Posts tagged with "American Academy of Dermatology"

Tress distress: Why women lose hair

February 17, 2020

Talk about a bad hair day. When a woman realizes that her hair is no longer as thick and lustrous as it used to be—in fact, it has become downright thin in certain spots, or worse yet, overall—it can be a cause for panic.

Most of the time minor hair loss is just a sign that your body is growing new, healthy strands to replace the old, according to a report by Self magazine. In fact, losing up to 100 hairs per day is totally normal.

But, “if all of a sudden you’re noticing a lot more in the brush or the drain, or your ponytail is thinner, or you’re seeing more scalp,” then you may be losing more hair than you should, Francesca Fusco, M.D., dermatologist at Wexler Dermatology in New York City and assistant clinical professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, told the news outlet.

Figuring out why you’re suddenly losing more hair than usual can be tricky. For example, hereditary hair loss (androgenetic alopecia), isn’t really something you can control; you get the hand you’re dealt.

But other types of thinning, such traction alopecia or temporary hair shedding (a very common condition called telogen effluvium), can be managed or even reversed, if caught early. Making things even more complicated, some causes of hair loss in women result in sudden shedding while others may become progressively more noticeable over time.

According to Self, if you’ve noticed your hair is falling out more than usual, looks thinner, or seems to be growing more slowly, one of the following may be the reason:

1. Genetics: When we think of hereditary hair loss, we usually go straight to male pattern baldness. But people of all genders are susceptible to hereditary hair loss. In women the hair loss is usually concentrated at the crown of the head (especially noticeable at the hair part), while it’s more likely to affect men along the hairline, the American Academy of Dermatology notes. Although you can’t prevent this type of hair loss entirely, there are treatments available—such as over-the-counter minoxidil or finasteride (propecia)—that can slow it down and make hair stay fuller longer. So the sooner you start treatment, the better.

2. Childbirth: During pregnancy, most women notice their hair going into rapid growth mode. “That’s when everything is in a grow, grow, grow phase, because there are surges of hormones [estrogen] that make hair grow,” Dr. Fusco notes. Not only is the growth stage kicked into high gear, but also it lasts longer than normal, meaning that normal shedding doesn’t occur. However, once estrogen levels go back to normal after delivery, hair resumes its normal growth cycles and starts to shed all of those extra, luscious strands

This type of hair loss (technically, hair shedding) is called telogen effluvium, and it can occur months after a stressful or major life event like childbirth, Bethanee Schlosser, M.D., assistant professor of Dermatology and director of the Women’s Skin Health Program for Northwestern Medicine, told Self recently. “Shedding peaks about four months after the incident” that caused it, she explains. 

3. Changes in birth control: Going off hormonal birth control or changing to a different type of hormonal contraception can also cause hormone-induced shedding. “Whether you’re just starting it, discontinuing it, or changing brands, your body can react by causing the hair to go into an increased shedding mode,” Dr. Fusco says. This is another form of telogen effluvium, which means that it’s usually temporary. You can rely on volumizing products and styling tricks while you wait for your hair to regain its fullness.

4. Nutritional deficiencies: Creating and maintaining healthy hair relies on getting appropriate nutrition. In particular, deficiencies in iron, zinc, vitamin B3 (niacin), and protein have all been linked to various types of hair loss. Treating a nutritional deficiency usually starts with a chat with your doctor and a blood test to accurately diagnose your issue. Then your doctor may treat your deficiency with prescription supplements or may refer you to a dietitian. for further guidance.

5. Medications: Some “medications can cause chronic shedding,” Dr. Schlosser says. In particular, those used to manage high blood pressure, cancer, arthritis, and depression are known to cause hair loss issues, according to the Mayo Clinic.If you think your medication may be causing hair loss, check in with your doctor. In many cases, this type of hair loss is temporary. But if your hair loss becomes chronic, your doctor may be able to prescribe a different medication that doesn’t cause this side effect.

6. Dandruff or scalp psoriasis: When the skin on the scalp is inflamed and itchy, it’s obviously tempting to scratch it. But that may cause your hair to shed more than usual. Dandruff is the most easily treated cause of hair loss, Dr. Fusco says, because you can treat it with over-the-counter oo and conditioner you like enough to use regularly. But other conditions can also cause itchiness and scalp flaking, including seborrheic dermatitis (a more severe version of dandruff caused by a buildup of yeast and oil) and psoriasis (an autoimmune condition that causes thick patches of skin). If you think you have one of these conditions, check in with a dermatologist, Self advises.

