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What Causes Hair Loss and How To Stop Losing Hair
Most hair loss starts slowly. For instance, you may notice a few hairs in your brush or in your bathtub drain, and within a few years, you may be completely bald. However, you should not panic if you lose a few hairs. Most people lose fifty to one hundred hairs per day, but as they have over 100,000 hairs, losing a few every day is natural.
If you lose more hairs than this, you may experience an early sign of baldness which can be an inherited condition or one caused by certain medications or medical problems.
Although baldness is typically thought to be a problem for older men, it can affect anyone including women and children. The treatment options can range from wearing a hat or a wig to having surgery or rubbing treatment into your scalp.
Causes of Hair Loss
Hair follicles naturally go through cycles of growing and resting. The average cycle for most hair follicles is two to three years of growing followed by three to four months of resting. After the resting phase, the hair shaft falls out, and a new one replaces it. Baldness occurs when this cycle does not follow its regular patterns.
Essentially, the main cause of hair loss is that some follicles exhibit short growing phases or produce thin short hairs.
This may be caused by underlying hormonal shifts or irritation to the follicle itself. The following section will look at the different types of baldness and their causes.
Types and Causes of Permanent Hair Loss
Male and female pattern baldness also known as androgenetic alopecia is a permanent condition that affects a third of men and women. In men, it usually starts in your late teens or early twenties and involves the loss of hair near the temples, along the hairline or at the top of your head. In women, it typically involves hair loss in the front, on the side, or on the crown of your head.
In both men and women, this condition is normally hereditary, and it is caused by a shorter growing pattern of the hair follicles.
Cicatricial or Scarring alopecia is a type of hair loss that happens when the hair follicle is scarred or damaged. The scarring or damaging is usually associated with a skin disease like lupus erythematosus. This type of hair loss may look patchy and may feel itchy or painful.
Types and Causes of Temporary Hair Loss
Alopecia areata is a form of baldness that involves the development of small round patches of hair loss. Typically, it is exhibited in the form of quarter-sized patches that are spread around the scalp, but it can occur in any area with hair including eyebrows or beards.
No one knows what causes this condition, but most doctors believe that it is a hereditary auto-immune disease that can be triggered by certain viruses.
Many of the patches may grow back, but some of them will also lose their hairs repeatedly.
Telogen effluvium is sudden hair loss that is caused by a major shock to a person’s system. It can be caused by a mental shock like stress or a physical shock like a disease.
In most cases, this hair will grow back, but it may take a few months for the body to recuperate from this problem.
Traction alopecia is a temporary loss of hair in certain locations, and it is caused by behavior that causes scarring or damage to the hair’s roots. For instance, if you wear your hair in tight rollers or pony tails, you may damage it to the extent that some of it falls out.
Luckily, these follicles can typically repair themselves if the behavior is stopped.
Anagen effluvium is the type of temporary baldness that is associated with cancer patients.
Chemotherapy drugs can cause their hair to fall out, but after the completion of the drug cycle, their follicles will normally grow back.
However, they may not produce hair that was as thick as it originally was.
Other Causes of Hair Loss
People can lose hair for a variety of reasons. If people are not affected by one of the conditions discussed above, they may notice that they lose hair for one of the following reasons: poor nutrition, medication, diseases, or hormonal changes.
If a person lacks adequate amounts of protein or iron in their diet, they may lose hair. Diseases like diabetes can also result in the loss of hair. However, when patients try to treat certain other diseases like cancer, they may also notice that they lose hair.
Hormonal changes including those that are caused by certain drugs can also result in hair loss. Hormonal shifts that cause hair loss are more common in women, but they can also occur in men who produce extra testosterone.
At times, people may notice that they lose hair due to their efforts to make their hair look better. For instance, some of the chemicals that are used to dye or perm hair can even cause follicle damage or the loss of hairs.
Treatments for Balding
There is no permanent cure for balding. However, there are a number of things that you can do to try to control or hide the condition. If you start losing hair suddenly, you should see a doctor to make sure that it is not being caused by a serious underlying problem.
However, if you know that this is not an indicator of a more serious health problem, you may wish to try some of these solutions to stop the loss of hair.
The FDA has approved some drugs to treat the loss of hair. However, they are only effective for some people in some cases.
These drugs include Minoxidil or Rogaine and Finasteride or Propecia which is not approved for use by women. Other people choose to have cortisone injected into their scalp.
This hormone can be effective at encouraging follicles to restart their growing phase. Anthralin is available in a cream that when massaged into the scalp can rejuvenate the hair follicles. When drugs are ineffective, some people turn to surgery.
The most common type of surgery for this condition involves a skin graft from one area to another. However, this can be painful and ineffective.
Severe hair loss can effect your self image, impact your confidence, and leave one feeling less than their full self. The 100% cure for baldness has not been discovered yet, but there are a number of alternative treatments that can stop hair loss from growing worse using natural remedies.
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