Hair Loss Overview
Most hair loss occurs in men, with approximately 50 million experiencing it and 30 million women. By the age of 50, about half of all men will experience hair loss. Although hair loss isn’t life-threatening, it can cause devastating psychological effects in women.
What are the Causes of Hair Loss
It is common for hair loss to be genetic. It is usually not a sign of a disease. However, hair loss can be caused by thyroid disease, anaemia and ringworm on the scalp. Anorexia may also cause it. Temporary hair loss can also be caused by certain medications, such as treatment for cancer chemotherapy. When medications are stopped, hair growth returns to normal. Sometimes, hormonal changes during menopause or after birth can lead to hair loss.
Different types of hair loss
There are many types of hair loss. These can be classified by how the loss affects a specific area or the whole scalp. The following slides will discuss some of the most common causes of hair loss.
Alopecia areata (AA) is a common type of hair loss. This condition is thought to be an autoimmune disorder that causes circular bald patches on the scalp and other hair-bearing areas. Hair can fall spontaneously. If the inflammation subsides, the hair can regrow. Alopecia totalis is a condition where alopecia affects the entire scalp. Alopecia Universalis is when the alopecia spreads to other body parts, such as eyebrows, lashes and beards. If alopecia is found in men’s beards, it is called barbie.
Alopecia Areata (Continued)
Alopecia areata is sometimes mistakenly linked to stress. However, there is no evidence to support this.
Constant pulling on the hair roots can cause traction alopecia. This condition is often caused by hairstyles that create tension in the hair follicles. This condition can also be caused by chemical straightening and weaving. It is easier to diagnose this condition sooner than it becomes permanent. If left untreated for a prolonged time, hair loss can become permanent. This hair loss can be prevented by wearing looser hairstyles that don’t pull on the roots.
Trichotillomania is a medical condition that causes someone to pull out their hair. People may feel compelled to pull out hairs from their scalp, eyelashes or eyebrows. The condition can be treated with medication and cognitive-behavioural therapy.
Tinea Capitis (Fungal Infection)
Tinea capitis or ringworm is a fungal infection that attacks hair shafts and hair follicles, leading to hair loss. The bald patches are marked by black spots where hair has fallen off. This is most common in children, but it can also affect adults. Antifungal compounds are usually used to treat it.
Telogen effluvium, or TE, is a thinning process that results in hair loss from the scalp. However, it does not always occur evenly. Hair growth involves several phases. The telogen phase is when hair stops growing and begins to regrow. Telogen effluvium is when hair roots reach the resting phase before they are fully developed.
Telogen Effluvium (Continued)
Telogen effluvium can often be caused by “shock to system”, with hair loss lasting weeks to months. There are several causes of TE.
- High fever
- Severe infection
- Chronic or severe illness
- Psychological stress can cause severe problems.
- major surgery
- Overactive or underactive thyroid
- crash diets
- Antidepressants and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, also known as retinoids, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers and antidepressants (NSAIDs), are medications.
There is no need to treat the stage after the resting phase (telogen). Normal hair growth will resume in most cases. It is essential to determine if other medical conditions may be causing hair loss.
Androgenetic Alopecia (“Male – Pattern Baldness,” Female – Pattern Baldness”)
Androgenetic hair loss sometimes called “male pattern baldness”, is the most common cause of hair loss in men. However, it can also be a problem for women. A combination of hormones and genetics usually causes it.
Men may notice hair loss as early as their 20s. By 50 years old, half of all men have lost some hair. The hair falls in a pattern starting at the temples and ending at the ends. This exposes the classic “M-shaped” hairline that men see as they age.
Myths about Male-Pattern Baldness
Many myths surround male-pattern baldness.
- MYTH: The mother’s side is responsible for your baldness. Your maternal grandfather may have been bald.
- FACT: The genes for baldness may come from either parent.
- MYTH: Hats can cause hair loss and strain hair follicles.
