What is Traction Alopecia?

By CysterWigs Contributor

There are many different forms of hair loss and just as many reasons for each one. Alopecia is the catch all name for hair loss and includes a type caused by traction – or a pulling force. You may be under the assumption that traction alopecia only occurs after wearing a super-tight style that causes the hair to be pulled from the roots. You might also think that traction alopecia is a quick and painful process. However, it can be a very slow burner, gradually eroding the hairline due to years or months of wearing the same tight style.

Signs of Traction Alopecia

● Bumps at roots
● White hair follicles showing
● Redness
● Itchy scalp
● Sores and broken skin
● Thinning
● Hair loss from root especially around hairline and nape
● Widening parts

Prevention

Avoid tight styles or heavy hair pieces. You’ll also want to refrain from wearing the same style consistently for extended periods of time. If you have fine hair, don’t use heavy gels or wax. You’ll also want to stay away from hair pieces that clip in because they could affect the scalp or pull your hair out. Use a soft brush or fingers to style delicate edge hair.

Treatment

Treatment for traction alopecia depends on the extent of hair loss. If caught quickly and the offending styles are halted, then there is a great chance that the hair will return to its normal density and length.

As with most types of hair loss, if it’s not caught early, the follicles can be irreversibly damaged will no longer produce viable hair cells. In this case, there may be permanent bald areas and scarring of the skin depending on the severity.

Depending on the position, traction alopecia can be covered by:

● Surrounding hair
● Wigs
● Or using hair fibers to fill in the area

Traction alopecia is a common condition that doesn’t have to have permanent effects. If you noticed that your hairstyle is too tight or you have significant thinning in particular areas, always seek the help of a professional before it’s too late.

DHT AND FEMALE PATTERN BALDING

by Julia

Most women think hair loss is a medical problem that affects only men. The truth is, women make up about forty (40) percent of hair loss patients. When thinning begins to happen, many women are utterly baffled about what might be causing it. Most of the time, female pattern baldness – or androgenic alopecia – is to blame. This condition is incredibly common among women, and it is the main culprit behind female hair loss.

What is DHT?

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is the hormone that is known to be the leading cause of hair loss in both men and women. Mostly, it is believed that a large amount of DHT can block hair follicles from regular growth patterns and cause them to die. A normal amount of DHT in the body should not cause hair loss, but an excess amount can make a significant difference in hair growth.

How Does DHT Cause Hair Loss?

DHT inhibits and reduces the proper growth of hair in the follicles in a process called miniaturization. Miniaturization affects genetically susceptible hair follicles resulting in lighter, finer hairs. DHT attaches itself to receptor cells of the part of these follicles called dermal papilla (the root), preventing the necessary nourishment for the hair getting through for proper growth. DHT causes the hair follicles to shrink.

Furthermore, DHT tends to create a wax-like substance around the hair roots, and it is this accumulation of DHT in the hair follicles and roots that give rise to male and female pattern hair loss. The growing “anagen” stage of the hair is shortened, and the resting “telogen” stage is extended. Eventually, these hairs stop growing. There is a unique treatment that blocks the synthesis of DHT at the molecular level to cure both male pattern and female pattern hair loss. This is done by using one of the many natural DHT blockers and drugs that are used for medical hair restoration.

Female pattern baldness

Female pattern baldness is also referred to as androgenetic alopecia. It’s related to male pattern baldness but the difference is, women tend to lose their hair in more diverse patterns than men. Hair loss in women is a normal occurrence, especially as you age. Research has also shown that up to two-thirds of women experience hair loss after menopause.

With female pattern baldness, some excess loss of hair occurs, but ongoing thinning is what usually causes a woman to seek medical attention. Normal hair shedding is nearly 100-150 hairs per day. In female pattern balding, when the affected hair is shed, the root grows one in its place that is shorter. Eventually, it becomes invisible.

Hair loss can come from either one of the parent’s side genetically. Furthermore, female pattern baldness may begin as early as puberty. In this situation, if there are signs of hormone imbalance, such as excess facial or body hair, a hormone evaluation should be administered.

