Hair loss happens to more people than you might think. With so many ways to hide the effects, however, you can feel like you are one of the only ones.
One of the first things your hair loss might have you wondering is if you can do something to fix it. As human beings, we rarely just accept things without trying to do something about them. This character is especially true when it comes to something as important as our hair, which greatly affects our appearance.
Unfortunately, not every case of hair loss is something that can be reversed. You may be surprised at how many causes of hair loss can, however. Though it will depend some on a variety of factors, we are about to go over the different causes of hair loss and whether or not you can regrow your hair after dealing with each one.
What is Hair Loss?
As mentioned, hair loss is common enough, with many different causes. What I feel it is necessary to note here is mainly that the hairs you lose every day are normal. Hair falls out as a natural part of the follicle’s phases, and it usually grows back all on its own.
Since no intervention is needed here, this is technically hair shedding, which is different from hair loss. Severe shedding can be caused by stress and other things as well. This still counts as shedding in most cases, though, as the hair often regrows on its own without assistance.
However, in some cases, hair that is shed doesn’t regrow. Or, at least, the follicles don’t make new hair come in when they should. This does qualify as hair loss. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to know when hair falls out if it is going to come back in again or not.
This is one reason why seeing extra hairs in your brush or drain is so worrisome. There is no certainty most of the time if it is just a little more shedding than usual or if your hair is not going to grow back.
A dermatologist can sometimes do tests on your scalp to tell you the likelihood of your hair growing back on its own. They also should be able to tell you why your hair fell out in the first place. But neither of these test results is a 100% guarantee.
So, since even the reasons for hair shedding can end up being a cause of hair loss as well, it is necessary to look at all of the common reasons for both. Some types of hair loss are reversible in some cases, but not in others, and so may fit in both categories.
Types of Hair Loss That May Be Reversible
This is the type of hair loss you are undoubtedly hoping that you have. You may be surprised just how many hair loss causes are perfectly treatable. Worth noting, however, is that the sooner you catch your hair loss, the easier and more likely you will succeed at reversing it to get your hair back.
Androgenetic alopecia is more commonly and widely known as male pattern hair loss, though it can affect women as well. It is hereditary, and it affects millions of people, with thousands across the globe being diagnosed with it every year.
In men, pattern baldness can start at any stage in life, occasionally starting at as young as puberty. Fortunately, pattern baldness is so common that a lot of different treatments have been developed for it. Some of these scalp treatments are quite serious, but this is a serious condition more often than not.
The simple ones include supplements that have DHT blocker ingredients as well as shampoos and conditioners. Slightly more intense, there are serums, creams, and foams that block DHT as well. As a step up from that, there are medications and other treatments that a doctor can prescribe.
Then, microneedling, laser treatments, and almost any of the other things that you have heard of as a hair treatment can also help to a small degree as well. Essentially, anything that can be used to unclog your cells from the DHT can be used to help reverse your hair loss.
Though it does take time for the DHT to be removed by your body out of your scalp, this is possible. After this is removed, your hair will often start growing again. Some extra nutrients and increased blood flow will help this even more. It also helps, in this case, to be a woman, as women are less affected by this.
Telogen effluvium is caused by your hair naturally reaching its resting phase without beginning the following growth phase. Sometimes the resting phase even begins much earlier for many of your hairs. This means a loss of 300 to 500 hairs a day instead of the usual 100.
Far from being confined to one area, telogen effluvium happens all over the scalp, though it can be predominant at your crown and temples. This is why this type of hair loss is sometimes confused with a rapid onset of pattern baldness.
However, instead of being hereditary, this type is caused by many different things. These range from thyroid problems to surgeries or illnesses. Mostly, anything that causes a great amount of stress on your body can cause this, including mental shock.
The main way to get your hair to regrow after experiencing telogen effluvium is to recover from or remove whatever caused it. For example, thyroid problems can often be treated, illnesses can be recovered from, and an extra intake of vitamins can sometimes help.
Dermatologists also have medications specifically to help with this type of hair loss. So, it can be reversed in most cases.
Anagen effluvium is worth only a small note. This is similar to the previous type of hair loss, but this one always comes on rapidly. Its most common cause is from intensive medical treatment, chemotherapy being the main one.
