Alopecia Risk Factors and What to Do About Them
No one wants to lose their hair. It can feel embarrassing, and it may impact your confidence or self-esteem. While no one should allow hair (or lack thereof) to determine their self-worth, it can still feel shocking and isolating when your beloved mane starts to thin.
Fortunately, alopecia (hair loss) is treatable. In fact, in some cases, hair loss is actually temporary. In this article, Dr. Martin Maag, our hair-loss specialist at Honest Hair Restoration in Bradenton, Florida, discusses the risk factors for alopecia and what you can do about them.
What is alopecia?
“Alopecia” is a catchall term that includes all types of hair loss. Different types of alopecia refer to different hair-loss patterns and causes. Androgenetic alopecia, for instance, is hormone-related hair loss — it’s the typical male-pattern or female-pattern baldness that comes with age.
Other types of alopecia include:
- Alopecia areata: Hair loss that occurs in patches
- Cicatricial alopecia: Hair loss that occurs in response to inflammation and leads to scar tissue
- Frontal fibrosing alopecia: Receding hairline; common in postmenopausal women
- Traction alopecia: Hair loss caused by physical stress on the hair, such as tight hairstyles
Alopecia risk factors
Hair loss can happen for a vast variety of reasons, and it can happen to anyone at any time. Most cases of alopecia are hereditary and age-related, and men are more affected than women. However, certain genetic and lifestyle factors can increase your risk for alopecia.
You may have a higher risk of suffering hair loss if:
- You have a family history of balding
- You’re pregnant or were recently pregnant (hormonal changes can cause hair to fall out)
- You take prescription medications (some medications cause hair loss as a side effect)
- You have certain medical conditions, including diabetes or lupus
- You have poor nutrition
How to reduce your risk for alopecia
Not all alopecia risk factors are modifiable, meaning you don’t necessarily have control over them. However, some risk factors for certain types of alopecia are indeed changeable.
You can reduce your risk of developing alopecia by:
Eating a healthy diet: Limited evidence shows that diets high in raw vegetables and fresh herbs may delay androgenic alopecia in men.
Eating more protein: One study showed a correlation between hair loss and amino acid and micronutrient deficiencies. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and hair follicles are largely made up of keratin, a protein.
Taking certain supplements: If your levels are low, vitamin D and iron supplements may help keep your hair fuller for longer. Research suggests that getting too much of certain micronutrients, such as vitamin A, can actually contribute to hair loss. It’s best to discuss supplements with Dr. Maag before starting anything.
Caring for your hair gently: Tight ponytails and other pulled-back hairstyles may lead to extra shedding.
Reducing stress: If stress is the main cause of your hair loss, practicing stress-management techniques may help.
If lifestyle interventions don’t do the trick, you may want to consider hair-loss medications or professional treatments. Dr. Maag offers several hair-loss treatment options, including prescription-strength, customized medications, exosomal therapy, and platelet-rich plasma therapy. Low-level laser caps are another option, and hair transplants are available for patients who are a good fit.
To learn more about alopecia risk factors and your options for hair restoration, set up a consultation with Dr. Maag at our office in Bradenton, Florida. You can schedule by calling 941-623-4221, or you can book online.
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