How the condition differs from that in men:

  • The progression is slower – possibly due to a level of follicular protection afforded by estrogen.
  • When women have female pattern balding, the pattern of the shedding is entirely different. It affects the vertex more diffusely, while it is still located around the top of the head, as opposed to being confined to defined areas. While thinning can indeed be significant, the chances of it forming noticeable bald regions are much less likely than with men. Instead, hair tends to look less voluminous than it once did.
  • Hair loss is more diffused and does not conform to the traditional patterns of loss in males.
  • Hair loss may worsen following menopause with the development of baldness, especially at the vertex.
  • In men, the condition is due to genetic predisposition and is usually age-related.
  • In women, the condition can present at any time associated with underlying medical conditions. These conditions include: polycystic ovarian syndrome, thyroid disorders, anemia, chronic illness, or the use of certain medications.
  • The critical distinction between male pattern baldness and female pattern hair loss is that men may develop complete baldness when the damaged follicles can no longer function. Hair growth stops, and the skin takes on a smooth, shiny appearance. This is rare in women. Female hair loss may become advanced, but true baldness – as men experience it – is highly unlikely.

The bottom line

Female pattern baldness cannot be reversed. Appropriate treatment can stop the hair loss and possibly help regrow some of the hair you’ve already lost.

At Cysterwigs, we understand both the causes and effects of hair loss, and we’re here to help you find a solution to regain your confidence. If you’re in need of extra coverage, Cysterwigs offers a wide variety of wigs that allow you to show off your style and personality while being the same energetic person you were before. We’re here for you so shop away!


You can see all of Julia’s posts here.

WHAT IS ANDROGENIC ALOPECIA? by Julia

Losing between 50 to 100 strands of hair per day is normal. But what does it mean when when you’re losing much more? About a third of women experience hair loss (alopecia) at some point in their lives. Among postmenopausal women, approximately two-thirds suffer from thinning hair or baldness. The loss often has a greater impact on women than on men. Alopecia can also severely affect a woman’s emotional well-being and quality of life. But understanding hair loss caused by androgens can help you get it under control and ease away the stress it gives you.

Trigger Factor: Androgens
For women, the female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone, are the main factors in the development of their hair. But in case of constitutive predisposition, it is the small amount of their androgens, secreted by their adrenal glands (at 60%) and by their ovaries (at 40%), which can negatively affect the normal renewal of their hair. The negative action of androgens accelerate the life cycle of some hair. This abnormal acceleration imposes on hair follicles and roots a rate of infernal production, forcing the production of shorter strands of hair. In the end, when exhausted, the follicles shrink and end up producing nothing at all.

Androgenetic Alopecia
Over time, many women will develop some degree of hair loss or female pattern baldness. This condition can start at any time after the onset of puberty, but women tend to notice it around menopause when hair loss usually increases. The risk increases with age and is higher in women with a family history of hair loss.

As the name suggests, androgenetic (or androgenic) alopecia involves the action of hormones called androgens which are essential for normal male sexual development and other vital functions in both sexes, including sexual desire and the regulation of hair growth. This condition can be inherited and involve several genes. It can also result from an underlying endocrine condition, such as the overproduction of androgens or an androgen-secreting tumor in the ovary, pituitary gland or adrenal gland.

In either case, alopecia is probably related to increased androgen activity in the body. But unlike androgenetic alopecia in men, the precise role of androgens is more challenging to determine in women. On the off chance that an androgen-secreting tumor is involved, it is essential to measure androgen levels in women who have significant hair loss.

In any sex, hair loss due to androgenetic alopecia occurs because of a genetically determined shortening of the anagen phase, the growth phase of hair, and a prolongation of the time between the “detachment” of hair and the beginning of a new anagen phase. This means that the hair needs more time to start growing again. Because hair loss from androgenetic alopecia is an abnormality of the hair growth cycle, it is theoretically reversible; however, advanced androgenetic alopecia will not respond to treatment because the inflammation surrounding the bulging area of ​​the follicle could irremediably damage the follicular stem cell.

Causes of Hair Loss in Women

Genetic Factors
The fact is that more than 90% of hair loss is attributable to genetic factors. Although lifestyle factors may affect hair thickness. Before blaming your diet or hair dryer, you might want to find out if heredity is a factor. Hereditary hair loss, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is a genetic condition that decreases active hair growth time. Androgenetic alopecia causes narrowing of hair follicles. Gradually, thinner and lighter hair, called “down”, replaces the thicker, darker hair. Women with inherited hair loss have a general thinning of their hair, with the most substantial loss occurring on the top of the head and around the hairline.

