Table of Contents
Is my hair loss temporary or permanent? How do I know for sure? What can I do about it?
Knowing whether your hair loss is just temporary or a more permanent condition is key to ensuring you receive the right treatment and advice.
What Is Temporary Hair Loss?
Temporary hair loss is any form of hair loss that is generally triggered by a stressful event or a change in your normal, everyday events and habits. Temporary hair loss can occur anywhere between 2-4 months after the event that triggered it and can last up to 6 months.
Hair loss, in any form, can be a psychologically distressing experience. However, before getting completely overwhelmed, you need to determine whether it’s a temporary hair loss situation or permanent. Either way, we at Hair to Ware are able to assist you with a long-term hair loss solution that will let you continue living your life uninterrupted.
There are many reasons for temporary hair loss in individuals, and it’s best to get the cause diagnosed early so that it doesn’t become a more permanent situation. Thinning hair, in particular, is a very common experience but is most often distressing in women. However, there are so many reasons for hair loss, stress being one of them, and with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we’re noticing a lot more stress-related hair loss.
Temporary hair loss can last a few months, and there is often some form of treatment option to deal with it. Is your hair loss temporary or permanent? Let’s explore this a little more.
Signs of Temporary Loss of Hair
As mentioned, there are many reasons that you could be experiencing hair loss, and it differs from person to person. Here are a few of the reasons behind such sudden hair loss.
Physical or Emotional Stress
A sudden death in the family, ongoing trouble at work, or even the arrival of an unprecedented pandemic, are all valid reasons for stress. And stress manifests itself in many different forms – hair thinning or hair loss being one of them. The reason for this is that the stress actually affects the hair growth resulting in excessive shedding or hair loss through a process known as telogen effluvium.
Basically, the hair switches more of your hair into the resting phase, rather than the growing phase, through the increased production of the hormone cortisol. The reason for this is that your body is trying to focus on more important functions that will help you deal with the stress. What’s interesting to note is that you won’t necessarily experience the hair loss at the time of the stressful event, but rather three to four months later, which is why the connection between the two is often missed.
Some of the other stressful factors that can contribute to such sudden and temporary hair loss are:
- Illness resulting in a high fever; or
- Extreme weight loss.
Pregnancy and Post-Partum
The extreme hormonal changes and stressful experience of labour and birth often result in hair loss in women about three months after the baby is born. This is a form of telogen effluvium and can last a few months before returning to normal hair growth. The overall hair loss should also diminish over this time, but you should certainly consult with a healthcare professional if you are concerned that the hair loss is not slowing down.
At the base of the neck is the thyroid gland, responsible for the production of a hormone that controls body functions, metabolism among them. People with hypothyroidism have an underactive thyroid gland that slows down metabolism, resulting in the slowing down of many body functions, including hair growth. However, on the other end of the scale is hyperthyroidism, whereby the thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone, which can also lead to shedding or hair loss. Hyperthyroidism is less common but is treatable. Hypothyroidism can also be successfully treated, reversing the hair loss, but this isn’t always the case.
Certain medications are also responsible for temporary hair loss in certain circumstances, although it’s not always the case. Some of the medications responsible include:
- Chemotherapy – It’s likely that you will suffer from hair loss at some point during the chemotherapy process because the treatment, which eradicates cancer cells, can also stunt hair growth through anagen effluvium. This is the interference of hair growth in its active phase – the anagen phase – and impacts 90% of your hair.
- Blood thinners
- Cholesterol medications
- Hormone medications – Including birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, steroids and testosterone.
- Medication for high blood pressure
- Arthritis medication
- Medication for heart conditions
Aggressive Hair Care Techniques
It can also be external factors that are causing your hair loss, and these can be easily rectified, provided they are caught early. Some of the hair care techniques that have resulted in temporary hair loss include:
- Frequent use of chemicals for straightening, curling or colouring your hair.
- Overuse of styling products that contain chemicals combined with heat styling tools such as curling irons and flat irons.
- The use of extensions in the hair.
- Traction alopecia is caused by tight hairstyles such as ponytails and cornrows. These put pressure on the hair follicles resulting in hair loss.
Also known as ‘hair-pulling disorder’, trichotillomania is a psychological disorder classified under ‘Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders’ whereby you have an irresistible urge to remove hair from your scalp, eyebrows, eyelids and other body areas. This can be a manageable condition making the hair loss only a temporary condition.
Often, it’s a case of not taking in the right blend of nutrients, whether it’s through a new diet or simply a case of overlooking certain nutrients, temporary hair loss could be the end result. Some of the nutrients you should be getting include protein, iron, Zinc, Vitamin D or selenium.
What Are the Treatments for Temporary Loss of Hair?
