Hair Problems

Can dandruff cause hair loss?
Dandruff is a common condition that causes flaky skin on your scalp.
This skin often falls off, leaving white flakes on your shoulders.
Some people with dandruff go on to develop hair loss.
Is dandruff to blame?
In most cases, dandruff doesn’t directly cause hair loss. However, the
itchiness it causes can lead to scratching. This can injure your hair
follicles, leading to some hair loss, though not complete baldness. In
addition, dandruff can increase
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hair loss in people with androgenic alopecia, a condition that causes
male– and female-pattern baldness.
How to prevent hair loss from dandruff
Preventing dandruff-related hair loss focuses on eliminating as much itchiness as possible. This will reduce your
urge to scratch and protect your hair follicles against further damage.
Get a diagnosis
Several things can cause dandruff, from hair-washing habits to underlying skin conditions. If you’re not sure
what’s causing your dandruff, make an appointment with your doctor or dermatologist.
They can take a look at your scalp to help determine if your dandruff is simply a matter of washing your hair too
frequently or not enough. They can also check for signs of an underlying problem, such as:
● Dry skin.
This results in small flakes that usually aren’t accompanied by redness or
● Seborrheic
dermatitis. This condition causes a rash that often looks red, scaly, and
oily. The resulting skin flakes can be either white or yellow.
● Malassezia.
Malassezia is a fungus found on most people’s scalps. However, it can sometimes
irritate your scalp and cause the growth of extra skin cells. When these skin
cells die, it can cause dandruff.

● Contact
dermatitis. Sensitivity to certain ingredients in products, such as shampoo
or hair dye that you use on your hair or scalp can cause red, flaky skin.
Once you’ve figured out the underlying cause of your dandruff, you can more effectively treat it.
Use a medicated shampoo
If you haven’t already, try using a medicated shampoo designed to help with dandruff. Look for products
containing any of the following ingredients:
● pyrithione zinc
● salicylic acid
● ketoconazole
● selenium sulfide
Shop for antidandruff shampoos containing these ingredients.
For mild cases of dandruff, you may only need to use medicated shampoo for a
few weeks.
If you have light-colored hair, you may want to stay away from selenium
sulfide, which can cause discoloration.
Add moisture
Regardless of the underlying cause of your dandruff, it’s important to hydrate
your scalp with conditioner. This is especially important when using medicated

shampoos, especially those containing salicylic acid. These can dry when used regularly.
For an added benefit, try massaging your scalp with coconut oil, then rinse it out. In addition to being
moisturizing, coconut oil has antifungal properties. In fact, a 2015 study found that its antifungal activity was
similar to that of ketoconazole, a common ingredient in anti dandruff shampoos.
Steer clear of using oils on your scalp if you think you might have seborrheic dermatitis. Extra oil can sometimes
make this condition worse.
Avoid irritating hair products
Hair dye and other hair products often contain ingredients that can irritate sensitive skin. This can lead to contact
dermatitis. Preservatives and fragrances are common causes of contact dermatitis on your scalp.
Examples of potentially irritating ingredients in hair products include:

● natural or artificial fragrance
● bleach
● detergents
● formaldehyde
Some people use products for years before noticing any kind of reaction. Even if you’ve used the same hair
products without any problems, consider changing up your routine if you notice dandruff.
Manage stress
While stress won’t directly cause dandruff, it can weaken your immune system over time. This can make your
scalp more sensitive to naturally occurring malassezia fungus. Learn more about the effects of stress on your
Try to manage your stress by practicing relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation. Even taking a walk
around the block or doing some controlled breathing for a minute or two can help.
Get a little sun
Though ultraviolet rays cause premature aging and increase your risk for skin cancer, a little bit of sunlight may
be good for dandruff, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you head outside, be sure to wear sunscreen on your face
and body.
The bottom line
Having dandruff doesn’t immediately lead to hair loss. However, constantly scratching your scalp can damage
your hair follicles and lead to some hair loss. This isn’t permanent and should resolve once you find out what’s
causing your dandruff. If you don’t already know the cause, your doctor or dermatologist can help.
Hair Loss Treatments for Women: What Are the Best Options?
There are many reasons why your hair might be falling out. Whether this is temporary, reversible, or permanent
there are options you can consider that may help.
The most important step is to schedule an appointment with a doctor so they can diagnose the cause of your hair
We’ll go over common, conventional, and complementary treatments available to treat hair loss for women.
What is female pattern baldness?
Female pattern baldness also called androgenetic alopecia, is hair loss that specifically affects women. It’s similar
to male pattern baldness, except that women can lose their hair in a different pattern than men.
If you’re experiencing female pattern baldness, you’re not alone. According to the American Osteopathic College
of Dermatology (AOCD), this condition affects roughly 33 percent of all women who are at higher risk for the

