Worried you’re losing your hair? What to watch for and how to try to reverse it

In my Miami dermatology practice, we have seen an increase in hair loss since COVID.

While hair loss or thinning can be a part of the aging process as hair follicles shrink and slow or stop hair production altogether, it can also be related to other medical, dietary or environmental factors. Here’s where to start to get to the bottom of why you are losing your hair and what can be done to treat hair loss and thinning.

1. Rule out medical issues

Underlying hormone imbalances or medical conditions can cause a very common type of hair loss known as telogen effluvium. While this type of hair loss can be reversed, it will not get better unless the underlying medical issue is addressed.

As your doctor for blood tests to rule out:

Anemia

Low iron or low ferritin

High or low thyroid hormone

2. Check your vitamin labels

Make sure you are not taking too much of these vitamins that can cause hair loss:

Vitamin A: Do not take more than 10,000 IU per day and do not take any if you are taking any oral retinoids like Accutane

Selenium: Do not take more than 400 mcg per day for an extended period of time, as this can lead to hair loss.

Other vitamins and minerals that may contribute to hair loss when consumed in excess include vitamins E and B6, iron and zinc.

3. Pinpoint any recent major life events

If you have already ruled out existing medical conditions and vitamin overdosing, consider any major life events within the past six months that may have triggered emotional or physical stress, which can cause sudden hair loss. These could include:

Illness

High fever

Surgery

Major stressful life event

Significant weight loss

How to reverse hair loss and thinning

Try Viviscal or Nutrafol hair growth vitamins for three months to see if you stop losing hair. I do not recommend topical minoxidil (Rogaine) to my patients because the hair often falls out again when they stop using it.

If the hair growth vitamins do not help, try microneedling and/or PRP injections for the scalp. I have seen great results with these. PRP contains growth factors, which nourish and stimulate hair follicles to regrow hair. Microneedling stimulates collagen production and your body’s cell renewal process.

In summary

Hair loss can be caused by genetics, stress, certain medications or medical conditions, vitamin overdosing and nutritional deficiencies. Work with your doctor to first rule out any medical or dietary reasons.

Whenever possible, get your vitamins and minerals from a balanced diet rather than supplements, unless prescribed by your doctor. Be extra cautious with vitamin A and selenium supplements in particular, as these nutrients can contribute to hair loss.

Dr. Leslie Baumann
Dr. Leslie Baumann

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