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Had breast cancer, surgery, chemo, radiation. Then had a brain tumor that they thought could be taken out without radiation (kills follicles, and absolutely left me BALD! I was a hairdresser that went to graduate school with beautiful long blond hair. I CAN NOT find another woman that is as bald as I am. My whole head is permantently BALD. I tried every product on the market and nothing helped because the follicles were killed by total head radiation. I can not work, stay away from longterm partner that I knew since 1973 that I was in love with. I don’t work, have no friends left (my move, because I could not stand their pity). Stopped going to my support groups, and have tremendous stress now. My son is alone too, diagnosed with diabetes after given a medication for bi-polar disorder. I was adopted, and my family has never called me. So I am left completely bald – wear wigs w/pajamas if I have to go out. Thank you for letting me write this since I feel like a grieving “bald” widow !

I was left totally bald 4 years ago from head radiation after removal of a brain tumor. I cannot find another woman as young as I am, or ever older that me, that this happened to. Totally stressed out and won’t go out of the house. Probably will lose my house. Have NO self esteem. Tried everything, creams, lotions with no results. Hair Club for Men and Women (HCMW) are hostile to women, could not afford permanent program. Have alot of wigs, but NO SELF CONFIDENCE/ SELF ESTEEM and have just about given up on the hope of a solution.
Thank you.

Have no pictures/ HCMW took pics of top and back ! I kept asking to talk to someone that had my extent of permanent hair loss that they kept telling me about – but did not for a year. Instead they had me talk to a potential client. Very sad.

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There is no cure for what you are describing. You had bouts of cancer and beat it. That should tell you that your glass is half full, not half empty. We are the writers, directors, and actors in our own lives. Sometime we need help to do that job and a good psychiatrist/psychologist or counselor may help you direct your ‘play’. Get the help you need and make your life come out they way you want it to be. I have seen many handicapped people who have overcome many liabilities. A relative of mine died from breast cancer and she went through hell trying to beat it. Her life was taken and yours was gifted to you. Do you think that there was a purpose to your survival? Take a look at National Alopecia Areata Foundation. What this should show you is that there are many people working on your type of problem and many people managing their lives with it. Their glass is half full.

I met a lady with alopecia universalis (no hair on any part of her body from genetic causes) who wore a wig and used make-up for eyebrows and lashes for her eyes. Her alopecia could not be detected at all (she chose to look like a hairy woman), and she was fashionable and dynamic in her social and professional life (radio show host and former spokesperson for the alopecia afflicted). She told me that she made a decision that her alopcia was just a handicap and she quickly came to deal with her life when she was young. Living life for life’s value was more important than obsessing over a problem for which there was no cure. She was victorious, something I wish for you.


When i was i think 19 i had chicken pox. i had a fever for about two weeks. after i recovered, one day when i woke up i saw my pillow had many hairs on it and when i combed my hair, many hairs fell out. before i had chicken pox my hair was very thick and long, but now is not so much bald but the thickness is gone. my hair in front of my head is in the shape of an M. and my hair in the top is not very thick now. im 22 now.

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What you describe is very common. Significant illness or stress to your body can precipitate a “telogen effluvium”, also known as a “shedding phase” which is transient – it grows back. Now, several years later, the “M” shaped hairline you describe is consistent with male pattern balding – another common condition. These two conditions are likely unrelated. Hope that helps!


I am 23 years of age and I am losing hair (mainly because of dandruff). I would like to know until what age does hair regrow naturally.

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We generally say that the hair wreath around the sides and top of the head, a 2 1/2 inch high area that runs from ear to ear, is permanent. We see this in the men who are very bald; they really never become fully bald as this wreath of ‘donor’ hair stays for life. The rest of the hair on the head of a very bald man may or may not last the lifetime of the man, depending upon their genetics. In women with no genetic hair loss, the same applies and the hair loss remains for the life of the patient. The small wreath of hair that we say is permanent in men, may not be permanent in women. Therein lies one of the differences in women’s genetic hair loss as compared to men’s genetic hair loss. On many women and men, the overall population of the hair may be decreased with age (unfortunate medical term is senile alopecia), but that rarely impacts more than 30% of the hair in impacted areas. So, worse case, an answer to your question is that fully 70% of hair on the head will last a lifetime, if genetic factors do not force it into an early death.

