Losing hair may be natural, when it happens to around 100 strands of hair in a day. However, many of us face far more hair fall normal. There are many causes for this, and generally, we tend to ignore them until they become serious with apparent hair loss prominent on the scalp, which is displeasing and ruining our looks Let us understand these causes and reasons of hair fall.
What Are The Causes Of Hair Fall In Men And Women?
Hair loss or alopecia has been a cause of concern for many people 18-40 years of age. Therefore, it is important to address the condition, before it causes permanent baldness. Many of the common causes can be treated effectively with advanced medico-esthetic procedures. In addition, the lost hair can even be restored and re-grown naturally and permanently.
What Are The Medical Causes Of Hair Loss?
- Genetic Hair Loss – Pattern baldness in men and women is known as androgenetic alopecia. It usually affects the top portion of scalp, which results in thinning and receding hairline, hair loss at crown and temple; also leading to partial baldness. Male pattern hair loss is caused due to genetics and a male hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) while causes of female androgenetic alopecia are yet not known.
- Diffuse Hair Loss – It is a hair condition which leads to reduction of hair volume and excessive hair shedding. This is a temporary hair loss that occurs due to diffuse shedding of hair in resting phase when the body experiences a shock. When such a thing happens, an individual tends to lose nearly 100-125 hair per day. Due to this, nearly 70% of active hair also known as anagen hair gets into the zone of resting known as telogen phase, which results in a sizeable quantity of hair being pushed out of the scalp.
- Autoimmune Disorders – This occurs when the body itself attacks and destroys healthy body tissues. This may occur in people with certain genes, which makes them prone to such kinds of autoimmune disorders.
- Alopecia Areata – It is a systemic autoimmune disorder and an acquired skin disease which affects all areas of hair on the body as disturbed immune system of the body causes destruction of the anagen hair follicles. Clinical methods like trichoscopy can done by an expert dermato-trichologist, to diagnose the condition. Alopecia areata occurs equally in both males and females.
- Lupus – It is an inflammatory disease which causes thinning of hair on scalp. In addition to the scalp, loss of hair from eyebrow, eyelash, beard and body hair also occurs. Lupus must be treated first to prevent hair fall.
- Hashimoto Disease – It is also an autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks your thyroid glands. Too much or too little thyroid hormone both can result in hair loss. Too little thyroid hormone in the body causes improper digestion of the necessary proteins for hair growth.
- Hormonal Disorders – Hormones are the most crucial chemicals in our body and any disorder in them can cause several ailments. Hormonal fluctuations usually occur during menopause, perimenopause, PCOS, endocrine and thyroid problems.
- Thyroid – Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can result in hair loss. It is more diffuse kind of hair fall due to thyroid problems. Usually the hair grows back after thyroid problem is treated.
- Oestrogen – Too much of this hormone can cause hair thinning. Especially during and post pregnancy, this hormone surges in the body thus causing hair loss.
- DHT – Excess of DHT in the hair follicle causes hair loss. It is triggered by excess of hormone testosterone in the body, or reduced progesterone hormone in the body, as both these cases lead to DHT surge.
- PCOS – Polycystic ovarian syndrome can cause hyperandrogenism where the body begins to produce too many androgens which are the male hormones. Sometimes the hair follicles are too sensitive to androgens thus, it reduces the hair growth on scalp.
- Scalp infection – There are certain scalp infections which trigger hair thinning and result in hair loss eventually. These include
- Psoriasis – It is a condition where the skin cells turn red, scaly and silver patches grow, which are due to the immune system of the body and begin to form plaques on the skin surface. When this condition affects the scalp, it results in temporary hair loss.
- Ring Worms – It is a fungal infection that causes hair loss when it occurs on the scalp.
- Folliculitis – It causes the inflammation of hair follicles that causes the hair to fall. In severe cases of folliculitis the hair follicles are destroyed permanently resulting in hair loss.
