Did you know that over 80 million Americans are affected by hair loss, 40% of those affected are women, and that by age 35, two-thirds of men will experience some form of hair loss? With so many people suffering hair loss, often in shame, the American Academy of Dermatology has declared August to be National Hair Loss Awareness Month. So, as we wrap up this month of August, we'd like to spread awareness about hair loss conditions, eliminate hair loss misconceptions, and empower those who are impacted by hair loss.
At Design Essentials, we believe everyone should feel empowered! For this reason, continue reading to learn about common types of hair loss followed by professional guidance from our Design Essential Educators on how to confidently deal with hair loss.
Common Types of Hair Loss
"One of the biggest misconceptions [ I hear] about hair loss is that it's genetic and irreversible. There are many variables associated with hair loss. Trauma, eating disorder, and illness to name a few."
- Aaron Tracey Whitaker, @iroc_hair, DE Educator and Influencer of 21 years
The most common types of hair loss are:
- Androgenetic Alopecia is the most common type of hair loss, commonly known as male or female pattern hair loss. Androgenetic alopecia is the result of genetics, age, and hormonal change that affects both men and women. According to research, androgenic alopecia starts as early as teen years and is frequently seen by the age of 40. By age 35, almost 40 percent of both men and women show some degree of hair loss. In men, hair often begins to recede at the hairline on the forehead then gradually thins on the top of the head. Women typically see thinning over the entire crown area.
- Alopecia Areata is the sudden falling out of hair in round patches or baldness in spots on the scalp (or body). It's an unpredictable skin disease and autoimmune disorder that causes the affected hair follicles to be mistakenly attacked by a person's own immune system. Alopecia areata starts as one or more small, round, smooth bald patches on the scalp and can progress to complete scalp hair loss.
- Traction Alopecia is caused by repeated trauma to the hair follicles or from pulling the hair back into tight hairstyles. Hair loss happens from wearing hair in tight braids, ponytails, buns, extensions, weaves, and from chemical relaxers and thermal styling (which causes tension on the scalp). Traction alopecia begins as little bumps on the scalp (sometimes referred to as "tight bumps") that resemble pimples. As it progresses, hair is damaged or loss mostly at the hairline.
- Postpartum Alopecia is temporary hair loss experienced at the end of pregnancy. New mothers experience sudden and excessive shedding from 3 to 9 months after delivery. Thankfully, the growth cycle usually returns to normal within 1 year after childbirth.
How to Prevent Hair Loss
"I recommend the combination of a healthy diet and a healthy hair care regimen based upon your hair concerns and needs to prevent hair loss. What we put into our bodies is just as important as the professional products we use on our hair."
- Veronica Gentry, @hairartistrybyroni, Master DE Educator of 13 years
“I heard a trichologist once say, “If the blood can’t flow, the hair won’t grow”. Have iron fortified foods in your diet or a supplement with an iron component. Have lots of water in your system to make sure your moisture levels are perfect for filtration in your body. We are made up of mostly water ourselves so making sure that our natural engines are working from the inside, the hair that sprouts from us will be healthy too.”
- Yolande Johnston, @yolandedydyourhair, DE Educator of 12 years
“Avoid hairstyles that pull on the hair. Don't chemically treat or bleach your hair. Minimize heat styling. Most important see a dermatologist.”
What to do if You're Experiencing Hair Loss
We strongly recommend seeing a cosmetologist, dermatologist, and/or trichologist if you’re experiencing any signs of hair loss; these specialist help treat hair loss, hair breakage, and scalp conditions. In addition to seeking professional help, we asked our DE Pros to give their advice to those experiencing hair loss. This is what they had to say:
"I would advise clients who are experiencing hair loss to schedule a consultation to determine the cause and schedule routine visits to treat the issue. In severe hair loss cases I recommend seeking a Trichologist.
“Have a satin scarf and pillowcases before bed to make sure natural oils are staying on the scalp and hair to keep it nourished. Cotton fabrics can absorb a lot of natural oils, so if you do not retain a lot of oils, it can make hair fragile. Also, make sure you are cleaning your scalp at least once a week to give oxygen to the follicles. Massaging with light oils and moisturizing the affected areas every few days can also help stimulate new growth and keep the scalp pliable.”
“Be aware of what you eat. Diet is very important to help combat hair loss. Daily vitamins are also important. Also, most protective hairstyles do not protective against hair loss. Many protective styles pull on the hair at the scalp causing trauma. So, I would recommend staying away from weaves, long heavy braids, and some wigs.”
The Best Ways to Camouflage Hair Loss
Between today’s advanced hair loss treatments and creative hairstyling, disguising hair loss is easier than ever and can be done with confidence. Check out the best ways to camouflage thinning, balding, and breakage:
"The best hairstyles are styles which avoid tension on the hair and scalp and require limited use of thermal styling tools. I recommend styles such as roller sets and rod sets, however many styles can be created to camouflage hair loss, it’s really contingent upon the severity of the hair loss and the length of the hair. In cases where there is total hair loss or a larger circumference of hair loss there are multiple options such as wig installations, hair units, scalp micropigmentation, and halo wigs to name a few. The main focus is the get the hair to a healthier state with minimal risk of further damage."
“Camouflaging hair loss would be getting creative with your scarves at home. There are so many tutorials online and new ways to have your hair showing, but also wear fabrics to match your outfits. Keeping your hair natural without adding too much oily products so your hair can get the volume it needs and the air flow.”
“When dealing with hair loss, if your hair is bob length or longer, I would suggest setting the hair with rollers or rods to give the hair body and volume or curls. Giving the illusion of fullness. This will also help to minimize heat styling. If you are working with short hair, I recommend visiting a professional hairstylist who is well versed in cutting hair to camouflage any sparse areas while maintaining a stylish look.”
Words of Encouragement While Dealing with Hair Loss
Losing your hair can bring about big emotions and feelings. Which are all valid. As you find treatments and hairstyles that work for you, we hope that you continue to stay encouraged:
"In the words of India Arie: “I am not my hair, I am the soul who lives within.” Losing your “crown” can be a devastating experience and I totally empathize with that, yet we are truly not defined by our hair. We have so many options to choose from and one will absolutely work for you. Let’s find a solution that makes you happy and comfortable as we go on this hair recovery journey together."
"[Hair loss} can happen to any of us. Our hair and skin are the windows of what is going on inside of our body, so listening to these signs in your body can sometimes be cured with patience and a professionals help. Give yourself grace because you are beautiful. "
“As you and a haircare professional team up and prepare for this journey and are taking the steps in your regrowth process remember to be patient. As long as it took to cause this issue it takes equal time to possibly correct it. A positive attitude is extremely important. I have witnessed positive results because of a positive perception and attitude. [Have] CONFIDENCE as you find that style that best compliments your problem areas. Own it! Confidence is attractive!”