How the Hair Loss Occurs

Thin Hair
Thin Hair | Source

Reasons for Hair Loss

Generally the average hair growth per month is about half an inch. Up to 90 % of hairs are always found to be actively growing at any time. Whereas the remaining dormant hairs falloff after two or three months and the new hair grow out of their follicles. At this time the other follicles begin their dormant phase and this cycle continues.

On the other hand the hair shedding is different than hair loss. The hair does not grow back in hair shedding, which occurs during grief and stressful events of childbirth, breakup, divorce, shock, etc.

The medical term for hair loss is alopecia and it is not limited to scalp only and may extend to other parts of the body.

Hereditary hair loss called androgenic alopecia or pattern balding or baldness occur in both sexes.

Aging is the natural effect of aging or growing older is the chief reason of hair loss.

Smoking may be a factor associated with age-related hair loss among the men.

Several other reasons for hair loss are listed hereunder.

Psychological Reasons

The mental state characterized by feelings of sadness, despair, and discouragement and psychological reasons of mental processes, including thoughts, feelings and emotions also lead to hair loss.

Avoid Stress

The signs of mental stress appear on hair and skin in the form of hair loss or grey hair and wrinkles respectively. The stress is another fundamental reason for hair loss, grey hair and wrinkles. It is during the stress that the body releases certain hormones which work against overall system of growth and repair of the body cells or tissues and the hair are no exception.

The stress of surgery also causes hair loss, as it induces the body to temporarily stop the nonessential and secondary task of the production of hair.

The healthy foods, including fruit, vegetables, fish and bread
The healthy foods, including fruit, vegetables, fish and bread | Source

Food Habits

The disorders of over dieting or heavy eating like bulimia and anorexia can temporarily stun the hair follicles to stop the growth. On the other hand this situation also occurs from limited intake of biotins, proteins and vitamins. The deficiency of mineral like zinc and iron are also responsible for the problem.

Vitamin A

The diet rich in animal fats as in fast food and the excessive levels of vitamin A also contribute in hair loss.

Proteins

The body conserves the protein by signaling hair to switch to a resting mode during protein deficiency or protein malnutrition. This dormant phase of proteins halts the hair growth and causes hair loss as that caused due to the deficiency of iron. It too could be corrected through diet or supplements.

Iron Deficiency

The hair loss caused by anemia or iron deficiency can take place suddenly or slowly. The situation will aggravate, if the deficiency is not replenished in time. This universal deficiency of iron during menstruation and pregnancy can be corrected through diet or supplements to retard the process of hair loss.

Tight hairstyles put a lot of strain on hair
Tight hairstyles put a lot of strain on hair | Source

Improper Hair Care

Frequent use of chemical treatments like hair dyes, bleaches and tints; and the use of hair formations like hair straighteners, permanent wave solutions, perms etc., can damage the hair. If used and practiced for longer durations these things result in the weakening of the hair and cause hair loss. The improper way of washing, shampooing, brushing, and combing can also harm the hair. This type of hair loss can be permanent depending on the degree of damage.

Hair Styles

Putting too much strain on the hair leads to traction alopecia. The hairstyles that put a lot of stress on hairs and pull them like braids or ponytails that pull the hair can also cause hair loss. The regular use of tight rubber bands, rollers or barrettes and pulling the hair into tight styles as cornrows can inflame or scar the hair follicles and lead to temporary hair loss.

The areas where the hairs are often styled are prone to hair loss. The frequent plucking or waxing the eyebrows can suppress the hair growth in the area.

Hair Dryer

Aroid the use of hair dryer to dry the hair as it heats up the scalp and causes excess sweating which make the hair sticky and lead to hair loss. Sometimes the women tightly tie the hair after washing even when they have not dried, which causes sweating in wet hair and they become sticky.

Prescription Drugs

It is important to confirm from the physician about any impending side effects, as some prescription drugs meant for heart problems, high blood pressure, arthritis, depression etc., may cause hair loss.

