How the Hair Loss Occurs
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 fall off after two or three months and the new hair grows 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.
Ageing or the natural effect growing older is the chief reason for hair loss.
Premature hair greying causes hair fall because the lifeless and weak lead to lead to hair shedding.
Smoking may be a factor associated with age-related hair loss among the men.
Several other reasons for hair loss are listed hereunder.
The mental state characterised by feelings of sadness, despair, and discouragement and psychological reasons of mental processes, including thoughts, feelings and emotions also lead to hair loss.
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 the overall system of growth and repair of the body cells or tissues and the hair is 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 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 minerals like zinc and iron are also responsible for the problem.
The diet rich in animal fats as in fast food and the excessive levels of vitamin A also contribute to hair loss.
The body conserves the protein by signalling 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.
The hair loss caused by anaemia 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.
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 practised 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.
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.
Avoid the use of hair dryer to dry the hair as it heats up the scalp and causes excess sweating which makes 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.
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 for 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.
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.
The hormones are the chemicals produced by different glands in one place but are sent to different parts of the 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.
The contraceptives or birth control pills contain oestrogen 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.
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.
Thyroid gland located at the lower part of the front of neck produces hormones which regulate the 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 becomes thin, falls out, and often changes in texture. But such hair loss due is a treatable temporary condition.
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.
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 caused by infection, virus or drugs. In this case, the hair usually grows back again within two years or so.
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.
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 ageing 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.
The excessive sweating on scalp increases the salinity in hair. It causes dandruff, bad odour 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.
The causes of hair loss are 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 for stress or family history of the patient are also determined.
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 grafting 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 aromatherapy also improve the hair growth. The herbs applied directly to the scalp can restore some hair growth within 6 months.
© 2015 Sanjay Sharma