What are the common causes of hair loss?
Hair loss, also known as alopecia, can be divided into two major categories. The first category of hair loss is temporary. Medical causes of temporary hair loss can include:
• Changes in hormone levels caused by birth control, pregnancy or menopause
• Anemia or low iron
• Thyroid conditions
• Severe infection
• Crash dieting
• Seborrhea (seen as excessive flaking or dandruff of the scalp)
• Alopecia areata (a disorder where the immune system attacks hair follicles)
• Certain ways of styling and caring for your hair
Most non-scarring hair loss is reversible if the underlying problem is addressed and treated appropriately.
The second major category of hair loss is permanent. Causes of permanent hair loss can include:
• Genetic and/or hormonal predisposition called androgenetic alopecia (female pattern baldness)
• Systemic diseases such a lupus, lichen planus, and sarcoidosis
• Browlifts and facelifts
• Certain styling techniques like tight braids, ponytails, updo’s, tight buns or tract weaves
• Blow drying, excessive combing or brushing, use of curling irons or chemical relaxers or straighteners can also damage hair follicles
Long term tension on hair will eventually lead to breakage on the sides of hair strands. Also be aware that tight ponytails on infants or young children over time can lead to damage of the hair follicles. Permanent hair loss is caused by irreversible damage to the hair follicle.
Commercials and advertisements seem to warn us that our hair is constantly being damaged. What degree of damage is irreversible?
Hair is not like grass. If the follicles are permanently destroyed, they typically do not regenerate. Harsh ingredients found in styling gels and sprays, as well as chemicals in treatments such as colorants, straighteners and perms can potentially damage the hair follicle and promote hair loss. Abrasive ingredients like sulfates and sodium contained in thick gels and strong sprays may dry out and damage hair, prompting it to break when heat and styling tools are used.
Follicular Degeneration Syndrome (centroparietal scarring alopecia) commonly seen in the crown of black women is not clearly understood. Once thought to be caused by overuse of hot combs, the syndrome was discovered in patients who had never pressed their hair. One theory that persists is that constant damage to the hair and scalp over time may eventually lead to thinning, scarring and permanent hair loss in certain ethnic groups predisposed to hair loss.
If one of your patients experiences an inordinate amount of shedding and breakage, or notices bald spots, what type of professional help should he or she seek?
Because the causes of hair losses can be tricky to diagnose, I would recommend an initial visit to a dermatologist. A thorough history will be obtained to rule out medical conditions that could contribute to hair loss, like recent surgery, metabolic diseases such as hypothyroidism, anemia, or underlying illnesses like ringworm, or lupus. Your dermatologist will ask numerous questions about how you normally treat your hair and she might suggest a biopsy of a particularly affected area.
Provided the damage isn’t permanent, what can men and women do to alleviate hair loss?
Prevention is the number one key for avoiding hair loss. Choose a stylist who emphasizes healthy hair over the latest fad or style. Eat a balanced and nutritious diet rich in antioxidants (leafy green vegetables like bok choy, spinach, arugula, and broccoli), drink milk and eat other foods that are rich in calcium.
Many women who straighten or chemically relax their hair may have several textures of hair on the scalp. A good stylist will recognize this and may opt to relax different areas of the scalp on different schedules. Insist that solutions used for straighteners or perms are thoroughly rinsed. Also consider opting to sit under the dryer for a longer duration at a lower heat setting, avoid excessive blow drying, curling with an iron or “bumping edges.” Remember that as we age, we lose density in our hair.
To give your hair periodic breaks, regularly try to go a whole day without combing or manipulating the hair. Instead use the fingers or loose clips to style for the day.
Is the incidence of hair loss on the rise, specifically among black women?
Yes and for a variety of reasons. The current trend of using straighteners and perms at an early age (some as early at 5-6 years old) is placing many young women in jeopardy for future hair loss. Also, our culture’s obsession with tract, weave/’quick’ weave, sew or glue in, and extensions can place our healthy hair at great risk for breakage, especially during application and removal.
