Hair Loss/No Significant Hair Growth in 2 years
QUESTION: Hi Doctor,
I'm a 30 year old male. It's been 2 years since I started to significantly lose my hair. At the time, I wasn't sleeping very well (4 - 5 hours a night, had poor eating habits, and lost weight using a crash diet). My doctor put me on an increased dose of niacin to deal with my high triglycerides. I had a skin reaction to the niacin with large chunks of skin peeling off of my forehead. I went to a dermatologist who injected my forehead with a cortisone shot. The reaction has since subsided.
It was after this time that I noticed I had lost a lot of volume which I used to have. I had several episodes of large amounts of hair shedding. I started to improve my stress levels & increased my amount of sleep & exercise. 2 years later and I have stabilized my health overall (take lots of vitamin d, b12 and iron along with lots of vegetables and fruit. My weight is back to my normal range before the episode 2 years ago. I do not have excessive hair shedding for the past year. I also drink Indian Gooseberry juice and put castrol/olive oil in my hair every weekend.
However, I am not seeing any hair returning that I lost. I visited an endocrinologist and dermatologist last year who helped me correct a Vitamin B12 and D deficiency. They mentioned I had TE and possibly AGA. My brother and father have all of their hair. Both of my grandfathers also had all of their hair. My two uncles on my mom's side have hair loss but their sons have all of their hair (they are older than I).
Is there anything you can recommend to figure out why my hair is not returning? I look in a mirror every day and I can't tell if I see any hair follicles in my bald areas. I'm wondering if I should do a scalp biopsy or hair test or something else?
Thanks & Looking forward from hearing from you.
I'm attaching a photo of my head for your reference.
ANSWER: Hi Ronak:
FYI, I am not a physician. But I can offer you this.
The health of your hair is often an indicator of how healthy your mind and body are. As you stated, you had poor sleeping habits, poor eating habits and lost weight with a crash diet, which is very harmful to your health. It's no surprise that you probably developed telogen effluvium
as a result. You're undergone a fair amount of trauma.
"Several episodes of large amounts of hair shedding" indicates several episodes of TE. It's good that you're stabilizing your life. Stress management is good. Increased sleep is good. Increased exercise is good. Normal weight is good. More fruits and veggies is great. But you should not have to take vitamin supplements if you are eating correctly. Supplements are never going to be as good for you as getting these vitamins and minerals naturally through diet. You have to learn all you can about nutrition and hair loss
You should NOT be adding oil to your hair every weekend or at all. Dryness or hair and scalp, or oilyness of hair and scalp should be controlled through diet. Addition of oils can cause hair loss and dandruff.
Looking at your photo, you may well have a classic case of Androgenetic Alopecia, otherwise known as male pattern baldness
But there's hope. Recent discoveries in science and health are indicating to us that we are in control of our genes and how our genes express themselves. No, don't do any scalp biopsies or more tests or use Propecia or Rogaine. Learn more about your own health and nutrition and learn it from an expert.
This is the web site of Dr. Dean Ornish. His program for total health relies on four elements: What you eat. How much activity you have. How you manage your stress. And finally, how much love and support you have in your life. This is the hope for looking better and feeling better. Pay especially close attention to the page dealing with good and bad groups of food, where he separates them by the most healthful to the least.
Ronak, I do understand that hair is important to a young man such as you. It is important. But it isn't everything and you do not want to waste precious time and precious years chasing a cure that for now doesn't exist. All you can really do is improve your health and improve your attitude about your hair loss.
At very least, you can look into nonsurgical hair loss "treatments" that are cosmetic, such as hair systems (nonsurgical hair replacement
). If you find a good studio to do that for you, it can help you to feel better if you believe you look better. But you'll also feel better by gaining true health and true healthy nutrition.
That's what I recommend. :-)
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QUESTION: Thanks for your reply Michael.
Outside of taking Vitamin D and B12 every few days, I do not take any other vitamins. I am a vegetarian and I've read and seen via my own blood tests that those two items can get low (especially in winter months).
I've also read that Indian Gooseberry and Castor Oil are very good for your hair health, which is why I am taking those.
I'm most interested in restoring my health, taking life a bit easier (lower my stress) and seeing how that affects things.
I do examine my scalp almost daily to see what's going on. I do notice some small hair falling out from time to time, but rarely see vellous hair...it just seems like some follicles are producing good hairs and others are not producing anything...
I also do see the occasional scalp redness but I'm not sure if that is related.
ANSWER: Hi Ronak ...
The best thing for you to do is research which foods are rich in vitamin D and vitamin B 12 and take those nutrients directly from food, especially in the winter months. Supplements should only be used as a last resort.
I do not recommend those oils for hair health.
Yes, restoring your health and decreasing stress will help you feel better and look better and it may, in fact, help restore your hair loss.
That's great that you are vegetarian. See if you can take it to the next level and begin to decrease or omit dairy from your diet. There are many who believe as I do that dairy can cause hair loss in both men and women. If you want to understand just how detrimental dairy can be to your health, take the time to watch this movie for free on Hulu:
This movie has inspired many people I know to change their diets.
Be sure to exercise and stop examining your scalp daily. Try not to worry so much about it. Decrease your stress and get healthy and your hair, if it can come around, will come around. That's how telogen effluvium
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QUESTION: Thanks Michael. I've read on multiple websites and studies on www.clinicaltrials.gov that essential oils such as rosemary, lavender, thyme, grapeseed, jojoba can all help with this kind of condition.
Would you recommend that? I've been on this treatment for about a month. My hair is definitely much more softer and darker black. Most of my white hair I had developed while on my crash diet has reverted to their normal pigmented state.
I've also started to eat pumpkin and sunflower seeds daily.
I am going to continue this treatment for the full course of 6 - 8 months to see what happens.
I was considering visiting a trichologist to see what else can be done...would you recommend that?
You should try whatever natural treatments you want to try. I don't recommend any oils on the scalp and hair. But if it's helping you, than I'm very glad for you. You're lucky you have found an answer. There's a lot to be said for researching such treatments. Nothing works for everyone, but some treatments do work for some people. If you want to visit a trichologist, then you should.