Hair loss in women is a normal process, especially as you age, with most women experiencing hair loss after
menopause. More than half
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of women ages 65 and older will experience some degree of hair loss.
In female pattern baldness, the hair’s growth phase slows down. It also takes longer for new hair to begin
growing. Hair follicles shrink, leading the hair that does grow to be thinner and finer. This can result in hair that
easily breaks.
Female pattern baldness is hereditary. It’s also more common after menopause, so hormones are likely
responsible. If you notice that you’re losing hair, it’s important to talk with your doctor or a dermatologist. They will
be able to determine if you’re experiencing female pattern baldness or a different type of hair loss caused by
other factors.

Common symptoms
● gradual thinning of hair on top of head
● sudden loosening of hair
● patchy bald spots on scalp
Possible causes
● Genetics. Women can inherit the gene for pattern
baldness from either parent.
● Hormones. Female pattern baldness is more commonly
experienced after menopause and can also occur during
● Underlying health conditions. An underlying endocrine
condition or hormone secreting tumor can also cause
female pattern baldness.
Types of alopecia
● Androgenetic alopecia is female pattern baldness or hair loss caused by genetics. It’s the leading cause
of hair loss in women and generally begins between the ages of 12 to 40 years old. While men tend to
notice balding as a receding hairline and specific bald spots, women’s hair loss appears more as overall
● Alopecia areata is patchy hair loss that happens suddenly on the head or body. It typically begins with
one or more round bald patches that may or may not overlap.
● Cicatricial alopecia is a group of conditions that causes irreversible hair loss through scarring. Hair falls
out, and the follicle is replaced with scar tissue.
● Traumatic alopecia causes hair to fall out because of hair styling practices. The hair shaft may break
after using hot combs, blow dryers, straighteners, or certain chemicals to dye or straighten hair.
Hair loss treatments for women
There are many treatment options for hair loss caused by female pattern baldness and other types of alopecia,
so talk with your doctor to find the option that is best for you. Treatments can include topical medications, such as
Rogaine. Other options include light therapy, hormone therapy, or in some cases, hair transplants. You may need
to use one or a combination of treatments for months or years to see the full results.
Hair loss caused by hormonal changes, like pregnancy or menopause, or stress may not require any treatment.
Instead, the loss will likely stop on its own after the body adjusts.
Nutrient deficiencies can usually be addressed through changes in diet, the use of supplements, and the
guidance of a doctor or registered dietitian. The guidance of a doctor is necessary if the deficiency is caused by
an underlying medical condition.
Any medical conditions that lead to hair loss should be treated directly to address the full condition, not just its
Minoxidil topical solution
Minoxidil, also known as Rogaine, is an over-the-counter (OTC) medication that can be used for men or women
with alopecia areata or androgenic alopecia. Rogaine works only for certain types of baldness and only if you
keep up with its application, but it does not work for everyone.
This drug is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It comes in foam or liquid form and is spread
on the scalp each day. It may cause more hair loss at first, and new growth may be shorter and thinner than
before. You may also need to use it for 6 months or more to prevent further loss and promote regrowth.

