Nature and society dictate that a person should have a head full of healthy hair which is no surprise that hair loss brings about a heightened level of insecurity in so many. People consider their hair as their crowning glory and this is the very reason why, every year, manufacturers come up with supposed solutions while consumers spend millions of dollars in products that promise to treat baldness.
Under normal circumstances, an individual only loses up to a hundred strands of hair each day yet there are individuals that suffer from excessive hair loss which easily result into bald patches or complete hairlessness. The medical term that is used to refer to this condition is alopecia.
Loss of hair can be caused by various reasons including fungal infection, damaging the hair follicles or shaft – even having a bald grandfather can cause it, too. There is a handful of factors that can bring about hair loss but here are its different types –
Involutional alopecia: This is what’s known as natural hair loss where a person’s hair eventually thins as he ages. This happens when more follicles are shed at a quicker rate, with each one going to the Telogen phase (resting phase). The remaining hairs, on the other hand, become fewer and shorter in length.
Androgenetic alopecia: Also known as pattern alopecia, male-pattern baldness or female-pattern baldness; this is the most common kind of progressive hair loss. It affects approximately 50% of men aged 50 and beyond and 50% of women aged 65 and above.
A combination of hormonal and genetic factors comprise this type of alopecia. DHT or dihydrotestosterone is the chief hormone that causes hair thinning and shortening in these cases, until the follicles simply stop producing hairs.
Those who suffer from this type could suffer from the early signs such as a receding hairline or a thinning crown during their teenage years or when in their 20s.
Alopecia areata: While many initially purported that the cause for alopecia areata is unknown, studies made by The University of Maryland, the North American Hair Research Society, to name a few; show that this happens when the immune system attacks hair follicles by mistake resulting into massive hairfall. Before long, the hair on one’s head thins and patches start to appear.
Alopecia areata may be developed in males and females across different ethnicities and ages. In fact, it is wrong to presume that only the hair on one’s scalp can be affected as any body part that has hair can develop this condition. When left untreated, it could lead to alopecia totalis or complete baldness.
Alopecia universalis: If you are suffering from total hair loss where your eyelashes, eyebrows and pubic hair fall out then you are suffering from alopecia universalis. This is the most severe type of alopecia.
Trichotillomania: This is the so-called hair-pulling disorder which is an abnormal mental condition. Hairs from the scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes are often pulled out by patients who suffer from this impulse control disorder. When diagnosed with this, it is best for the patient or his family to immediately seek medical help.
Telogen effluvium and other types of effluvium: A person with TE undergoes body changes or shock which push the hairs to their telogen phase. About 30% of hairs have impeded growth during this phase until they eventually fall out. Under this condition, instead of a hundred hairs, you may lose 300 hairs daily.
Surgery, psychological stress, drastic weight loss and sudden hormonal changes are just some of the events that can trigger TE. The great news is, it is just a temporary condition.
How to Cure Hair Loss
There is no known cure for hair loss but there are many kinds of treatment. If you want to know how to cure hair loss, then make sure to get in touch with your doctor. He is the best medical professional that can provide correct diagnosis and treatment.
Hair Loss Causes – How Many Are There?
There is a wide spectrum of factors which can contribute to excessive hairfall. It can be anything from medications, a medical condition or genetics. Also, hair loss causes in men could be different from those in women or children. Here are the widely accepted causes –
- Hormones – having high levels of androgen can cause hair loss.
- Stress – Women who are giving birth are considered to be under a certain level of stress. Men, well, just driving to work could spell stress for most of them.
- Illnesses and medical conditions – fungal infections such as ringworm can bring about the loss of hair and so can iron deficiency, lupus, diabetes, anemia and thyroid disease.
- Drugs – birth control pills, medications that control blood pressure, and chemotherapy drugs for the treatment of cancer can also cause temporary hair loss.
- Overuse of cosmetics – shampooing more often, perming, coloring and bleaching can all take their toll on a person’s hair. Eventually, overdoing these as well as the frequent use hot curlers and rollers could all lead to hair loss.
- Diet – if your daily menu lacks protein and calories, then you are also likely to suffer from temporary hair loss. If, however, you have too much Vitamin A in your body, then hair loss may also ensue.
- Injuries and burns – naturally, a burnt or injured area becomes hairless.
- Autoimmune disease – with the immune system spiked, it can attack and eventually affect the skin, hair follicles and the hairs on a patient’s body.
Hair Loss in Men
Wearing baseball caps, combing, and styling cannot cause hair loss in men – believing that they can is but a myth. Do you need a reason to go cold turkey? If not, you may want to reconsider if you are already suffering from hair loss. Male-pattern baldness has been observed to worsen more quickly among smokers so better resort to vaping. Also, the overproduction of DHT and aging are to blame.
Hair Loss in Women
Most women suffer from excessive hairfall after they give birth. Just like in men, the overproduction of DHT and aging can also bring about hair loss in the female population. Other probable causes include menopause, pregnancy, taking medications, and taking birth control pills.
Women also love to change their hairstyles so it is easy to suffer from hair loss after improper hair care. In essence, the things that make them beautiful could also bring about their much dreaded hair loss.
Nutrition deficiency due to dieting is also a known cause of hair loss in women.
Hair Loss Products: To Buy or Not to Buy
The market for hair loss products is so vast that there are hordes of brands, bottle sizes and pseudo-scientific jargons to select from these days. It is difficult to make a complete list of all these products without feeling nauseated.
Hair loss products for men: Some of the leading names that are now enjoying a big market share are Regaine for Men (slows down hair loss while stimulating hair growth); Nanogen Serum (a plant derived hair grower); and Alpecin shampoos (can strengthen the hair roots while keeping the color of your hair).