The hair follicles also get attacked during chemotherapy along with all the fast-growing cancer cells in the body, and this is one of the most common reasons of hair loss.

The hair loss also occurs due to the drugs for depression, blood thinning, high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, gout or buildup of uric acid, anabolic steroids and chemical treatments of acne etc., cause hair loss. Such losses are temporary and get reversed after the discontinuity of drugs.

Certain Prescription drugs cause hair loss
Certain Prescription drugs cause hair loss | Source

Severe Illness and Surgery

Severe illnesses accompanied by high fever causes the hair cells to shut down and result in temporary hair loss. The health conditions like syphilis, lupus or severe infections may also trigger hair loss.

The hair loss caused by chronic illness is often related to the stress associated with it, but the hairs eventually grow back after the illness.

Hormone Imbalances

The hormones are the chemicals produced by different glands in one place but are sent to different parts of body for specific regulatory effects. All types of hormone imbalances including those in pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, hysterectomy and the hormone replacement therapy induce more hair follicles than normal to enter the dormant phase.

Contraceptives

The contraceptives or birth control pills contain estrogen and may result in a hormonal imbalance in women which can affect both hair growth and hair loss. But it is not a lasting process and the lost hair grows back. Such hair loss can be corrected by switching to another brand of oral contraceptive. Sometimes the hair loss also occurs when certain birth control pills are discontinued.

Di-hydro-testosterone (DHT)

The elevated levels of this testosterone derivative shrink the hair follicles and may stop the production of hair. It may be a genetic factor causing hair loss in the front of the scalp leaving the hair on the back and sides of scalp unaffected.

Contraseptive pills result in hormone imbalance
Contraseptive pills result in hormone imbalance | Source

Thyroid Disease

Thyroid gland located at the lower part of front of neck produces hormones which regulate metabolism of the body for growth, maintenance and energy. The hair cells shut down and the energy is redirected to other parts of the body during hyper and hypo-thyroids. As a result the hair thins, falls out, and often changes in texture. But such hair loss due is a treatable temporary condition.

Ringworm

Besides body, feet, and nails this contagious fungal infection attacks the skin scalp can lead to hair loss or baldness. The problem is temporary and the hairs grow again after the treatment of ringworm.

Immune System

Due to some disturbance immune system, the problem of alopecia areata appears even in children and young adults. It may occur at any age in anyone. Here the immune cells attack the follicles of the body for unknown reasons and the sudden hair loss occurs often in round patches on the scalp which is roughly of the size of a coin or sometimes larger. The hair may sometimes fallout from the whole head and body, including the beard and eyebrows in alopecia areata which is cause by infection, virus or drugs. In this case the hair usually grows back again within two years or so.

Autoimmunity

The condition of rapid body hair loss in alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease which has no cure as the immune system mistakes the healthy cells of the body as invaders and repeatedly attacks them.

A young woman with her hair windswept after sweating
A young woman with her hair windswept after sweating | Source

Pollution

The pressure of unwanted substances in the scalp builds up due to air and water pollutants like certain minerals in water, environmental toxicity, phototoxic effects of sunlight or sunburn and excessive amounts of sebum.

This causes the aging of the scalp and results in the blockage or damage to hair follicles which ultimately leads to hair loss. This situation can physically restrict the growth, damage the hair cuticle, weakens and breaks the hair before its natural lifecycle.

Sweating

The excessive sweating on scalp increases the salinity in hair. It causes dandruff, bad odor and hair loss. So in order to reduce the hair loss caused by sweating, it is better to massage the hair with oil and use hair pack once a week and wash the hair 2-3 times a day after excess sweating.

Diagnosis

To cause of hair loss is determined by medical examinations. The biopsy of a small patch of skin containing the hair follicle is sent to the pathologist to find if it is due to autoimmune diseases like lupus, infections etc. The examination of hair and follicle ascertains the bacterial or fungal infection. The reasons of stress or family history of the patient are also determined.

Possible Treatments

The intake or topical application of chemical drugs and creams available in the markets respectively claim to increase the hair growth, but they may have other side effects.