Healthy skin begins with a visit to skin care authority Dr. Peggy Fuller at Esthetics, Center for Dermatology. Look and feel your best.
ESTHETIC TIP # 1 – DRY SKIN
On cold mornings you want to warm up, so you jump into a steaming hot shower and follow it up with a hot cup of coffee. Feels good. Must be good for you. No, not for your skin.
Coffee, taking hot showers, even heating your home can cause your skin to become dry. Heated air has less humidity. This leads to dry skin. Caffeine compounds the problem because it literally pulls water from your body. During those hot showers, if your bathroom mirror is steamed, the water is too hot.
Here is a quick, easy solution to soothe dry skin: bathe in lukewarm water with a mild soap formulated for dry, sensitive skin. Then, apply a moisturizer containing humectants and emollients to help prevent moisture loss. And remember to use it throughout the day. Combine these tips with healthy eating and plenty of water to drink and your body will radiate the results – hello happy skin.
ESTHETIC TIP # 2 – SKIN PROTECTION
The sun, the wind, even time can take a toll on your delicate skin. The result can be age spots, freckles or wrinkles. Exposure of your skin to environmental stressors over time is commonly referred to as photoaging. The ultimate treatment for photoaging? Prevention.
Prevent sun damage and the resulting wrinkles by using sunscreen every day. With careful application, you’ll protect your skin from molecular damage caused by the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays, and deflect free radicals that eat away at the skin’s precious collagen and elastin (which make your skin supple, plump, and smooth).
A healthy diet can also protect your skin from environmental damage. Power foods like spinach, blueberries, tomatoes, and broccoli help protect the skin from
UV and other environmental damage. One last thing to consider: switching from popular but unhealthy diet sodas to green tea can help reduce cellular inflammation associated with aging.
Prevent damage to your skin by carefully applying sunscreen every day and by eating the super foods that help provide additional protection for you precious skin. To see a full list of foods that protect your skin, view our Super Foods Addendum.
ESTHETIC TIP # 3 – KINDER, GENTLER LASER FACIALS
Did you know that stubborn sunspots, freckles and even warts can be treated with lasers?
Non ablative lasers produce a gentler type of skin resurfacing without a lengthy healing time. These gentle treatments skim the surface of the skin and cause very little discomfort. Varying colors and strengths of light (in the form of the laser) are sent through the skin which in turn stimulates the production of new collagen. Collagen is the all important substance that provides the plumpness in our faces (think of a baby’s chubby cheeks). The non ablative laser can improve skin tone, texture, and wrinkles; it can even brighten dull and lackluster skin.
One of the most versatile skin fixes, there are many types of lasers used to treat a variety of dermatologic issues. Remember, not all non-ablative lasers are safe for all complexions. Talk with your dermatologist to determine the right treatment for you.
ESTHETIC TIP # 4 – INJECTABLE WRINKLE FIGHTER
You stare in the mirror and see frown lines between your brows and crows feet around your eyes. Today, dermatologists use a special class of injectables to ‘erase’ those lines and give your skin a more youthful supple appearance.
One of the most common injectables on the market today is Botox ®. This purified protein relaxes specific facial muscles that create wrinkles and deep folds yet produces results that allow for some natural movement without diminishing the desired results on wrinkles and furrows. This injectable wrinkle fighter is generally used around the eyes, between brows and on the forehead.
Also worth noting is that often one or more injectables may be combined with a filler (see tip #5 below) to achieve optimal results. This combination approach of using two or more treatments together is common in dermatology and gives the best results. No two patients are alike and every face is unique.
ESTHETIC TIP # 5 – INJECTABLE FILLERS
As we age, our faces change. The youthful building blocks that give babies chubby cheeks disappear. Skin loses elasticity. We develop wrinkles. Deep furrows may form between our brows or around our mouths, diminishing an otherwise healthy, youthful appearance.