Once the chemotherapy ends, your hair will usually start to slowly grow back. There are even medications you can ask for that are specifically for encouraging hair regrowth after such things. This will take months, but with proper care, during and after, you can get most, if not all, of your hair back.
Tinea capitis s the technical term for scalp ringworms. This name is slightly misleading, as scalp ringworm is actually a type of fungal infection of the scalp. It is more common in children, and causes hair to fall out in circular patches, hence the name.
There is also often redness, a scaly look, and sometimes sores or blisters that ooze as well as a fever. There is medication for scalp ringworm, and the hair usually regrows after the infection has been dealt with. Children seem to regrow their hair faster than adults.
Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia
Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia is caused by the frequent use of oils, gels, pomades, or the chemicals used to create perms. Also, using hair relaxers, blow dryers, curling irons, and hair extensions can eventually cause this as well.
If you continue to the point of scarring, there is nothing that can be done. However, if you stop soon enough, you should be able to regrow your hair. Healing and soothing treatments can help with this.
Trichotillomania and Traction Alopecia
Both of these have their similarities, which is why I am putting them both together here. The first is a medical condition. People with trichotillomania pull their hair out themselves as either a type of stress relief or self-harm.
The other, traction alopecia, is where your hair is pulled out by too-tight hairstyles or something similar. In both cases, the hair loss is reversible as soon as the hair stops being pulled out. Though this is a different case if the hairs have been pulled often enough to cause the follicle to scar.
Loose Anagen Syndrome
This syndrome is one that mostly affects young children. It occurs when hair is not firmly rooted in the follicle, making it pull out far too easily. Sometimes the hair falls out after it has reached a certain length, or it can fall out at any length just from light friction, such as laying their head on a pillow.
The cause of loose anagen syndrome is not known, but it is more often found in girls. There are a few treatments for this syndrome, but it often resolves itself to some degree when puberty hits.
Types of Hair Loss That May Not Be Reversible
Some of these hair loss causes that I already listed as reversible may not always be so. If you take too long to treat the hair loss, your case is too severe, or even if some unknown factor comes into play, you may not be able to grow your hair back.
Androgenetic alopecia, though there are many treatments available for it, is one of the most common types of hair loss that sometimes nothing really works for. There is very little that can be done to completely avoid it.
There are cases when, no matter what you do, the baldness will only progress as the years go by. Some men go completely bald, or nearly so, after a while. What is perhaps worse is when the pattern baldness progresses rapidly.
Men are more likely to have irreversible pattern baldness. It is also more likely to be irreversible if your job is a stressful one or one that puts you in frequent contact with harmful chemicals. Both of those factors take a toll on your hair on their own, but they certainly make pattern baldness worse.
Since telogen effluvium has so many possible triggers, in some of these cases, it probably won’t grow back. The more hair you lose because of it, and the longer this hair loss lasts, the more likely it is to be permanent.
One of the hardest parts of this type of hair loss is figuring out the trigger of it. In some cases, the trigger is obvious, especially if you had a surgery. However, the fact that telogen effluvium only shows up about two to three months after the event that triggered it is what complicates things.
In the case of thyroid imbalances, you have to first figure out that you even have a thyroid problem. If this is mild enough, you may have almost no other symptoms besides your thinner hair. Then, sometimes oral contraceptives can cause telogen effluvium as well, along with a few other medications.
Are you really going to remember three months later that you started a new medication and think that your hair loss might be tied to that? The longer you take to discover the cause of your telogen effluvium, the less encouraging your prognosis will be.
Fortunately, the cases where this is irreversible are rare, usually being tied to other medical problems. It also is more linked to occupations with high stress levels, where it can be impossible to remove the cause.
Though your hair can grow back after chemo, if you have extended treatments or relapses, there is a point where nothing is going to be able to make your hair grow back the way it was. You may end up with patches left of hair, but it is unlikely you will end up with a full head of it.
Alopecia areata is one of many autoimmune conditions, and one you won’t see listed as one that can be reversed. It is where the immune system attacks your hair follicles, eventually killing them and preventing new hair from growing.
Yes, sometimes you can regrow some of your hair back if you can successfully go into remission. However, that is only temporary and, whenever the condition flares back up again, it will instantly go back to attacking your hair.