Stress
Stress increases the secretion of androgens and is the most constant aggravating factor. Androgenetic hair loss in women can thus be reinforced by stress in general. Stress, generated especially by a new lifestyle, contributes to the increasing number of cases of female alopecia and their increased severity.

Diet
Poor diet can cause hair loss in women by keeping the hair follicles in the resting phase. Furthermore, diets low in nutrients, such as iron and protein, can also lead to hair loss in women. The hair can start to grow again when nutrient deficiencies are corrected, but it can take a few months.

Thyroid Disorders
Hormonal fluctuations can cause hair loss in women. The thyroid gland regulates hormone levels. For example, people with thyroid conditions may have hair loss. In most cases, hair regrows when the thyroid condition is treated.

Pregnancy
Hormonal fluctuations can cause hair loss in women. A drop in the level of estrogen causes more hair follicles to remain in the rest phase. Known as postpartum alopecia, this type of hair loss is usually short-lived. Women who lose a lot of hair after childbirth observe a return to normal after six to 12 months.

Alopecia Areata
Alopecia areata is another cause of non-hereditary hair loss. This autoimmune disease usually leaves patches and rounded areas of the scalp. It can occur quickly and cause total hair loss. If you don’t have a history of baldness and have this type of hair loss, see your doctor right away. The sooner you seek treatment, the better.

How is Alopecia Diagnosed?
Alopecia can be diagnosed through your medical history and a physical examination. Your doctor will ask you questions about your hair loss, which is why you should observe the pattern of your hair loss, and examine your scalp.

The doctor can perform some other tests to check if there is a disease that could be the cause of your hair loss is if the source is not apparent. These tests consist of:

● Hair analysis: A sample of your hair will be taken and examined under a microscope. Furthermore, a scalp tissue sample will also be taken.
● Blood tests: Your doctor will test for a specific condition, such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
Hair Loss Solutions
If you decide not to wait for your hair to grow back (which usually takes upto a year) you can choose to follow the following:
● Wear Wigs: The wigs are made of human or synthetic hair that they implant in nylon net. Some wigs can be attached to the scalp with glue, metal staples, or ribbons. You can even use extensions: sew or braid longer pieces of hair in your existing hair. However, we do not recommend it as it could cause permanent hair loss.
● Use specific hair care products and design techniques: You can buy hair care products. Using dyes can help you “color” the scalp. However, the continuous use of dyes can lead to more significant hair loss.
● Corticosteroids: The most common treatment for hair loss in patches is injections of corticosteroids on the scalp or skin, about 1 cm (0.4 in.) Away, every 4 to 6 weeks.
● Minoxidil: Minoxidil affects the hair follicle in three ways: it increases the time follicles spend in the anagen stage, “awakens” the follicles that are in the catagen, and enlarges the actual follicles.
● Anthralin: Anthralin is ointments that can help hair grow back. Treatment with anthralin, a nonspecific immunomodulator, is safe and effective, particularly in patients with generalized alopecia areata. Anthralin is available in creams of 0.1, 0.25, 0.5 and 1.0% and can be applied once a day at home for progressively more extended periods, starting with five minutes to one hour. After each application period, the scalp should be rinsed with cold to lukewarm water and then cleaned with soap. The new hair growth becomes apparent in two or three months.

IN CONCLUSION
If you’re worried about hair loss, talk to your doctor. Treatment of an underlying disease or deficiency may be enough to restore your hair’s former glory. If you’re taking medication for a chronic illness, mention hair loss to your pharmacist or doctor. Doing this could help them pinpoint medications that cause excessive hair loss.


You can see all of Julia’s posts here.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT ALOPECIA. by Julia

There are a number of things that can affect someone’s state of mind. There’s no doubt that when you see your features drastically changing, it totally can be upsetting. When a person begins to lose hair, it can take a toll on one’s self esteem. Especially when the hair loss is more prominent and impossible to hide! So what can you do if this happens to you? The questions about alopecia are endless. But fortunately, science at the service of medicine has evolved to meet our growing concerns.

