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Retin-A, causing my hair loss??

Discussion in 'Medications that can cause Hair Loss' started by lc_78, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. lc_78

    lc_78 Guest

    I just read that oral retinoids can cause hair loss. Is anyone using a topical?? My skin looks great, not much help if I am causing my hair to fall out. Anyone else using the same thing? (I am using prescription strength). :dunno:
  2. SherryBerry

    SherryBerry Guest

    I'm using topical and it isn't really doing anything. :dunno:
  3. snowflake

    snowflake Experienced Member

    Jul 27, 2008
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    I have been using retin a for years too. rx strength - dies not seem to be having a negative effect on my hair!
  4. lc_78

    lc_78 Guest

    Thank you, for your responses. Just like everyone else, I suppose, I am just trying to figure out what is going on with my hair! I removed my Mirena IUD a few days ago. I am waiting to see if this has any effect on my hair loss. I am unable to see a Dr. at this point. (Just lost my insurance.) Hoping to by chance run across something that helps. I should have insurance again in a few months and will see someone as soon as possible. Thanks again!
  5. mga2201

    mga2201 Guest

    I know this is kind of an old post- but I just came accross it and had to comment. I currently use tretinion cream- a type of retinoid to treat my acne. I was on it for about 9 months when my hair started falling out- along with minocyclin (oral). I always wondered if the acne pills caused my hairloss and went off them immediately once my hair started falling. But my hair is still falling 7 months after stopping the pills, but I still use the cream. I doubt there is a connection- but who knows. I actually just decided today I was going to stop using it anyway- since going back on BC my acne is pretty well under control and I haven't had to use it everyday anyway, plus I'm starting Spironolactone which is supposed to help acne too. So we'll see what happens to my hair now.
  6. Hi mga2201,

    Interesting that you mentioned this.

    I recall my derm mentioning a hair loss treatment which involved mixing Tretinion cream with the Rogaine 5%! Wouldn't it be bizarre IF Retin-A.....which is simply the brand name of Tretinion cream.....causes hair loss?

    I use Retin-A and Renova, on my face....I don't see a difference in my sheds. I think I actually did try Retin-A on my scalp at some point, it did nothing.
  7. mga2201

    mga2201 Guest

    I actually came across that info last night as well- I decided to see if I could find any reports of Tretinion causing hair loss- but I only found articles that said it could be used as a possible remedy. But I don't think I'm going to start rubbing it on my scalp just yet.... :)
  8. I almost forgot this.....I've also tried FINACEA, an acne rosacea medication.....on my scalp...it did work for while, healing the small sporadic painful scalp scabs I get. Then POOF....it stopped working.

    There was some info about the main ingredient in Finacea, Azeliac Acid, being helpful with blocking DHT. I didn't use it consistently, I just used the Finacea on the few scabs.....so I can't say it helped with any re-growth.

    I think, awhile back, a poster DID say she was successful with some hairline re-growth from Finacea.
  9. I used Xandrox for a year or so. It's 5% minoxidil (50mg minoxidil/mL) plus 5% azelaic acid (50mg azelaic acid/mL). Azelaic acid is supposed to be a DHT inhibitor.

    http://www.minoxidil.com/subpages/faqs/ ... _acid.html

    Anyhow, I stopped using it b/c it didn't seem like my hair was getting a little worse and it's kind of expensive. I switched to Rogaine 5% foam and have been on it for maybe 4 -5 months. (Prior to Xandrox I used Rogaine 2% for 2 - 3 years.)

    My hair seems worse since I stopped using Xandrox, but, as I mentioned, it also seemed to get a little worse after I started Xandrox... so I can't definitively say Xandrox helped or made my hair loss worse. Sorry, that probably wasn't all that helpful!

  10. atlanta girl

    atlanta girl Guest

    I began Retin A about 25 years ago. Never had any hair thinning from it that I know of. It was the weakest strength for years.

