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Hair today, gone tomorrow


This caught my eye: up to 30 million women suffer from hair loss.

This number comes from the American Academy of Dermatology so it would seem to be reliable. That’s a lot of women. When I was pregnant I definitely had an alarming thinning of the hair. At the time, I called my dermatologist, who confirmed that the pregnancy condition has a name: telogen effluvium or physiologic shedding. It’s one of the three big reasons women lose their hair and has to do with hormonal fluctuations, anemia, thyroid imbalance, and sometimes surgery.

There is also such a thing as female pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia. This is a genetic variety of hair loss. Almost half of all women experience some hair loss as a result of genetics and aging, most noticeable after menopause.

Finally alopecia areata or allergic alopecia. These bald spots can be the result of an allergy or some stress on the immune system. In any case, hair loss for women is occurring at an earlier age than in previous generations and there is some speculation that stress has a lot to do with it - the same thing that triggers hair loss for a lot of men.

However, Dr. Michael Reed, a Manhattan-based dermatologist, director of the NYU hair loss clinic and the NYU hair transplant clinic and author of “Women’s Hair Loss: The Hidden Epidemic,” summed it up beautifully when he said, “Men like to have hair. Women have to have hair.” Amen to that.

Therefore, women’s hair loss has become a multi-billion dollar industry. Shampoos and conditioners of course, but also hair replacement, hair restoration, laser therapy, and topical creams, weaves and hair pieces. Prescription drugs, over the counter drugs, special diets, supplements, herbs, exercise and stress reduction products also flood the market addressing the fears of women who are freaking out over hair loss. The best thing to do is see a dermatologist. Find out if your problem is genetic or environmental before you stress out too much and compound the problem.

Source: Deborah Dunham/aol, Dr. Michelle Ehrlich


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