Who doesn't like a full head of hair? Our crowning glory is something to be proud of. Even though we complain about the wind spoiling our hairdo, the wind in our hair moment makes us feel great. The same joy can be snatched from you when you experience hair loss. In general, we lose about 100 hair strands daily which is considered normal as these hair usually grow back. What is worrying is when these hair does not grow back.
At a given time, approximately 90% of the hair on a person's scalp is growing. Each follicle has its own life cycle which is influenced by age, disease, and various other factors.
Types of Hair Loss
Involutional alopecia: A natural condition in which the hair naturally thins with age. A large number of hair follicles go into resting phase, and the remaining hairs become shorter and fewer in number.
Androgenic alopecia: This genetic condition affects both males and females. Male pattern baldness occurs as early as in the early 20s. It starts with a receding hairline and gradual disappearance of hair from the crown and frontal scalp. For women, they don't experience noticeable thinning until they are in their 40s or later. Women experience a general thinning all over the scalp, with the most extensive hair loss at the crown.
Alopecia areata: Starts suddenly resulting in patchy hair loss in children and young adults. This can cause complete baldness but in most cases hair grows again in a few years.
Alopecia universalis: In this situation, all body hair falls out, including the eyebrows and eyelashes.
Trichotillomania: This psychological disorder is most common in children where they pull out their own hair.
Telogen effluvium: This temporary hair thinning all over the scalp happens due to changes in the growth cycle of hair. A large number of hair enter the resting phase at the same time, causing hair shedding and subsequent thinning.
Causes of Hair Loss
Hair loss is usually more prominent in older people but those suffering from thyroid problems, diabetes, or lupus can experience hair loss too. Other causes of hair loss could be due to stress, a low protein diet, poor nutrition and genetics.
Hormones: Abnormal levels of androgens (male hormones normally produced by both men and women)
Genes: Genetics could play a part in a person's predisposition to male and female pattern baldness.
Stress, illness, and childbirth: Can cause temporary hair loss. Ringworms caused by fungal infection also leads to hair loss.
Drugs: Drugs used in chemotherapy, blood thinners, beta-adrenergic blockers used to control blood pressure, and birth control pills can cause temporary hair loss.
Autoimmune disease: This may cause alopecia areata in which the immune systems revs up for no particular reason and affects the hair follicles. Most of the time, the hair grows back, although it may temporarily be very fine and possibly lighter. Over time, the normal coloration and thickness returns.
Cosmetic procedures: Perms, dyeing and bleaching can lead to overall thinning of the hair as it gets weak and brittle. Using hot curlers and braiding the hair too tightly can cause damage to the hair and eventually break it. These procedures however do not cause baldness and in most cases the hair grows back normally once the source of the problem is removed.
Diet: A diet low in protein or a severely calorie-restricted diet causes temporary hair loss.
After finding out what the type and cause of hair loss is, one can proceed to treat it. With the right medication and nutrition, the temporary causes of hair fall can be cured. Lately there has been a great deal of research that indicates certain health supplements may be helpful in combating hair loss. These include Biotin (Vitamin B-6), Vitamin E, and Horsetail. In severe cases, one can consider hair transplant after consulting a specialist.