7. Intense emotional or physical stress: When you’re experiencing something stressful or traumatic—not your average day-to-day stress, but something big and life-altering like a divorce, a death in the family, a significant job change, or a big move—you may experience a temporary halt in hair growth as your body puts its efforts into getting you through said big event.

“Hairs don’t all grow at the same rate,” Dr. Schlosser told the news outlet. “Some are growing, some are resting, and some are actively being shed. When you have these conditions, your body halts hair growth, and then things get restarted and all these hairs that have been halted start to get pushed out at the same time.” The same thing can happen with physical stress and trauma, like having a big operation, being hospitalized, or even losing a significant amount of weight very quickly. St

8. Autoimmune diseases: “An autoimmune condition makes the body recognize its own hair follicles as foreign and it attacks them and makes the hair fall out,” Dr. Fusco explains. This could be a condition like alopecia areata, in which the immune system attacks the hair follicles. Sometimes people with alopecia areata do see their hair grow back (although it may fall out again). But if not, dermatologists can help by prescribing various treatments, like corticosteroid injection to stimulate hair growth, the AAD says.

Conditions that primarily affect another part of the body—like thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, or sickle-cell anemia—can also cause hair loss as one of many symptoms. Additionally, Dr. Schlosser notes that lupus can cause some scarring of the hair follicle, resulting in permanent hair loss.If you think your hair loss may be connected to an underlying issue like an autoimmune condition, it’s important to talk to your doctor.

9. Wearing too-tight hairstyles too often: Tight hairstyles can cause traction alopecia, Dr. Schlosser says. “Classically, this happens when people wear tight braids chronically, but I’ve seen it with tight ponytails too,” she explains. It can cause progressive thinning of the hairline, and if you do it for long enough, the hair loss may actually become permanent. It’s considered a scarring process, which can damage the hair follicle beyond repair.

10. Heat-styling your hair regularly: Fusco says that women will come to her and tell her they have hair loss, when really they have something called trichorrhexis nodosa. This is a condition in which damaged, weak points in the hair shaft cause strands to break off easily. The cause? Thermal damage to the hair from things like using hot tools and overbleaching. In this case, the hair loss “is not necessarily from the root but it’s from somewhere along the shaft,” she explains. Treatment for trichorrhexis nodosa usually involves finding and avoiding the source of the damage, which could be hot tools, harsh chemicals, or aggressive brushing. Instead, opt for gentle brushing techniques and gentle, soothing hair products.

11. Overprocessing your hair: Getting frequent perms, chemical straightening procedures, or relaxing procedures—basically anything that uses harsh chemicals on your scalp and hair—can damage the hair follicle and cause permanent hair loss. “After repeated insults, the hair follicles just won’t grow back,” Dr. Schlosser says. This can cause hair to appear thinner, and may be especially noticeable on the scalp. If you want your hair to grow back, you’ll likely need to enlist the guidance of a board-certified dermatologist.

Overall, unless your hair loss is caused by a product or lifestyle change, or a hereditary condition, remember to treat your hair gently, take the proper nutrients, and eliminate harsh products from your daily routines. Your good hair days may outnumber the bad ones sooner than you think.

Research contact: @Selfmagazine

Neutrogena recalls Light Therapy Acne Masks, due to risk of eye injuries

July 22, 2019

Many consumers have “seen the light” when it comes to over-the counter acne LED-light therapy masks—and that’s not necessarily a good thing. In fact, earlier this month, Neutrogena issued a recall of its masks, according to The New York Times;  citing a “theoretical risk of eye injury” to a subset of users who have underlying eye conditions or are taking medicine that makes them sensitive to light.

The Times reported that Neutrogena said in a statement that its July 5 recall followed “reports of mild, transient visual adverse events, combined with a growing scientific discussion around the safety of blue light.”

A spokesperson told the news outlet that the “adverse events” had been caused by the Neutrogena masks; although she did not specify how many such events had taken place. She also said that no particular study or expert had informed the company’s decision to recall the masks.

But that is not the only brand that uses visible blue and red lights to treat facial acne. And it may not be the only mask that is causing problems—problems which the Australian Department of Health recently said could cause retinal damage or impair peripheral vision after repeated therapy with the lights.

Among the most popular among these devices are the Lacomri 7 Color LED Light Therapy Acne Mask, Convinsimo Light Therapy Acne Face Treatment, Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask, and Pulsaderm Acne Clearing Mask.

They all use the same treatment technology, explains the American Academy of Dermatology.

And that also may mean that they might share another problem: Such devices kill facial bacteria that could turn into pimples; they are not effective against existing blackhead, whiteheads, acne cysts, or nodules, the academy explains.