Dermatologists can help you reverse the process. Injectable fillers plump up the skin’s structure, restoring volume and the suppleness of youth. The fillers can plump the pout (i.e. enhance the lips) or smooth away unwanted lines and wrinkles, creases, and craters from old scarring by plumping up the contour irregularities resulting in a more uniform appearance.
Hyaluronic acid, collagen and fat are all injectable fillers that dermatologists use on different areas of the face. Derived from both natural and synthetic compounds, soft tissue fillers are considered temporary, semi-permanent or partially permanent since the results will diminish over time. Temporary fillers such as collagen and hyaluronic acid, which last about four to six months, allow treatment adjustments by your dermatologist as your skin changes. It takes a well trained physician to properly evaluate and treat you because every face ages differently.
ESTHETIC TIP # 6 – HAIR MATTERS
Hair loss is a very common problem among both men and women. For women, hair loss can begin during the child bearing years and peak again during early menopause. Some men are predisposed to male pattern baldness and begin losing their hair in their early twenties.
Hair loss can be subtle at first; a professional that is acquainted with your hair patterns can notice small changes. Additionally, consider the effect of medications and co-existing medical problems such as lupus, anemia, or thyroid, vitamin and dietary deficiencies which can masquerade as hair loss.
For women, dermatologists recommend examining lifestyle and hair styling habits. Excessive combing, coloring, and blow drying can wreak havoc on delicate hair. The addition of chemical straightening can compound at risk or vulnerable hair and aggravate existing hair loss. A word of caution for women: avoid tight pony tails and hairstyles that create tension by pulling on the hair. An absolute must – have coloring and usage of other chemicals performed by a professional.
Men take notice. If there is a known history of early hair loss or receding hairlines, be aggressive. Minoxidil, commonly known as Rogaine ®, can be started early and produce good results. Coupled with Propecia ®, an oral medication which can be prescribed by your dermatologist, these two medications used together may produce even better results. Side affects are minor but both medications should only be initiated after consultation with your dermatologist.
Sometimes there’s no way to stop hair loss completely. A good treatment regimen can slow it down. Your dermatologist will play an important role in making a diagnosis and determining the correct treatment.
ESTHETIC TIP # 7 – FRESH PEELS
Throughout the ages, people have searched for ways to look their best. Cleopatra bathed in milk to benefit from the exfoliating qualities of lactic acid. Ancient Roman, Greek and Indian documents mention various salves used for lightening and toning the skin.
Today, the simplest way to reduce fine lines and wrinkles is to get rid of the outer layer of skin and expose the fresh new skin underneath. Dermatologists use chemical peels to improve clarity, tone and skin texture. Your dermatologist can choose different peels depending on the problem you want to correct. All are quick and minimally invasive, but some do have mild side effects like mild redness, peeling or flushing.
Lactic, glycolic, lipoic, kojic, salicyclic and others are all a natural means to exfoliate and renew the skin without friction. As a result they can improve moisture retention, soften fine lines, unclog pores and generally promote clearer, healthier and more luminous skin.
ESTHETIC TIP # 8 – PHOTOFACIALS
You’ve enjoyed the results of facials you had before. Leaving the clinic or spa, your skins probably felt soft and smooth and had that ‘just pampered’ glow. Now consider the idea that today’s modern facial could do all that and more.
Several new techniques being used by dermatologists today use light to create more dramatic results. Pores become smaller, veins less visible, irregularities in the complexion even out.
Using short bursts of light called intermittent pulsed light (IPL), a photofacial helps to erase uneven pigmentation, improve age spots, freckles and other unsightly discoloration using pulsed light energy. Photodynamic therapy involves the application of a special topical enhancement combined with laser and light therapy. The treatment can shrink glands that produce oil, reducing acne flare-ups, and decrease the size of pores for a more even complexion. The light boosts the production of collagen, making your skin more plump and your complexion more luminous.
Photofacials can be done in combination with microdermabrasion, injectables, or chemical peels as your dermatologist deems appropriate.
ESTHETIC TIP # 9 – CLEAR COMPLEXIONESTHETIC
Pimples. Blemishes. Acne. If you thought you were in the clear after your teenage years, guess again. Hormonal changes, stress, even those workouts at the gym can wreak havoc on the skin for both men and women of all ages.
