Hair Loss: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention

Hair loss, also known as alopecia or baldness, refers to a loss of hair from part of the head or body.  Hair is made up of a protein called keratin that is produced in hair follicles in the outer layer of skin. As follicles produce new hair cells, old cells are being pushed out through the surface of the skin at the rate of about six inches a year.
Each follicle has its own life cycle that can be influenced by age, disease, and a wide variety of other factors.

Baldness 

Baldness is the partial or complete lack of hair growth, and part of the wider topic of “hair thinning”. The degree and pattern of baldness varies, but its most common cause is androgenic hair loss and alopecia androgenetica or areatais.



Alopecia areatais

a form of hair loss produced by the autoimmune destruction of hair follicles in localized areas of skin. A common condition, alopecia areata usually starts as a single quarter-sized circle of perfectly smooth bald skin. These patches usually regrow in three to six months without treatment.
Androgenetica hair loss is seen in both men and women but is more dramatic in men.

Causes Of Hair Loss

Patchy Hair Loss   Some conditions produce small areas of hair loss, while others affect large areas of the scalp. Common causes of patchy hair loss are:

*.Alopecia areata (small circular or coin size patches of scalp baldness that usually grow back within months),

*.Traction alopecia (thinning from tight braids or ponytails),who pull on their hair with excessive force. In addition, rigorous brushing and heat styling, rough scalp massage can damage the cuticle, the hard outer casing of the hair. This causes individual strands to become weak and break off, reducing overall hair volume.

*.Trichotillomania (the habit of twisting or pulling hair out), Onset of this disorder tends to begin around the onset of puberty and usually continues through adulthood. Due to the constant extraction of the hair roots, permanent hair loss can occur.

Tinea capitis (fungal infection), Tinea capitis is more common in black African or African-American scalps, Baldspots usually show broken-off hairs and is accompanied by a dermatitis. Sharing hats or combs and brushes may transmit tinea capitis.


Drugs   Temporary or permanent hair loss can be caused by several medications, including those forblood pressure problems, diabetes, heart disease and cholesterol. Any that affect the body’s hormone balance can have a pronounced effect: these include the contraceptive pill, hormone replacement therapy, steroids and acne medications.

Medications (side effects from drugs, including chemotherapy,anabolic steroids, and birth control pills can causes hair loss.

What Is Telogen Effluvium?

Under normal conditions, scalp hairs live for about three years (the anagen, or growing, phase); they then enter the telogen, or resting, phase, then the hair falls out. It is therefore normal to lose about 100 hairs every day, more of them on days when shampooing loosens the hairs that are ready to fall out. The hairs are then replaced by the body.

when the hair falls out, it’s all over the place — covering the pillow, clogging the drain, and so forth.(Moreover, it can happen after one pregnancy, but not the next) Paradoxically, the more dramatic the hair loss, the better the prognosis, because when the body gets back into normal rhythm, most if not all of that hair comes back; these people need no special treatment.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy is one example of the type of physical stress that can cause hair loss (that and hormones). Pregnancy-related hair loss is seen more commonly after your baby hasbeen delivered rather than actually during pregnancy.

What is androgenetic or androgenic alopecia (“male-pattern baldness,””female-pattern baldness”)?

This type of alopecia is often attributed to genetic predisposition and family history. Androgenic alopecia is seen in both men and women. The hair loss in men is often faster, earlier onset, and more extensive. Doctors refer to common baldness as “androgenetic alopecia” or “androgenic alopecia,” which implies that a combination of hormones and heredity (genetics) is needed to develop the condition. The exactcause of this pattern is unknown. (The male hormones involved are present in both men and women.)

Other Causes Of Hair Loss Include:

An unhealthy scalp environment can play a significant role in hair thinning by contributing to miniaturization or causing damage. Air and water pollutants, environmental toxins, conventional styling products and excessive amounts of sebum have the potential to build up on the scalp. This debris can block hair follicles and cause their deterioration and consequent miniaturization of hair. It can also physically restrict hair growth or damage the hair cuticle, leading to hair that is weakened and easily broken off before its natural lifecycle has ended.

Stress And Hair Loss

Both emotional and physical stress (such as a serious illness or recovery from surgery) have been associated with hair loss. It is possible that stress induces hormonal changes that are responsible for hair loss. Hair has a programmed life cycle: a growth phase, rest phase and shedding phase. “When you have a really stressful event, it can shock the hair cycle, (pushing) more hair into the shedding phase.



How Hair Thinning And Baldness Can Affect Us Emotionally


Psychological Stress

Hair thinning and baldness cause psychological stress due to their effect on appearance. Although society interest in appearance has a long history, this particular branch of psychology came into its own during the 1960s and has gained momentum as messages associating physical attractiveness with success and happiness grow more prevalent. The psychology of hair thinning is a complex issue. Hair is considered an essential part of overall identity: especially for women, for whom it often represents femininity and attractiveness. Men typically associate a full head of hair with youth and vigor. Although they may be aware of pattern baldness in their family, many are uncomfortable talking about the issue.

Hair thinning is a sensitive issue for both sexes. For sufferers, it can represent a loss of control and feelings of isolation. People experiencing hair thinning often find themselves in a situation where their physical appearance is at odds with their ownself-image and commonly worry that they appear older than they are or less attractive to others. Psychological problems due to baldness, if present, are typically most severe at the onset of symptoms.

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