Indeed, says the academy, “Most people see clearing, but not 100%”—and “results vary from person to person.”

News of the recalls in the United States and in Australia was for the most part missed by consumers . A spokesperson for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration told the Times that the agency was “aware of the recall” and was looking into it.

The mask was released by Neutrogena in October 2016. Actress Lena Dunham endorsed it on Instagram and said her post was not an advertisement. The product was awarded Best of Beauty in 2017 by Allure magazine..)

Dr. Rachel Nazarian, with Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City, told the news outlet that only recently had concerns about blue light cropped up, and that they mostly referred to people who had baseline medical conditions that caused their retinas to be more sensitive to light.

But she said that Neutrogena’s mask did not offer enough eye protection. While she planned to continue to use LED treatments in her own practice, she said she used much stronger eyewear than was provided by the company.

“It shouldn’t be used in such a cavalier form,” Dr. Nazarian said. “If you’re using the right eyewear protection, you should be fine.”

Research contact: @nytimes

The best protection under the sun

June 26, 2018

It is finally summer—and Americans are leaving their homes in droves to enjoy the balmy temperatures and sunshine in their backyards, parks, pools, and beaches. Most of us feel that moderate exposure to sun improves our health, appearance, and mood. But we also know that too much of a good thing can be dangerous—causing everything from skin rashes to sunburns, to sun poisoning to cancer. So why is it that so few of us use sunscreen when we are out and about?

Indeed, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, fewer than 15% of men and 30% of women report applying sunscreen to their faces and other exposed skin when they leave the house (or the office) for more than an hour. Women are more likely than men to apply sunscreen to their faces, in order to avoid the aging effects of too much sun—–perhaps accounting for their greater usage.

Sunscreen use is particularly low among men, non-Hispanic blacks, people with less sun-sensitive skin, those who do not get the recommended amount of weekly aerobic physical activity, and people with lower incomes (under $60,000), the CDC reports.

Another demographic that is likely to skimp on sunscreen is teenagers. Following a study by William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey, in 2011, lead researcher Corey Basch, an associate professor in the school’s Department of Public Health, commented, “Unfortunately we found a decrease in the overall percentage of teens who reported wearing sunscreen—[down] from 67.7% in 2001 to 56.1% in 2011.

And even when they do look for sunscreen, many Americans don’t know which type really is best for them. According to the Food and Drug Administration , that would be “broad spectrum” brands that protect against both ultraviolet A and B radiation with an SPF of 30 or higher. UVA rays are believed to be responsible for the aging and wrinkling of skin; UVB rays are the culprit that causes cancer.

That seems easy enough, but, the CDC again has some bad news for us: Nearly 40% of sunscreen users were unsure if their sunscreen provided broad-spectrum protection.

Top brands

For those who could use some help with their choices, Consumer Reports ranks commercially available sunscreens each year. According to the researchers at Consumer’s Union, the following products scored 81 or higher overall and were rated excellent or very good for UVA and UVB protection:

  • La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-in Sunscreen Milk SPF 60 ($36, or $7.20 an ounce, score of 100);
  • Equate Sport Lotion SPF 50 ($5, or 63 cents an ounce, score of 99; and
  • BullFrog Land Sport Quik Gel SPF 50 ($8.50, or $1.70 cents an ounce, score of 95).

The magazine also rated the top spray and stick sunscreens—two of which rated highly:

  • Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50+ ($6, or $1 an ounce, score of 100); and
  • Up & Up (Target) Kids Sunscreen Stick SPF 55 ($8, or $6.67 an ounce, score of 85).

Among natural sunscreens, California Kids #Supersensitive Lotion SPF 30+ scored highest. It received an overall score of 55 and costs $20 a package, or $6.90 an ounce.

The report recommends against using sprays on kids until researchers know more about the dangers of inhaling them. If you do use them, Consumer Reports suggest spraying the solution onto your hand, then rubbing it into your skin.

Application tips

Among the recommendations for applying such products are the following, according to the American Academy of Dermatology:

  • Apply sunscreen generously 15 minutes before going outdoors;
  • Use enough—at least one ounce for an adult (about the amount you can hold in your palm) to fully cover your body;.
  • Remember your neck, face, ears, tops of your feet, and legs;
  • Use a balm with an SPF of at least 15 for your lips; and
  • Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours, or immediately after swimming or sweating.

Finally, using sunscreen should not be your only defense against the sun. For the best protection, the experts  says, stay in the shade and wear protective clothing, a hat with a wide brim, and sunglasses, as well as sunscreen.

Research contact: 1-800-CDC-INFO