The good news is when you start treatment for alopecia as soon as you notice it, you’ll get better results. Why? Because prolonged androgenetic alopecia can destroy a large number of hair follicles. The use of anti-androgens after prolonged hair loss will at least help prevent new hair loss and encourage regrowth of those follicles that have been dormant but are still viable. Just make sure to maintain your vitamin and mineral levels while you are on anti-androgenic drugs to help ensure that the anti-androgens work properly. As always, treatments have the best chance of being effective if they’re adapted to the cause of hair loss while triggering hair growth.

Below you’ll find a list of treatments currently used to treat hair loss in women. Some of these drugs have all been recommended for other applications and are used “off-label” to treat hair loss. The use varies from person to person, but many women have found that using these treatments have made a positive difference with their hair and their self-esteem.

Minoxidil Topical Treatment

Minoxidil is currently the most effective treatment to fight against hair loss and to treat mild or looming baldness. Minoxidil is available in two forms:  Minoxidil  5% (usually men) and Minoxidil  2% (recommended for women). Minoxidil is available in higher concentrations but those concentrations tend to be more dangerous.

What is minoxidil exactly?

Minoxidil is a treatment to fight against significant hair loss and androgenetic alopecia. It can be applied topically or directly to the scalp. It was originally used to fight hypertension, but was also observed to help hair growth in some patients. Minoxidil was therefore studied and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) later, approved Minoxidil as a treatment for hair loss.

To treat androgenetic alopecia, most dermatologists today advise their patients to use Minoxidil. It is a non-prescription and over-the-counter treatment, and comes in different forms: liquid, spray or foam.

ANDROGEN RECEPTOR INHIBITORS.

Aldactone / Spironolactone

Aldactone helps women with hair loss related to a hormone imbalance. Aldactone is a potassium-sparing diuretic, which means it rids the body of excess fluid as do other diuretics (water pills), but it doesn’t make you lose potassium in the process as many diuretics do. It’s normally used to treat swelling, high blood pressure, and potassium deficiency.

Furthermore, Aldactone acts as an anti-androgen. It can help when women are experiencing hair loss due to higher levels of androgens. The drug causes the adrenal glands and ovaries to slow down their production of androgens, and also blocks the action of androgens that are produced. One way it does this is by stopping dihydrotesterone — the form of testosterone that causes the hair loss — from binding to its androgenic receptor and affecting the hair follicle.

Tagamet / Cimetidine

Cimetidine acts as an antiandrogenic in the body. This means it inhibits the biological effects of male sex hormones. Daily usage lowers testosterone levels in women and consequently lower DHT levels. With less DHT in the scalp, you should see a slowing in the progression of hair loss as well as experience hair regrowth. Cimetidine can also prevent DHT from binding to the hair follicles, which keeps them from shrinking and triggering hair loss.

Estrogen/Progesterone

A lack of estrogen, including menopause, promotes hair loss and degradation (thinner, drier). Estrogen or progesterone can be justified as part of hormone replacement therapy if non-hormonal natural photosensitizers are not enough. Only your doctor can decide if only estradiol (a form of bio-identical estrogen) should be used in this case. It stimulates hair growth in quantity and quality.

Finasteride

Taken in the form of oral tablets, Finasteride is intended for men and women with baldness. Finasteride was used first for the treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy. This medicine works by hindering the enzyme that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the form of a hormone that can stop the activity of hair follicles by over stimulation. According to clinical studies, finasteride mainly slows down hair loss. It promotes hair regrowth for some only. The therapeutic effect ceases as soon as the treatment is stopped.

Contraceptive pill.

Some birth control pills may have anti-androgenic effects (especially all pills containing desogestrel and norgestimate). This option may be interesting for a woman who, in addition to wanting oral contraception, has clinical signs of an excess of androgen: alopecia, seborrhea, hirsutism (excess of hairiness), etc.


You can see all of Julia’s posts here.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF HAIR LOSS by Julia

When you’re young, hair multiplies and quickly becomes long. As you age, your hair doesn’t regenerate as quickly. And for some of us, it gets even harder when we realize that we’re facing hair loss and not just slow growth. Hair loss happens to be a universal problem. And while it is common, the causes and types of hair loss are quite different.

TYPES OF HAIR LOSS

Androgenetic Alopecia

Androgenetic alopecia is frequently associated with heredity. This type of hair loss is triggered by the hormone Dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. If there’s a lot of DHT present in the scalp, hair growth is reduced. A person dealing with this type of hair loss has no fewer follicles than a person with complete hair growth, but the growth phase of the hair is significantly reduced.