My grandmother lived to 114 years of age, and her hair was long (2-3 feet) and still growing when she died. She had a full head of hair. My grandfather died at 102 years of age with a full “Ronald Reagan” type head of hair with a hair line like he had when he was 10. He had a hair cut about every 3 weeks, and died at work behind his desk, a few days after his last hair cut (something he enjoyed doing very much because he got out and about). It’s all in the genetics of what our parents and grand parents gave to us (life span for ourselves and for our hair).


I have lost a circular patch about an inch and a half of hair in the back lower center of my head just above the neck line. The rest of my hair is naturally very thick and healthy. Any prognosis? I am 27 years old male. Thank you.

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This is the ideal case for Propecia — crown balding in a young man. A good number (more than 50%) of men your age (in my experience) will regrow hair on this drug and many of them will reverse the visual impact of the loss. Get yourself checked out for miniaturization to see where else on the scalp that you may be losing hair and get it quantified and then remeasured after 8 months on the drug. In young men, many of the early signs and measurements of balding will disappear if the miniaturization is subclinical.


Dr Rassman
Can you please tell me if its know whether mega doses of nutritional supplements (other than Vitamin A) can contribute to hair loss?
Thank you

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This is a very broad question and one that this blog gets asked often. Unfortunately, since nutritional supplements are not regulated by the FDA, there is often very little information in the medical literature regarding side effects and/or scientific studies about how/if they work. You are correct that Vitamin A toxicity is known to cause hair loss so you should avoid doses greater than 50,000 IU. It would also be a good idea to avoid anything which alters your metabolism (thyroid is often a buzzword there) or your hormone levels. Some high protein diets have noted hair loss as a side effect, too. In the final analysis, it is just not possible to know without a specific analysis of a particular nutritional supplement.


First I would like to thank you for providing this site, it has help me a great deal. Here is my question. I am a 31 year old female suffering from hair loss, and as of yet I do not know the definite cause. My question is concerning all that I have read about the possibility of vitamin deficiency causing hair loss in women. My doctor runs routine bloodwork every year, and for approximately the past 10 years I have had low iron, low B12, and my last set of tests, last year, did show that I also have an overactive thyroid. Throughout this time I have never taken the supplements that were advised by my doctor, I am now regretting that, and have since started. Now to the question, with being low in iron and b12 for so long cause miniaturization? I have miniaturization hairs throught my entire head, and very thin on the crown, and this is why I am questioning the effects of vitamins and hair loss. From what I have read miniaturization and thinning at the crown usually indicates AGA, however I did read once that low iron could mimic AGA with miniaturization. And I am hoping that this hair loss that I have is from low vitamins for a long period of time, and not AGA.
Thank you so much in advance.

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Yes, low iron and B12 can cause hair loss. Get a good doctor to take charge of you, as that is the best approach to the problem.


Dr. Rassman,

I am 46 years old. My father and brother have extensive hairloss on top. I am blonde and have very fine hair. No hair loss on maternal side. About a year ago I noticed some thinning at the hairline after many years of very slight creeping at the temples…still a NW 1-2 with very good density and caliber. I became alarmed given the extent of loss of my younger brother whose loss started as a 20 yr. old.

After doing what I thought was sufficient research and an recommendation from my Dermatologist who had used Propecia very successfully for 7 years, I started on the drug in early March of this year. I noticed little difference in my hair other than very slow thinning in front and on top. At 6 months (Labor Day) loss of libido had become an issue and E.D. became a problem. Watery and loss of ejaculate also surfaced. I wasted no time and quit the drug cold turkey. The sexual sides resolved in a couple of weeks, but that was just the beginning. After a few weeks my hair began shedding like crazy from all parts of my scalp..front, top, back, sides, nape of neck, sideburns, eyebrows, arms and hands too! This has continued steadily and I have lost an enormous amount of hair in 4 months…probably 30-40% of total! I am very depressed, nearly paralyzed and suffering severe anxiety..can’t sleep and having trouble functioning in my professional career. My life is cascading downward rapidly.