    When I first experienced a TE 10 years ago it wasn't related at all. But somewhere along the line, perhaps it's when I went to gel based Retin A, I began to thin all through my bang area and around my face. Of course I looked at thyroid and DHT reasons, but after having tried Spironolactone and propecia I ruled these two out- thyroid hormone helped get my hair growing faster, propecia and Spironolactone caused massive shedding in those loss areas. I have very low T anyway.

    This past January I upped the dose of Retin A cream to .1 mg- the strongest. I was on the lookout for hair loss because I was not so sure topical Retin A was hair friendly for some of us. After about 2 months of sporadic use (it was too strong to use every other day), I noticed scalp pain and some suspicious hair line shedding- eyelashes shed out as did eyebrows. When unsure I would drop the Retin A for a few days and watch. I was also ramping up iron dosing at the same time trying to build higher ferritin- high iron dosing always causes higher shedding for me, so I was more suspicious of iron than the Retin A.

    My eyes were getting very blurry. And yes, I was using Retin A around my eyes. Long story made short here- after 6 months of .1% Retin A I developed a nasty scalp pain, blurry eyesight, depression and dramatic hair thinning that was only getting worse. I dropped the Retin A fast once I "got it".

    Two months post dropping I got a liver Vit A test and it revealed over the top high Vit A saturation! Then I really knew for sure. High Vit A is suppose to clear within a month or two after stopping it. My test was two months after dropping. Man! And I did not OD or use too much of this .1% either. I was modest. I'm shocked at how powerful a tiny dab of this is.

    It took about 2 months for my eyesight to clear up, and about the same time for the depression to lift. But not so with hair. A horrible from hell TE ramped up and dramatically thinned in a male pattern, but also all over- shedding new short hairs and old ones as well. Everything. Hair from all over- intense, painful shedding.

    It's been 4 months now post dropping of the Retin A. I see regrowth, but shedding still remains shockingly high. Easily I have lost over 1/2 my hair from this strong Retin A. :badmood:

    Anyway, after reading the Accutane hair loss board I see striking similarities between these types of hair loss. Retin A and Accutane both cause a kinky, wiry type of hair to grow. Pilli torte. I've got plenty. My hair type is fine and straight. From the hairs that are shed I see these 3" to 4" twisted, curled ends, root end.

    Have no idea how long this shedding will last or what the outcome will be hair wise. It's not always good for Accutane type loss, so time will tell.
    The fact that I have used Rogaine throughout this period might overall help save my follicles.
  11. angies99

    angies99 Guest

    I have been using StievA Which is a brand of Retin-A. I started on .025%. It has wonderful result on my skin. SO when that ran out I up it to the .1%. Because of the strengh U only use this twice a week. I did not make the connection between this and hair loss because my hair loss started many years ago, well before I started using the cream. And also all my sisters are using it as well with no problem. When my skin got better, I stopped using the cream for a while basically due to lazyness and forgot all about it. Until a recent holiday I my skin got a bit of sun damaged so I thought I start using the cream again to get rid of the sun damage. I talked to my gf who is using the same treatment and she said that she is using it day and night. Since I was quite anxious to get rid of the sun damage I thought I gave it a try. I used it twice a day for 4 days. On the fifth day onward I reduced to once a day. It has been 1 week and I can see my shed has increased from about 20 a day to about 100 on a wash day. I immediately stop the cream. I am not sure if it is the cause or not but after reading this post I can not risk it as my hair is already to thin the way it is.
  12. atlanta girl

    atlanta girl Guest

    Thanks for sharing your story about Retin A use. I'll be interested in hearing how long it takes for your shedding to go down. My guess it that you are right about the Retin A .1% causing this shedding increase. Unlike you, I didn't have a week loading period of the Retin A, mine being more a checkered use with some runs of 3 to 4 days, then off a week, etc. I did suspect a rise in shedding almost immediately, but laid off when I suspected, then would pick it up again and checker my use of it all over again. Like you, it did great miraculous things for my skin.

    How about your lashes? My eye lashes and eye brows just fell out from the stuff. This should have been my big, obvious clue. After 6 months off Retin A .1% they have grown back some, but not fully to where they were.


