As part of an ongoing effort to raise the conversation around women’s hair thinning and empower women to take charge of their hair health, our team of experts and physician partners are sharing their knowledge to arm women with the facts. This week, Dr. Omer Ibrahim, MD, addresses the hair thinning topics women ask him about every day.
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Hair thinning is a common issue that affects 40% of American women, but knowing what to do when it happens to you is not as common.
“Why is this happening to me?” “How do I stop my hair from shedding?” We often go to Google for these answers, but the best source of information is from physicians like Dr. Omer Ibrahim, MD, a board-certified dermatologist who has done extensive research in the field of hair thinning and treatment. “The first thing I tell my patients is that [hair thinning] is very common and it happens to women of all walks of life … It’s nothing to be embarrassed about,” he said in a recent television appearance.
At his downtown practice, Chicago Cosmetic Surgery and Dermatology, Dr. Ibrahim recommends hair growth treatments like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) in combination with a supplement like Nutrafol. “Especially for those patients that want to avoid hormonal treatments, Nutrafol is a good natural option,” he noted.
Below, Dr. Ibrahim dives into the hair health topics women ask him about every day.
The road to growth.
Consider this: The complete hair growth cycle spans between two and seven years. There is no magic pill to make your hair grow overnight. “Treating hair thinning, especially genetic thinning, is a lifelong commitment that requires expert care, consistency, and patience,” said Dr. Ibrahim.
The biotin myth.
“Biotin is but a fraction of what it takes to treat hair thinning,” said Dr. Ibrahim, “and it’s shown limited success when used on its own. You must address proper nutrition, stress levels, inflammatory cytokines, vascular circulation, and hormones.” Put simply: Most of us have more than one root cause contributing to our hair thinning, so we need a multi-targeted solution. Biotin alone is not a silver bullet. However, in clinical trials where biotin was used in combination with other vitamins and botanical extracts (as it is in Nutrafol), there have been positive results.
Heat tools and overstyling.
Dr. Ibraham emphasizes that regularly using heat tools or undergoing harsh styling treatments can make your hair dry and prone to breakage and other damage. “This can include blow-drying too frequently, bleaching, perming, chemical straighteners, and wearing hairstyles that pull or break the hair,” he notes. Just limiting heat styling to a few times a week and avoiding extremely tight hairstyles and chemicals can make all the difference in the health of your hair.
“Is it too late to treat my hair thinning?” Dr. Ibrahim says this is one of the questions he gets most frequently in his practice. “For the majority of patients, the answer is no,” he said. “Lots of factors play into how much your hair will improve with treatment, and it never hurts to try.”
Dr. Ibrahim encourages patients to take control and explore treatment options no matter where they are in life, because hair thinning can happen to women at all ages and stages. In fact, hair thinning becomes even more common in women as they approach menopause. Women also ask him if stopping and restarting on the path to hair health will hurt their hair in the long run. To this, he said, “Absolutely not. You will always be better off having addressed your hair thinning than not.”