Question: I have experienced hair fall since I was in college. My hair became brittle and weak. I have not had a proper sleep ever since and I have been taking a drug named isotretinoin for almost 1 1/2 year (two courses).
My hair fall stopped when I was in my sophomore year and then it went back last November. I suspect also that it may have been caused by emotional stress because of the recent events that happened.
I went to my dermatologist and she told me that I have androgenetic alopecia but looking at my aunts (both mother and father side) they don’t have androgenetic alopecia. Is it possible that I am just experiencing chronic telogen effluvium? Hoping for your response. Thank you!
Answer: Hi, Liane. It is possible that your hair loss is due to chronic telogen effluvium or female pattern hair loss – or both, simultaneously. We would need to assess your scalp before making a diagnosis.
Chronic telogen effluvium is also known as ‘diffuse thinning’ and affects the whole scalp. Its onset may seem sudden and the hair fall can be shocking in some cases, but it does in fact take around three months from being triggered for hair loss to become noticeable. Though telogen effluvium lasts for up to six months, this chronic form lasts for at least six months. It is still a temporary condition, however, and can be sparked by a number of factors, including prolonged stress – emotional or physical (including regularly not getting enough sleep), the body adjusting to new medication, dietary imbalances or an underlying illness.
Female pattern hair loss causes more gradually thinning hair and only affects the top of the head and frontal hairline. It is often signalled by a widening of the parting, thinning temples and decreasing hair density over time, such as your hair starting to feel thinner when you gather it into a ponytail, for example. This is a permanent condition which progresses gradually and is the most common form of women’s hair loss in the world. Whilst, unlike androgenetic alopecia in men, it rarely results in baldness for women, advanced hair loss is still possible.
If you had an underlying genetic predisposition towards female pattern hair loss then having telogen effluvium – or experiencing high levels of stress – could have prematurely sped up its onset.
It is worth noting that androgenetic alopecia is passed on from both sides of your family, so it could come from either side and affect male as well as female relatives. In fact, recent research suggests the father’s genes are likely to be more influential when it comes to this particular trait. It is also possible for genetic hairloss to skip some generations where the relevant DNA makeup is present, allowing it to be passed on, but remains dormant whereas it needs to become active in order for the symptomatic shedding to occur.
Without assessing your scalp we cannot provide a confirmed diagnosis as to your hair loss condition so we would advise you to have a personal consultation either at one of Belgravia’s City of London or Central London clinics, or online where you can upload photos of your scalp to assist our specialists. Following this, they can also give you recommendations for a bespoke hair loss treatment plan, should you wish. At the very least, getting a second opinion is likely to put your mind at rest.
With regards the health of your hair, as you mention it becoming brittle and weak, you may want to consider nourishing conditioning treatments as well as ensuring your diet is full of hair-friendly nutrients. You could also top up with a premium food supplement for healthy hair growth. Belgravia produces an exclusive one-a-day product called Hair Vitalics for Women which contains optimal doses of key vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanical extracts known to boost hair health. Furthermore, in addition to being a great nutritional support, they also include ingredients specially chosen for their ability to lower DHT in the bloodstream – DHT being the hormone, extraneous post-puberty, which causes hair to thin in cases of androgenetic alopecia. These can be purchased by non-Belgravia clients directly from the dedicated website hairvitalics.com.
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.