  13. angies99

    angies99 Guest

    So am I. I stopped the cream for 3-4 days now. The last hair wash result in bunch of hair came off when I comb my hair. I was soooo scare, I have not seen my hair come out like that for a while. My gf who is using the cream day and night has a head full of hair. I ask her if she experience any shedding she said her hair always shed a lot. But she show me a thin bit on her hairline. I guess she has the same shed but since she has plenty of hair, she does not care too much. She is actually happy for a bit less hair. Her hair looks the best with a bit less volume.

    I never have much eye lashes so cannot really tell. What ever lashes I have I think have not been affected.

    Another wash today. Finger crossed. I just wonder if there is anyway we can clear the excess vit A from your body. It is not water soluble so drinking lot of water would not help :(
  14. atlanta girl

    atlanta girl Guest

    I never discovered anything to get rid of the retin A out of my tissues and liver. I did retest my vit a levels a month ago and they had returned to normal. After reading as much as I could from others with this hair loss related problem they all seemed to say the same generally- retin a, or accutane in some cases, can take awhile to stop influencing the hair follicles. I am 6 months into shedding, but I used the .1 mg strength for 6 months. You caught yours rather quickly, so I would expect your problem wouldn't linger.

    I can see how, like with your gf, someone who sheds a lot and grows a lot wouldn't necessarily think Retin A was causing loss, if it even was. They use .0125 mg strength in minoxidil hair growth preperations, but I recall reading some posts by men who said this strength caused too much shedding for them. So.

    Hope your shedding starts to come down soon. Fingers crossed. My hair is starting to grow in just now, but am still shedding. The retin A dried out my hair follicles. Retin A shrinks the oil gland which is how it works to well with acne problems. It does other things too, like slows cell division I think. Hair cells divide rapiidly. Don't know here, but I do know my hair got kinky, wirey and dry. The new hairs look a bit better overall.

    Keep me posted!

  15. Phil

    Phil Guest

    Hey, I am 28 male and have had a full head of hair up to now. I've been using Retin a micro .1% for acne for 2-3 months. I read that retin a is good for hair loss so I put a bunch of it around the hair line every day too. And now I have just started to notice hair recession at the temples. I had also been strength training pretty intense and increasing my testosterone to very high levels daily as a result.

    I'm pretty sure the high t levels caused the acne which caused me to resort to retin a and now my hair line is receding. My dad's hair line has never receding.

    I'm going to have to quit lifting weights now because I don't want to lose my hair. I look at all of the famous bodybuilders and they are all losing hair to some extent. Sylvester Stalone has had a transplant so he is no exception.

    On the other hand. Endurance athletes like David beckham and guys like Keanu Reeves who don't have large muscles have full heads of hair. I have to quit lifting now and go to cardio boo hoo. :dunno: :thumbsdown:
  16. atlanta girl

    atlanta girl Guest

    They use .0125% strength of retin A in special hair growth preparations. Some say this strength causes them too much shedding! Your .1%, which was the same strength I used, resulted in dramatic hair loss especially at the hairline, bangs and temples. A year after going off I still am losing a lot of hair from my bangs and my hair is stunted in length and quality.
  17. Hi- I have been taking topical Retin A (tazorac-lowest strength) since 10/09. My hair has lost 4-6 inches (oddly, mostly on right side of my head) and a lot of my density. I have naturally curly hair that was really thick and has significantly thinned out. My hair was coming out in clumps weekly in the shower and I had NO IDEA what was causing it. When I asked my dermatologist about it, she recommended that I take a iron supplement (prescription strength) to supplement for low ferritin count. She also recommended other supplements. She never mentioned that it could be the Retin A. I am just learning of this now-after months of losing my hair. People have been asking me if I cut it- when I haven't had it "trimmed" in months. I have lost easily 6 inches. I am So upset and have become somewhat obsessed. I really believe it is the Retin A because nothing else in my life is drastically different. Same job, home, relationship, diet, exercise regimen etc.
    Also, I have had my thyroid tested in the past and it was not that. I am going to see my Primary dr to have my hormones tested since I am 37 yrs old. I was never warned to take retin A in spurts. In fact, my derm recommended to keep taking it since it gets rid of wrinkles. I wasn't using it every day-but I do believe it has gotten into my blood stream and quite possibly my liver.
    I am scared. I am worried that my hair won't grow back. Anyone had this experience? If so, how long did it take for your hair to return including texture?
  18. Bootsie