- FACT: Hair loss will not occur if your hat is too tight.
- MYTH: Hair loss can be caused by blow-drying.
- Hair does not fall out of the blow dryer. Hair can become dry and brittle if it is used too often.
- MYTH – Hair can fall out if washed too often or used with certain styling products.
- FACT: Haircare products and shampoos do not cause hair to fall.
- MYTH: Scalp massaging will stimulate circulation and promote hair growth.
- FACT: While scalp massage may feel great, no studies have shown it to help regrow hair.
Hair loss is not a problem that only men experience. Men tend to lose hair on the forehead, while women notice hair falling on their scalps’ top and crown sides. It is also possible that it is related to family history and genetics. This happens more frequently after menopause. The hair loss in men is usually not complete, and the front hairline of women with hair loss is less affected than it is for men.
Myths about Female-Pattern Baldness
There are many myths regarding female-pattern hair loss, just like there are about male-pattern hair loss.
- Hair falling out is not caused by long hair.
- Hair loss is usually not caused by hair colouring or shampooing.
- Hair loss is not caused by excessive hair brushing. Hair that has been combed or brushed too often will eventually fall out.
- Some hairstyles, such as cornrows (“corn rows”) and tight ponytails, can lead to traction alopecia. However, styling hair will not cause hair fall.
- Hair does not fall out if curled or flat ironed with a hairdryer. Although the heat from these devices can damage hair and cause it to become brittle or break, they don’t cause hair to fall out.
Hair loss treatment
It is crucial to establish that hair loss is not an underlying medical condition. If this is the case, it is important to address the medical condition.
Treatment options for hair loss that are not caused by a medical condition include medication, surgery, hairpieces, and grooming techniques.
Hair loss medications
Hair growth is not possible with any shampoo or conditioner. However, some products can slow hair loss, such as:
- Minoxidil (Rogaine).
- Finasteride (Propecia)
Minoxidil (Rogaine), a topical medication, is available over-the-counter (OTC) without the need for a prescription. Minoxidil (Rogaine) is used in men to treat male-pattern hair loss. It is also used to thin hair in women. Minoxidil is applied to the scalp two times daily and has few side effects. Minoxidil must be used as directed once treatment has been started. The hair will fall out once it is stopped.
Finasteride (Propecia), a prescription medication, can be taken orally. Although it can grow hair and thicken it, it is mostly used to keep the hair on the scalp. It is best for those with more hair. Propecia can cause impotence. This side effect disappears when the drug is stopped. Although it is not safe for pregnant women, it may be safe for postmenopausal women.
Laser Hair Treatments
As a treatment for genetic hair loss, low-dose laser therapy can be used in many ways. This therapy can also be called cold, cold, and soft. Laser therapy can be used in place of or in addition to surgical options. There are many options:
- In a salon, hoods are worn.
- Use of combs and caps at home
- Hand-held laser devices
Operation for Hair Loss
Surgery can be used to treat permanent hair loss. Three types of hair replacement surgery are common:
- Hair transplants, also known as hair grafting, involve the removal of hair from the back and replacing it with hair in the front.
- Scalp reduction: The surgical removal of bald areas and the stitching together of hair-bearing regions of the scalp is done.
- Scalp expansion is a device inserted under the hair to expand the skin. This can be used to reduce the amount of balding or for scalp laxity.
This procedure is best for male-pattern and female-pattern hair loss. This procedure is not recommended for those who don’t have enough hair at “donor” areas (the places on their scalp where hair will ultimately be taken) and for those prone to keloid scarring.
Grooming Techniques, Wigs, Hairpieces, etc.
If hair loss is not severe, styling hair to cover thinning areas can be very effective. Numerous volumizing shampoos, conditioners, and styling products can give hair volume and make it look thicker. Talk to your stylist to determine the best cut for your hair.
There are other options for more severe hair loss, such as hairpieces and wigs. Hair weaves can be attached to existing hair to fill in the thinning areas.