I am afraid there has been some sort of androgen/dht backlash. My hair seems to have miniaturized all over my head in a few months. Remaining hair is very fine and wispy ..hard to manage. The falling hairs seem to be very fine and less pigmented as well. This was not nearly as evident until a couple of months ago. I feel like I have the hair of an 80 year old man all of the sudden.

I have experienced “burning scalp” symptoms where MPB would normally be evident. I am terrified by the speed in which things have occured. I have not done anything in terms of treatment for fear of more shedding. Can you please suggest a course of action. I have no one to turn to. There are no reputable hair restoration physicians up here in Oregon.

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Propecia is often effective at slowing hair loss, however, once it is stopped your hair loss can appear to accelerate. Your hair loss plays ‘catch-up’ to get to the point where your balding would have been without having taken the drug in the first place. This therefore, may look like accelerated hair loss. If this happens, you may continue to lose whatever hair that had been saved by Propecia and then continue the loss at whatever rate would have been ‘programmed’ for you by your genetic code (assuming your have genetic hair loss). An important question to consider: ‘Could you have been at the beginning of a rapid hair loss period from genetic or medical causes?’ Your situation does sound more complicated than simple genetic hair loss and this means to me that you might need a full medical work-up looking for other causes of hair loss (including appropriate blood tests). Stress can add substantially to the rate of hair loss and you are clearly being heavily stressed now.

Men in their 40s often (40%) will have ED (Erection Dysfunction) and Viagra might be worth trying (you need a doctor’s prescription) for any sexual ED problems you might have. If you feel that you are the 1% of patients who get a decrease in your libido from Propecia, then you should probably not take the drug, but you need a good, caring doctor to evaluate you along the lines as I have discussed in this blog over and over again. Your strong words above say a lot to me. You are VERY concerned and you want to take charge of the process that is impacting your hair, so be smart about it and whatever you do, do it the right way, ‘partnering’ with a good doctor. We have an office in San Jose and Los Angeles and a trip to one of these offices may be in your best interest. If you see me in Los Angeles, there will be no charge for the visit.


I recently had a minor accident with hair removal wax. Well to make a long story short, it ended up in my hair on my scalp. It has been five weeks and the regrowth has been pretty sparse and not at all in some areas. I was wondering what the chances are that it will still grow back, and if not what I can do about it. thanks

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Wax only removes the hair shaft, not the entire root. Thus, your hair should grow back. It may take up to a few months for hair regrowth unless there is more to the story which I am not understanding.


Several years I had hair loss patch the size of Half dollar and my two end finger nails were lines and pecked. I was diagonosed as having alopecia areata. Treatment w/ cortisone shots did not help. in last year or so I developed more of these loss of hair and sometimes it itches. I had biopsy done and the results “the findings are suggestive of (but not diagonostic for) collagen vascular disease such as lupus erythemaous. The blood test shows that I’m negative for Lupus. What is the outlook in terms of medication, regrowth and outlook? Is there any thing to grow hair? will a transplant work?

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Sometime blood tests for SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus) are not completely accurate. I recommended that you visit a rheumatologist to further your evaluation process. SLE is one of the many causes for hair loss. Hair can regrow if your cause is due to SLE or any reversible disease that arrests and then subsides. Some people will have lost their hair permanently, even if the disease goes away. Hair transplantation will not work if you have an active disease causing the hair loss, but if the disease is known and is not active, then a hair transplant will work, that is, unless it gets reactivated. Again, it is best to see a rheumatologist and a perhaps even a good dermatologist who focuses upon such problems.


I am 29 years old and am losing hair. After the shower I can see lot of hair fallen around. In my diet, I dont include iron-rich food. Would it be a possible reason for hair loss? Can you suggest a good diet for preventing hair loss?

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Speak to your doctor and have your iron levels measured. This is an important step if you think that you have an iron deficiency, a common occurrence in women. Historically, women needed to eat meat to replace the iron they lose from menstruation which is why iron deficiency is not uncommon in women. A good general diet with red meat may be all that you need if your iron levels are bordering on the low level, otherwise, see you doctor and get his/her recommendation. If you have hair loss, then as I’ve suggested many times in this blog, you need a good examination for miniaturization to get the best diagnosis for cause.


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