- Seborrheic Dermatitis – It is also an inflammatory condition which causes the skin to become oily too. Androgen steroids can trigger them and they result in excess sebum and yeast infection thus causing scalp skin irritation and pain.
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Other Medical Reasons
- Chemotherapy – It is the process to slow down cancer cells in the body. Since the drugs in chemotherapy attack cells in the body like cancer cells, they even kill hair follicle cells thus causing hair loss. However, it may not be a permanent situation as hair grows back after 3-6 months post chemotherapy.
- Hair Loss Due To Drugs – Certain kinds of medications can cause hair loss in some people. These kinds of alopecia include anagen effluvium that affects the hair in growth phase and telogen effluvium that affects hair in rest phase or bulb hair. Some anti-coagulants, oral contraceptive pills, anti-hypertensive, NSAID’s and anti-depressants can trigger hair loss due to telogen effluvium.
- Diabetes – People with diabetes are more prone to alopecia areata, where the body’s immune system attacks hair follicles and causes patchy hair loss not just on scalp but other parts of the body too.
* These conditions are common to both men and women.
Other Causes Of Hair Loss
- Stress And Anxiety – Both physical and emotional stress can cause hair loss. Conditions like trichotillomania, excessive hair styling, tight tying and also emotional stress can all result in hair fall.
Trichotillomania is a psychological condition, where a person impulsively pulls his or her own hair out. This gives them some sort of relief. With emotional stress comes hormonal disorders which increase inflammation of hair follicles.
- Poor Nutrition – Unbalanced diet with inadequate vitamins, proteins, iron and minerals can cause hair loss. Therefore, it is important to consume adequate essential nutrients to ensure nourished and healthy hair. Vitamin A overdose can also result in hair loss.
- Sudden Weight Loss – Telogen effluvium generally causes this condition. Physical and emotional stress due to weight loss can result in more than usual hair to go into rest phase and eventually fall out quickly.
- Anabolic Steroids – They trigger hair loss in those who are prone to pattern hair baldness, as steroids accelerate the levels of DHT in the body.
- Smoking – Smoking can cause hair loss by reducing circulation, polluting the blood and eventually the liver. However, smoking may not be the primary cause of hair loss, but nicotine in cigarette triggers hair loss.
- Over Use Of Chemical Products – Though they may not be the primary cause of your hair loss but in the long run, overuse of harsh chemicals causes infections and damage to hair follicles resulting in certain kinds of hair loss.
* These conditions are common to both men and women.
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Can You Prevent Hair Loss?
Hair loss can be prevented and reversed if the root cause is determined and timely treatment is pursued, in most cases. Generally, if the hair follicles are not damaged completely the hair can be restored completely. However, there are several factors that must be diagnosed and evaluated to determine the possibility of restoring and re-growing the lost hair.
What Are The Treatments Available?
Both clinical treatments and topical solutions can be used to bring back the lost hair, however this must be determined by an expert dermatologist. Some treatments which can help in preventing and treating hair loss include
- PRP for Hair Loss – Platelet rich plasma is a safe and effective solution for hair loss and hair thinning; especially receding hairline, crown hair loss, temple hair loss and pattern baldness. Your own blood is extracted and activated then injected back into the scalp to stimulate growth factors which help in natural hair regrowth and restoration
- Hair Transplant – It is used to grow hair on the permanently bald areas by surgically placing patches of hair, removed from hairy areas. Implanting hair follicles into the bald sections thus helps in triggering hair growth
- Topical Solutions – Pattern baldness can be treated with topical solutions like minoxidil and finasteride. These are USFDA approved to treat hair loss and can be prescribed by your dermatologist in combination with the above treatment to improve efficacy of the procedures.
It is better to consult a dermatologist as soon as you see considerable hair loss, otherwise it can result in permanent baldness. Dermato-trichologists will help us diagnose the reasons that are leading up to the loss of hair from your scalp.