    Bootsie New Member

    Aug 23, 2011
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    I am a 47 year old woman...very healthy, great blood work, somewhat of a health nut.
    October 2009 - dad dying - suffering terribly - I was under great amount of stress and heartache
    December 2009 - 1st car accident - not concentrating going through horrible family crisis
    January 2010 - 2nd car accident due to lack of concentration.
    February 2010 - dad dies in my arms
    March 2010 - doctor visit - full check up, colonoscopy and requested Retin A topical for overall skin smoothing and minor some acne
    May 2010 - notice massive amount of hair fall in shower. Visit to doctor reveals stress levels warrant hair loss. Told it has to run its course and will return. Hair loss continues all summer and fall as expected.
    January 2011 - visit to dermatologist...hair not getting better - seems to be worse. Was told it was related to my stress and use rogaine. I did not want to use rogaine because i was told I would have to be on it for life and if this was stress related, then it should come back. Told Retin A topical does not cause hair loss.
    March 2011 - ordered Toppik (scalp concealer) from on-line. Hair not getting better.
    April 2011 - Realize hair loss may be Retin A related and not stress induced as doctors say. Maybe a combination of both...wiened off Retin A. By Mid April - no more Retin A.
    May 2011 - by Mid to end of May - hair loss seems stablized. Less fall, may be some regrowth - hard to tell.
    June 2011 - massive hair fall again at end of June. See through top of my head and bangs. Shiny head in spots. Deterined it was from going OFF Retin A.
    Mid August 2011 - Hair in the parts seem to be filling in. Not so shiny. See lots of regrowth. Still see through my bangs and top outside in sunlight, but not so bad when inside anymore. Can feel it getting thicker.
    Conclusion: I came to the conclusion that Retin A was the culprit in my hair loss. I did not take any other medication during this entire time. Stress and car accidents may have contributed to the Retin A or added to the "multiple-trigger" theory which brings on Chronic Telogen Effluvium.
  19. atlanta girl

    atlanta girl Guest

    Wow Bootsie. Sorry for all your strife. Clearly it sounds like retin A was the continuing cause of hair loss, if not the trigger alone. What strength were you taking? I read personal accounts of hair loss from the weakest dose, although my hair loss was from .1 mg. My bangs got very see through from the heavy loss there and on the top of my head, as well as shedding all over. I don't have Androgenetic Alopecia, so it wasn't that, although it kinda looked like that except the stark loss in the bang area. Plus, my hair and scalp got very dry and hairs kinked up from this. Pelli torte hairs too.

    Wishing you a speedy hair return!

  20. Bootsie

    Bootsie New Member

    Aug 23, 2011
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    Hi Atlanta Girl...thank you for posting a reply...
    I was using .1 mg - same as you...every evening - 7 nights a week, then after 5 months I went on 3-4 nights a week. My doctor told me I could use it daily, but not too much. I think I got careless and used too much...not sure. But I do believe you are right...a number of triggers caused my hair loss. I loved using retin a... i had beautiful skin but was going bald so that's not a good thing. My hair is filling in pretty good now...I think it will be another year before it comes back the way is once was. I have been told by my hairdresser, and several doctors that it is not Androgenetic Alopecia...I too sometimes have doubt because the loss is concentrated all on top. I can't part my hair anywhere without seeing lots of scalp. It was once very shiney, but now see shadows of hair. I do feel better these days about the way it is looking. Still have a long way to go. Stopped using the Toppik scalp concealer about 10 days ago and I don't feel so stressed when I look in the mirror anymore. How's your recovery going? I hope you are recovering also.

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