CAUSES OF HAIR LOSS
There are many causes of hair loss. Causes include certain diseases, chemical exposure, or drug use. The most common causes are:
- Pattern baldness — Also known as “androgenic alopecia,” this is the most common cause of hair loss and will affect up to 70% of men and 40% of women. More than 95% of hair-loss in men is due to this condition. Men typically present with hairline recession at the temples and hair-loss on the upper surface of the head, also known as vertex balding. Women typically present diffuse, or scattered, thinning of the hair over the top of their scalps. People who suffer from this type of hair loss have an underlying sensitivity to “hair follicle miniaturization” due to androgenic hormones.
- Poor nutrition — Studies show that limited food intake and deficiencies in certain nutrients can cause thinning of the hair. These include deficiencies of biotin, amino acids (protein), zinc and iron. Consuming a diet high in animal fat, such in fast food, can also have a negative effect on hair loss. Usually complete baldness is not seen in people with nutritional deficiencies; thinning is more common.
- Stress — Stress has been shown to restrict the blood supply to capillaries, which prevents oxygen and nutrients from reaching the hair follicle, which can prevent hair growth. This effect is similar to having poor circulation.
- Medications — Some medications can cause hair loss, especially medications which affect hormone levels. These medications include contraceptive pills, some forms of hormone replacement therapy, anabolic steroids and acne medication. Other medications which can have an effect on hair loss include those for blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and cholesterol.
COMPOUNDED HAIR LOSS SOLUTIONS
Other medications can treat alopecia when applied directly to the scalp. Compounded formulas combine FDA-approved medications and alternative therapies, creating a custom product that may treat, prevent and reverse hair thinning and loss due to pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia/AGA):
- Ketoconazole — This anti-fungal medication can counter DHT, the hormone responsible for shrinking hair follicles in people who have AGA.
- Minoxidil fortified with Finasteride — Finasteride acts by reducing DHT levels, slowing miniaturization of hair follicles in patients with AGA. Oral finasteride may be associated with side effects such as decreased libido, sexual dysfunction and gynecomastia. After initial improvement with oral finasteride, topical scalp finasteride can be used. Topical finasteride may absorb less systemically than oral finasteride, reducing the side effects associated with oral finasteride.
- Latanoprost — A double-blind scientific study published in the May 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology has found that latanoprost, a drug that mimics naturally-derived compound molecules called prostaglandins, significantly increases hair density on the scalp after 24 weeks of treatment in young men with mild hair loss. Latanoprost, like the eyelash restoration drug bimatoprost (better known as Latisse), has been used to treat glaucoma. And like bimatoprost, latanoprost has been used to treat eyelash alopecia. The scientists who conducted the study sought to determine if latanoprost could stimulate hair growth when applied topically on the scalp.
- Azelaic acid — This substance, found in whole grains, contains a mild antibiotic designed to reduce harmful bacteria from the skin. It is also said to be a potential inhibitor of 5-alpha-reductase in human skin. A reduction of this enzyme reduces the amount of DHT in the body and therefore can have a similar effect to finasteride, the active ingredient in FDA-approved oral hair loss solution Propecia.