, as with loss due to chemotherapy, patients simply have to wait until treatments are complete and new hair can grow again.
Hereditary hair loss
Thinning and balding that progresses in a predictable way as a person ages is known as androgenic alopecia. This can cause the dreaded receding hairline and bald patches to form. Because this hair loss advances in a fairly established way, Dr. Jacobs can address it with a hair transplant via follicular unit extraction. The surgical solution, achieved via a device known as Neograft®, is the most modern and advanced technique for combatting hereditary hair loss.