Once you’ve consulted with a healthcare professional and identified the underlying cause of your temporary hair loss, then you will be given a treatment option depending on that. It’s likely some form of medication might be required to treat the temporary hair loss, otherwise, a simple change to your lifestyle will help reduce or rectify the impact.
- If it is stress-related, it’s likely the stress has resulted in other health issues and you will need to find ways to manage the stress. If it’s an acute disorder, such as trauma, then the hair loss is likely temporary and should rectify itself in time.
- Medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, require a simple blood test for a diagnosis, after which a hair loss treatment can be sought.
- If it’s related to a certain medication, following successful treatment, your hair should grow back once the drugs have cleared from your system.
- For external factors such as aggressive hair care techniques, you will just have to stop yourself from overdoing it and possibly avoid certain products or styles that are causing hair loss.
What Is Permanent Hair Loss?
As Amanda Haldenby from Hair to Ware explains, it isn’t always possible to tell if hair loss is permanent or temporary, as understanding the hair cycle is critical. As soon as you’re noticing hair loss, it’s important to consult with a medical practitioner to determine the cause, as some instances of temporary hair loss can become permanent if not treated in time.
When hair loss is permanent, the follicles are dormant or scarred, which means no chance of new hair growth.
What Causes Permanent Loss of Hair?
There are many underlying reasons for permanent hair loss, which differ from person to person. Here’s a look at the most common reasons.
Prolonged Hair Treatments Can Cause Hair Loss
Tight hairstyles resulting in traction alopecia hair loss, or the repeated use of chemical products in the hair can actually result in permanent hair loss. If you’re noticing hair loss and suspect it’s from such treatments, then ease up and give your hair some time to heal.
This is believed to be an autoimmune disease whereby the body attacks the hair follicles, resulting in localised hair loss that can happen anywhere on the head or body. There is also an understanding that alopecia areata has an inherited predisposition, meaning it’s likely someone else in the family suffers from it. It affects men, women and children, and while it’s permanent in some cases, it often resolves itself with treatment within a year.
Alopecia areata is occasionally associated with other autoimmune conditions, including:
- Thyroid disease;
- Rheumatoid arthritis; and
- Ulcerative colitis.
Another hereditary condition resulting in permanent hair loss, androgenic alopecia is often referred to as ‘male-pattern or female-pattern baldness’ and is a gradual but predictable receding of the hairline, resulting in bald spots in men and thinning hair on the crown for women.
What Are the Treatments for Permanent Loss of Hair?
Once you’ve confirmed the hair loss is permanent, the team at Hair to Ware is ready to provide you with a long-term solution that matches your particular lifestyle. As Amanda explains, so many permanent hair loss clients do suffer from denial and end up spending money on unnecessary treatments that won’t make any real difference. That’s why they encourage customers to meet with them first before making any rash decisions.
Some of the more popular hair loss products include high-end wigs that are customised for the individual. These can be bespoke wigs made to cover a small patch of baldness or a full wig for everyday wear. They also provide quality enhancers or extensions, as well as semi-permanent makeup solutions and scalp micropigmentation performed by experts in the field, using only the latest equipment and techniques.
What Steps Should You Take?
Hair to Ware always advises that customers get a referral from a GP or a dermatologist. By visiting an NHS practitioner, all relevant medical checks can be done to determine what the underlying cause is.
Then you can arrange for a hair loss consultation with a practitioner at Hair to Ware, either in person or via a video call. They will have an open, honest discussion with you about your hair solutions, and they also suggest consulting with a therapist in incidences where hair loss is causing emotional distress or is a result of emotional distress.
Once the initial consultation is complete and a hair loss solution decided upon, you’ll begin your journey with Hair to Ware with weekly, monthly or annual sessions, depending on the need. You can choose to work with the same hair loss consultant and they are always ready to communicate, 24/7, on any preferred platform.
Dealing With Hair Loss Temporary or Permanent
If you’re dealing with this enormously sensitive issue, you want to know that your help is coming from people who genuinely understand your situation!
Why H2W is Different
Amanda and the team at Hair to Ware provide a customised hair loss solution suited to individual needs. Having personal experience with ongoing hair loss, Amanda is able to give comprehensive support and a realistic idea of what you’re likely to expect.
- They can supply a range of products that are proven to help with hair loss, as well as treatments for permanent hair loss, such as wigs.
- Your personal hair loss consultant will document all hair loss, and maintain a full record to track the progress of your treatment.
- They are also very aware of budgetary constraints and will inform you how much the NHS can pay towards your treatment, with Hair to Ware providing payment solutions where needed.
- They are in the business to help people, and where hair loss is a temporary feature, they can provide more insight into what you’re likely to expect going forwards.
Once you’re ready to embark on your hair loss treatment journey, contact hair loss specialists Hair to Ware.