Alopecia areata can affect hair all over, including the eyebrows and eyelashes. It fairly often becomes alopecia totalis, which is complete hair loss.
Discoid lupus erythematosus is quite similar, being an autoimmune disease that affects the skin. It can affect the ears, face, and scalp, causing scaring on all the above. When this scarring happens on your scalp, hair will no longer be able to grow in that area.
Though you can get rid of the ringworms, as with other things, the longer you take before treating it, the less likely it will be for your hair to grow back fully. For whatever reason, adults that get it have a slightly harder time getting their hair back. If there is much scaring, however, even children will never be fully able to get their hair back in that spot.
Cicatricial alopecia is also called scarring alopecia in most cases. It is characterized by severe inflammation that both destroys hair follicles and causes scar tissue to form. This scar tissue is what makes sure that the hair can never regrow.
Sometimes this type of alopecia comes on so slowly that you don’t notice it at first. You may instead think that it is some type of rash, as the itching and redness would imply. Cicatricial alopecia affects everyone of all ages, and there are various treatments to limit and stop it, but once your hair is gone, it is unlikely to come back.
There are different causes of cicatricial alopecia, which are often referred to as their own unique hair loss conditions. Lichen planopilaris, for starters, is one skin condition that causes dry, flaky rashes, sometimes with redness. It causes hair to come out in clumps and affects more women than men.
Folliculitis decalvans is similar, but with lesions or pustules instead of dryness. The scaring is still not reversible, but dermatologists do have medications to halt its progression.
Dissecting cellulitis can affect various parts of the body, including the scalp. It causes pustules or lumps to form, which causes scarring. Frontal fibrosing alopecia causes loss of hair at your hairline and also your eyebrows and underarms, mostly affecting postmenopausal women.
Both of these do have medications to help you manage the symptoms, but little more. The cause of the latter isn’t even fully known.
Hypotrichosis is a very rare condition that some people are born with. In this case, very little hair grows on the scalp and body. Though the baby may start off with normal hair growth, most people who have this are completely bald by the age of 25, often in spite of medications to help.
A Few Things To Try
While each type of hair loss has its own methods of treatment, there are some general things you can do that should help any type of hair loss you might be suffering with. All of the types of hair loss that I just went over, even the irreversible ones, can still be helped a little.
For starters, there are endless options for products that help your hair. These are pills, creams, shampoos, tools, and many other things that it would take too long to list. You can literally take your pick of what type of product is the most convenient for you to use.
Then, there are hair treatments that are a little more in depth should you be looking for something more drastic. These are the things like microneedling, laser treatments, and medications.
Also a big change, your diet can be a large factor in the way your hair grows or doesn’t grow. So, changing your diet to include more nutritious foods is certainly worth considering if you have the time and funds.
Treatments To Reverse The Signs of Hair Loss
Sometimes nothing can help truly reverse the hair loss itself. However, there are various things to reverse the signs of it in order to hide your hair loss. These don’t help your hair at all, but they can help you feel less self-conscious about your thinning hair.
Makeup can hide quite a bit, if it is applied correctly. There are various powders and sprays that are specifically for your hair to be used to cover up thin areas. Some of these can even be used on beard hair as well.
Hair transplant surgery, in some cases, can be exactly what you need to hide this. It is pretty expensive, though, and it is not suitable for everyone. You may not have enough healthy hair follicles for it, or you may still be losing hair.
Hair tattoos are another good option, though a lesser-known one. This option requires you to keep your hair quite short, with the areas of your scalp where the hair doesn’t grow anymore being tattooed to look like hair stubble.
Finally, though it is not the most comfortable thing, wigs of various sorts are available for you to wear. Wigs can make your head extremely hot at times, though, and they are not always the most natural-looking.
Even if you have one of the not-so-reversible types of hair loss, you shouldn’t immediately give up hope. At the very least, your goal should be to attempt to keep your hair loss from getting worse. This is why treatments are still important, even when they can’t help you regrow your hair.
Above all, try to stay hopeful. Becoming stressed out about your hair falling out is only going to give your hair one more reason to fall out. Do what you can, and try not to worry too much about the rest.