It is normal to lose between 50-100 hairs a day, this is part
of the hair renewal process. However most people suffer from
excessive hair loss at one time in their life. There are many
reasons for this including medication, radiation, chemotherapy,
exposure to chemicals, hormonal and nutritional factors, thyroid
disease, generalized or local skin disease, and stress.
of these causes are temporary and a few are permanent. These
are some of the more common reason for hair loss.
hormones both stimulate hair growth and cause hair loss, hormonal
changes by far have the biggest impact on hair loss. These can
affect both men and women in the following ways:
This is the most common cause of thinning and affects both men
and women. Men generally have hair loss concentrated in a specific
pattern from the front through to the crown. Women tend to have
thinning throughout their head without being in any specific
pattern. This type of hair loss is caused by the androgen DHT,
or Dihydrotestosterone. Since everyone has DHT that is produced
by their bodies and only some people suffer from hair loss there
has to be another factor involved. This other factor is having
follicles that have a greater number of Androgen receptors for
the DHT to attach to. This is the component that is inherited
through the genes. To date the most effective preventative treatments
are anti androgens, drugs that prevent the creation of DHT.
In the future gene therapy will one day be able to alter the
genes to prevent the follicles from being affected by DHT.
After pregnancy many women experience a loss of hair, this is
caused many hair simultaneously entering the resting (telogen)
phase. Within two to three months after giving birth, some women
will notice large amounts of hair coming out in their brushes
and combs. This can last one to six months, but resolves completely
in most cases. This condition is caused by the hormonal changes
that take place after a woman's body recovers from her pregnancy.
Women who have a genetic predisposition to suffer from Androgenic
Alopecia can have it occur at a much younger age by taking birth
control pills. The hormonal changes that occur trigger the onset
of the Androgenic Alopecia. If a woman has a history of female
pattern loss in her family she should advise her doctor before
going on the pill. After the discontinuation of the pill the
woman may notice that her hair begins shedding two or three
months later. This may continue for six months when it usually
stops. In some cases the process cannot be reversed and the
woman may not regrow some of the hair that was lost.
the follicle is a very sensitive it does respond to imbalances
in the body. Most hair loss causes by disease or illness is
temporary and resolves itself after the body has returned to
a healthy condition.
fever, severe infection, severe flu
Sometimes one to three months after a high fever, severe infection
or flu, a person may experience hair loss, this
is usually temporary and corrects itself.
Both an overactive thyroid and an underactive thyroid can cause
hair loss. Thyroid disease can be diagnosed by your physician
with laboratory tests. Hair loss associated with thyroid disease
can be reversed with proper treatment.
Some people who go on low protein diets, or have severely abnormal
eating habits, may develop protein malnutrition. To help save
protein the body shifts growing hair into the resting phase.
If this happens massive amounts of hair shedding can occur two
to three months later. A sign of this is if the hair can be
pulled out by the roots fairly easily. This condition can be
reversed and prevented by eating the proper amount of protein.
Its very important when dieting to maintain an adequate protein
Some prescription drugs may cause temporary hair shedding in
a small percentage of people. Examples of such drugs include
some of the medicines used for the following: gout, arthritis,
depression, heart problems, high blood pressure, or blood thinner.
High doses of vitamin A may also cause hair shedding.
Chemotherapy and radiation treatment will cause hair loss because
it stops hair cells from dividing. Hairs become thin and break
off as they exit the scalp. This occurs one to three weeks after
the treatment. Patients can lose up to 90 percent of their scalp
hair. The hair will regrow after treatment ends and patients
may want to get wigs before treatment. There are some drugs
in development to help prevent this hair loss from occurring.
Iron deficiency occasionally produces hair loss. Some people
don't have enough iron in their diets or may not fully absorb
iron in their diets. Women who have heavy menstrual periods
may develop iron deficiency. Low iron can be detected by laboratory
tests and can be corrected by taking iron pills.
Anyone who has a major operation - a tremendous shock to the
system - may notice increased hair shedding within one to three
months afterwards. The condition reverses itself within a few
months but people who have a severe chronic illness may shed
hair indefinitely. A relatively unknown fact is that hair transplantation
surgery can actually cause additional hair loss or "shock
fallout". Hairs lost from shock fallout usually don't regrow.
This type of hair loss is believed to be caused by the immune
system reacting to hair follicles as if they were antibodies
and shutting them down. The hair loss is usually limited to
a coin sized area and all the hair in the area is lost leaving
a totally smooth round patch. In a more severe rarer condition
called Alopecia Totalis, all hair on the entire body is lost,
including the eyelashes.
Treatments include topical medications, a special kind of light
treatment, or in some cases drugs.
Infection (Ringworm) of the scalp
Caused by a fungus infection, ringworm (which has nothing to
do with worms) begins with small patches of scaling that can
spread and result in broken hair, redness, swelling, and even
oozing. This contagious disease is most common in children and
oral medication will cure it.
Stress can cause hair loss is some people. Usually it
occurs 3 months after the stressful event has occured and it
may take 3 months after the stress period has ended for the
hair growth to resume. In most cases it is temporary if the
person is not predisposed to genetic or Androgenic Alopecia,
if they are stress may trigger the onset of genetic hair loss
or may worsen existing Androgenic hair loss.
to the hair can be self inflicted either by intentional or unintentional
means. Some people going through stress continuously pull at
their hair until it comes out. Styling hair by bleaching, braiding
and straightening can also cause damage and results in hair
or Hair Pulling
Some children and less often adults play with their hair
by pulling on it or twisting it. This can be part of a behavioral
problem or a bad habit that is often done unconsciously. If
the behavior is not stopped permanent hair loss can result from
the constant stress on the hair. Its best to seek the help of
a mental health professional to solve this problem.
Many people change the appearance of their hair by using chemical
treatments like dyes, tints, bleaches, straighteners, relaxers
and permanent waves. If correctly done and done using reputable
products, its rare to have any damage.
However, hair can become weak and break if any of these chemicals
are used too often. Hair can also break if the solution is left
on too long, if two procedures are done on the same day, or
if bleach is applied to previously bleached hair. Some chemical
relaxers do contain powerful chemicals and there have been instances
of people get chemical burns from these products resulting in
permanent hair loss. Only go to qualified hair stylists and
if doing it yourself make sure you only use reputable products
and follow the product directions.
black women and some black men braid their hair or wear hair
weaves. Under normal conditions these cause no problems. However
if the weave is attached too tight or the braids are wrapped
too tight, they put a constant strain on the hair follicle.
If this is done for an extended period of time permanent hair
loss can result. This is known as Traction Alopecia and is fairly
common among people who braid or weave their hair. Make sure
the person applying the braids or weave is qualified to do so
and don't wear braids or weaves continuously for extended periods