Chemotherapy and Hair Loss

Hair loss is one of the most well-known and most feared side effects of chemotherapy. And for good reason – the majority of men and women who undergo chemotherapy treatment will experience some degree of hair loss. But everyone who undergoes chemo experiences hair loss differently, so it’s difficult to know what to expect or how to mentally prepare for it.

 

In general, hair loss usually begins with two to four weeks of starting chemotherapy treatment. The loss doesn’t just occur on the head, but can affect hair all over the body, including eyelashes and eyebrows.

 

chemo and hair loss

 

Sometimes, hair falls out in clumps, while it is sometimes more gradual – you might just notice more strands in your brush and hair that is thinning overall. Depending on the severity and pattern of your hair loss, you may decide to shave your head before it is completely gone, or simply style it in a way that masks some of the loss.

 

The hair loss will generally continue for the duration of the chemo treatment and for a few weeks after it ends. Hair usually regrows within six months, and it may come in with a different color or texture, because the cells that control the pigment of your hair are not yet functioning. As such, this is usually a temporary change.

 

So is there a way to prevent hair loss caused by chemotherapy? Unfortunately, there is not. Some drugs are more likely to cause hair loss than others, and the level of loss may also be affected by the dosage and duration of treatment. Your doctor should be able to help you prepare for hair loss as a possible side effect of chemotherapy.

 

Going through chemotherapy is difficult for many reasons, and hair loss can add a significant mental burden to an already difficult time. Make sure that you have support during this tough time.

 

If you’re experiencing hair loss caused by chemotherapy or radiation, DK International can help. At our discrete Twin Cities hair loss salon, our experienced and compassionate hair restoration experts can help you find an answer for your hair loss, whether you’re interested in wigs, hairsystems, or other hair solutions. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Hair Loss vs. Hair Shedding

Adults generally lose between 50 and 100 strands of hair every day, so it’s not uncommon to see a decent amount of hair in your brush or on your pillow. But if you’re losing more hair than normal, that may be a sign of hair shedding or hair loss. But what’s the difference?

 

hair shedding

 

Although both share similar symptoms, hair loss and hair shedding are unique afflictions, with time being the main difference between the two. Hair shedding usually has a set duration, while hair loss is a much longer-term issue. This is because hair shedding is usually connected to a life change, event or stressor, while hair loss can have many potential causes.

 

So, when that stressing event ends, the shedding stops. (Of course, if the stressor continues, the shedding will likely continue as well, and can be a long-term affliction in some cases.) Hair will likely regain its normal fullness in 6 to 9 months after the shedding ends.

 

Hair shedding is often connected to:

  • The birth of a child
  • Significant weight loss
  • A high fever or surgical operation, or recovering from an illness
  • Significant stress

In comparison, hair loss can have a variety of causes, including:

  • Chemotherapy, radiation or another medical treatment or drug
  • Diseases, such as alopecia, thyroid disease and lupus, among others
  • Mental disorders, such as trichotillomania
  • Genetics
  • Overly harsh hair treatment

If you’re not sure whether you’re experiencing hair shedding or hair loss, visit your doctor or see a dermatologist to get a diagnosis. There may be a way to treat either your hair or the underlying cause.

 

At DK International, we offer a variety of hair replacement services, including hairsystems, hair extensions, wigs and hair solutions. If you’re facing long-term hair shedding or loss, give our Minneapolis hair restoration experts a call to set up a free consultation. We can customize a solution to fit your budget and needs.

Treatment Options for Trichotillomania

Unlike the other diseases we’ve recently detailed on our blog, today we’re going to discuss a mental ailment. Trichotillomania is a mental disorder that can result in patchy bald spots on the scalp and hair loss on other parts of the body. As such, the emotional and social effects of the disease are often debilitating.

Also known as hair-pulling disorder, trichotillomania causes a repeated, irresistible urge to pull out one’s own hair. This is not limited to the hair on the head, but can also include eyebrows or hair on other parts of the body. People with trichotillomania are unable to stop themselves from pulling out their hair, despite wanting and trying to.

trichotillomania

There is no known cause for trichotillomania, but certain factors – such as age, family history and stress level – may increase the risk of diagnosis. Some infants engage in hair-pulling, but it usually goes away naturally as they age. Pre-teens between 10 and 13 are most likely to be diagnosed with trichotillomania, and people with a family history of the disease tend to be more prone to the disease.

Trichotillomania varies in severity – often, it is mild and manageable, but in many cases, the need to pull out hair is severe and overpowering. Some people pull hair intentionally, as a way of dealing with stress and tension. Many have elaborate rituals for hair-pulling. Alternatively, some people pull out hair automatically, without realizing that they’re doing it. This often occurs during times of boredom or inactivity.

There are treatment options, including therapy and antidepressants or other medications. Often, the loss of hair can lead to additional stress, making it important to treat the hair loss in addition to the underlying disease. Wigs or hair systems, as well as rejuvenation and micro point solutions may help to relieve some of the emotional impact of trichotillomania.

If you’re suffering from trichotillomania, get in touch with our discrete Minneapolis hair restoration salon to discuss your options.

All About Alopecia Areata

In our two-part series on diseases that can cause hair loss, we briefly discussed alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the hair follicles. Because alopecia areata is such a common cause of patchy hair loss and thinning hair, we thought it deserved a more in-depth discussion.

Although alopecia areata – which is more commonly referred to as simply alopecia – is relatively well-known, there are several aspects of the disease that are less commonly known or understood. We’ll focus on those in this post.

alopecia areata

First, alopecia areata does not only cause the loss of hair on the head. It can also cause hair on the face and, occasionally, other parts of the body.

Second, alopecia areata often makes its first appearance during childhood. The lifetime risk of being diagnosed with the disease is around 2 percent.

Third, alopecia areata is fairly common. It affects people of all ages and ethnic groups, and both men and women are at risk. The National Alopecia Areata Foundation estimates that as many as 6.8 million people in the United States have the disease.

Fourth, as a “polygenic disease,” both parents must contribute a set number of specific genes in order for their child to develop alopecia areata. Therefore, it is not a given that a parent with the disease will pass it to their children. It is also believed to be influenced by environmental factors, which makes the genetic risks of the disease more difficult to predict.

Finally, alopecia areata usually does not cause complete hair loss, but instead, causes hair to fall out in patches. (There is one form of the disease, called alopecia totalis, that does cause total hair loss, but that is less common.) The hair follicles remain alive, leaving the possibility of hair regrowth. In many cases, however, the disease often prevents hair from regrowing where it was previously lost, and hair that does regrow may fall out once again. This is where our Minneapolis hair restoration experts come in.

At DK International, we offer a variety of hair replacement services, including hairsystems, hair extensions, wigs and hair solutions. We can customize a solution to fit your budget and needs. Give our Bloomington, MN hair restoration experts a call to set up a free consultation.

Is Your Hair Loss a Symptom of Disease? (Part Two)

In our previous post, we covered a few of the diseases and disorders that can cause and contribute to hair loss. We’ll continue that series today by discussing three more.

 

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

When people talk about lupus, they are typically referring to systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE, as it’s the most common form of lupus. SLE is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks various parts of the body, thinking it’s fighting a foreign intruder. Hair loss is just one of the many symptoms of SLE, which vary depending on which part of the body the immune system attacks. SLE affects women more commonly than men.

hair loss diseases

Addison’s Disease

Addison’s disease occurs when the adrenal glands – which are located on top of the kidneys – don’t produce enough cortisol (which regulate the body’s reaction to stress) and aldosterone (which regulates sodium and potassium). Symptoms of the disease include hair loss, fatigue, muscle weakness, weight loss, low blood sugar, nausea and vomiting, irritability, depression and more. If Addison’s disease goes untreated, it can become life-threatening.

 

Systemic Sclerosis

Systemic sclerosis, or SS, is an autoimmune disorder in which collagen production is increased. This results in changes to the appearance and texture of skin, and possible harm to internal organs, muscles, blood vessels and the digestive system. Symptoms include hair loss, joint pain, calcium deposits or dilated blood vessels under the skin, diarrhea or constipation, and shortness of breath. SS may also be called scleroderma or CREST syndrome.

 

As you can see, hair loss is often one of the first symptoms of a wide variety of autoimmune disorders and other diseases. If you begin to notice hair loss, the first and most important thing to do is visit your doctor. If your hair loss is persistent or permanent, please get in touch with our Minnesota hair restoration and replacement service to discuss your options. At our discreet Minneapolis-area salon, we can discuss wigs, extensions, hairsystems and other hair replacement solutions that may be right for you.