Hair thinning that occurs over the entire head, rather than just in one area, is known as diffuse alopecia. Visible scalp and hair in drains are the most common signs of this type of hair loss. Your hair may appear thinner and less dense along the hairline, mid-scalp, and crown than it normally is.
Diffuse alopecia can affect both men and women. Usually, it’s treatable and reversible. However, medical intervention may be needed to stop the progress of hair loss. Diffuse alopecia resulting from some types of hair loss can also cause complete baldness. However, before learning about the treatments, it’s important to know about the different causes of diffuse hair loss.
What Are The Causes Of Diffuse Hair Loss?
Diffuse thinning can occur due to one or more of the following reasons.
Malnutrition can shock the body and make the hair enter the telogen (resting) phase of hair growth. Vitamins and proteins play an important role in the growth and development of hair. Therefore, you need to consume these micro and macronutrients to make sure that your hair continues to grow normally.
Stress & Exhaustion
During the growth phase of the hair cycle, hair follicle stem cells are activated for the development of the hair follicle. However, the activation of the hair follicle stem cells takes place through the production of a protein (GAS6). Research has found that in times of stress, the production of this protein is suppressed. And that, in turn, prevents the growth of hair. Therefore, stress can also cause diffuse hair loss.
Not having a good night’s rest can also make you feel more stressed, which can cause hair loss. Without adequate sleep, you won’t be able to process and tackle your daily stresses as easily. That’s why it’s important to sleep for at least 8 hours per night.
Diffuse thinning can also be a result of various illnesses, such as:
- Lupus’ hair loss
- Liver failure
- Chronic renal failure
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Lymphoproliferative syndrome
- Chronic infections such as HIV and secondary syphilis
Other than that, certain skin conditions (psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and contact dermatitis) can also make you lose hair over the entire scalp.
Not just illnesses but medications can also cause diffuse hair loss. Some drugs that induce this kind of alopecia include:
- Oral contraceptives
- Retinoids (for acne treatment)
- Antithyroid drugs
How To Treat Diffuse Hair Loss?
There are different ways to treat diffuse alopecia.
Healthy Lifestyle & Diet
As mentioned earlier, malnutrition can shock the body and cause diffuse hair loss. Therefore, maintaining a healthy diet is key to having healthy hair. Make sure to include leafy greens, lean proteins, eggs, fish, fruits, and vegetables in your diet. If you have a nutritional deficiency, you should consult your doctor before taking any supplements. Other than that, make sure to exercise and sleep for at least 8 hours every night to feel well-rested.
Minoxidil and finasteride are FDA-approved drugs for hair loss. Minoxidil works by increasing blood flow to the scalp, and finasteride stops the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (the hormone responsible for hair loss). However, it should be noted that finasteride is only prescribed for men, as it can cause birth defects in a male foetus if taken by females. Other than that, one downside of minoxidil and finasteride is that they only work for as long as you apply/take them. Once you stop taking these drugs, hair loss will resume. Also, these drugs don’t work for everyone.
PRP injections are also quite popularly used for stimulating hair growth. In this, the patient’s own blood is taken and put into a centrifuge which separates the platelet-rich plasma (PRP). It contains growth factors and proteins that rejuvenate the scalp and promote hair growth. Since PRP doesn’t contain any additives, it is completely safe and does not cause any adverse effects.
Fortunately, diffuse hair loss is not permanent and can be reversed. Still, if you’re experiencing significant hair loss, make sure to consult a medical professional. Hair loss can be symptomatic of an underlying illness. Correct diagnosis and early treatment can halt the progress of hair loss and save time and resources.
Reviewed and Approved by Dr. Hassan Soueid.