Anything and Everything That Could Lead to Hair Loss
Every time you comb your hair, you see a few hair on the comb – this is natural because each hair on your head is a part of a cycle. Each hair is ‘born,’ it grows and eventually, it will fall out, and in its place, a new hair will grow. As a matter of fact, losing about a hundred hair a day is considered completely normal, and if you are seeing about that much hair, you have nothing to worry about. However, if you are seeing a lot more hair on your towel or on the bathroom drain, there could be something wrong.
Hair loss is actually a lot more common than most people would like to think, but the reasons for hair loss could vary from person to person. The manner in which hair is lost will vary between men and women too – for men, there could be proper bald spots, but for women, the hair loss will be a lot more diffused. Understanding the reason behind the hair loss is often the first step to treating it and many a time, you might need professional help for the same.
Let’s first understand a little more about hair:
The hair is actually a lot more complex than most people would think – there are actually different types of hair. There are vellus hair, intermediate hair and terminal hair – vellus hair is the extremely thin, almost invisible hair that is normally noticed in children and women. When vellus hair grows, something which can happen during puberty, it converts into intermediate hair. And finally, terminal hair are those which are strong and mature and have an extremely dark color.
The structure of each hair is different as are their growing, maturing and shedding stages. It is also important to understand that hair loss in men and women is different – for most men, hair loss will present itself either as a receding hairline or with bald spots on the crown of the head. However, with women, there are three main types of hair losses – nonpattern hair loss, androgenetic alopecia, and telogen effluvium.
Androgenetic alopecia is the most common, but the patter of hair loss is not as predictable is it is with men. Hair loss that is associated with telogen effluvium is generally due to improper diet, medications and even stress. And then hair loss that falls under certain other categories is what is put under non-pattern hair loss.
Now, let’s move onto some of the major causes that can lead to hair loss:
- Age – With age, you are going to lose hair, and this is completely natural; although the time frame of this hair loss might vary from person to person, you will notice that as you age, your hair is losing its volume and at times, even texture. While men might notice receding hair on their temples, women might notice that their hair feels a lot lighter. The process of the hair shrinking during old age is also known as miniaturization.
- Genetics – Studies have shown that male pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia presents itself, only if the specific genetic code is present in the individual. This means, that if your father had male pattern baldness and you are carrying the same genetic code, the chances of you developing the same type of baldness are extremely high. The code could be passed on from the paternal or the maternal side of the family.
- Hormones – A single hair follicle can be affected by a range of androgens, which are present in the body and the manner in which each hair responds to these androgens can be different. For instance, while the hair on the scalp can fall out because of these androgens, the hair in the armpits can grow because of them. For women, hair loss could also be caused if they are undergoing treatments for hormonal imbalance such as thyroid. For women, hormonal changes could also come due to pregnancy, childbirth or menopause, all of which could lead to hair loss.
- Medical conditions – Then there are several medical conditions that could be considered in the list of causes of hair loss, such as alopecia areata or infections of the scalp, such as ringworm. Certain people have a condition known as trichotillomania, in which the person tends to pull out their own hair. This could lead to bald patches on the scalp, where the hair has been pulled out. Similarly, if you have undergone medical procedures such as radiation or chemotherapy, you could see a loss in hair. Even certain medicines, particularly those meant for depression, heart problems, blood pressure, arthritis, gout, and cancer can also lead to hair loss.
- Stress – For people in today’s world, stress is a very common word, and everyone seems to have it. What most people do not realize is that too much stress could lead to hair fall – most people are so busy with their lives that they are not eating properly or they eat at odd times, they don’t drink enough water, or they do not get enough sleep – all this could cause hair loss. In addition, if there is a stressful event, such as a tragedy or an accident, then too you could see a sudden loss in hair. However, this kind of hair loss is normally temporary and can be regained.
- Hair care – You might love your hair a lot, but if you are constantly subjecting them to chemical and heat based treatments, you are inviting trouble. If you are someone who always keeps their hair pulled back tightly, you are calling for hair loss. Keep the chemical and heat treatments for special occasion and pamper your hair with natural ingredients to see your hair becoming healthy again.
Finally, let’s look at how the course of treatment might be decided:
In order to decide your path of treatment, a hair specialist would probably need to gauge where your hair loss stands. The Norwood Hamilton scale actually allows to categorize the hair loss stages.
Stage I – There is no real hair loss at the crown or on the hairline, but there is a start of hair loss.
Stage II – There is a progression to a more mature hairline, and the hair loss is quite mild, mainly at the front of the head.
Stage III – Perhaps the first stage of balding, where there is a recession at the temples and a thinning at the crown.
Stage IV – There is a deeper recession at the temples, and the bald spot becomes all the more evident at the crown.
Stage V – This is where hair loss starts to become truly severe – the hair loss on the crown is quite prominent and the hair from one side of the head to the other starts to look more like a band.
Stage VI – There is now only a horseshoe-like structure left on the head, leaving a bald center on the head.
Stage VII – This is the most advanced stage, where only a thin line in the form of the horseshoe remains.
Understanding the reasons for hair loss is often the first step to finding a solution for the same!