Some common side effects include:
● scalp irritation
● hair growth on other parts of the face or hands that come in contact with the medication
● tachycardia (rapid heart rate)
You should not use Rogaine if:
● You don’t have a family history of hair loss.
● Your hair loss comes on suddenly and falls out in patches.
● You’re under 18 years old.
● Your scalp is discolored, itchy, or painful to touch, or you’ve developed a scalp infection.
● Your hair loss is caused by hair products, chemicals, or hair grooming methods like cornrowing.
● Your hair loss is caused by another condition, like a thyroid disease or alopecia areata, nutritional
deficiencies, scarring of the scalp, or medications, like chemotherapy.
If you have heart disease, talk with your doctor before trying Rogaine.
Prescription spironolactone pills
Otherwise known as Aldactone, the drug spironolactone works to treat hair
loss by addressing hormones. Specifically, it binds to androgen receptors
and decreases the body’s processing of testosterone.
Not all researchers agree that it works effectively, and the FDA has not
labeled it as a treatment for androgenic alopecia. This drug is used to
reduce swelling from liver disease and nephrotic syndrome (a kidney problem). It’s also used to treat high blood
pressure, heart failure, and hyperaldosteronism (excessive secretion of the hormone aldosterone).
Side effects include:
● allergic reactions
● electrolyte or fluid problems
● dangerously high potassium levels
● breast enlargement (gynecomastia)
● severe skin reactions
● drowsiness
● diarrhea and abdominal cramping
● nausea and vomiting
● high potassium levels
● leg cramps
● headache
● dizziness
● drowsiness
● itching
● irregular menstrual cycles or bleeding after menopause
Spironolactone oral tablets can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. If you’re
interested in trying Aldactone for hair loss, talk with a doctor or pharmacist to see if it may be a fit for you.
Topical tretinoin
Retin-A, or topical tretinoin, is sometimes used as a combination therapy with minoxidil for androgenic alopecia.
There is limited information on whether tretinoin alone can promote hair regrowth, but a 2007 study
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found that when combined with other medications, it can show promising results.
Some side effects of tretinoin may include:
● irritation, redness, or dryness of the skin

● pain or peeling at the application site
● darkening or lightening of the skin
Topical tretinoin cream and gel are only FDA approved for skin care and supportive pro-aging purposes but not
for hair loss treatments. It’s important to use this type of medication under the guidance of your doctor. In some
circumstances, tretinoin can actually cause hair
Corticosteroid injections
Women with hair loss due to alopecia areata
may consider treatment with corticosteroids
injected at multiple sites in the affected area.
Corticosteroid injections work by modulating
immune system activity and lowering
inflammation. People with alopecia areata
develop hair loss when their immune system
attacks their body’s natural processes. Corticosteroids work to prevent these attacks from happening.
Corticosteroids mimic cortisol, the hormone naturally produced by your body’s adrenal glands. They’re injected
into the sites of hair loss to encourage new growth. Hair growth may be noticeable as soon as 4 weeks, and
treatment can be repeated every 4 to 6 weeks.
Side effects with injections include:
● skin atrophy
● a thinning of the scalp skin
Topical corticosteroids are also available, but they aren’t necessarily as effective, and oral corticosteroids may
lead to unpleasant side effects.
Topical anthralin
Anthralin cream was originally used as a treatment for psoriasis but was also found to be effective in the
treatment of mild alopecia areata. In women with alopecia areata, anthralin is both safe and effective. It can be
applied at home, once a day, starting with just 5 minutes and working up to periods as long as an hour.
Known as a “scalp sensitizer,” anthralin creates an irritant reaction that stimulates the immune system and
encourages hair growth. Anthralin is applied once per day directly to the scalp in areas where you want to
encourage hair growth. New hair growth may sprout up in 2 to 3 months.

Side effects include:
● irritant dermatitis
● may cause a temporary, brownish discoloration of lighter skin tones and hair colors
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy
PRP therapy involves having your own blood drawn and putting it into a centrifuge to separate red blood cells
from the plasma. The plasma, which contains growth factors, is then injected back into your body.
When PRP therapy is used for hair loss treatment, the plasma is injected into your hair follicles. It involves only
minimal discomfort and can take about 10 minutes.
After the first treatment, usually you’ll receive injections monthly for 3 months, then once every 3 to 6 months.
Within a few months of treatment, they can notice less hair loss. Soon after, they may experience an increase in
thickness or regrowth.
This treatment is relatively new, so there isn’t much research to support its effectiveness. That said, some studies
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have shown it to be a simple, cost-effective treatment option.
PRP therapy involves several sessions within a 4- to 6-week period with maintenance every 4 to 6 months.
Possible risks include:
● injury to blood vessels or nerves
● infection
● scar tissue or calcification at injection points
Ketoconazole shampoo
Women with androgenic alopecia may consider trying prescription ketoconazole at a strength of 2 percent. This
drug comes in the form of shampoo and also goes by the name Nizoral