But pimples aren’t the only blemishes that can mar a perfect complexion. Maybe you have a bit of unwanted facial hair, suffer razor bumps from tweezing and shaving, or just started to notice some irregularities in your skin.
Dermatologists are using new formulations containing glycolic acids and vitamin A enriched creams to treat complexion issues. By unclogging pores, these new products clear and prevent whiteheads and blackheads from forming. Keeping the skin cells fresh and new are an important part of having a glowing complexion. The goal is a smooth look and feel combined with a more uniform skin tone. Now who doesn’t want that?
TIP # 10 – GET A HEALTHY GLOW
It’s almost springtime and your skin has that dull and lackluster appearance. Here are some quick and easy suggestions to recapture that healthy glow.
Start with a good night’s sleep. Experts recommend seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep nightly. Try to go to bed and wake up at a consistent time daily.
Add a good moisturizer to your morning routine – there are several on the market or available through your dermatologist that contain hydroxy acids that remove and exfoliate dead skin.
Wear sunscreen every day.
And finally, watch what you’re putting in your mouth. The results of drinking lots of water and eating a healthy diet full of super foods will show up on your skin. See our Super Foods Addendum for more information.
Esthetics, Center for Dermatology, (ECD) maintains this web site to provide information of a general nature about the specialty of dermatology. Any information in the publications, messages, postings or articles on the web site should not be considered a substitute for consultation with a board-certified dermatologist to address individual medical needs. Your particular facts and circumstances will determine the dermatologic treatment which is most appropriate for you. All information contained within the ECD web site is the copyrighted property of ECD. Reproduction, redistribution or modification of the information for any purpose is prohibited without the express written permission of ECD.
“I couldn’t have hoped to find a better service to attain beautiful skin on my wedding day than the Esthetics Center for Dermatology provided me. The entire staff was warm and friendly. Dr. Fuller genuinely wanted me to look my best and went above and beyond my expectations to be sure my skin looked amazing.I did not have a single blemish to hide as I walked down the aisle and I’m still struck at how smooth and flawless my skin looks when looking at pictures. I’ll be a customer for life. You don’t find service like that often.”
Q: Can I improve my complexion before the wedding?
A: Yes, it is possible. The earlier you start, the better your chances are to have glowing skin on your wedding day. Even though you’ll be busy with all the wedding planning, now is not the time to neglect your eating habits. Pay close attention to your food selection. Remember…beautiful skin is healthy skin. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, proteins and whole grains not only will enhance your energy but will also protect your immune system and improve emotional well-being. Be sure to begin each day with a hearty breakfast to provide energy. A balance of proteins, fats, and carbs will keep you fueled through the morning. Excellent choices include a spinach omelet, peanut butter and toast, or high-fiber cereal with low fat milk.For lunch, incorporate vegetables such as a spinach salad topped with turkey, and a chicken sandwich or a veggie burger. For dinner, wild-caught salmon boasts healthy omega-3 acid anti-oxidants, steamed broccoli provides phytonutrients, and whole wheat brown rice contains fiber. In addition, don’t forget to drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated and remember to exercise daily to help relieve stress, as well as for obvious physical health benefits.
Here are some of the suggested foods for a healthy you…and healthy skin:
1. Deal with any chronic skin problems early. Though it is never too late for intervention, most skin care issues are handled best when treated early. Start 1 year to 6 months ahead.2. Get rid of unwanted hair. Embarrassed about facial hair?Why risk irritation with shaving and/or waxing. Consider laser hair removal for long term hair reduction and toss that razor goodbye. Start 1 year to 2 weeks ahead.3. Look relaxed with Botox injections. Do you look like you’re frowning when you’re not? Do you squint all the time?Consider Botox to relax the lines between your brows, 2 weeks before the event so you’ll look totally relaxed. It can also be used to relax smile lines around the eyes and furrows on the forehead. Last treatment to be rendered 2 weeks ahead.4. Rejuvenate skin with superficial peels. Go for the glow with light chemical peels once a month or enhanced microdermabrasion every 2 weeks to help improve skin tone, texture, and tautness. Don’t forget the neck, back, chest, and décolleté if your dress is strapless or low cut. Peels help diminish fine lines and wrinkles and can do wonders on rough, spotty skin. Start 2-3 months to 1 week before.
