It is common for people losing their hair to ask, “can hair loss be reversed?” The truth is that it depends on the kind of hair loss you’re experiencing.
Some types of hair loss are reversible, while others are permanent and irreversible. Despite the availability of many different hair loss treatments, according to the NHS, none are 100% effective.
The important thing is to know whether your hair loss is temporary or permanent so you can seek treatment as early as possible.
What Kinds Of Hair Loss Can Be Reversed?
Hair loss reversal is possible if you are experiencing:
Triggered by physical or emotional stress, telogen effluvium can result in temporary hair loss. It usually starts a few months after the stress event, which could be:
It doesn’t require any special treatment since it resolves on its own. Additionally, full hair growth should take place in 6 to 9 months.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that attacks healthy hair follicles, resulting in the formation of bald patches.
While the disease itself is not curable, the hair loss resulting from it is usually not permanent. So, it can also be reversed with the right treatment.
It’s believed that it’s because hair follicles retain an attachment to the arrector pili muscles in alopecia areata.
Hair loss from tight hairstyles is referred to as traction alopecia.
Fortunately, once you stop tying your hair too tightly, you can reverse this type of hair loss as well.
However, if you continue making the same hairstyles for years while putting a lot of tension on your hair follicles, the hair loss will become irreversible.
Trichotillomania is a hair-pulling disorder that makes a person pluck their hair out.
Getting treatment for this condition can reverse the hair loss caused by it. However, in the case of chronic hair pulling, there’s a risk of infection and scarring, which can also lead to permanent and irreversible hair loss.
It’s a fungal infection of the scalp that’s more common among children. Ringworm can cause hair loss, but early treatment should reverse it.
In case the treatment is delayed, hair loss from this can also be permanent.
Over- or under-production of thyroid hormones can also cause hair loss. However, once you start treatment, you should start to grow hair again.
Although it takes a few months, thyroid hair loss is reversible and can be treated.
However, once you start getting adequate amounts of all the nutrients in your diet, your hair loss should reverse. It’s not permanent.
There are many different types of medications that cause hair loss, such as:
According to a study published in Current Drug Safety, medications usually cause telogen and/or anagen effluvium. Typically, this hair loss is “completely reversible,” but sometimes, it can also be permanent.
In all these cases, your hair loss can reverse, as long as your hair follicle hasn’t been destroyed or damaged. Once the hair follicles die, however, they will not regrow hair.
What Kinds Of Hair Loss Are Irreversible?
Hair loss due to genetics, androgen hormones, or scarring is usually irreversible. That’s because these can permanently change the structure of the hair follicle.
Here’s a closer look at irreversible hair loss types.
The most common type of irreversible hair loss is androgenetic alopecia. It runs in the family and occurs due to the action of a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It will essentially miniaturise the follicle, which will eventually cause permanent testosterone hair loss.
It should also be noted that androgenetic alopecia can be exacerbated by other factors. For instance, polycystic ovary syndrome can contribute to it leading to PCOS hair loss. Similarly, anabolic steroids can worsen androgenetic alopecia.
Research published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine also showed that creatine supplements can increase the level of DHT. So, that may also exacerbate androgenetic alopecia and cause reversible hair loss.
Hair loss due to ageing is inevitable and irreversible.
According to a study published in Science, with age, hair follicles shrink and even disappear because of damage to hair follicle stem cells.
Scarring or cicatricial alopecia is another cause of irreversible hair loss. It happens due to the inflammation of the hair follicle, which eventually destroys it. As a result, it’s unable to grow any new hair.
Traumatic alopecia can occur due to mechanical, heat or chemical damage, such as:
- Burn injury
- Chemical damage
- Constant pulling on the hair
Since all these can damage the hair follicle itself, the hair loss will be permanent and irreversible.
How To Reverse Hair Loss?
To reverse hair loss, the underlying cause of hair loss needs to be determined. Some types of temporary hair loss resolve on their own. However, others, such as alopecia areata or tinea capitis, require treatment to reverse hair loss.
If you’re losing hair because of a poor diet, you might only need to improve your diet to reverse the hair loss. Or if it’s a medicine that’s causing hair loss, you should talk to your doctor about switching to an alternative (don’t do this without a professional consultation).
On the other hand, if the hair loss is permanent, you can’t exactly reverse it. But there are medications, such as minoxidil, finasteride, dutasteride and spironolactone, that slow down or halt the progression of hair loss.
These might not work for everyone, though. That’s why hair transplant surgery is another effective treatment option that you can consider.
Some people also consider trying natural remedies to reverse hair loss, such as massages, essential oils (rosemary, ginseng, pumpkin), applying onion juice, or taking supplements like saw palmetto, viviscal or nutrafol.
These “treatments” don’t have as much scientific backing, so you should make sure to consult your doctor.
While experiencing hair loss, many people worry about the same thing: whether or not the hair loss is reversible. The answer to this varies depending on the cause of hair loss.
Androgenetic alopecia, the most common cause of hair loss, is irreversible. And the usual treatments for it (minoxidil and finasteride) don’t reverse the condition either.
However, surgery and PRP injections (which can help reverse miniaturisation according to scientific research) can improve the overall coverage and density of your hair.
If you’re experiencing hair loss, you need to get an accurate diagnosis from a professional before you can even decide that a hair loss is reversible or irreversible.