Questions on Hair Loss for Women

July 31, 2014

60% of women will experience hair loss at some point in their life – why is this number so high?
The scalp has approximately 100,000 hairs and it is completely normal to lose between 100-200 hairs a day. Anything more than that can be cause for concern. Hair loss is very common among women due to a multitude of factors. There may be a hormonal imbalance, a particularly stressful life event (such as pregnancy, surgery, etc.), physical stress, medication-induced, underlying thyroid disorder, iron imbalance, genetic risk factors and of course malnutrition amongst other variables.

What percentage of Dr. Nussbaum’s patients come to her for hair thinning?
About 20% percent of my patients come in for hair thinning but it is becoming increasingly more common among young women. Adding a specially formulated hair supplement like Aviva to your diet is a great first step.

Is this issue becoming more common or has this been something women have been dealing with for years?
Women have been dealing with hair loss for years, however, it is becoming more common for them to seek treatment. Prior, many women would get wigs or just assume there was nothing to do, however, with increasing awareness of the multitude of variables causing hair loss have allowed more patients to seek a variety of treatment options like minoxidil, Propecia and more holistic approaches like vitamin supplements that provide nutrition to the hair follicle.

Are there any treatments that actually work?

Aviva Advanced Hair Nutrition is a supplement that I love. The new all natural formula works with your hair’s natural growth cycle to produce stronger, thicker and healthier hair. The brand uses its own extra-strength dual complex of Pentaplex (for hair growth) and Tetra (for hair health), along with 2x the amount of biotin, an essential vitamin that promotes cell growth at the follicle level and improves hair thickness and core strength. At-home laser gadgets There are a few low-intensity lasers for home use that claim to stimulate hair follicles with use of typically three times a week for 10 to 15 minutes. With use over long periods of time, the results have only been modest if at all. More research is needed to definitively assess the efficacy of these devices. FDA approval is pending for a majority of these products.

Salon and derm treatments
Depending on the cause of hair loss, there are a few treatments available in the office. For example, a condition called alopecia which is autoimmune in nature, can be treated with intralesional cortisone injections. Minoxidil is a topical liquid that only works in approximately 25% of hair loss patients but if it works it can increase hair growth after a few months. However, once the topical is no longer used, hair loss will begin again.

Thickening / volumizing products
Scalp activating shampoos can increase the scalps blood circulation so that any minerals and vitamins or more readily available to the hair follicles. Other ways to thicken hair are to use temporary hair thickeners such as thickening shampoos and conditioners) that include coating the hair shaft with polymers that stick to the shaft creating a slightly thicker feel. However, this will only last until your next shampoo. Gels and thickening mousses also use polymers to give volume creating a thickening effect, however, it may also weigh down the hair shafts so make sure to use sparingly and apply directly to the roots and lift the hair away from the scalp. Newer products now exist with rather than coat the hair shaft to produce a thicker effect, they add volume from within the hair strand. L’Oreal researchers have shown that this compound called filloxane or Intra-Cylane can actually penetrate the hair cuticle into the shaft and attaches to the proteins in the hair fiber, essentially filling in hair shaft deficits. These molecules create a stable foundation adding volume and thickness to the hair. This effect may last for five to ten washes.


Dr. Marnie Nussbaum is currently in private practice on the Upper East Side of New York. She has also served as a consulting dermatologist to the Melanoma Research Alliance, In addition, she is a Clinical Instructor of Dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College.

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