5. Take a serious look at your nutrition. If you don’t already do so, start drinking ½ of your body weight in ounces of water. Example: 130 lbs/2 = 65 ounces of water. Water not only hydrates you, but also leads to clear skin.By all means exercise regularly; you’ll not only feel good but exercise diminishes stress and enhances the immune system to help prevent illness. Start 6 months to day before.
6. Stay away from caffeine. Avoid items such as caffeinated drinks, sweet tea, coffee, and soda as well as greasy foods. Start paying attention to what you eat. Veggies and fruits are better for your skin than fast food. Start 6 months to day before.
7. Never let them see you sweat. Whether sweating causes occasional worries or near-constant embarrassment, there are treatments and techniques to limit and stop sweating. No sweat, no worries – just a beautiful and confident bride. Start 8 to 10 weeks prior to the big day.
8. Fillers can fill fine lines; provide volume, and plump lips. The longevity of fillers can last several months or longer. If you have never had a filler treatment, it is probably a good idea to be conservative the first time around to make sure you like it. Start 2 months to 1 month ahead.
9. Don’t ignore skin problems. There have been great advances in treating broken blood vessels, brown spots, sun damage, pigmentation problems and acne, including new topical treatments, non-invasive laser treatments, enhanced dermabrasion, and chemical peels. It’s your skin… see a dermatologist. Start 1 year to 1 month prior.
10. You only look as good as you feel. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with planning. Practice regular stress management by indulging in stress-relieving activities such as exercise, meditation, and quiet time. 8 hours of sleep work wonders on renewing the mind. REMEMBER, don’t forget to smile…you’re getting married! Start 6 months to day of.
Image Source: Kip Beelman Photography via Style Me Pretty
As any excited bride, you have a long to-do list, to create the wedding of your dreams. Here’s one important thing you probably haven’t included:
A visit to your dermatologist.
Brides should start planning as soon as possible – and that includes a campaign for clear skin. “Though it’s never too late for intervention,” says Dr. Peggy Fuller of Esthetics Center for Dermatology, “most skin care issues are handled best when treated early.Don’t forget, dermatologists are medically trained to diagnose and treat skin problems, as well as diseases of the hair and nails.At Esthetics Center for Dermatology, Dr. Peggy Fuller and her staff use the latest technology, medical recommendations, and cosmetic advances to help brides achieve glowing and healthy skin. The newer procedures freshen, heal, and revive lackluster or damaged skin, with choices that include the use of topical treatments, light peels, enhanced microdermabrasion, specialized facials, injections, and non-invasive laser treatments. Dr. Fuller can also customize a daily skin care regimen, so that special glow can continue beyond the big day!Esthetics Center for Dermatology is a state-of-the-art medical facility with a spa-like ambience, located in the historic neighborhood of Elizabeth, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Let the team at Esthetics craft the perfect plan to give you healthy, radiant skin for your wedding day. Please call us at 704.370.2700 soon to schedule an appointment!
“During my first visit to Esthetics, Dr. Fuller explained a few procedures, and one of these was facial laser hair removal. It peaked my interest, so she went on to provide a full explanation of the treatment. Since it was a few months prior to my wedding, I saw this as a great opportunity to pursue. During visits, she always checked my progress and asked if I had concerns. A couple of weeks before the wedding, Dr. Fuller went the extra mile by providing tips to help me in the days leading to the wedding such as a cleansing process and a very practical method to help me reduce facial shine on my wedding day. She even offered “emergency assistance” in case anything seemed unusual with my skin on the day of the wedding. This is the type of genuine care is what encourages me to return to Esthetics.”