A common complaint in women is hair loss. Specifically, seemingly sudden and diffuse hair loss. What is diffuse hair loss? Diffuse hair loss is defined as excessive hair loss from the entire scalp. This can be a cause of depression and concern. The good news is that one never goes bald with this problem, as the hair continues to be replaced. But because the rate of hair loss is higher than the rate of replacement, the hair gradually gets thinner.
Typically, with diffuse hair loss, the hair falls out in the telogen stage. That’s why this type of hair loss is often called telogen effluvium. It means that the hair loss starts 2-3 months AFTER whatever triggered the hair loss.
The most common reasons for diffuse hair loss are:
- Shock such as severe stress, high fever, operation, COVID
- Underlying medical or nutritional problem such as an iron, zinc, or protein deficiency
- Thyroid problems
- Certain medications, such as anticholesterol drugs, anticoagulants, antimitotic agents, beta blockers, oral contraceptives, antidepressants and retinoids
- Essential fatty acid deficiency
- Excessive vitamins A and D
- Vitamin D deficiency
- High copper levels
- High toxins
- Calcium and/or magnesium deficiency
Common treatments for diffuse hair loss include:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin d (if deficient)
- N-Acetyl Cysteine
- Calcium fluoride (CaF2)
Diffuse hair loss can also be due to hair breakage or loose anagen syndrome, a condition caused by a weak link between the inner root sheath cuticle and the hair cuticle.
Common causes of hair breakage include:
- Protein deficiency
- Excessive combing and/or brushing
- Chemical hair treatments causing high levels of cysteic acid in the hair
- UV exposure
- Fungal infections
- Certain inherited hair disorders
It is always a good idea to seek out a medical professional or trichologist if you suffer from diffuse hair loss.
Scientific Resources We Found Useful:
1. Bandaranayake, Ilian, and Paradi Mirmirani, “Hair loss remedies-separating fact from fiction,” CUTIS-NEW YORK- 73.2 (2004): 107-114.
2. Harfmann, Katya L., and Mark A. Bechtel, “Hair loss in women,” Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology 58.1 (2015): 185-199.
3. Lam, Samuel M, ”Hair Loss and Hair Restoration in Women,” Facial Plastic Surgery Clinics 28.2 (2020): 205-223.
4. Lin, Richard L., et al., “Systemic causes of hair loss,” Annals of medicine 48.6 (2016): 393-402.
5. Lourith, Nattaya, and Mayuree Kanlayavattanakul. Journal of cosmetic dermatology 12.3 (2013): 210-222. Hair loss and herbs for treatment.
5. Phillips, T. Grant, W. Paul Slomiany, and Robert Allison, Hair loss: common causes and treatment, American family physician 96.6 (2017): 371-378
6. Rushton, D. H., et al. International journal of cosmetic science 24.1 (2002): 17-23 Causes of hair loss and the developments in hair rejuvenation.
7. Wolff, Hans, Tobias W. Fischer, and Ulrike Blume-Peytavi. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International 113.21 (2016): 377. The diagnosis and treatment of hair and scalp diseases.
8. Hydrogen peroxide and monoethanolamine are the key causative ingredients for hair dye-induced dermatitis and hair loss. Seo, Jung-A., et al. Journal of dermatological science 66.1 (2012): 12-19.