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Understanding Hair Loss in Washington, DC

Understanding hair loss helps you know if hair restoration is an effective solution. Located in Vienna, Younger Image Hair Transplant Clinic helps patients in and around Washington, DC, and Gaithersburg, Maryland understand their hair loss and find appropriate treatments.

Psychological Effects of Hair Loss

Although some people can ignore their hair loss or wear it proudly, the reality is that thinning hair and bald spots are traumatic for most.  Even with modest amounts of hair loss, patients with various types of alopecia report feeling like they look less attractive.  The emotional burden of hair loss can get so severe, it can lead to low self-confidence, mental disorders, such as body dysmorphia, and even impaired quality of life in some cases.  Here are a few common beliefs about hair loss:

  • I look older: People believe that hair loss makes both men and women look older than their actual age.  For the patient, this means the end of youth, vitality, and desirability.
  • Styling my hair is frustrating: People who suffer from hair loss get annoyed with the amount of time and trouble required to camouflage their bald or thinning areas.  Finding a hairstyle that looks good is often difficult.
  • I am no longer attractive to others: People with receding hairlines or bald patches feel insecure about their appearances and how people around them will accept them.  Self-esteem and other measures of self-worth drop significantly when hair loss occurs.
  • I am embarrassed about how I look: Although a full head of hair does not guarantee confidence, both men and women feel stigmatized by hair loss.
  • I try to hide my hair loss: Hats and wigs are often used to disguise hair loss.
  • My career could be on the line: Men and women with high profile positions or who work in front of the camera often feel like their jobs are in jeopardy.  They are concerned about being replaced with younger looking, more attractive employees.
  • I don’t want to be seen in public: Some people with hair loss limit their social activities.  They avoid seeing friends and stop going to social occasions.

Given the severity of the emotional implications, hair transplants and other treatments to regrow or revitalize hair should be viewed as an effort to gain confidence, generate positive emotional well-being, and improve overall health, rather than as vanity measures.

Myths About Hair Loss

A lot of misinformation exists about the cause of hair loss and proper treatments.  Here is some information that debunks common beliefs and will help set the record straight:

  • It’s all your mom’s fault. Many people believe that hair loss genetics come from your mom’s side of the family.  This is a fallacy.  Hair loss can be inherited from either side of the family, or even both sides.
  • Too much testosterone causes baldness. Testosterone is different from dihydrotestosterone (DHT) that causes baldness.  DHT is a derivative of testosterone that causes hair loss.  When the hair follicles are sensitive to DHT, the hair follicles shrink and prevent new hair from growing.
  • Hair only falls out in clumps. Hair does not usually fall out in large patches all at once.  The process is gradual.
  • Hair loss occurs because of poor circulation. Although healthy circulation is required to grow hair, decreased blood flow to the scalp is the result of hair loss, rather than the cause.
  • Wearing hats make you go bald. This simply is not true.  Hair follicles get oxygen from the bloodstream, not the air.  Hats do not cause hair loss by preventing the scalp from breathing.
  • Hair loss results from clogged pores. Clogged pores cause acne, but do not have anything to do with hair loss.
  • Your hair will fall out from too much shampooing. Seeing hair on the shower floor makes it easy to blame your shampoo or other hair care products.  It would be easier if just switching shampoo brands or types would solve your hair loss problems.  However, hair loss can be attributed to genetics or medical conditions.
  • Only men lose their hair. Although women do not typically go completely bald like men, unfortunately, they too suffer from hair thinning and bald patches.
  • Rogaine® and Propecia® can only be used by men on the crown. Both women and men can use Rogaine® (minoxidil) to slow down the pace of their hair loss.  The hair loss drug will work on any area of the scalp where the hair is thinning if the area is not completely bald.  Propecia® currently has FDA approval for use by men.
  • Hair loss stops as you age. Although estimating the rate of hair loss is difficult, hair loss continues over a person’s lifetime.

What is in your hair

Regardless of color or texture, all hair is made up of the same basic components.  Hair is primarily keratin; a strong protein also found in human fingernails.  Melanin gives hair its color and trace amounts of vitamins, zinc, and other minerals keep your hair strong and healthy.  Ten to 13 percent of hair is comprised of water.

The three main parts of a strand of hair are:

  1. Cortex – The main body that holds the cells giving your hair its pigment.
  2. Medulla – The center core of cells that are not seen
  3. Cuticle – The outer layer of hair made of overlapping cells that protects the inner layers. The cuticle gives hair a shiny appearance.  When the cuticle is damaged, a person’s hair looks dull and lifeless.

The average human head has somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000 stands of hair.  A typical person who is not experiencing hair loss naturally sheds about 100 hairs per day.

The Growth Cycle of Hair

A normal part of the hair growth cycle is losing hair.  Hair is shed so that it can be replaced with new hair. The hair usually grows in three phases:

  1. Anagen stage (two to six years) – Active hair growth
  2. Catagen stage (two to three weeks) – Growth stops
  3. Telogen stage (two to three months) – A resting stage. At the end of the telogen stage, hair is shed, and the cycle starts over.

When the growth cycle is disrupted, hair loss occurs.  The cycle also slows down with age.

What are the Causes of Hair Loss?

Getting a proper diagnosis for your hair loss is critical.  Understanding the underlying cause of your hair loss will ensure that the hair restoration treatment you select offers the results you want.  Natural aging is a common cause of hair loss, but there are a multitude of other factors that exist as well, including:

  • Hormonal changes
  • Diet
  • Stress
  • Substance abuse
  • Hair styling techniques
  • Medical conditions
  • Medications

If you are experiencing hair loss, it is always best to consult with a professional before beginning any treatment.

Understanding the cause of your hair loss and getting an accurate diagnosis is the key to regaining your hair’s volume and luster. Younger Image Hair Restoration Clinic located in Vienna can help.  If you live around Washington, DC, or Gaithersburg, Maryland, contact us to schedule a professional consultation.