Consequence: the follicles become poorer, which is attributed to hypersensitivity of DHT. The growth phase (anagen phase), is maintained under normal conditions for a period of 2 to 5 years. In the case of a hair loss caused by heredity, hair can no longer develop and just becomes a haze that is visible.

Involutional Alopecia or Alopecia of Aging

This is not caused by a disease or genetics. It is usually related to the general aging of the skin. It is genetically conditioned, and occurs at an unpredictable time. It is not related to hormonal disorders.

 

Alopecia Areata

This is the opposite of pattern baldness because it’s patchy. Alopecia areata is marked by smooth and bald patches anywhere on the scalp. The bald patches are usually circular. It begins with one or two spots that multiply on other parts of the head. The condition is caused by an autoimmune disease where the antibodies mistake the hair as the “enemy” and start attacking it, resulting in hair loss.

There are several forms of alopecia areata:

Alopecia Totalis/Universalis

This is a pretty severe form of alopecia areata and also caused by an autoimmune disorder. It is marked by the loss of an entire head-full of hair (alopecia totalis) or hair loss on the whole body (alopecia universalis).

Anagen Effluvium

This condition causes the hair to no longer actively grow despite being in the growing stage (anagen). The hair becomes quite brittle, causing it to break away with minimal effort. Instead of shedding at the root, hairs impacted by anagen effluvium will break off at the hair shaft itself.

Cicatricial Alopecia

The term “cicatricial alopecia” refers to a diverse group of rare disorders that destroy the hair follicle, replace it with scar tissue, and cause permanent hair loss. The hair loss may slowly progress over many years without symptoms. The inflammation that rescinds the follicle is below the skin surface, and there is usually no scarring seen on the scalp. The affected areas of the scalp may show redness, increased or decreased pigmentation, pustules or draining sinuses.

Cicatricial alopecias are classified as primary or secondary. In primary cicatricial alopecias, the hair follicle is the target of the destructive inflammatory process. In secondary cicatricial alopecias, destruction of the hair follicle is incidental to a non-follicle-directed process or external injuries such as severe infections, burns, radiation or tumors.

Hypotrichosis

Hypotrichosis is a disorder where a person has a small amount of hair on the head and body. The condition can be congenital (from birth; caused by genetics). Affected individuals typically experience normal hair growth at birth, but experience hair loss and thinning of the hair shaft that starts during early childhood and progresses with age.

Scalp Folliculitis

Scalp folliculitis hair loss is regularly caused by an infection of the scalp, accompanied by itching or soreness. The bulb of the hair strand becomes inflamed due to certain persisting skin factors like dry skin or when there is friction between the hair and clothes on a specific area of the body. Folliculitis is often temporary but more severe cases can be challenging to treat and can cause damage to hair and scalp that leave bald patches.

Telogen Effluvium

This is a form of temporary hair loss that frequently occurs after a shock, stress or a traumatic event. It usually happens on the top of the scalp. Large amounts of a person’s hair might fall out, but it is often temporary and the hair usually grows back. Telogen effluvium is generally reversible.

Traction Alopecia

Traction alopecia is hair loss that’s caused by repeatedly pulling your hair. This condition often occurs when you usually wear your hair in a tight ponytail, bun, or braids most especially if you use heat or chemicals on your hair. The disorder is common in patients of African descent as a result of hair texture and hair styling practices. It can occur in other ethnic groups. The hair loss can be eradicated if you stop pulling your hair or may be permanent if you don’t intervene soon enough.

Trichorrhexis Nodosa

Trichorrhexis nodosa is a response to physical or chemical trauma. This is a common hair problem in which thickened or weak points (nodes) along the hair shaft cause your hair to break off easily. It’s usually triggered by things such as blow drying, over brushing, perming or excessive chemical use. In some cases, it is caused by an underlying disorder related to  thyroid problems, the buildup of ammonia in the body and iron deficiency.

Trichotillomania

This is an impulse control disorder that drives individuals to compulsively pull out their hair between their fingers when they watch TV, read, concentrate and also when stressed or worried, not realizing the damage they’re causing. This often leads to noticeable hair loss.


You can see all of Julia’s posts here.