Hair loss remedies are mild or extreme, natural or synthetic and inexpensive or costly. Much depends on reason or need to mask or replace it.

Anti-inflammatory steroid-based creams or injections can calm follicles damaged or inflamed by harsh chemicals or excessive pulling.

Surgical hair-replacement techniques include grafting, which transplants 1 to 15 hairs per disc-shaped graft from one place to another.

The hair-covered scalp can be stretched to fill in the bald areas in scalp reduction technique where the bald skin is removed from the scalp.

The problems of side effects like swelling, bruising and headaches are associated with scalp surgeries.

Hair-growth laser treatment can stimulate hair follicles and improve growth.

The natural herbal treatments in Indian and Chinese remedies, acupuncture, zinc and vitamin supplements and evening primrose oil and aroma therapy also improve the hair growth. The herbs applied directly to the scalp can restore some hair growth within 6 months.

© 2015 Sanjay Sharma

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6 comments

SANJAY LAKHANPAL profile image

SANJAY LAKHANPAL 14 months ago from Mandi (HP) India Author

Thanks peachpurple for the visit and the comment. You are absolutely right that the intake of MSG causes hair loss.

Don’t be offended as it is for the benefit of the readers, that I am including the effect of MSG on hair loss and overall health in the comment section.

MSG or Monosodium Glutamate is commonly known as sodium glutamate. This sodium salt of glutamic acid is one of the most abundantly occurring natural non-essential amino acid which is chemically converted into food additive to increase the flavor.

It is the most popular flavor in the world and is used in several cooked foods, packaged foods, fast foods, Chinese foods, canned foods, canned vegetables, snacks, soups, dried soups, processed meats, frozen foods etc.

It causes obesity and the loss of appetite due to hypothalamus or brain damage. It creates an unending urge to eat and causes resistance to leptene hormone which controls eating and the satisfaction of eating.

It also causes chronic inflammation like autoimmune diseases, liver damage, liver inflammation, liver lesions, liver cancer and type II diabetes. The immune cells attack hair follicles and the hair loss occurs. (Please refer to the section of autoimmunity in the above article.)

As an exotoxin it supercharges the sense of taste by fooling the brain to over produce dopamine and creates a drug-like effect. So it is highly addictive, destroys the brain and leads to overeating and obesity which causes the hair follicles to stop the growth of hair.

It stimulates the brain and creates a repetitive response to cheap ingredients, popular brands and their byproducts. The producers never mention it in labels and are unwilling to remove it from the products, as there will be no buyers and the quality improvement will increase the production cost and decrease the profits.

It is also contained in the processed food for children. The child brain is four times more sensitive than adults and it can destroy their brain cells leading to hyperactivity, reduced intelligence and hair loss.

So it is always better to buy whole foods and cook at home.


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 14 months ago from Home Sweet Home

chinese people believed that consuming too much MSG will caused hair fall


SANJAY LAKHANPAL profile image

SANJAY LAKHANPAL 18 months ago from Mandi (HP) India Author

Thanks ocfireflies for the visit. My father and grandfather had dense hair but my hair are not so. It may be due to environmental factors and eating habits.


SANJAY LAKHANPAL profile image

SANJAY LAKHANPAL 18 months ago from Mandi (HP) India Author

You are welcome and thanks for the visit aviannovice. It is well said that prevention is better than cure.


ocfireflies profile image

ocfireflies 18 months ago from North Carolina

Sanjay,

Very interesting and nicely organized. I am surprised I have any hair left--from lifetime of worrying about anything and everything--smiles--I think I must be lucky and inherited my dad's "hair" gene for not only do I share the same cowlick, I also have a thick head of hair. My dad will turn 79 soon and still has a very thick head of hair--which, by the way, he is incredibly proud of--Voted Up for sure.

Blessings,

Kim


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 18 months ago from Stillwater, OK

I knew about some of these hair loss problems, but not all of them. Thanks for the concise and priceless information on how to maintain hair health.

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