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At Home Tips For Alopecia (Hair Loss and Balding)

Updated on November 12, 2012
Tigi Shampoo and Conditioner bundle.
Tigi Shampoo and Conditioner bundle. | Source

An Introduction To Alopecia (Hair Loss)

Alopecia, or hair loss, has four main categories. You may think that hair loss is just when you notice extra hair coming out but each category has it's own patterns, causes, treatments and predictions. The four main types are:

  • Male-Pattern Baldness: this is the most common type of hair loss effect 6.5 million men in the UK alone. It normally starts with a little thinning and then progresses so that more of the scalp is visible.
  • Telogen Effluvium Hair Loss: this is the second most common type of hair loss and occurs when there are more hair follicles that are "resting" compared to those growing new hair fibers. This condition will have a waxing and waning effect appearance.
  • Alopecia Areata: occurs when patches of hair fall out of the scalp and sometimes the beard with men. Not much is known about this type but it is thought to be an autoimmune condition. In some patients hair does grow back after time and certain treatments.
  • Androgenetic Alopecia: also known as female-pattern baldness and it occurs with thinning hair all over the scalp. This is normally caused by stress or a hormonal imbalance.

The main type of hair loss I will be focusing in on is Androgenetic Alopecia, however, the information provided is a good foundation for the other categories too.

A Personal Question

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What Causes Hair Loss

Hair loss can be torturous but thankfully it's normally reversible, or at least you can slow it with good habits and gentle shampoos. There can be many causes of hair loss and I'm going to make you aware of the Top 5 Causes of Hair Loss.

  1. Stress
  2. Illnesses and Medications
  3. Poor Diet
  4. Bad Choice in Hair Products
  5. Poor Hair Hygiene

Symptoms of Hair Loss

Loosing your hair can happen gradually or you can notice a big change in the health of your hair in a short period. If it's happening over time you will gradually notice more hair coming out when brushing or washing it and a slower growth rate. If it's a case where it has happened suddenly you might find that clumps of hair are falling out and that your hair has become brittle and breaks easily; there may or may not be new re-growth.

The main symptoms of hair loss are

  • More strands of hair coming out when brushing or washing
  • Clumps of hair falling out
  • Slow or little new growth of hair
  • Thinning or bald spots
  • Brittle and damaged hair strands
  • Scalp pain and ulcers if there is an underlying cause

I shall now go through the Top 5 causes of hair loss and explain what you can do to prevent hair loss from them.

Stress

Stress can create plenty of problems in our life and hair loss is a common side effect for a lot of people. Stress can come from many different forms so it is important to access all aspects of your life.

Work

Do you find yourself getting short-tempered and agitated at work or perhaps can't stand you boss at the moment? There might be other things that are causing stress at work but you must sit down and find out what the triggers are so that you can stop it.

Make a list of things that are troubling you at work and then try and write at least two ways of resolving the problem and keeping it resolved that way it wont be a stressor any more. In the mean time be sure to take frequent breaks and get outside for some exercise now and again, the fresh air will do you some good.

Sleep

By not getting enough sleep your body automatically gets stressed. The body uses your sleep time to organize the information that it has learned and processed today as well as healing itself from any injuries or anything that needs renewing. Your body needs its 7-9 hours a night just to do these things and if you're not getting it then you're cheating yourself out of valuable time.

Set yourself a regular bed-time schedule and stick to it. Getting up and going to bed on time will be tough for the first week but stick with it and after a couple of weeks you'll be feeling better and your hair will be looking better too. Try turning off the computer and tv 1/2-1 hour before bed-time and have a bath or read a book, just something relaxing to wind down from a hard day.

Home

If you've got kids or a stressful home life then of course you're not going to feel well at times. It's important to resolve any conflict or problems there might be in the home and to set some time aside just for yourself.

With kids get a baby sitter once a week (or however often you can afford) to look after the kids so that you and your significant other can spend some quality time together. Another option is to get the other half to look after them so that you can have some "me" time, go to the gym, go to the spar or even just a bath so that you can relax and look after yourself.


Illnesses and Medications

Loosing your hair can be a symptom of illness so if it is new for you then get it checked out by your doctor. Changes in your health (if you're already poorly) can make hair loss worse so you should get any changes checked out by your doctor too.

Medications can have lots of nasty side effects and hair loss is one of them. For example, I am on Clexane injections for my blood clot and tramadol for the pain but both of them have hair loss as a side effect. I've been to see the doctor but unfortunately there are no other medications that I can take at the moment until my condition improves so I have to try other ways to keep my hair. It is vital to seek out your doctor's opinion though incase there are other options.

Poor Diet

Hair needs vitamins and minerals to grow and your body gets that from a healthy diet. Hair loss can occur if you're eating a diet of fast food, candy and soda: the body cannot function properly by eating this way.

Make sure you're giving your body all the elements it needs by eating

  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Protein
  • Good fats from oil and nuts
  • Whole grains

A few weeks of heathy eating and you'll not only have more energy but your hair will be looking amazing.

Bad Choice in Hair Products

Hair is fragile and can easily be damaged and if you're caking it in products day in and out then your hair will eventually begin to fall out. Sure, use products responsibly like shampoo and conditioner that's suitable for your hair, light hairspray to hold in place and some protection for when you blow dry your hair just don't coat it in gel, creams and other things it doesn't need.

Hair needs time out just like the rest of your body so if possible wash your hair and condition every other day, use as few products as you can, and lightly brush your hair to avoid damage.

Poor Hair Hygiene

Poor hair hygiene can be a major cause of hair loss just by itself. Try not to let your hair get greasy as this can make it heavy and pull on the scalp causing pain, itchiness, and ulcers. Wash your hair and condition every other day to keep it clean.

Don't pull your hair back into a tight bun or ponytail as this puts pressure on the scalp and hair leading to damage and irritation. If you need to put your hair up use soft hair bands and always give your hair some space to move around; loose braids and loose ponytails are good ideas.

Summary of Restoring Hair

So those are the main factors that can contribute to hair loss (besides genetics). To summarize:

  • Remove as much stress from your life as you can
  • Get more sleep
  • Take time out for yourself
  • Check your medicines
  • Report any changes in health to your doctor
  • Eat a proper diet
  • Use as few hair products as possible
  • Wash and condition your hair every other day
  • Brush lightly to avoid damage

By following these tips you can reduce your hair loss to a manageable state.

Below is a review of my favorite shampoo and conditioner that has brought my hair back to life and helps to slow down my hair loss.

Do you have any other tips or useful pieces of information? Please share them in the comments so that we can all benefit.

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    • Bobski606 profile image
      Author

      Bobby 5 years ago from U.K

      Thanks stayingalivemoma. Any advice that you can share on hair loss would be greatly appreciated, it's something that's never happened to me before and I want to reverse it as soon as possible.

    • stayingalivemoma profile image

      Valerie Washington 5 years ago from Tempe, Arizona

      I think your article and suggestions are laid out beautifully. I've written so many articles on eLance about hair loss that I think I could probably teach a class about it! lol...anyway, great job, voted up and useful!