Hair loss products for women: Women trust products such as Regaine for Women (has been observed to stimulate hair growth in just four weeks); Nourkrin Woman Hair Nutrition (contains Marilex*, a marine-based protein compound); and Rogain Foam which contains Minoxidil (comes in varying strengths which all target progressive baldness).
Among these products, Provillus is 2013’s Top Consumer Reviews’ leading regrowth and hair loss prevention product. It is FDA-approved which makes it trustworthy in the sight of many buyers.
Hair Loss Treatment – Surgery or Natural Method?
With zero cures, only treatments, what sort of healing do you think you should undertake? There are many sorts of hair loss treatment that can be applied to stimulate hair growth. If regrowth is not possible, the treatment should, at least, be able to decrease the rate of hair loss.
Most treatments are cosmetic and the ones that you use depend on the alopecia type that you have. For instance, hair can grow back in the case of temporary hair loss patients – even without treatment. For the rest, treatment is essential.
Drug therapies: The use of prescription drugs to solve hair loss means you have to use them indefinitely. Hairfall will, inevitably, occur once you stop using the prescribed drugs.
Here’s a word of caution prior to resorting to drug therapy – consult your doctor. Your health care specialist will also be able to monitor any side effects that come with the use of any of the following –
- Finasteride (Propecia) is often used to treat male-pattern baldness. Taken in its pill form, it is known to significantly slow down hair loss and it may even allow the growth of new hair.
Known side effects for Finasteride are diminished sexual function and a decrease in libido.
- Minoxidil (Rogaine) comes in foam and liquid forms. This is used by rubbing onto the affected scalp twice each day. It could take up to 12 weeks before you can see new hairs growing. Rogaine comes in 2% and 5% solutions.
Scalp reduction: This is a procedure that requires the removal of bald skin from your head and closing the space created with the use of scalp that still has hair. One reduction method called “flap” can also be used by folding skin with hair over the bald spot.
Surgery: Surgical procedure is often recommended to persons that have permanent hair loss. Hair transplants are procedures that facilitate the removal of small plugs of your skin which still have hairs in them. These are then implanted to bald spots. You may need several sessions to complete this kind of therapy.
Do not get the notion that surgical procedures are free from pain. They are not just expensive, they can also be excruciating. Scarring and infection can also result from such procedures so you should prepare physically and emotionally.
Laser hair loss treatment: A lot of hair loss patients attest to the effectiveness of laser hair loss treatment. This doctor-directed, cosmetic program is a pain-free treatment that makes use of therapeutic soft light lasers. This light energy is administered directly using 110-185 laser diodes which stimulate the normal metabolism of cells.
Wigs, weaves and other hairpieces: An alternative treatment for hair loss is the use of wigs or any hairpiece. In essence, these are used to cover temporary or even permanent hair loss. There are now a lot of natural-looking weaves and wigs in the market. Take the time to search online or to ask some hair salons on how you can buy one.
Alternative therapies: Nutrition and supplements fall under this category. Here, nutrients such as biotin, zinc and trace minerals are used to treat hair loss. Eat a lot of lettuce, tomatoes and carrots if you want to improve your hair loss prevention diet.
Saw palmetto and beta-sitosterol have also been observed to improve male pattern baldness. A study that was conducted proved that men who took these two had real hair growth as opposed to those who only took placebos. Talk to your doctor prior to taking this combination especially when you are undergoing hormone therapy. Taking blood thinners together with saw palmetto may increase your risk of bleeding.
When it comes to aromatherapy or the use of essential oils, these have been proven effective by one study. Just massage your scalp with a mixture of thyme, rosemary, lavender and cedar wood and jojoba or grape seed oil. Put in 3-6 drops of these essential oils to a tablespoon of grape seed or jojoba oil.
Daily scalp massage is required.
How to Prevent Hair Loss
Time and again, it has been said – prevention is better than cure. Yet aging, genetics, the environment and many other factors are things that you do not have control over so what are the most efficient preventive measures to undertake when it comes to hair loss?
Here are the 5 hottest tips on how to prevent hair loss once and for all –
- Manage stress. Stress is one of the most significant contributors in hair loss as it triggers the hairs to go to Telogen phase. As a result, massive hairfall is experienced in just a short period of time so, take it easy and meditate if you must.
- Eat foods that have vitamins for hair loss and do not forget to stock up on protein-rich foods such as fish, lean meat, soya and poultry products. Fish provides Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, two nutrients that have been observed to prevent hair loss in patients who are undergoing chemotherapy. Eat fish and you get to keep your hair!
Consume nutrient rich foods especially those that contain B complex vitamins, Inositol, and iron. These vitamins for hair loss are renown for keeping both hair and nails healthy and strong. Inositol induces hair growth while iron prevents hairfall.
- Avoid prescription drugs that induce hair loss. Ask your physician for alternative medications if you have been told to take blood thinners, psychiatric or arthritic drugs.
- Shampoo your hair regularly but do not overdo it. Remember that dirt and oil do not just also cause fungal growth such as dandruff, they can also cause hair loss.
- Exercise relieves stress and improves blood circulation. Sweating out can also help you flush out impurities from your skin surface so go out, jog, swim, bike around the park or simply walk – and you might just end up holding on to your head full of hair!
- University of MarylandMedicalCenter http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/alopecia#ixzz2WnzXN7Re
- American Hair Loss Association http://www.americanhairloss.org/types_of_hair_loss/introduction.asp
- WebMD http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/understanding-hair-loss-basics
- Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hair-loss/DS00278/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs